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Water, Gender, and Poverty in Cambodia’s Stung Chinit Watershed

InAsia

Insights and Analysis

Water, Gender, and Poverty in Cambodia’s Stung Chinit Watershed

December 4, 2019

By Susie Bresney, Laura Forni, and Paula Uniacke

Poverty is complex, multifaceted, and deeply rooted in global, national, and local socioeconomic and power structures. In Cambodia, 17.7 percent of the population lives below a threshold of USD 1.90 a day, but the lived experience of poverty goes beyond monetary measures. The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) has developed a multidimensional poverty analysis framework (MDPA) that includes not only lack of material resources, but also lack of power and voice, human security, and opportunities and choice. The intent is to provide a more holistic definition of poverty, who is living in poverty, what keeps people in poverty, and why.

Four dimensions of poverty (adapted from Sida’s MDPA)

The Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), The Asia Foundation, and Winrock International are applying this framework to better understand the interconnectedness of water, gender, and poverty in the Stung Chinit Watershed in northeastern Cambodia. Here, we present preliminary findings of this analysis. Along with an extensive literature review, we conducted 14 key informant interviews with representatives of national, provincial, and local organizations and agencies, including the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology, the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, and the Stung Chinit Cheung Farmer Water User Committee. Our initial findings were used to develop a survey of 800 households, the results of which are currently being analyzed. This work builds upon previous watershed modeling and stakeholder engagement under the Sustainable Water Partnership funded by USAID, and findings will be integrated into the MDPA model and technical analysis in an effort to improve watershed management for gender equality and poverty reduction in the Stung Chinit basin.

How are water, gender, and poverty interlinked?

The Stung Chinit Watershed

The Stung Chinit River is a major tributary to Cambodia’s Tonlé Sap Lake, one of the world’s most productive ecosystems—half of Cambodia’s population benefits directly or indirectly from the resources that the lake provides—but also among Cambodia’s poorest regions, monetarily speaking. As in the rest of Cambodia, where agriculture, fishing, and forestry employ 70 percent of the labor force, the half million residents of the Stung Chinit basin rely heavily on the river for their livelihoods.

In the Stung Chinit Watershed, where clean drinking water can be scarce or unavailable and rice and fish provide the majority of food and income, access to water determines health, well-being, and livelihoods. Inequalities related to gender and poverty often affect access to water, and water access reinforces existing inequalities. Our initial research demonstrates this in three water-related dimensions: in the home, in agriculture, and in fishing.

Water for the home

Access to clean, potable water is a problem in rural areas, and it is income dependent, as the poor cannot afford to buy water filters or water purification tablets. According to representatives of the Ministry of Women’s Affairs and the Ministry of Rural Development, obtaining water for domestic use in Cambodia is primarily women’s responsibility, while men manage water for farming and economic activities. In rural areas where access to clean water is limited, women and girls in poor families may spend hours fetching water. In families that cannot afford storage tanks, women must collect water many times a day. When disasters strike, households rely on women’s knowledge to find water and properly treat it.

Because women are specifically responsible for water in the home, the Ministry of Rural Development is training women to repair wells and promote local sanitation. While these measures are important, they largely support women in serving the home and do not increase women’s economic independence or capacity.

A well in the backyard of a house in Kampong Thom Province (Photo: Koeung Socheat)

Water for agriculture

Farming practices are shaped by Cambodia’s climate, which includes high temperatures, a rainy season, and a dry season. Cambodian rice yields are low compared to other rice producing countries, mainly due to poor water management that results in either too much or too little water. For farming households that rely on rice crops for subsistence, low yields can lead to food shortages for two to five months of the year and a lack of surplus rice to sell for income.

The Royal Government of Cambodia has invested in the construction of many large-scale irrigation schemes in the upper Tonlé Sap basin, including the Stung Chinit watershed, where two large reservoirs are used for irrigation and multiple smaller reservoirs and ponds supply water to farmers’ fields through a system of primary, secondary, and tertiary canals. The system is managed by the Provincial Department of Water Resources and Meteorology (PDOWRAM) and local Farmer Water User Communities (FWUCs). If located within the designated area, individuals can become FWUC members and receive water for irrigation.

