Regional Energy Governance and Nexus Perspective: Challenges in the Asia Pacific Region
Event

Conference // Regional Energy Governance and Nexus Perspective: Challenges in the Asia Pacific Region

The 2-day conference in December 2012 will focus on how energy policy and governance are influenced by or influencing water and food sectors. The first day deals mainly with energy governance issues in Asia Pacific countries, but with papers pointing to the importance of Nexus internationally.

The Conference is expecting about 60 participants. All paper presenters are expected to finalize a 4000-word paper after the conference by the end of January 2013. All papers will be peer-reviewed prior to compilation into a book to be published by Konrad Adenauer Foundation in Singapore. The organizers are also exploring the possibility of publishing selected papers in the format of academic journal's special issue.

Background

Humans are at a pivotal moment in the history of the planet. At this point, more humans enjoy greater wealth, consume more resources like food, water, oil and other minerals, than ever before in history. This extraordinary abundance has been made possible because humans have brought to bear increasingly sophisticated technology to search the world for the vital resources we need. As a result, the entire planet is integrated into a global system of resource extraction, production, processing and distribution.

Over the past several decades, it has become increasingly clear that the increasing industrial use of natural resources in the human economy cannot continue much longer. Humans have used much of Earth's resources, and the resulting environmental impacts are global. There is now solid evidence of the growing scarcity of the energy, food and water resources that earlier on supported the industrial and modern agricultural revolutions. The competition for access to these vital resources increasingly drives international relations. Governments must increasingly compete for dwindling resources supplies, mindful that future demand is also likely to grow substantially and that the prospect of resources insecurity is indeed real. Clearly, the patterns of 20th century resource consumption and production are neither environmentally feasible nor politically feasible. In 2008, the International Energy Agency (IEA) stated:

The world's energy system is at a crossroads. Current global trends in energy supply and consumption are patently unsustainable …. But that can — and must — be altered; there is still time to change the road we are on. It is not an exaggeration to claim that the future of human prosperity depends on how successfully we tackle the two central energy challenges facing us today: securing the supply of reliable and affordable energy; and effecting a rapid transformation to a low-carbon, efficient and environmentally benign system of energy supply. What is needed is nothing short of an energy revolution.

In order to envision an alternative future for strategic resources such as energy, water and food, we need to understand their past and current forms of governance. To date, despite the interconnectedness of resource extraction, production, processing and distribution in a global system, the full extent of the political, economic and security implications of the 'new' resources scarcity are yet to be fully understood in mainstream academic and political circles.

Rationale for the Conference

The Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ISIS) Malaysia and the Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAS) are convening the "International Conference on Regional Energy Governance and the Nexus Perspective: Challenges in the Asia Pacific Region" on 5 and 6 December 2012 in Kuala Lumpur. The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), which launched the "Green Growth Roadmap for Asia and the Pacific" in Seoul May 2012, is also a partner institution for this international conference. The conference is a sequence to an international expert meeting ISIS and KAS jointly organized in December 2011. The meeting successfully produced a book entitled 'Towards a Green Economy: In Search of Sustainable Energy Policies for the Future', which documented policy experiences in ten countries across the globe. The panel discussion during the 2011 meeting also identified the importance of regional energy governance in addressing resource scarcity in Asia.

ISIS, KAS and UNESCAP recognized the growing international interest in the nexus of water, energy, and food (WEF) security. Water and energy are strongly dependent upon one another, and their interdependence results in significant environmental consequences. There is wider recognition now that issues surrounding these strategic resources should be seen in tandem and not separately. To transition to a green economy, Germany proposed the Nexus in its Bonn Perspective as an official contribution to the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD). Similarly, the World Economic Forum in Davos also singled out the Nexus in its 2008 and 2011 Global Risks reports. For the WEF nexus to work, the concept needs to be translated into a set of public policy tools. Countries in the Asia Pacific region need to be sensitized to the Nexus perspective in line with global developments.

The 2-day conference in December 2012 will focus on how energy policy and governance are influenced by or influencing water and food sectors. The first day deals mainly with energy governance issues in Asia Pacific countries, but with papers pointing to the importance of Nexus internationally. The second day will feature presentations and papers contextualized on the Nexus issues in Asia Pacific. These will be delivered by experts from regional organizations, culminating in a panel discussion among policy practitioners.

