Broadening Asia’s Security Discourse and Agenda: Political, Social and Environmental Perspectives

Sample Chapter
  • Edited Ramesh Thakur and Edward Newman

    ISBN-10: 92-808-1094-4,
    ISBN-13: 978-92-808-1094-3
    United Nations University Press
    May 2004

    The security discourse is dominated by the traditional state-centric paradigm which privileges the territorial defence of a country against armed attack from foreign countries. For most people in Asia – a continent that counts for more than half of the world’s population – the greatest threats to security come from disease, hunger, environmental contamination, crime and localized violence. For some, a still greater threat may come from their own government itself, rather than from an ‘external’ adversary. The citizens of states that are ‘secure’ according to the concept of traditional security can beperilously insecure in terms of their everyday reality. Going beyond military threats and state-centric analysis, this book demonstrates the importance of a broad security agenda that incorporates political, economic, social and environmental dimensions as well as the many linkages between them. It applies non-traditional security perspectives to a range of human challenges across Asia, in the hope of encouraging a security discourse where humans are at the vital core. It also explores the potential practical and conceptual benefits of non-traditional security thinking in a continent beset by both conventional and non-traditional security challenges.

    Ramesh Thakur is Vice Rector of the United Nations University, Tokyo and Head of the Peace and Governance Programme. Edward Newman is an academic officer in the Peace and Governance Programme at the United Nations University.


  • Non-traditional security in Asia Introduction
  • Social and economic perspectives: Globalization and human development: The cases of Pakistan and India
  • Southeast Asia’s embedded mercantilism in crisis: International strategies and domestic coalitions
  • Poverty as a non-traditional security issue: Experiences of China’s partnership with multilateral donor institutions on poverty alleviation
  • Governance: Security and governance in South Asia: Their linkages
  • Governance in plural societies: Sri Lanka
  • Environment: Sustainable development & human security: Lessons from South Asia
  • How critical is “environmental security” as a nontraditional security issue in Northeast Asia?
  • A cultural theory perspective on environment and security issues in Nepal
  • The Hydro-politics of the Mekong River Basin: Regional cooperation and environmental security
  • Institutional security perspectives
  • Alternative security models: Implications for ASEAN
  • Seeking non-traditional security in “traditional” ways: Northeast Asia and emerging security challenges
  • Cooperation and institutional transformation in ASEAN: Insights from the AFTA Project
  • Non-traditional security cooperation in Northeast Asia
  • Contributors
    Tsuneo Akaha, Jennifer Bennett, P.R. Chari, Melissa Curley, Ajaya Dixit, Evelyn Goh, Dipak Gyawali, M. Shamsul Haque, Richard W. Hu, Kanishka Jayasuriya, Adil Najam, Helen Nesadurai Edward Newman, Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu, Ramesh Thakur, William T. Tow, Jayadeva Uyangoda, Qingxin K. Wang