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New Zealand’s Effort for Environmental Security

Massive harm as a result of climate change problems associated with global warming is being experienced by New Zealand. In order to address these issues, New Zealand has formulated its first six-year national action plan, as more extreme storms, flooding and wild fires are brought on by climate change. James Shaw, New Zealand’s minister for climate change, stated that extreme weather events that had previously thought unimaginable are today happening at a rate and an intensity that we have never witnessed before. It is also the first long-term plan to assist New Zealand in strengthening its resilience and adaptability to a fast changing environment. The evacuation of 70,000 homes near coastal areas will be contemplated as a possible solution to the increasing sea levels. The key idea behind the action plan is to make country ready for negative outcomes in advance rather than after they happen. The plan can be considered as a great effort by New Zealand to ensure environmental security. Before moving forward, it is important to understand the importance of environmental security, as the current discourse on security has been shifted from traditional security to non-traditional security threats such as climate change, human security, food security, environmental security etc. but unfortunately it is not getting enough attention. Environmental security is the condition of safeguarding the important interests of the individuals, society, and natural environment against risks brought on by anthropogenic and natural events. The dynamics and connections between people and natural resources make environmental security essential to national security paradigm. Thus, environment is the subject matter and maintaining its protection is crucial for maintaining peace, national security, and human rights.

The natural environment of New Zealand is an important component of its culture and a driving force behind the country’s tourism industry that help economy. The natural resources of New Zealand, which make up a sizable portion of its exports, are very important to the country’s economy. These natural resources must be thoughtfully managed for the benefit of current and future generations in order to achieve sustainable economic growth. The items like dairy, beef, timber, fruit, vegetables, and fish assist the food security of countries like China, Australia and the United States that receive these products, are maintained by the natural environment. Therefore, it is crucial for New Zealand to implement the National Adaptation Plan on urgent basis in order to preserve its environmental sustainability and economic growth. It can be done enhancing environmental governance and management, also by strengthening collaboration among all the stakeholders in order to make sure significant engagement with communities at local level to adapt and mitigate the effects of climate change in the country.




Biden Administration Approved $5.3 Billion Arms Sale to UAE and Saudi Arabia

On 2nd August, 2022, the US State Department approved $5 Billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates (UAE). The deal includes the sale of Patriot missile to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia of worth $3.05 billion and the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) systems to UAE having worth of $2.25 billion. The Pentagon said that the sale of 300 MIM-104E Guidance Enhanced Missile-Tactical Ballistic Missiles (GEM-T) for the Patriot missile defense system, as well as supporting equipment, replacement parts, and technical support to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, has been approved by the U.S. State Department. Furthermore, it has been authorized to sell 96 THAAD missile defense system interceptors to the United Arab Emirates, along with spare parts and technical support. The State Department in a statement has said “These missiles are used to defend Saudi Arabia’s borders from recurrent cross-border attacks by the Houthis on civilian and critical infrastructure using unmanned aerial systems and ballistic missiles”.

The deal came after Biden administration suspended arms sale to Saudi Arabia and UAE in February 2021 because of the two country’s involvement in Yemen war. Earlier, Donald Trump agreed upon the arms sales, defense equipment and transfers as a step to normalize relations with key Middle–East partners as part of “Abraham Accords”. Recently, it was in news that US is considering policy change towards Riyadh regarding weapons sale. Biden’s trip to Middle-East and Saudi Arabia in July has made it clear in the form of current announcement for massive arms sale. The aim of the US is to promote relations with Gulf States amid of Ukraine war for the sake of reducing dependency on Russian oil and gas, because these states can be proved a potential alternative to Russia. On the other hand, the latest development between the three countries is being seen as a measure to counter and defend against Iran. Few months back, US-led missile defense pact between Israel and several Arab countries known as Middle-East Air Defense Alliance (MEAD) has also been established. Under this arrangement, sensors and shooters from several countries will be connected together to counter threat from Iran. Considering the whole scenario, any defense deals such as US to resupply Saudi and UAE missile defense systems that are moving into the region are important to note. It is because Middle East has multiple existing challenges such as conflict within governments, civil wars, and serious humanitarian crises, undermining the regional order. Iran has remained a prominent actor in shaping up the region’s politics that is why Israel and the Arab nations pushed closer together more quickly considering Iran’s nuclear expansion as a common threat. The United States is also actively playing its role in Middle-East that is changing the dynamics of strategic and political landscape as well as threatening the already sensitive situation of security in the region.




