Economic Cooperation Between Indonesia & East-Timor: The Dilemmas Behind Strategic Decision
The highlight in ASEAN news for the past few weeks, Indonesia has agreed that East-Timor will be included in the ASEAN agenda for 2023, which Indonesia will be the Chairmanship for this year. However, there are still some polemics among ASEAN countries in terms of their subjective assessment of East-Timor capacity to enter ASEAN – based on its reputation on the global stage. A discussion among academicians previously said that since Indonesia declared its independence, Indonesia still has unstable relations with East-Timor governments, especially about human rights issues. Both of the countries still have the same stigma and tension, moreover escalated by the trauma in 1999 when East-Timor decided to break away from Indonesia.
In geographical location, East-Timor is located in the South East-Asia region which means it has the opportunity to be a member in ASEAN regional organization. However, since 2011, East-Timor still has not achieved its status as a member of ASEAN. There were still pros and cons among ASEAN members regarding East-Timor’s membership. Indonesia and Malaysia are the two main countries that most support East-Timor’s membership of ASEAN. On the other hand, Singapore and Laos still do not agree if East-Timor becomes part of ASEAN. The two countries that disagreed argued that East-Timor was not yet ready economically and politically, so it was not yet the time to join, moreover involving in the next level of economic movement in ASEAN.
However, this has proven otherwise with changes in the dynamics and geopolitical constellation in ASEAN per se. On February 11, 2022, East-Timor became a member of ASEAN. Then, in February 2023, East-Timor legally became a member of ASEAN. Simultaneously, this year will be the right time for Indonesia as it becomes the chairman of the ASEAN Chairmanship 2023. Thus, Indonesia officially established more serious economic relations with East-Timor, marked by an agreement between Joko Widodo as President of the Republic of Indonesia and Taur Matan Ruak as Prime Minister of East-Timor to establish a bilateral investment treaty. Thus, what are the factors that cause Indonesia as chairman of ASEAN 2023 to want to establish this economic relationship? What dilemmas will arise in the future?
The Factors Behind the Cooperation
As chairman of ASEAN 2023, Indonesia has certainly taken seriousness in this cooperation in taking economic steps that can affect the dynamics of the international world. Joko Widodo’s decision to strengthen economic cooperation with East Timor is pragmatically seen as a strategic step for Indonesia to gain the side of populism in the eyes of the world community. One of the strategies adopted by Indonesia is to improve connectivity by establishing a bus route connecting Kupang in East Nusa Tenggara province and Dili, the capital city of Timor-Leste.
It is possible that Indonesia’s economic strategy as chairman of ASEAN 2023 definitely wants to bring the interest of convenience in the transportation and distribution of goods and services. Therefore, Jokowi built infrastructure on the border of NTT Province and Oecusse Municipality so that the two countries could have good economic relations through the land border. Apart from that, Indonesia also wants East-Timor to not only be under the control of Australia which Australia continues to take advantage of in various sectors.
Other than that, from Indonesia’s perspective, Indonesia still needs to enhance in several areas, such as education and industrial sectors with the ASEAN members. This will lead to the willingness of Indonesia to strengthen those sectors by establishing this bilateral treaty, one of them is with East-Timor. Retno Marsudi, Indonesian Foreign Affairs Minister, believed that this cooperation will enable the two countries to enhance stability and mutual prosperity.
The Potential Dilemmas Will Arise
However, Indonesia’s strategic efforts to establish an economy with East-Timor have its own challenges and dilemmas. One of them is Timor-Leste’s economic growth which is considered very much dependent on oil business revenues through the Petroleum Fund. This can affect the flow of oil reserves and prices both in Indonesia and in ASEAN itself. These funds can slowly run out and lead to a decline in public finances, pose a risk of economic instability, and finally reduce the ability of countries to meet the other needs of ASEAN members.
In addition, the validation and credibility of East-Timor as a developing country has not been guaranteed economic and political stability. This seems to raise the assumption that what Indonesia is doing is only a moral obligation as a fellow member of ASEAN which can be said that Indonesia strategy is not based on a strong reason. Indonesia’s decision to establish economic cooperation with East-Timor will indirectly bring inevitable consequences in the future.
