By PISA Staff Assistant, Leeann Ji
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. Stay tuned for one more post on Myanmar as part of our ongoing series, Climate Change and Sea Level Rise in Asia.
A country composed of 14 administrative states and more than 135 different ethnic groups, Myanmar currently lags behind its Southeast Asian counterparts in many different aspects of development (according to 2014 data gathered by the United Nations Development Program). After decades of political turmoil, Myanmar saw a push towards democracy when the National League for Democracy, led by Aung San Suu Kyi, won the 2015 elections by a landslide. The election results proved to be a victory for Myanmar, but after the Cold War-era proliferation of communism, years of ideological battles, and an exploding opium and heroin trade, the new Burmese government faces many obstacles on the path to catching up to its ASEAN neighbors.
By PISA Staff Assistant, Leeann Ji
To understand the workings of a nation, one must observe the trials and tribulations it has undergone throughout its history. In the case of the Kingdom of Cambodia, its vibrant national history is scarred by the consequences of the Cold War, the Vietnam War, and the Cambodian Genocide. At PISA, we believe in studying these subjects in order to develop strategies that seek to prevent these conflicts from arising again.
Climate Refugees in Bangladesh. Photo Credit: Sabbir, Wikimedia Commons
By Jack Karsten, PISA Staff Assistant
Climate change is not just an environmental threat whose greatest impacts will be felt in the future; it also plays an immediate role in today’s international security issues. For example, a recent study concluded that a sustained drought compounded factors that started the civil war in Syria, a struggle that endures four years later. Rising temperatures will increase competition for scarce water, food, and energy resources with the potential to spark new conflicts and intensify existing ones. Droughts, floods and storms linked to climate change will displace millions of people each year, adding to the humanitarian crisis associated with war and border conflicts. Recognizing the impact of climate change on international security escalates the issue’s urgency.
As a practitioner housed within a leading academic institution Elliott School of International Affairs in a metropolitan center recognized for innovation in energy, security and environmental policy, I have the good fortune to occupy a perch that offers both a broad overview of what has grown to be the field of climate change as well as emerging thinking about its offshoots into security, governance, and sustainable development. Each time I return to the “field” for programming, most recently in Myanmar MLICC, I do so eager to apply new scholarship and test theories with practice. PISA works at multiple levels and across sectors so we also have the chance to explore which theories are “sticky” and which are not. I am on the lookout for new ideas that push boundaries and change the way we conceptualize challenges and solve problems.
“One thing is clear – the era of easy oil is over. Demand is soaring like never before… At the same time, many of the world’s oil and gas fields are maturing. And new energy discoveries are mainly occurring in places where resources are difficult to extract, physically, economically, and even politically.” – David O’Reilly, CEO, Chevron Energy, 2005
BP’s Deepwater Horizon spill, catastrophic as it was, affected a prosperous, stable nation. What would be the long term repercussions if a similar spill happened near a fragile, failed or failing state?