In the Stung Chinit FWUC, livelihoods have improved for farmers with access to irrigation water, who can plant rice earlier, more reliably, and in the dry season. Representatives of the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology (MOWRAM) assert that this water is equally distributed regardless of age, ethnicity, or gender, and representatives of the Tonlé Sap Authority say that, apart from the lower-most part of the watershed, irrigation water is available year round. When key informants spoke about water for agriculture, most said reservoirs and canals are beneficial and provide equal access to water. Only a few recognized what is evident in the literature, that access to irrigation water depends on many factors—money and gender being two of them—particularly in the Stung Chinit watershed.

A house in the Stung Chinit watershed, in Kampong Thom Province (Photo: Chap Sreyphea)

Money. A representative of PDOWRAM stated clearly that if you have money, you get water. Belonging to an FWUC requires a fee. Getting water from canal to field requires electric pumping. If farmers can afford these things, they can get irrigation water. Those with more money, such as large-scale farmers, can afford to build their own ponds and irrigation systems.

Gender. According to representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries (MAFF), 64 percent of women in Cambodia are involved in agriculture. However, patriarchal gender norms create better opportunities for men in commercial or higher-income agricultural activities, while female household heads—who account for 20 percent of rural households—face significant challenges in obtaining irrigation water and agricultural land. MAFF officials speak of a machine revolution in Cambodian agriculture, where a large percentage of farmers now use electric tillers and other machinery. There is little data, however, on whether this revolution has reached women, who are typically considered incapable of handling such machinery or doing this kind of physical labor.

National government informants indicate that each government division or department should be at least 20–30 percent women, that women’s concerns are to be considered in ministry decision-making, and that there are efforts to strengthen women’s role in decision-making at the national level. Research shows, however, that this is not the case in the FWUCs, which directly control local access to water for agriculture. FWUCs, led largely by men, make the decisions about water allocation and operations. Men operate the gates that direct water to the fields. Women are often thought to lack the knowledge to participate in this decision-making or the ability to do this physical work, so women are excluded from FWUC discussions of irrigation planning. This puts female-headed households at a particular disadvantage in obtaining irrigation water for their crops.

Water for fishing

Cambodia previously granted water concessions to large-scale commercial fisheries via a system of fishing lots. Under this system, wealthy fishing lot owners had exclusive rights to harvest fish in a designated area, often in the most productive fishing grounds. Local communities and poorer subsistence fishers were denied access to those lots and had to comply with a fishing quota, which did not apply to lot owners. In recognition of the inequity of this system and the way it exacerbated the poverty of those with already limited resources, Cambodia abolished the lot system in 2015 in favor of community owned and managed fisheries.

The effects of this new system are still to be assessed. Early results suggest that wealthier groups and former fishing lot owners are overrepresented in community fisheries management and that poorer fisher groups are marginalized in these local decision-making bodies. Fisherwomen are further excluded, because they are not considered principal fishers. Time and further evaluation will tell whether this system reinforces existing inequities or creates equitable access to fishing for all.

The Stung Chinit River, a major tributary of Tonlé Sap Lake, one of the world’s most productive ecosystems (Photo: Chap Sreyphea)

Where do we go from here?

Our initial research suggests that there are critical problems of inequality surrounding access to domestic and irrigation water in the Stung Chinit basin. Exploring issues of gender and poverty allows us to ask who has power, a voice, and the opportunity to improve their situation, and how vulnerable are female-headed households, impoverished households, and those without access to safe drinking water.

The next step, our survey of 800 households, will explore in greater detail the dimensions of poverty and social relationships in the Stung Chinit watershed. The survey will also contribute to the development of a technical watershed planning model. A more comprehensive understanding of inequalities within the watershed will allow us to evaluate other links between water, gender, and poverty and to develop and test more robust solutions to eventually end poverty and inequality and to achieve truly equal access to water for all.

This post also appears, in slightly different form, in Perspectives, the blog of the Stockholm Environment Institute.

Susie Bresney is a staff scientist and Laura Forni is senior scientist at the Stockholm Environment Institute. Paula Uniacke is senior program officer for Women’s Empowerment and Gender Equality at The Asia Foundation. They can be reached at [email protected], [email protected], and [email protected], respectively. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the authors, not those of The Asia Foundation.

About our blog, InAsia

InAsia is a bi-weekly in-depth, in-country resource for readers who want to stay abreast of significant events and issues shaping Asia’s development, hosted by The Asia Foundation. Drawing on the first-hand insight of renowned experts, InAsia delivers concentrated analysis on issues affecting each region of Asia, as well as Foundation-produced reports and polls.