North Korea’s Nuclear Threat to US and South Korea

Background

The Korean War of the early 1950s took place in the early stages of the Cold War. The United States’ support forces in the southern part of the peninsula against communist forces in the north that received military assistance from China and the Soviet Union is the origin of American military involvement in the Korean peninsula. According to the terms of the Mutual Defense Treaty between the United States and the Republic of Korea, the United States is now committed to defend South Korea, for that the US has about 29,000 troops deployed on the Korean peninsula. Along with U.S. personnel, the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) is one of the most heavily armed borders in the world, it has a large number troops including of South Korean 630,000 soldiers and North Korea’s 1.2 million military personnel. Every other day, one country threatens the other with nuclear deterrence while neglecting the consequences and its implications for the world’s peace, security and stability.

Kim Jong-un Statement

At the Korean War anniversary, Kim Jong-un in a statement has said that North Korea is ready to mobilize nuclear forces and also ready for a nuclear deterrent and military confrontation with the United States. The statement came when US has warned of a seventh nuclear test that Pyongyang could conduct at any time. Earlier, South Korean President Yoon has outlined a new more robust defense policy since taking office. Yoon has said, if it is felt that Pyongyang is about to launch a nuclear attack on it, it would allow South Korean forces to strike the North before Pyongyang could. In response to this, Mr. Kim also responded that South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol’s Government and military would be devastated into pieces if he launched any strike before North Korea. It is really unsettling to hear warnings from both the sides of the Korean peninsula and it seems like Korea is on the verge of war.

U.S. President Joe Biden interacts with South Korean President Yoon Suk-youl during a bilateral meeting at the People’s House in Seoul, South Korea, May 21, 2022. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

However, North Korean rhetoric has remained quite aggressive especially around the important anniversaries and even in normal days. There is the responsibility of the heads of each side to consider the issue seriously as it is not going to be a regular conflict between the states. It will be a nuclear war fought with nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction which will affect the whole world. To achieve a diplomatic reconciliation, North and South Korea should cooperate with each other. Otherwise, threats of full-scale military deployment and cyber provocations pose serious concerns because occurrence of each of these events has the potential to escalate further and resulting into uncontrollable circumstances.




Central Asia: A Zone of Peace

Introduction

On 28th July 2022, a resolution was introduced by the ambassador of Turkmenistan on behalf of other central Asian countries. The United Nations General Assembly has adopted the resolution and declared Central Asia as a zone of peace, trust and cooperation. It is said that the all the five countries of the region including Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan have a great potential for development. Pakistan’s UN ambassador also supported the resolution and its objectives while considering it a timely step. He said that Pakistan is dedicated to increase connectivity and collaboration with its Central Asian neighbors in trade, business, transport, energy and other sectors. The region is of utmost importance geographically and in terms of transnational cooperation as it is rich in natural resources as well as gas and oil resources making it as a prominent player in the regional and global markets. As the world is going through Russia-Ukraine crisis, the United States and European countries are the one which are most impacted due to the existing war. United States has welcomed the resolution and expanded warm wishes to the five Central Asian countries on the adoption of resolution. Central Asia is a region which could help the US and EU in terms of energy supplies and can work as an alternative to Russia’s dependency for oil and gas. This will also benefit the region while bringing investments, infrastructure development and growth opportunities in Central Asia. The resolution has also emphasized on the greater cooperation among the Governments for a peaceful and prosperous society, sustainable development, peace, security, human rights and the rule of law. United States consider this resolution to maintain security within the region and promote international peace and security.

