Regionalizing Environmental Security in Asia

Routledge Handbook of Asian Regionalism

Author/s (editor/s):

Lorraine Elliott

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Publication type:

Book chapter

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Published in Marc Beeson and Richard Stubbs, eds, Routledge Handbook of Asian Regionalism, New York: Routledge, 2012, pp. 300-12.

This chapter examines the ways in which environmental degradation has come to be represented as a security problem for countries in Asia and for the region as a whole. It provides an overview of the breadth and depth of environmental challenges that face countries, economies and peoples in Asia, and gives a short history of the global context within which environmental change has been ‘securitisied’. Three related environmental concerns that dominate the regional environmental security agenda - water scarcity, food security, and climate change - are explored. It suggests that human security models can provide not only different ways of interpreting environmental security ‘triggers’ but also different and more effective strategies for responding to environmental insecurity. This involves an analytical move from risk to vulnerability and a strategic move from mitigation to adaptation and social resilience. Despite the challenges that this presents for more orthodox approaches to security, it is also more certain to deliver outcomes that can guarantee security for both peoples and states.

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