Policy Roundtable on Asian Non-Traditional Security 30–31 July 2012

from Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies
Published on 31 Jul 2012

Executive Summary

On 30–31 July 2012, a Policy Roundtable on Asian Non-Traditional Security was held at the Hotel Novotel Beijing Peace, China, with the aim of sharing the research findings of participating institutions. The Roundtable was organised by the Center for Regional Security Studies (CRSS), Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS); the Centre for Non-Traditional Security (NTS) Studies, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS); the National Institute of International Strategy (NIIS), CASS; and the Center for Non-Traditional Security and Peaceful Development Studies (NTS-PD), Zhejiang University.

The Roundtable focused on the following themes: (1) climate change, environmental security and natural disasters; (2) economic crises and human security; (3) energy and human security; and (4) multilevel approaches to human security and conflict management.

Non-traditional security (NTS) and human security continue to gain traction in the region. Against such a backdrop, the Roundtable provided a significant opportunity for the various actors to come together to understand the NTS issues that are most salient to Asia, to share experiences and lessons in dealing with NTS challenges in the region, and to seek opportunities and entry points for cooperation. Definitional issues, governance, and NTS developments in China were some of the issues that were highlighted, as summarised below.

• Due to the political sensitivities associated with the notion of ‘human security’, countries in the region are more receptive to the concept of ‘nontraditional security’.

Human security presents a new paradigm for understanding the challenges faced by societies. While the traditional notion of security is centred on the security of the state, human security argues that people should be the referent object of security. The implications of such a framework are viewed by some as intrusive of state sovereignty. Many countries in East Asia are thus wary of promoting the concept of human security. This stance is manifested in the cautious attitude taken towards the Responsibility to Protect (RtoP), a concept that is essentially a further development of human security