CARs Summit

Recently, the heads of Central Asian countries attended the CARs (Central Asian Republics’) Summit in Kyrgyzstan in order to explore the opportunities and potential prospects of the cooperation among the Republics. The leaders seek to make independent foreign policy choices and to take governance measures without any involvement of external powers which is a positive step towards to deal with the political and economic risks. The summit was exclusively held for regional discussions, regional problems and their solutions. This shows the commitment of all five countries for strengthening peace and security as well as to promote socio-economic development in the region. The fourth Consultative meeting of CARs summit is a depiction of a collective regional approach toward multilateral cooperation. The meeting’s outcome was an agreement between the participants to establish shared Border Trade Zones with uniform regulations and straightforward processes to promote domestic manufacturing and import competition. With the CARs having significant potential and a population of roughly 80 million, there is a strong desire to look for opportunities for combined trade and economic development. All parties also urged to start a Concrete Action Plan for Green Development and Forum of the Regions in view of the growing risk of climate change. Additionally, all parties agreed to encourage science and technology collaboration, tourism, and culture. Also, the five countries have decided to provide humanitarian aid to Afghanistan as part of efforts to foster good relations with the neighboring country. The development of a new principle has been included in the meeting which means that the Central Asian republics are attempting to communicate their shared position in case of foreign and external threats. The recommendations and key decisions made in the meeting show the efforts of Central Asian countries to emerge as significant player without the involvement of any foreign actor.

Recent Economic Development

China has been focused on transport connection with Central Asia and seeks to deepen cooperation of connectivity, this highlights Central Asia’s importance for China. Shanghai’s China-Europe freight train service was discontinued due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but it has continued in response to a significant increase in demand from trade businesses. The First China-Europe freight train from Shanghai to Central Asia is launched on 28th July 2022. According to Shanghai Customs, a China-Europe freight train loaded with more than 980 tons of cargo left Shanghai for Almaty, Kazakhstan. To conclude, the latest developments such declaration of Central Asia as a peace zone has further increased the importance of the region internationally and particularly for major powers. The collective approach, regional cooperation, and strong partnership demonstrated in the fourth consultative meeting by all the heads of Central Asian Republics (CARs) show their common goals in the region and the measures are being taken individually for the country and collectively for the region’s prosperity.




Pakistan, China Seeking For Stability In Afghanistan

Recent discussions between Pakistan and China have concentrated on the idea of expanding the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to also include Afghanistan. According to a formal statement, the two parties held discussions of mutual concern, including the political and security situation in Afghanistan, Pakistan’s and China’s humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan, and other topics. It is obvious that peaceful and stable Afghanistan would lead to regional development so both, Islamabad and China, noted that connected Afghanistan will also enhance regional trade. Geopolitical and economic concerns in Afghanistan are shared by Pakistan and China. Both had been released when the Taliban took control of the war-torn nation in August of last year. Both could be fine with the Taliban’s reign in Afghanistan, but their security considerations may prove challenging.

China and Pakistan have increased up their contacts with the Afghan interim Taliban government in previous months to look for opportunities to expand economic and humanitarian relations with the turmoil nation. China and Pakistan are two neighboring states which believe that if the unrest is not handled, it could lead to a large-scale migration of Afghan refugees and enable international terrorists to conduct cross-border operations on Afghan territory. CPEC is a component of China’s largest project, the “Belt and Road Initiative,” which aims to revive the nation’s ancient trading routes in the south-east Asian coastline nations.

Both parties underlined their strong support for one another’s policy objectives and top issues, as well as their commitment to deepen strategic communication, such as at the highest political level and through pragmatic cooperation. Fostering intercultural exchange, offering humanitarian aid, and boosting commerce and transportation capacity is also equally important. Now, India may have security concerns as a result of Pakistan and China’s consideration of expanding the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to include Afghanistan. Taliban needs to cooperate as well to make things better and assure their engagement and security while China and Pakistan seek to bring stability in Afghanistan.




Global Recession And Sustainable Development

It is reasonable to assume that the global financial crisis and the ensuing economic downturn would have had at least the advantage of slowing down environmental degradation in the different nations. The slowdown in economic growth has some immediate advantages for the environment. These benefits include a decrease in the rate of air and water pollution due to less energy use, which directly affects the health of the urban underprivileged. The costs associated with several environment protection measures, like those linked to energy savings, the protection of natural resources, and water environment, are likely to be much greater than the limited gains to global and regional environments that result from the economic slowdown. Energy and environmental investments are impacted on both the supply and demand sides.

On the other hand, businesses and households pay less for energy efficiency measures. Decreasing credit and lowering prices have made investments in energy saving and environmental protection less economically attractive, and the economic crisis has caused end users to limit their spending in general. In addition, solution providers are expected to reduce their investment in research, development and commercialization of more efficient energy models unless they can obtain government financial support. It is a livelihood opportunity for the poor in rural areas. In addition, the development of wastewater treatment plans to limit the release of pollutants into rivers could be further delayed in many countries and is expected to harm the aquatic environment. Thus, in sum, the small benefits to the global and local environment from economic recession can be far less than the cost of many environmental protection measures to improve the living conditions of the poor.

