Regional Scoping Workshop on "Perspectives for Climate Diplomacy in Southeast Asia"

29 November 2013

Southeast Asia is considered to be a region highly vulnerable to near and long-term climatic changes. In order to jointly address emerging climate risks and to complement multilateral negotiations through enhanced regional cooperation, the involvement of Foreign Ministries should be further strengthened.

To discuss concrete proposals for climate diplomacy, adelphi and the Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies organized a half-day workshop in Singapore on 29 November 2013, supported by the German Federal Foreign Office.

In Asia as in Europe, dialogue and information sharing have highlighted potential climate change risks and vulnerabilities as well as resulting opportunities for international cooperation. Two main entry points can be highlighted in this context:

1) Regional warming, glacial melt, sea level rise, changing precipitation patterns, salt water intrusion and extreme weather events might considerably change Southeast Asia’s geophysical environment within decades. Rapid population growth, economic development in coastal areas and increasing resource and energy demands might exacerbate these vulnerabilities and bring about increased risks for the region’s stability and prosperity. International cooperation can help address such risks, and present important opportunities to induce joint diplomatic action and forge regional strategies for Southeast Asia.

2) Countries have increasingly taken the lead in promoting ambitious national climate policy frameworks. At the same time, climate challenges are being amplified by accelerating energy demand and overall consumption patterns in Southeast Asia. These two trends present an opportunity for regional collaboration to help shape more sustainable and environmentally responsible economies; particularly regarding renewable energy and resource efficiency potential. Multilateral engagement can support such a shift in many ways, from sharing experiences to advancing technology cooperation and exchanges.

The workshop pursued the following objectives:

• Further strengthen the involvement of Foreign Ministries in order to jointly address emerging climate risks and to complement multilateral negotiations through enhanced regional cooperation. Develop concrete proposals for regional diplomatic action.
Share regional perspectives and information on foreign affairs strategies in Asia and Europe, including perspectives that focus on climate risks, water and food security and the prospects of a joint green growth approach for sustainable development.
Examine the concept, role and possible opportunities for climate foreign policy action as preventive diplomacy that can mitigate emerging threats and advance innovative concepts.
• Identify ways and means to support inter-regional cooperation and joint diplomatic action, such as through the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF).

Thedocumentation of the event is available online.