On behalf of all our network members, allow me to introduce to you the Consortium on Non-Traditional Security Studies in Asia (NTS-Asia) which was first established in 2007 and has been re-launched this year,2016. This Consortium is the culmination of years of research and meetings among various scholars and experts from the academic and policy institutes in Asia who share a common interest in advancing the cause of non-traditional security studies in the region.
The founding of this Consortium came at a critical time when challenges from non-traditional security (NTS) issues have become more important to the welfare and security of peoples in Asia and beyond. With the wide array of NTS issues confronting the region-be it from threats of infectious diseases, environmental degradation and climate change, problems of irregular migration, poverty, transnational crimes or terrorism-national solutions have proven to be no longer adequate to respond to these challenges. The huge task of addressing any one of these NTS issues has been well illustrated particularly in cases of natural disasters. As we see the tragic images of hurricanes, earthquakes and tsunamis ravaging villages and communities across Asia, we realise that the aftermath of these disasters also brings about other NTS challenges such as the threats of infectious diseases, massive dislocation of populations, and higher incidence of poverty. As many developing states in Asia find their resources being stretched to the limits in meeting these transnational challenges, multilateral and regional cooperation has become even more critical than ever.
Given the daunting challenges posed by a host of NTS issues, it has become increasingly clear that Asia needs to do more to protect its people from these dangers. As governments in the region face up to the task of addressing NTS threats more effectively, they would need help in exploring concrete ways and means to protect their peoples and societies from these dangers. In this regard, the work of the Consortium is most relevant. The need to respond to NTS challenges has opened avenues for the network members of NTS-Asia to go beyond their world of research and get more involved in crafting regional policies and viable mechanisms to address these new types of security challenges. Through their work on poverty, health security, natural disasters, climate change, among others-they would be able to help policy makers examine how and why these problems emerge and recommend policies, while highlighting gaps and identifying best practices among state and non-state actors in responding to these challenges.
It is our hope that NTS issues can be mainstreamed in the security agenda of states in Asia, so that more resources can be channelled to tackle these problems. Only by mainstreaming these issues can human security be advanced more meaningfully. This is, in fact, one of the key objectives of the Consortium-human security dialogue and promotion in Asia. We therefore look forward to working together with the wider community of individuals and institutions interested in NTS issues. We believe that the NTS research agenda should not be decided by the academic community alone, but should also be open to policy-makers, NGOs, media and other relevant and interested parties. This process of engagement, we believe, helps promote regional cooperation in many relevant areas.
In closing, let me on behalf of NTS-Asia Secretariat, express my sincere thanks to the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) for its steadfast support in the work of the Consortium and giving a home to the Secretariat. My sincere thanks also to the NTS-Asia members without whose support and commitment the vision of advancing NTS studies would not have been possible.