The natural resources and ecosystem services provided by the environment are essential to support economic growth and better living conditions for the poor. Inaction on important environmental issues such as climate change can have serious economic consequences in the future. These concerns justify government actions to support investment in green growth measures and promote direct investment or financial incentives for low-carbon, energy-efficient and environmentally clean technologies. The investment required to put the national economy on a low-carbon green growth path is much higher than expected.




US-Japan Economic Security Dialogue

Economic Security

As per United Nation’s Department of Economic and Social Affairs, economic security is the key element for maintaining well-being and livelihoods of the people. The overall dynamics in terms of the state security has changed. In the new security paradigm, economic security has significant importance for the sake of protecting national security interests. The powerful economies including United States, European countries as well as China have taken economic security on the forefront making it synonymous with national security. This is why countries are working together and at country level to achieve the objectives of economic security and for a strong economy which have improved industrial infrastructure and technological breakthroughs that ensures service delivery to the public.

US-Japan Talks

During a virtual meeting in January, US President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida decided to establish an economic framework. In the presence of China’s expanding financial influence, the priority of the two countries will be on increasing economic security such as through creating robust supply chains for essential commodities like semiconductors. On July 29, in Washington, the foreign and industry ministers of the United States and Japan will engage in their first economic discussion, according to a representative of the U.S. Commerce Department. According to deputy assistant secretary for Asia at the Commerce Department, the meeting is timely because both countries are struggling right now with the reality that economic security is national security, in the wake of supply chain disruptions caused by the Russia’s conflict in Ukraine.

Japan’s Economic Security Law

In view of the constantly shifting global security environment, Japan intends to gradually implement its new law for enhancing economic security at the start of August. The schedule is a part of the government’s proposed law implementation strategy, which the administration received permission for at a meeting of the task force on economic security. To promote economic activity, the government of Japan has determined priority based 20 technological disciplines in order to give preference while providing funds including biotechnology, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and quantum information science. The government will make an effort to ensure supplies of strategically significant products like semiconductors and will assist the development of critical technologies in an integrated way.
To conclude, the upcoming meeting, officially known as the “U.S-Japan Economic Policy Consultative Committee” will be used to find solutions for promoting economic growth and addressing threats to the global economic order, improving economic security and resilience in the intensely competitive global market. It is appreciable that Japan has realized the economic vulnerabilities and is making efforts through different measures and by implementing new laws at national level and is also engaging with other countries for the promotion of economic security.




Tehran Summit: Turkey’s New Operation in Syria

Historical Background

Syria has been in a civil war since 2011 which has devastated the country. The militant group ISIS took the hold of Syria’s majority ethnic group i.e. Kurds territory who located in the northern part of Syria. It happened in 2013 as a result of power vacuum left by protests emerged against authoritarian Government. However, Kurdish militant groups (SDF) in north Syria managed to push back ISIS with the help of the United States support which also resulted in the expansion of Kurdish-led territory. By 2019, US started patrolling across the Syrian-Turkish border. The rise of Kurds in Syria is viewed as a threat by Turkey. It is because of Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) group in Turkey fighting for more than a decade with an objective of self-autonomy. The conflict between Kurds and Turkish Government has taken lives of thousands of people. Turkey is of opinion that PKK is aligned with Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) which comprises Kurdish and non-Kurdish militant groups in Syria and can trigger formation of illegitimate zone in Turkey. Therefore, Turkey has launched at least four military operations between 2016 and 2021 with an ultimate goal to establish “safe zone” in north-Syria.

Involvement of Different Stakeholders

Russia, Iran and Turkey along with other countries such as US, UK, France, Israel as well as Gulf states have remained prominent stakeholders since the start of Syrian war. Russia and Iran is supporting Syria’s Government whereas Turkey is a significant ally of the opposition. The focus of Turkey remained on deploying rebel groups to restrain the dominant Kurdish YPG militia in Turkey which is considered identical to SDF and is banned Kurdish rebel group in Turkey. In order to prevent the forces from launching an attack on Idlib which is the final stronghold of the opposition, Turkish troops and rebel allies have taken control of large areas along Syria’s northern border.

