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Response and Recovery

September 30, 2016

With emergency relief and long-term intervention, a humanitarian aid organization helps treat the physical and emotional wounds of people and nations across the Global South.MERCY Malaysia, also known as the Malaysian Medical Relief Society, started from a small group of well-meaning doctors to a humanitarian aid organization respected across the Global South. In the beginning,  MERCY Malaysia focused on emergency relief and its aftermath, and on medical care. Those remain priorities, but in consultation with its partners, it has also developed a systematic approach to areas hit hard by disaster – going beyond emergency relief to recovery, prevention, and preparation.

Managing the Risk of Stranded Assets in Agriculture and Forestry

July 1, 2016

To date, much of the research into stranded assets – broadly defined as assets incurring significant unanticipated or premature write-downs or devaluations – has focused on the fossil fuel sector. However, not least in the context of the 2015 Paris Agreement, and with growing understanding that climate change may become a major factor in the creation of stranded assets, it has become clear that it is not just the energy sector that will be affected. Assets in agriculture and forestry may also be at risk of stranding, because of physical impacts such as drought and desertification as well as through regulatory and technological change.The risk of stranding is particularly high in production regions where natural forests are being cleared for agricultural use. Other regions at high risk are those where climate change is predicted to have impacts that will severely disrupt production cycles or shift production patterns. In addition, strong low-carbon development plans can affect the regulatory frameworks that govern the agriculture and forestry sectors, bringing further risks of stranding.Stranding risks have a potential impact on the various actors positioned along the supply chain for agriculture and forest commodities. They include the land- or rights-owners, the owners of infrastructure related to the transport and processing of commodities, consumer companies and investors.The faster the pace of decarbonization, or the more pronounced the impacts of climate change, the greater the chance of asset stranding and the higher the likelihood of economic, social and political impacts. The prospect of asset stranding could be sufficient to cause potentially affected groups to impede efforts towards low-carbon development, but this possibility has not been sufficiently accounted for in the national low-carbon development plans of either developed or developing economies. As a result, there is a potential risk to the implementation of such plans.This paper includes case studies of stranding risk in Brazil, Malaysia and Liberia. In these countries, there are potentially significant risks of stranding, both from regulation and climate change impacts. However, there has been very little consideration of these risks by policymakers, and there are significant information gaps.Further research is necessary in the following areas: analysing the outlook for biofuels to assess the risk of stranding and the possible impacts of new technology; assessing the physical impacts of extreme weather events on investments, taking into account the role of the insurance industry and price fluctuations; and determining whether growing consumer preferences for 'sustainable' products contribute to the risk of stranding in agriculture and forestry.Such research could be used to initiate discussions within producer countries about the risk of stranded assets given their national strategies and policies, and in light of the available evidence of the physical impacts of climate change, in order to identify the options for both mitigating and managing that risk.

Spotlight on Squash

January 8, 2016

From humble beginnings, the Squash Racquets Association of Malaysia (SRAM) popularized a little known club-based sport played by a few enthusiasts and put a nation on the world sporting map with a series of international champions.Nicol David, the superstar of squash in Malaysia and seven time world champion, is one notable result of a commitment a group of squash enthusiasts made 41 years ago: to popularize the sport in the capital city of Kuala Lumpur and in clubs around the country. Today, thanks to the SRAM, more than 4,000 young people play squash in Malaysia, including many inspired by David's unprecedented success.The government of Malaysia, through the National Sports Council (NSC), is the biggest sponsor of SRAM's programs and its athletes. It is through NCS's sponsorship that SRAM continues to pursue its founders' vision: transform a sport and develop world-class players.