The consequences that can occur include that Indonesia must have better and more stable economic and political conditions. The gap between Indonesia and East-Timor is quite significant so that it cannot be blamed if in reality Indonesia contributes more to help build and boost the economy of East-Timor later. Apart from that, the reputation of Timor-Leste which is not yet as strong as other ASEAN countries economically and politically is also a separate dilemma for Indonesia as chairman of the chairmanship in terms of making East-Timor equal to other ASEAN countries so as not to widen the gaps that exist between ASEAN countries.
Bilateral economic cooperation between Indonesia and East-Timor does provide a glimmer of idealism for Indonesia’s economic strategy in the midst of its role as chairman of the ASEAN Chairmanship 2023. However, it needs to be emphasized that Indonesia’s strategy cannot be considered ideal overall in this regard. Opening up the seriousness of bilateral economic cooperation is a big step that needs to be considered, especially for the consequences and dilemmas of the challenges that will occur. Indonesia needs to be prepared economically and politically to face other possibilities that arise as new problems amid its position as chairman of ASEAN 2023.
Reforming Islamic jurisprudence shapes the battle to define moderate Islam
The world’s largest, most moderate Muslim civil society movement has called for abolishing the concept of a caliphate in Islamic law.
In a radical break with Islamic orthodoxy, Indonesia’s Nahdlatul Ulama, or Revival of Islamic Scholars, wants to replace the concept with notions of the nation-state and the United Nations that are non-existent in Islamic legal tradition.
The reform is one pillar of the Indonesian movement’s campaign to update or, in its words, recontextualise Islamic law, free it from obsolete or outdated concepts, and deprive militants and jihadists of the ability to employ references to the Sharia to justify their theology, extremism, and violence.
Islamic scholars from across the globe discussed the call in February at a day-long gathering in the Javan city of Surabaya.
The call was made public at a commemoration of Nahdlatul Ulama’s centennial, according to the Hijra calendar, attended by more than a million people and Indonesian President Joko Widodo.
“Nahdlatul Ulama believes it is essential to the well-being of Muslims to develop a new vision capable of replacing the long-established aspiration, rooted in Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh), of uniting Muslims throughout the world into a single universal state, or caliphate,” the group said in a declaration read out at the rally.
“It is neither feasible nor desirable to re-establish a universal caliphate that would unite Muslims throughout the world in opposition to non-Muslims. As recently demonstrated by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, attempts to do so will inevitably be disastrous and contrary to the purposes of Sharia (Islamic law): i.e., the protection of religion, human life, sound reasoning, family, and property,” the declaration went on to say.
The declaration asserted that Islam faces a choice: maintaining the obligation to create a caliphate or reforming Islamic jurisprudence so that it would “embrace a new vision and develop a new discourse regarding Islamic jurisprudence, which will prevent the political weaponization of identity; curtail the spread of communal hatred; promote solidarity and respect among the diverse peoples, cultures, and nations of the world; and foster the emergence of a truly just and harmonious world order.”
In a discussion paper distributed shortly after the conference and rally, Nahdlatul Ulama argued that “Muslims should acknowledge that a socio-political construct (or imperium) capable of operationalizing these normative views across the Muslim world no longer exists” and that “as a consequence of choosing to retain the established fiqh view and norms associated therewith it would automatically be a religious duty incumbent upon Muslims to revive the imperium. This, in turn, would necessarily entail dissolving any and all existing nation-states, under whose governance Muslims currently live.”
With its assault on the concept of a caliphate, Nahdaltul Ulama laid down a gauntlet for autocratic and authoritarian Muslim leaders by insisting that change needs to involve reform of religious jurisprudence, not just social change as enacted, for example, by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and United Arab Emirates President Mohammed bin Zayed.
These reforms have enhanced women’s social rights and professional opportunities, eased restrictions on gender interaction and embraced Western-style entertainment. However, the two men anchored these changes in civil law and ignored the need to synchronise religious jurisprudence.
Anchoring the United Nations and its charter in Islamic religious law would increase the pressure on regimes in Muslim-majority countries to respect human rights.
The UN charter obliges member states to honour “fundamental human rights…the dignity and worth of the human person, (and)…the equal rights of men and women” and makes it legally binding for its Muslim signatories.
Muslim-majority states accepted that obligation when they joined the United Nations but couched their religious legitimacy in the language of Islamic jurisprudence employed by the Organisation for Islamic Cooperation (OIC) rather than the law itself. The OIC groups the world’s 57 Muslim-majority countries.
By reforming the jurisprudence, Nahdlatul Ulama would introduce guardrails for the incorporation by OIC members of Islamic law into domestic legal systems.