New Operation

Recently, the leaders of Russia, Iran and Turkey met for a tri-lateral summit in Tehran over Syrian issue where three vowed to continue cooperation. Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has said “Turkey would continue its plans for a new military attack in neighboring Syria until its security concerns are resolved”. On 19th July, 2022, Erdogan met with his Russian and Iranian counterparts in Tehran to discuss Syria after announcing earlier this year that Turkey will conduct a new offensive operation against the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in northeast Syria. On the other hand, United States is opposing the idea of operation in view of ISIS as a threat to United States’ stability and interests. This could escalate the tensions between both the countries and military options can be contemplated by both the sides. In any case, Syria has to suffer the most because it will weaken the security situation in northern Syria and would impact a large number of vulnerable groups living in the country which are already suffering due to numerous issues such as health, economic and security crisis.




Rise In Fuel Prices And Food Security

There is a critical relationship between fuel prices and food security. Higher oil prices raise costs in using energy for agricultural supply and production, which increases the cost of basic food. This is a very well global phenomenon that whenever fuel oil costs rise, GDP growth rates drop and inflation rises. It also has an impact on consumer goods, transportation, agriculture, industry, and the purchase of raw materials for factories. Food distribution also gets affected because of the rise in fuel prices.

Fossil fuels are extensively used in machinery and equipment used in agricultural areas, the production of fertilizers, irrigation, fishing, livestock, and forestry, among other industries, in Pakistan under the present circumstances. This is why it is evident that the rise in fuel prices are affecting the food security. Two-thirds of the world’s agricultural industry is made up of costly Asia. Pakistan is also dependent on agricultural production, which makes for as much as a quarter of the total GDP. In this aspect, the agricultural sector has been attacked hard by the current energy and fuel crisis, crop disease, and ongoing climatic and topographical changes. There is a big example of a country which has recently been badly affected by the rise in fuel prices and that is Sri-Lanka. The shortage of fuel deprived the whole nation from basic human rights which also includes food security.

Over 90 million people in Pakistan are already suffering hunger at the time this is happening. However, authorities should also be very vigilant about nutritional insecurity in addition to food insecurity. Malnutrition is frequently caused mostly by poverty in developing countries like Pakistan. There is a need of minimizing the dependence of the agricultural sector on fossil fuels and carbon footprint. The nation’s energy policies also need to be updated in order to implement resource strategies. In order to increase financial support and improve manufacturing capabilities for renewable energy, inter-sectorial strategic analysis is also necessary.




How To Tackle Climate Crisis In Pakistan?

Climate change is something which is inevitable now. Every year, we witness climate events which clearly shows that that climate change is here. The risk of droughts are no less, acid rains causing and water pollution causing oceans to get acidified and melting of the glaciers, this all resulting in the millions of climate refugees in the making.

Pakistan being one of the most vulnerable nations to climate change, made very minimal efforts to mainstream the narrative of climate change, with the nation’s economic and political turmoil primarily stealing the show since the country’s political and economic issues are much more dominant. Climate change is one nontraditional threat to security that cannot be neglected for longer. The lives of human beings and other living things is associated with climate change. The oxygen we breathe and the food we eat, is all effected by climate change. Small steps at the individual level do matter and makes a lot of difference. We mostly hear about the bottom-up approach when it comes to climate change but the top down approach can also be helpful to tackle this climate change.

To tackle the climate crisis, adopting progressive legislation and establishing a sound framework for even provincial ministerial portfolios, the role of federal ministries is crucial. Without meaningful structural changes, Pakistan cannot merely grow its way out of the climate challenge. Even the federal climate change ministry itself requires a significant revamp. While nations around the world are doubling, tripling, and even quadruplicating their resources for combating climate change, the government must be open in how it distributes its funds and avoid making programs political. Despite the government, NGO’s, and other social workers efforts of planting trees, there is much deforestation in Pakistan which needs to be decreased. By the end of this decade, the federal government must establish medium-term plans to phase out coal. Renewable energy helps the environment as well as our unstable economy by generating income. Pakistan must simultaneously develop the necessary infrastructure for a smoother switch to electric vehicles (EV). To ensure a strong response to climate change across the nation, the ministry must establish an interprovincial unit as well.