Forced Labor in the Production of Electronic Goods in Malaysia: A Comprehensive Study of Scope and Characteristics

October 30, 2014

In this report 501 electronics workers were interviewed using a quantitative survey form by a team of twelve researchers. The sample included foreign workers from seven countries, as well as Malaysian nationals. A set of longer, semi-structuredinterviews were also conducted, to supplement the quantitative data. These interviews were used to explore particular aspects of vulnerability to forced labor, and to profile how various risk factors can combine to trap workers in their jobs. Regional and global stakeholders from civil society, government and business were also consulted.Interpretation of the data was guided by the International Labor Organization's survey guidelines to estimate forced labor. Throughout the process of applying the ILO framework, Verité erred consistently on the side of caution, choosing to define forced labor narrowly to ensure that positive findings were always based on solid, unambiguous evidence -- even whenthis meant leaving additional evidence aside that might also have contributed to a forced labor determination. For this and other reasons discussed throughout the report, the positive findings of forced labor reported below are very likely lower than the actual rates of forced labor in the Malaysian electronics industry and should be viewed as a minimum estimate.

Serious Games with Serious Players: Game Play with International Decision-makers

October 1, 2014

In 2013 the Skoll Global Threats Fund asked CNA Corporation to design and develop a game exploring information-sharing, conflict, and cooperation on the Indian subcontinent. The goal of the game was twofold: to understand information-sharing, its impediments and effects on water sharing and decision-making, as well as understand how gaming could be a tool for social change. The game was executed in two instances, one in the Washington, DC area with U.S. subject matter experts, and the other in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia with senior leaders from each of the countries involved. This gives us a unique opportunity to explore how games compare acrosscultures, as well as how well this game allowed senior leaders to address controversial issues. We find that the cross-cultural effects occurred mostly in how particular countries implemented their policies, but that strategic issues and attitudes remained similar across the two instances of the game. From player feedback as well as game observations we conclude that games with senior officials from countries who have a history of tension between them are possible, and mayprovide a more engaging way for them to discuss controversial issues than a traditional meeting format.

Bone Dry and Flooding Soon

October 1, 2014

CNA Corporation, sponsored by the Skoll Global Threats Fund, executed two instances of a political decision-making game designed to explore informationsharing and cooperation over water on the Indian subcontinent. The game explored how Bangladesh, China, India, and Pakistan manage water resources between the Brahmaputra, Indus, and Ganges rivers. The first instance of the game took place in January 2014 in the Washington, DC area, and was played primarily by American subject matter experts. The second instance of the game was held in June 2014 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and was played by retired senior officials with policy and military backgrounds, and water experts from all four South Asian countries. This document summarizes the second (regional) instance of the game, identifies strategic insights from the regional instance, and compares the two instances deriving further insights based on that comparison.

The Success and the Barriers to Women's Representation in Southeast Asia Between State Policies, Political Parties and Women's Movement

May 1, 2014

Inisiatif Kemitraan Asia Tenggara -- United States (IKAT-US) Component 1 -- POWER, is one of Partnership's projects that supports efforts to increase women's representation in the Philippines, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Timor-Leste. One of the activities of the program is to conduct research on the success of, as well as the barriers to, increasing the representation of women. The research projects are: 1) "Women's Representation in the Parliament as Result of Different Electoral Systems: A Comparative Study in Five Southeast Asian Countries" - research and report by Ramlan Surbakti & August Mellaz 2) "The Increased Number of Female Members of Parliament: Identifying Its Origini and Obstacles in Indonesia, the Philippines and Timor-Leste" - research and report by Philips Vermonte 3) The Role of Parliamentary Women's Caucus in Promoting Women's Participation and Representation: A Case Study in Indonesia and Timor Leste" - research and report by Ani Soetjipto 4) "Patriarchal Barriers to Women's Political Participation in Southeast Asia: Lesson from the Philippines, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia, and TimorLeste on Patriarchy and the Rise of Women's Participation in State Politics"- research and report by Adrianna Venny & Ruth Indiah Rahayu.The content of this e-Book is sourced from the above four research projects and is compiled to link the projects and to form a complete narration. These research papers are not only re-presented in this report, but also quoted in various parts. Hence, the sources for this paper are the researchers mentioned above, under the project authority of IKAT-US Component 1 and therefore the names of the researchers in this e-Book are not included in the footnote and references. With this e-Book, research data regarding women's representation in Southeast Asia can be widely circulated and easily accessed by the public, allowing it to be a source of reference for further research, education, or advocacy.