Muslim-majority states have used the OIC framework to monopolise the right to interpret Islamic law and bend it to their will, for example, in the justification of abuse of human rights or, in the case of countries like Saudi Arabia and the UAE, to demand on religious grounds absolute obedience of the ruler.
The OIC and some of its members have also used the organisation’s religious framing and the 1990 Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam to curtail rights enshrined in the UN charter and lobby the United Nations to classify blasphemy a violation of human rights and a form of hate speech.
In its discussion paper, Nahdlatul Ulama asserted that the view that Muslims “should have a default attitude of enmity towards non-Muslims, and that infidels…should be subject to discrimination is well established within turats al-fiqh (the tradition of Islamic jurisprudence).”
An earlier Nahdlatul Ulama concept note argued that “views that legitimize and encourage suspicion, segregation, discrimination, and even hostility and conflict towards those who bear the legal status of infidels…are scattered throughout classical texts on Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh). These views…are still considered…credible…and should…be practiced to the present day. Muslim groups involved in conflict – including the use of violence and terror – defend their position by citing references from these classical fiqh texts.”
In 2019, the Indonesian movement put its money where its mouth is when 20,000 of its scholars issued a religious finding that eliminated the category of the kafir in Islamic law.
Nevertheless, notions of the kafir and the caliphate remain at the core of the Muslim world’s response to religious extremism and jihadism.
An open letter to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the late leader of the Islamic State, written after he declared in 2014 a caliphate with himself as caliph, insists that “there is agreement (ittifaq) among scholars that a caliphate is an obligation upon the Ummah (Muslim community).” The letter was signed by 126 prominent Islamic scholars, including participants in the Surabaya gathering.
Among the letter’s signatories were state-aligned proponents of autocratic forms of moderate Islam.
They included Egyptian Grand Mufti Shawqi Allam; Egypt’s former grand mufti, Ali Goma, who religiously endorsed the killing on a Cairo square in 2013 of some 800 Muslim Brotherhood protesters by security forces; several members of Egypt’s state-controlled Fatwa Council; and scholars At Al Azhar, Cairo’s citadel of Islamic learning.
Also among the signatories were Abdullah Bin Bayyah, the head of the Fatwa Council of the United Arab Emirates, and one of its other members, popular American Muslim preacher Hamza Yusuf, men who do the Gulf state’s religious bidding.
For over two decades since the 9/11 Al Qaeda attacks on New York and Washington, Muslim leaders and their Western counterparts have insisted that Islam and Islamic jurisprudence need no reform. Instead, they asserted that jihadist ideology was not rooted in religious jurisprudence and misrepresented and misconstrued the faith.
Muslim autocrats and authoritarians have used that argument to squash criticism of their often brutal, repressive rule that brooks no dissent and potentially breeds violence.
Moreover, casting jihadists as deviants rather than products of problematic tenants of religious jurisprudence allowed them to project autocracy as a necessary means to combat extremism and promote a moderate Islam.
At the core of the debate about Islamic jurisprudence is a battle for the soul of Islam, involving competition for religious soft power and leadership of the Muslim world and who will define what constitutes moderate Islam.
The battle pits Nahdlatul Ulama’s concept of Humanitarian Islam, which calls for religious reform and unambiguously endorses pluralism, the United Nations Charter, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights against an autocratic definition of moderate Islam that rejects religious and political reform but supports a formalistic, ceremonial form of inter-faith dialogue and the loosening of social restrictions long advocated by orthodox Islam.
Autocrats and their clerical surrogates ignore Nahdlatul Ulama at their peril.
The Indonesian movement is a player with an estimated 90 million followers, 18,000 religious seminaries, 44 universities, tens of thousands of Muslim scholars that constitute a religious authority independent of traditional centers in the Middle East, a five million-strong paramilitary militia, and a political party that was part of Indonesian President Widodo’s coalition government and is an influential member of Centrist Democrat International (CDI), the world’s largest alliance of political parties.
The degree to which Nahdlatul Ulama threatens proponents of an autocratic definition of moderate Islam was reflected in how prominent state-aligned Islamic scholars responded to invitations to attend the Surabaya conference.
Messrs. Bin Bayyah and Goma initially said they would attend but then backed out. Others opted for making statements on a video link but not participating in person or any of the conference’s deliberations.
Mr. Allam used his video remarks to express opposition to Nahdlatul Ulama’s proposition.