InAsia is posted and distributed every other Wednesday evening, Pacific Time. If you have any questions, please send an email to [email protected].

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70th Anniversary Impact Highlight

May 23, 2024

AsiaFoundation70

This year, we celebrate 70 years of improving lives and expanding opportunities.

The Dark Horse of India’s Renewables Revolution: The “Water Battery”

InAsia

Insights and Analysis

The Dark Horse of India’s Renewables Revolution: The “Water Battery”

November 6, 2019

By Anindya Upadhyay

Progress in energy storage will soon mean energy security for India, as the country races ahead with large renewable power commitments. Already fifth in the world in renewables, India now says it will exceed its 2022 target of 175 gigawatts of installed renewable capacity. Speaking at the United Nations Climate Action Summit in September, Prime Minister Narendra Modi committed his nation to more than doubling that target, to 450 gigawatts.

Yet, regardless of total capacity, we know discontinuous power is inadequate power. Wind and solar technology can generate electricity only when the wind blows or the sun shines, and green power that floods the grid and then recedes puts immense pressure on transmission systems and end users alike. Balancing this fluctuating supply is the lynchpin of a clean energy future, and the key to achieving that balance is reliable and efficient energy storage.

India hasn’t moved as swiftly on storage as it has on generation, however, leaving its lofty green commitments incomplete. The government has conducted only sporadic lithium-ion storage tenders and pilot projects, and there have been only small-scale storage experiments in the private sector.

But this delay in adopting a formal energy storage target like the one for renewable generation may be a blessing in disguise. As competing storage technologies have matured, India is positioned to pick and choose to build a diversified storage mix that best suits its renewable energy strategy. Now, a technology in widespread use elsewhere, but which has received relatively little attention in India, is getting a second look for its efficiency and feasibility: pumped hydro energy storage—essentially a water battery.

An off-river PHES site in Presenzano, Italy, showing an upper reservoir 500m above the lower reservoir. Photo: The Asia Foundation, IRADe.

Pumped hydro energy storage, or PHES, works on the simple principle of storing potential energy in water that’s pumped into an elevated reservoir. At times of high electricity demand, this water can be released to a lower reservoir, passing through turbines that generate power. At times of surplus power, electricity can be used to pump water back into the upper reservoir.

PHES is particularly suited for load management. It takes only seconds to bring PHES systems online—much less time than coal- or gas-fired peaker plants. PHES is especially competitive where a suitable reservoir already exists, making it an ideal technology for the present moment when lithium-ion battery systems are still maturing. So-called “off-river” or closed-loop PHES systems minimize impacts on water resources by repeatedly recycling the same water for pumping and generation.

The suitability of PHES for India recently emerged in a stakeholder consultation convened by The Asia Foundation in partnership with the Indian research group Integrated Research and Action for Development (IRADe). Until recently, the greatest challenge to pumped hydro systems was the years it took to identify suitable sational University under DFAT’s Sustainable Development Investment Program (SDIP). The map shows hundreds of locations in India, all reviewable from the comfort of a desktop, radically reducing the time required for site identification.

An open-source data base from the Australian National University shows hundreds of potential PHES sites in India. Photo: Australian National University.

Though it hasn’t yet taken off in India, pumped hydro accounted for over 94 percent of global energy storage capacity in 2018, ahead of lithium-ion and other forms of storage, according to research by the International Hydropower Association. China, the largest installer of renewable energy in the world, is building up to two-thirds of the 78 gigawatts of pumped storage currently being installed globally. In October, Dubai awarded a contract for a 250 megawatt PHES project in the Hajar mountains, the first in the Arabian Gulf, as part of its clean energy plan for 2050. And in August, the Green Climate Fund said it will participate in a solar power and pumped storage project in Chile as an early, anchor investor, helping to reduce project risk and attract investments from other investors and lenders.

According to the Central Electricity Authority, India has a potential 96 gigawatts of PHES capacity, just 2.6 gigawatts of which is currently operational. PHES, in principle, can operate without fossil fuels, and pumped hydro systems have a longer service life than coal and gas plants, making them an ideal partner technology for India’s push for wind and solar.

The Srisailam Dam on the Krishna River, Andhra Pradesh. The installation houses six 150 MW reversible turbines for pumped-storage operation. Photo: Kashyap joshi / own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=16476707.