Stewarding Biodiversity and Food Security in The Coral Triangle: Achievements, Challenges, and Lessons Learned

February 7, 2014

The management team of the US Agency for International Development (USAID)- supported Coral Triangle Support Partnership (CTSP) commissioned this report to take a qualitative look at the achievements, challenges, and lessons learned from investment in CTSP. CTSP is part of a broader USAID investment supporting the Coral Triangle Initiative on Coral Reefs, Fisheries, and Food Security (CTI-CFF), a six-nation effort to sustain vital marine and coastal resources in the Coral Triangle located in Southeast Asia and the Western Pacific.

Gains from Trade? The Net Effect of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement on U.S. Wages

September 10, 2013

Recent estimates of the U.S. economic gains that would result from the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) are very small -- only 0.13 percent of GDP by 2025. Taking into account the un-equalizing effect of trade on wages, this paper finds the median wage earner will probably lose as a result of any such agreement. In fact, most workers are likely to lose -- the exceptions being some of the bottom quarter or so whose earnings are determined by the minimum wage; and those with the highest wages who are more protected from international competition. Rather, many top incomes will rise as a result of TPP expansion of the terms and enforcement of copyrights and patents. The long-term losses, going forward over the same period (to 2025), from the failure to restore full employment to the United States have been some 25 times greater than the potential gains of the TPP, and more than five times as large as the possible gains resulting from a much broader trade agenda.

Coral Reefs, Fisheries, and Food Security: Integrated Approaches to Addressing Multiple Challenges in the Coral Triangle

July 1, 2013

The Coral Triangle is the most biologically and economically valuable marine ecosystem on the planet. Covering just three percent of the globe, the region represents more than half of the world's reefs and boasts 76 percent of its known coral species. Sustaining more than 130 million people who rely directly on the marine ecosystems for their livelihoods and food, the marine habitats of the Coral Triangle contribute billions of dollars each year toward the economies of the region.Although the environmental imperative for preserving this area of incredible value and biodiversity is obvious, the growing pressures and threats from widespread poverty, rapid development, and global demands continue to place enormous strain on the natural marine resources of the Coral Triangle.

Mapping Digital Media: Malaysia

June 1, 2013

The Mapping Digital Media project examines the global opportunities and risks created by the transition from traditional to digital media. Covering 60 countries, the project examines how these changes affect the core democratic service that any media system should provide: news about political, economic, and social affairs.Malaysia has had a torrid relationship with digital. Mahathir Mohamad, the former Malaysian prime minister, fell in love with it in the 1990s when he launched the Multimedia Super Corridor, a sort of East Asian Silicon Valley, to develop the local information and communications technology industry.Two out of three Malaysians regularly use the internet (even though large areas of the East Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak, where nearly a fifth of the population lives, pose logistical challenges regarding infrastructure) and a third of the population have a 3G mobile subscription. Broadband household penetration in the capital, Kuala Lumpur, is 112 percent because many citizens have both fixed and mobile accounts. Nearly half the population is on Facebook with an average of 233 friends each, the greatest proportion in the world, all on social networks for an average nine hours a week. And they still seem to find enough time to watch television for three and a half hours a day and to listen to the radio for three hours.The outlook is for an expansion of internet and mobile-based platforms for news, comment, social networking, activism, and entertainment. However, a change of government is probably a prerequisite for the kinds of changes that would usher in greater diversity in broadcast and print, such as regulatory independence, repeal of the Printing Presses and Publications Act, and the dismantling of monopolies, rules on cross ownership, and political parties' ownership of media companies.

Spatial Planning in the Coastal Zone of the East Asian Seas Region: Integrating Emerging Issues and Modern Management Approaches

November 1, 2011

This regional resource document, produced for the East Asian Sea region, integrates emerging issues such as climate change and sea-level rise, and new management concepts such as ecosystem-based management, disaster risk reduction and results-based management into spatial planning and coastal zone management procedures and processes. It is intended to be used as the basis for individual country consultations on their national needs and priorities for capacity building in spatial planning, which may be in the area of mapping and scenario exercises on climate change vulnerability, risk analysis and planning exercises, or perhaps a more basic understanding of how to integrate the principles of ecosystem-based management into existing national spatial planning regimes.