Tag Archives: climate wise development

Climate Change and Sea Level Rise in Asia: Singapore

24 Feb

Flickr: nathanhayag

By PISA Program Assistant, Dr. Miriam Grinberg

With a population of over 5 million in a country smaller than New York City, Singapore boasts the seventh-largest gross domestic product per capita in the world. The country’s wealth suggests that it has the financial capacity to combat the effects of climate change (unlike previous countries highlighted in this series) and reduce its carbon footprint. Moreover, given the fact that Singapore lies only 15 meters above sea level on average – and that mean sea level in the surrounding Straits has risen at about 1.2 to 1.7 mm per year between 1975 and 2009 – ignoring the consequences of climate change could prove perilous.

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Climate Change and Sea Level Rise in Asia: Thailand

13 Jan

Flickr: dany13

By PISA Program Assistant, Dr. Miriam Grinberg

Where for the other countries in Southeast Asia covered so far in this series sea level rise is a more recent concern, in Thailand, it has long been cited as an important factor behind the oft-discussed “sinking” of its capital, Bangkok. Local data from around the country has shown an increase in sea level of about 5 mm in the last 25 years, a rise that has been accompanied by increased incidents of cyclones, flooding, and deadly storm surges. The country’s devastating 2011 floods, for example, not only impacted over 1.69 million hectares of land, resulting in economic losses of over $2 billion — it also caused global industrial production to decline by 2.5%, as seven major industrial parks and the 800+ companies therein (largely producing automobile parts and electronics) were inundated.

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Climate Change and Sea Level Rise in Asia: Myanmar

29 Dec


By PISA Program Assistant, Dr. Miriam Grinberg

Following Myanmar Ambassador Aung Lynn’s visit to the Elliott School of International Affairs on Monday, December 12, PISA provides critical background information on the country through our blog. Previously, we discussed the country’s challenges in natural resource governance and the continued consequences of the Cold War. This post concludes the series with a focus on the impact of sea level rise and climate change on Myanmar’s future.

In my previous post’s overview of the difficulties that Burmese policymakers face in managing and distributing natural resources equitably, I noted that Myanmar is well-known for its rich biodiversity and wealth of resources, such as natural gas and jade. As the country continues to undergo political and economic transformation – including the development of its energy and industry sectors, urban areas, and agricultural production – the sustainability of its new enterprises has increasingly come into question, not to mention their environmental impact. Combined with its geographical location (sandwiched between two of the world’s largest polluters, China and India), it is no wonder that the country was recently called the second most vulnerable in the world to the impacts of climate change.

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Making the Case for Climate Wise Development in Burma

15 Mar

Photo courtesy of Sandi Moynihan

This is the first training on climate change for our ministries in Myanmar”

                                                – MLICC Delegate, Ministry of Health

By Suzanne Kelly-Lyall

Partnerships for International Strategies in Asia (PISA), Yangon-based NGO ALARM, Heinrich Böll Stiftung (Bangkok/Yangon), and The Chino Cienega Foundation joined forces to offer a week-long Myanmar Climate Change Leadership Institute (MLICC).  Forty-five mid-level government officials recruited from Myanmar’s line ministries with direct responsibility for natural resource management, environmental conservation, agriculture and health, took part in a specialized program to introduce the concept of Climate Wise Development (CWD).

Photo Courtesy of Sandi Moynihan

The collaborative effort included a session on “green finance mechanisms” led by Heinrich Böll Stiftung’s North America Office Associate Director Liane Schalatek, professors drawn from The George Washington University, as well as experts from across the region.  Under PISA’s leadership, principles of CWD were introduced using active learning methods that included analytical, problem-solving exercises rooted in the real-world challenges that Myanmar faces today.  From assessing large-scale development projects such as the proposed Dawei port and how it might impact communities, to considering renewable energy sources and how to leverage natural resources for the common good, the MLICC challenged policy-makers to consider an alternative path to development. 


Photo courtesy of Sandi Moyniha

Photo courtesy Sandi MoynihanImage

PISA uses the urgent and shared issue of global climate change to illustrate the need for environmental governance and sustainable development. In so doing, we introduce the necessity of participatory decision- making and information sharing with sensitivity to existing political norms. During this easily reversible period of transition, together with ALARM and Heinrich Böll Stiftung, PISA successfully conducted a program that will build confidence over time and gradually bridge existing gaps between officials and civil society by unveiling points of mutual concern.  Working within the climate change “frame” enabled discussion of sensitive political and economic matters, from increasing transparency in natural resource management to the ways in which groups are understood to be vulnerable and marginalized.  The MLICC sought to build on the momentum toward adoption of a climate-wise development approach, namely one that is both more sustainable and equitable, which civil society organizations and reform-minded officials alike have sought to launch.  Many of the delegates possessed technical expertise in functional areas such as hydrology, forestry, or public health.  However, few have had the opportunity to share their knowledge across ministries. Consequently, at the beginning of the MLICC, analysis and problem-solving strategies often reflected narrow concerns.  By the end of week, teams had grown comfortable with working collaboratively across ministries, areas of expertise, gender, and seniority.  Teams often succeeded in developing detailed plans of action, showed a capacity for thought leadership and creative approaches to addressing the complex challenges and trade offs that development against a background of uncertainty presents.

The MLICC was strengthened by wedding the resources of three diverse organizations together; each making a distinctive contribution.  Next steps include additional in-country short courses that target important ministries for climate change policy, as well implementing the longer-term goal of providing scholarships to promising, emerging leaders to attend PISA’s Summer Leadership Institute on Climate Change, a three-week intensive program to be held on the campus of The George Washington University.