Muhammad Al-Issa, the head of the Muslim World League, Mr. Bin Salman’s vehicle for propagating his autocratic version of moderate Islam, chose to ignore Nahdlatul Ulama’s proposition in his video statement. Like Mr. Allam, Mr. Al-Issa had initially indicated that he would attend.
Theirs is a tactic that, at best, buys time for state-aligned Muslim scholars.
“The majority of the Arab and Islamic delegations at the First International Convention on Islamic Jurisprudence for a Global Civilization expressed a traditional mindset that has become outdated. For they dealt with the centenary of Nahdlatul Ulamas as if it were a carnival,” said Muhammad Abu Al-Fadl, deputy editor of Egypt’s Al Ahram newspaper, in his coverage of the Surabaya conference.
“If the leadership of religious institutions in the Arab world continues to insist on burying their heads in the sand, then Arab states may require another 100 years to absorb the Nahdlatul Ulama project in Indonesia,” Mr Abu Al-Fadl went on to say.
In the ultimate analysis, state-aligned Islamic scholars are either able to coopt the Indonesian reformers or will be forced to join the bandwagon.
So far, efforts to coopt Nahdlatul Ulama have failed.
These efforts included the Muslim World League joining Nahdlatul Ulama in hosting the November 2022 Religion Forum 20 or R20, a summit of religious leaders in Bali on the eve of the meeting of leaders of the Group of 20 (G20) that groups the world’s largest economies.
Indonesia, last year’s G20 chair, designated the R20 as an official G20 engagement party.
To be sure, Nahdlatul Ulama’s jurisprudential reform is not binding in a Muslim world where religious legal authority is decentralised.
Nevertheless, influential commentators in Saudi Arabia and Egypt echoed Nahdlatul Ulama’s call for religious reform without referencing the Indonesian group.
“All religious institutions must work to create contemporary jurisprudence… The Islamic world is waiting for (Saudi Arabia) to lead it towards contemporary jurisprudence,” said Okaz newspaper columnist and Jeddah-based lawyer Osama Al-Yamani.
Earlier, journalist Mamdouh AlMuhaini proposed top-down Martin Luther-like religious reforms that would be led by Mr. Bin Salman, even though the writer stopped short of identifying the crown prince by name.
“There are dozens, or perhaps thousands, of Luthers of Islam… As such, the question of ‘where is the Luther of Islam’ is wrong. It should instead be: Where is Islam’s Frederick the Great? The King of Prussia, who earned the title of Enlightened Despot, embraced major philosophers in Europe like Kant and Voltaire and gave them the freedom to think and carry out scientific research,” Mr AlMuhaini said.
The journalists’ comments suggest that, at the very least, Nahdlatul Ulama has laid down a marker that other Muslim religious authorities will ultimately be unable to ignore if they want recognition as proponents of a genuinely moderate Islam.
Commenting on Nahdlatul Ulama’s campaign, Mr. Abu Al-Fadl, the Al Ahram editor, asserted that Middle Eastern Islamic scholars risk missing the boat.
“The majority of Muslims look to the Arab world for guidance, and the failure of this region’s ulama (Muslim religious scholars) to keep up with the transformations taking place will lead to the rug being pulled out from under them. For the openness adopted by Nahdlatul Ulama and its new Chairman, Yahya Cholil Staquf, will not stop at one specific country or region.”
Bali governor puts Indonesia on the spot
A refusal by the governor of Hindu-majority Bali to host an Israeli soccer team at this May’s FIFA Under-20 World Cup puts the Indonesian government, football association, and foremost Muslim civil society movement on the spot.
Wayan Koster’s refusal threatens to lead FIFA to deprive Indonesia of its hosting rights, which oblige it to allow national teams to compete irrespective of whether countries recognise one another.
The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) stripped Malaysia of its right to host the 2019 World Para Swimming Championship because it refused to allow Israel to participate.
“We request the Minister adopt a policy of banning the Israeli team from competing in Bali. We, the provincial government of Bali, declare that we reject the participation of the Israel team to compete in Bali,” Mr. Koster wrote in a March 14 letter to the youth and sports ministry a day after the minister resigned because he was elected deputy chairman of the Indonesian Football Association.
Indonesia has refused to establish diplomatic relations with Israel as long as it fails to resolve its conflict with the Palestinians.
