Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung

Welcome to hbs Southeast Asia

Rethinking Media Reform in Southeast Asia: Promoting a Participatory Approach for a More Democratic Media

Internet users in Southeast Asia are confronted with a heavily regulated environment in which there are more restrictions being placed on freedom of expression. Despite technological advances, societies undergoing political transitions, such as Indonesia, Myanmar, and Thailand, have yet to enjoy the full democratic potentials of a free and independent media. Instead of top-down reforms for the media, these countries need policies that prioritize the public’s interests. Only with the meaning public’s meaningful participation of civil society can these reforms become sustainable while  supporting democratization.

By Gayathry Venkiteswaran

Ecology & Social Justice

Natural resource struggles: Shrinking spaces for civil society

Study

Governments and corporations are driving the demand for water, land and organic resources of all kinds as never before. Citizens are fighting for their rights and working to preserve their livelihoods. Our study "Tricky Business" shows how the mechanisms of expropriation work.

Climate of Change: The Struggle for Renewable Energy in Southeast Asia

ASEAN turns 50. The results of its policies and the situation of the Southeast Asian community is at best mixed. Despite impressive economic growth rates, the struggle for social-ecological justice has not resulted in any major achievements so far. Facing a number of ecological crises, especially climate change and sea level rise, the member states are under pressure to act immediately.

Carbon-Free Energy Development Network in Southeast Asia

By creating a carbon-free energy development network, a moderating unit designed as a regional focal point will be established in order to identify synergies on combining or aligning national activities. Sharing successful activities with member organisations will scale up successful actions and activities. The aim is to slow down coal development, reduce regional energy dependency and a financial log in into coal capacity for Southeast Asia.

By Green Innovation and Development Centre

Southeast Asia in the G20: a missed opportunity to push a difficult agenda?

For the countries of Southeast Asia, this year’s rather tumultuous G20 summit held unprecedented opportunities to present themselves as good multilateralists and shape the outcomes of the annual meeting, at least in theory. Apart from Indonesia, the only permanent member of the club, Vietnam, in its function as current Chair of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), attended the summit and Filipino President Duterte who currently chairs the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) equally expected an invitation.

By Jari John

Renewable Energy in ASEAN

Although ASEAN has an advantage when it comes to abundant resources, it remains to be seen whether the region will be able to tap into its potential. The majority of renewable energy sources remain untouched in ASEAN. For example, looking at individual countries, only 2MW of 65GWh technical potential of solar power has been installed, while biomass and wind power are underused in Cambodia. Indonesia only utilizes 5% of its geothermal potential. With the exception of the Philippines, currently in the lead with 400MW of wind energy, wind power remains a door left open for other ASEAN countries.

By Khuong Minh Phuong
Read more on Ecology & Social Justice

Democracy & Participation

ASEAN’s Double Vision of Migration

After the deluge of headlines during ASEAN’s 50th birthday in 2017 and before that, the start of the ASEAN Community in 2016, this year may signal a return to what many see as ASEAN’s return to its uneventful – or boring – ways.

By Johanna Son

Brokering Peace in Southeast Asia’s Conflict Areas: Debating the Merits of an ASEAN Peacekeeping Force

Diversity is an essential feature of our region. While religious and ethnic animosity poses an obstacle to creating a “cohesive and caring society”, this is not to suggest that diversity is the cause of conflict and insecurity per se. As illustrated in various multiethnic states around the globe, many governments have succeeded in integrating diverse populations. Rather, it is discriminatory practices and the lack of respect for differences in Southeast Asia that have alienated minorities and created chasms within communities.

By Chanintira Na Thalang

ASEAN at Fifty: A Personal Reflection

Fifty years is a long time. Memory will play tricks with you after such a time, and I can’t quite remember when it was I first heard of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, ASEAN.

By Nguyen Qui Duc

New Perspectives on Civil Society Engagement with ASEAN

The eleven-year experience of engagement with the official ASEAN process has taught civil society movements in Southeast Asia valuable lessons that should guide its future trajectories. Disappointment, rejection, and disillusionment should now be a thing of the past and chalked up to experience. The real challenge facing ACSC/APF today lies from outside and beyond the established ASEAN process. 

By Eduardo C. Tadem

Timor’s Accession to ASEAN

Obtaining ASEAN membership has been one of Timor-Leste’s foreign policy goals since 2002.  This article discusses the current dynamic in Timor-Leste and what it means to be an ASEAN member. This is based on the domestic context that shapes Timor’s interests. Many commentators have taken a position in advocating for Timor’s membership based on short-sighted policies. At the same time, ASEAN continues to argue that Timor "does not have the capacity”. This article goes further by asking how Timor-Leste can benefit from this membership and what the necessary conditions are for Timor to do so.

By Guteriano Neves
Read more on Democracy & Participation

About the foundation

Publications

Perspectives Asia #6: DigitalAsia

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Over the last years, Asia has undergone an impressive digital transformation. Large parts of the continent have turned from the world’s factory into a creative industry.The different contributions across the continent highlight both the opportunities and risks of digitalization in Asia.

The Future of Civic Space: What are the Realities of “Shrinking Space”

DOSSIER: SQUEEZED – SPACE FOR CIVIL SOCIETY

Photo: Niklas Hughes. Creative Commons License LogoThis image is licensed under Creative Commons License.