Opportunities for Peace: Analyzing the Intersection of Security and Disasters in Southeast Asia

Emma Fingler, Queen's University


Gender, Peace and Security in Southeast Asia


Southeast Asia has an average annual economic loss of US$ 676 billion from disasters (UNESCAP 2019). Yet, resiliency policy and disaster response have only recently begun to translate into policy change at the regional level, with ASEAN introducing a new Disaster Management Framework in 2020. The purpose of this framework is to build collaborative resilience in the region, and it presents an opportunity to align disaster governance with regional security governance. This nexus has become increasingly relevant as global warming increases the severity and frequency of disasters, potentially leading to new security risks. However, the relationship between disasters and security remains surprisingly understudied, particularly in Southeast Asia, and is often lacking gender-based analysis as a core component. Thus, this paper asks how can ASEAN effectively align disaster with security governance and include gender-based analysis to decrease risks and promote opportunities for peace? It argues that ASEAN has a vested interest in expanding its role in disaster governance and that if done effectively and with gender-based analysis, this can greatly enhance and strengthen regional security and stability. To demonstrate this, I use an intersectional lens of analysis and a mix of secondary data from the literature on peace, disasters, and conflict. I undertake a review of ASEAN’s security and disaster policies, outlining possible areas of further collaboration. This paper aims to improve our understanding of how disaster and security governance can be combined to provide opportunities for peace in relation to the incipient Women, Peace, and Security agenda in Southeast Asia.

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CCSEAS Conference 2021 |