Conference Outcome

The Conference is expecting about 60 participants. All paper presenters are expected to finalize a 4000-word paper after the conference by the end of January 2013. All papers will be peer-reviewed prior to compilation into a book to be published by Konrad Adenauer Foundation in Singapore. The organizers are also exploring the possibility of publishing selected papers in the format of academic journal's special issue.

The 2-day conference will serve as the launching pad for the Nexus perspective to be debated in the Asia Pacific region. Findings and recommendations from the conference's energy governance segment may be brought to the Asia Pacific Energy Forum (APEF) in May 2013. UNESCAP may also bring selected participants from this Conference to its Expert Group Meeting on the WEF Nexus tentatively scheduled for March 2013, before ESCAP's 69th commission session around May.

 

Tentative Conference Programme

DAY 1

5 December 2012, Wednesday

9:00-9:30

Welcoming Remarks

ISIS Malaysia

Konrad-Adenauer Stiftung

UNESCAP

Keynote Paper: Governing Global Energy

Energy is one of the most regulated resources yet its governance is most diffused. Energy production, processing, transmission and marketing nowadays are transnational processes. At present, however, energy sector governance is addressed primarily at the national level. Although supranational energy governance is widely acknowledged as necessary, the challenge of collective action has proven insurmountable obstacles both regionally and globally. As a result, energy governance at the global level is still underdeveloped. The following questions are especially relevant to the conference:

-What is the general landscape of global energy governance and its associated processes?

-Does the market mechanism alone provide adequate support for global energy governance?

-What is the influence of the emerging narrative combining energy security and climate change on one hand, and of the water-energy-food nexus for global energy governance, on the other?

-What would be the implications for Asia and the Pacific region in an energy-scarce future?

9:30-10:00

Global and Regional Energy Governance to Address Global Change: Concept and Future Implications

Professor Dr. Ann Florini

Brookings Institution, USA

10:00-10:30

Refreshment

Session 1:

Regional Institutions for Energy Governance

Energy governance is a global challenge which cannot be effectively addressed without international collaboration and coordination. In Asia and the Pacific, the ratio of energy imported to energy exported is close to 1, indicating self-sufficiency for the region. However, this is likely to change with the economic rise of the region. Furthermore, the uneven distribution of primary energy resources indicates a potential to enhance trade in energy and electricity to support energy security through regional cooperation. This session will assess and critically survey achievements in the area of energy cooperation in Asia and the Pacific region, guided by the following questions:

-What are the key existing regional energy co-operations and other governance structures in the region to meet the security of energy supply?

-What are the needed future regional energy governance mechanisms to promote a comprehensive and rapid transformation in the production, transportation and use of energy towards a low carbon economy?

-What are the benefits and challenges of moving from national to regional energy market?

10:30-10:50

Regional Energy Governance in Asia and the Pacific Region

Dr Hongpeng Liu

UNESCAP, Thailand

10:50-11:10

Energy governance and Cooperation in Southeast Asia: a policymaker's perspective

Speaker TBA

ASEAN Secretariat, Indonesia.

11:10-11:30

Regional Energy Governance in South Asia

Professor Dr Leena Srivastava

TBC

TERI University, India.

11:30-12:30

Q&A and Discussion

Moderator: Dato' Dr Muthiah Alagappa, ISIS Malaysia

12:30-1:45

Lunch

Session 2:

Policy Processes and Actors of Energy Governance

The debate on energy governance tends to be analytically state-centric. Beyond this confine, a range of non-state actors also play influential roles in energy governance. The actors important for the transformation of the energy sector towards sustainability include civil society organizations, business entities, public—private partnerships, policy communities and networks (within and between state and non-state entities), and international standard-setting bodies. Reshaping energy governance begs answers to the following questions:

-What are the public roles of non-state actors in energy governance?

-What roles can law, regulation and other policy instruments play in reducing obstacles and facilitating opportunities for a transition to a low carbon economy?

-What policy processes are necessary for Asia and the Pacific region in a resource-scarce future?

1:45-2:10

Challenges of energy governance in Southeast Asia

Associate Professor Dr. Benjamin Sovacool

Vermont School of Law, USA

2:10-2:30

Energy governance in the European Union: Role of the Market

Dr. Kirsten Westphal

TBC

German Institute for International & Security Affairs, Germany

2:30-2:50

Polycentric energy governance in Australia

TBA

Australian National University, Australia.