The rise of a far-right, ultra-nationalist, and religiously ultra-conservative Israeli government has further dampened already dim hopes that the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country and democracy would follow the United Arab Emirates and other Arab states in recognising Israel soon.
This week, the Indonesian foreign ministry condemned Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotric’s denial of Palestinian existence. “Indonesia continues to consistently support the Palestinian people’s struggle,” the ministry said.
Earlier, ministry spokesman Teuku Faizasyah asserted that Israeli participation in the FIFA tournament would “not weaken Indonesia’s consistent position on Palestine.”
If world soccer body FIFA deprived it of its hosting rights, Indonesia would suffer a setback in positioning itself as a Southeast Asian sports powerhouse. In addition, Indonesia would lose its spot in the championship.
Indonesia qualified for this year’s tournament as the host rather than because of its performance in qualification matches.
Mr. Koster’s refusal was celebrated by Muslim oragnisations, including the Indonesian Ulama Council (MUI), which groups the country’s top clerics, and Muhamadiyya, the country’s second-largest civil society movement with tens of millions of followers. The groups this week protested Israeli participation in the tournament.
The refusal and the protest shine a spotlight not only on pro-Palestinian sentiment in Indonesia but also the at times blurred distinction between legitimate criticism of Israel and anti-Jewish sentiment.
To be sure, the slogans of the protest were anti-Israel, not anti-Jewish.
Even so, Israel has sought to spin crossovers between the two to discredit all criticism as anti-Semitism.
The controversy over Israeli participation in the Bali tournament also highlights the outreach to Jews and other faith groups by Indonesia’s Nahdlatul Ulama, the world’s largest and most moderate civil society movement.
Nahdlatul Ulama has been a driving force in reforming Islamic law to rid it of supremacist concepts. Some 20,000 Nahdlatul Ulama Islamic scholars in 2019 replaced the notion of the kafir or infidel with that of a citizen.
In addition to tackling problematic concepts in Islamic law, Nahdaltul Ulama has been at the forefront of efforts to take inter-faith dialogue beyond hollow, feel-good, lovey-dovey declarations by putting historical grievances, truth-telling, and the troubled histories of Islam and other faiths on the agenda.
Nevertheless, Aan Anshori, a young Nahdlatul Ulama religious scholar, cautions that antipathy in Indonesia toward Jews is “culturally deep-seated.”
“The key to turning this around is to instill the importance for coexistence between Islam and other faiths today,” Mr. Anshori said.
Last year a poll showed that 51 per cent of Indonesian Muslims had serious misgivings about having Jewish neighbors, 57 percent opposed allowing Jews to teach in public schools, and 61 per cent objected to Jews becoming government officials.
Also last year, the alliance of Islamic scholars on the Javan island of Madura, a region with a history of intolerance, and a conservative cleric who identifies himself as a Nahdlatul Ulama associate, protested against the participation of an Argentinian rabbi, known for her advocacy of human rights, in a summit of religious leaders organised by the group under the auspices of Indonesian President Joko Widodo.
“I am an NU (Nahdlatul Ulama) member, rejecting (the leadership’s) efforts to bring the Jewish rabbi, Silvina Chemen, to Indonesia… The infidels from the children of Israel have been cursed through the words of Prophet Dawud (David) and Prophet Isa (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary),” said Luthfi Bashori Alwi.
A Sunni Muslim mob armed with machetes and sickles attacked and burnt a Shiite-majority village in Madura in 2012, killing a 45-year-old woman and seriously injuring several others.
Nahdlatul Ulama secretary general Yahya Cholil Staquf set the tone for his leadership by addressing, shortly after his election in January 2022, the Simon Wiesenthal Center on Holocaust Remembrance Day as well as the Palestinian embassy in Jakarta at about the same time.
Calling for compassion, Mr. Staquf referred only obliquely in his Wiesenthal Center speech to the Palestinians and other repressed groups.
He noted that “Holocaust remembrance serves as a memorial and vivid reminder of the cruelty, violence, and suffering that so many human beings — acting in the name of their ‘group identity,’ whether ethnic, racial, religious, or political — have, for thousands of years, inflicted upon others. This pattern of malignant behavior continues to threaten humanity, and civilization itself, to the present day.”
Mr. Staquf was more explicit in his speech at the Palestinian embassy.
“If the people of the world fail to ensure a better, more noble future for Palestinians, humanity will have failed in its collective responsibility to ensure a better future for everyone, by fostering the emergence of a global civilization,” Mr. Staquf said.