2:50-3:10

Civil society, governance and the energy transition

Dr Jan Andersen

TBC

Roskilde University, Denmark

3:10-3:30

International Development Agencies and Regional Energy Governance: The Case of Hydropower Development

Speaker TBA

Asian Development Bank

3:30-4:00

Coffee Break

4:00-5:00

Q&A and Discussion

7:30

Conference Dinner

End of Day 1

DAY 2

6 December 2012, Thursday

Session 3:

Building the Synergy for Water, Food, and Energy Nexus

Today, resources are high priority concerns in all levels of government, corporate boardrooms, and local communities. The 3F crises of fuel, food and finance recreated the fears about resources prices and access. However unlike the debate over resource scarcity in the 1970s and 80s, the current global resource scramble is not caused by the mere physical scarcity of single natural resources but rather by multiple resources scarcity. In the past, resource problem was mainly a local (or national), but in recent years, problems crossing boundary had scaled up, involving supply-chain concerns. Energy, water and food policies have numerous interwoven concerns ranging from ensuring access to services, to environmental impacts to price volatility. These issues manifest in very different ways individually but often the impacts are closely related. Identifying these interrelationships is of great importance to help target synergies and avoid potential tensions.

8:30-9:00

The Water-Energy-Food Nexus Perspective in Theory and Practice

Dr. Karen Hussey

Australian National University, Australia.

 

9:00-9:20

Water, Energy, and Food Security Nexus: The Bonn Perspective

Dr. Michael Paul (TBC)

Member of the German Federal Parliament

9:20-10:00

Water-Energy-Food Nexus in Asia and the Pacific region

Dr Adnan A Hezri

Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ISIS), Malaysia.

10:00-10:30

Question and Answer

10:30-11:00

Coffee Break

Session 4:

The Benefits and Challenges of Operationalizing the Nexus

Hypothetical benefits that may accrue from the Nexus approach include: improvement in energy, water, and food security; address externality across sectors, and decision-making at the nexus; and support transition to sustainability. This session will explore ways to support decision-making at the nexus, recognizing the need for a transnational capacity to address the access to and sustainability of water, energy, and food. It will also identify the interrelationships arising from the increasing demand on these three resources.

11:00 —11:20

Overview of the global biofuel expansion and the Nexus perspective

Dr Beau Damen

Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Italy

11:20-11:40

Food security and the demand on water and energy in the Asia Pacific region

Dr Larry Wong

Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ISIS), Malaysia.

11:40-12:00

Water for agriculture in the Asia Pacific region

Dr Salmah Zakaria

UNESCAP, Thailand

12:00-12:20

Water for Energy in the Asia Pacific Region

Speaker TBC

 

12:20-12:40

ASEAN Intervention on Water-Energy-Food Nexus in Asia and the Pacific (by representatives form ASEAN members)

TBC

12:40-1:10

Q&A and Discussion

1:10-2:30

Lunch

Session 5:

Panel Discussion on the Policy Implications of the Nexus Perspective

Energy, water and food policies have numerous interwoven and common concerns such as limited access to services by billions of people, operation in highly regulated markets, different regional availability and variations in supply demand. In the past decades, anthropogenic activities have mounted unsustainable pressures on these three strategic resources. As a result these resources form deep security issues so fundamental to societal functioning. There is a growing realization that the instability of the nexus may redefine contemporary geopolitics, potentially driven by the failure of resource governance than inefficient distribution. However, the academic and policy debates thus far characterize the nexus only in terms of resource efficiency, which is predominantly in terms of inputs and outputs. This session will unpack the policy and institutional implications of the nexus perspective from the perspective of policy practitioners.

2:30-4:00

Panel presentation and discussion

Panelists:

-FAO

-UNESCAP

-ADB

-Ministry of Energy, Green Technology and Water Malaysia

-Dr. Michael Paul (TBC), Member of the German Federal Parliament

-ASEAN Secretariat

-UNESCO

4:00-4:30

Workshop Conclusion and Closing Remarks

Programme

{documents/events/2012/isis/isis_kas_energy_2012_programme.pdf|Programme download (#s)}

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