Mr. Staquf is one of two Nahdlatul Ulama leaders, alongside former Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid, to visit Israel. Mr. Wahid travelled when he was head of Nahdlatul Ulama rather than when he was head of state.
Discussing his own experience Ezra Abraham, a 29-year-old Indonesian Jew, suggests that engagement with others as well as frank and honest dialogue as pursued by Mr. Staquf produces results.
“Part of the problem (in Indonesia) is that the decades-long invisibility of the Jewish people has made us into the convenient, never-seen bogeyman,.. At past interfaith events, (Indonesian) Muslim participants were initially uncomfortable when I told them I was Jewish. But by the end of our frank discussions, most would’ve modified their stance,” Mr, Abraham said.
Indonesia: Climate Change Challenges
Indonesia is a nation that faces the threat of drowning land due to the impact of global warming. Rising sea levels, caused by the warming of the Earth’s atmosphere, are leading to the submergence of low-lying areas in the country, particularly in coastal regions. The effects of this problem are not limited to the loss of land, but also include the displacement of populations, environmental degradation, and the potential exacerbation of social, economic, and political issues.
The impact of rising sea levels on Indonesia’s archipelagic status is a real concern as many of its outermost islands and basepoints could potentially be submerged in the future. As an archipelagic state, Indonesia benefits greatly from UNCLOS, which permits Indonesia to claim sovereignty over all of the waters between its islands. If sea levels rise, the basepoints used for drawing archipelagic baselines might be partly or fully covered by water, affecting the measurement of the allowable distance between all the basepoints. In a worst-case scenario, where the basepoints are completely underwater, Indonesia may have to find alternative basepoints or rebuild them. Rising sea levels could cause total territorial loss, including the loss of baselines and maritime zones measured from them.
To protect its archipelagic status, Indonesia needs to assess the impact of sea level rise on the outermost points of its islands and drying reefs of its archipelago. It should also record the heights above sea level of these basepoints, and how much they will be impacted by sea level rises. Indonesia could consider declaring its archipelagic baselines as final once defined and declared notwithstanding sea level rise. Additionally, Indonesia and other Southeast Asian countries threatened by rising sea levels could adopt a regional declaration recognizing the stability of their baselines and secure their maritime entitlements. As chairs of ASEAN this year, Indonesia could take this opportunity to take collective action to respond to rising sea levels.
The issue of environmental migrants is closely tied to this problem. Environmental migrants are individuals or groups of people who are forced to migrate from their homes or communities due to environmental factors, including sea-level rise, drought, desertification, and deforestation. In the case of Indonesia, many people are likely to be displaced by the submergence of coastal areas, which can lead to a variety of challenges, including housing insecurity, food insecurity, and economic instability.
In the face of these challenges, it is crucial that effective protection of fundamental human rights is prioritized. This includes ensuring that the rights of environmental migrants are protected, including the right to adequate housing, food, and healthcare, as well as the right to seek asylum and protection from persecution. Governments must also take steps to address the root causes of environmental migration, such as by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and promoting sustainable development.
Existing policies and international frameworks, such as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement, provide a basis for action on this issue. However, it is essential that governments and other stakeholders take concrete steps to implement these policies effectively, and that the voices of affected communities are heard in the decision-making process. This requires a commitment to collaboration, transparency, and accountability at all levels of governance, as well as a recognition of the urgent need to address the threat of climate change and its impact on vulnerable populations.
International efforts, such as the International Organization for Migration’s support for a research project on climate and migration in Indonesia, and the World Bank’s South Asia Water Initiative and Climate Adaptation and Resilience for South Asia project, are encouraging but insufficient. Therefore, three policy recommendations to reduce the risk of climate-induced migration in South Asia are offered:
-Promote more livelihood opportunities in non-agricultural sectors to reduce the vulnerability of agriculture workers to climate-driven displacement.
-Empower non-federal authorities to better tackle climate-induced displacement risks, particularly at the local level.
-Host and sponsor dialogues and other exchanges to generate greater regional cooperation so that South Asian states can jointly combat the shared and transnational threats of climate change and climate-induced displacement.
The threat of drowning land in Indonesia due to global warming highlights the urgent need for action on the issue of environmental migration and the protection of fundamental human rights. Governments and other stakeholders must work together to address the root causes of this problem and to provide effective support and protection to affected communities.
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