Finally, with its enormous economy and burgeoning power requirements, adequate storage is an energy-security imperative for India. If India can support its ambitious renewables targets with suitable storage solutions, it can drastically reduce coal and oil imports, ushering in greater energy self-reliance. Without PHES, India will miss out on a mature and reliable technology to support its commitment to renewables. Clearly, the time has come to act swiftly. If pursued in earnest, PHES can pave the way for India’s climate leadership by enabling another green revolution, this time in the power sector.

Anindya Upadhyay is a senior technical consultant on SDIP with The Asia Foundation in India. She can be reached at [email protected]. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author, not those of The Asia Foundation.

Related locations: India
Related programs: Environment and Climate Action, Technology & Development

About our blog, InAsia

InAsia is a bi-weekly in-depth, in-country resource for readers who want to stay abreast of significant events and issues shaping Asia’s development, hosted by The Asia Foundation. Drawing on the first-hand insight of renowned experts, InAsia delivers concentrated analysis on issues affecting each region of Asia, as well as Foundation-produced reports and polls.

InAsia is posted and distributed every other Wednesday evening, Pacific Time. If you have any questions, please send an email to [email protected].

Contact

For questions about InAsia, or for our cross-post and re-use policy, please send an email to [email protected].

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Will North Korea Denuclearize?

Will North Korea Denuclearize?

Event: Thursday, September 12, 2019, Berkeley, CA

4:30 pm – 6:00 pm 
U.C. Berkeley Campus, Doe Library, Room 180

Han Sung-Joo, former Asia Foundation grantee, ambassador to the United States and Korean foreign minister will speak at The University of California, Berkeley’s Institute of East Asia Studies on September 12.

After the failure of Hanoi U.S.-North Korea summit held in February this year, the impasse between the two countries seemed irreversible. Washington wanted a “big deal” on North Korean nuclear weapons; Pyongyang insisted on a “small deal” first.

President Trump said after the break-up that North Korea wanted too much (“complete lifting” of sanctions) and offered too little (only dismantling Yongbyon nuclear facilities). In response, North Korea charged the United States acted like a rogue asking for everything and not offering much. Then, the two leaders met again for the third time at Panmunjom on June 30th and agreed to hold working level meetings to resolve the differences. So what is likely to happen now?

There is a good possibility of North Korea and the United States reaching a compromise agreement that looks like a big deal and that includes the first installment of a smaller deal. Why is such a compromise deal a likely outcome? If the deal is made, will it denuclearize North Korea? What is the implication of such a deal for the security situation in the Korean Peninsula? Please join us for this lively discussion.

Click here for more information.

Co-sponsored with the Center for Korean Studies & the Institute of East Asian Studies.

AsiaFoundation70

This year, we celebrate 70 years of improving lives and expanding opportunities.

Southeast Asia’s Fisheries Near Collapse from Overfishing

InAsia

Insights and Analysis

Southeast Asia’s Fisheries Near Collapse from Overfishing

March 28, 2018

By Kim J. DeRidder, Santi Nindang

Approximately 12 percent of the world’s population relies upon fisheries and aquaculture for their livelihood, and over half of the world’s people get a significant source of their animal protein from fish and seafood. In Southeast Asia, this proportion is significantly higher. The region’s seas not only serve as a major source of food and livelihood for hundreds of millions of people, they generate several billion dollars in GDP for the region.

Fisheries Southeast Asia

People collect dried shrimp which have been drying in the sun along the coast of Makassar, Indonesia. Millions of people in Southeast Asia rely on fish and seafood for protein. Photo/Conor Ashleigh

Southeast Asia has one of the most diverse marine ecosystems in the world, but overfishing and destructive fishing threaten its sustained existence. Across the region, 64 percent of the fisheries’ resource base is at a medium to high risk from overfishing, with Cambodia and the Philippines among the most heavily affected. Common methods of destructive fishing include poison fishing, which has become a pervasive commercial fishing method for live reef fish, using sodium cyanide to stun fish and make them easier to capture. Another method is blast fishing, which uses dynamite or grenades to indiscriminately kill fish in the immediate vicinity by rupturing their internal organs. While both practices are illegal in most Southeast Asian countries, they are still widely used where enforcement is limited. Bottom trawling is another destructive practice that uses “rockhopper” trawl nets that are dragged over any surface, causing extensive reef destruction. Ghost fishing is the term given to abandoned fishing gear which continues to float in the ocean, killing fish, dolphins, whales, turtles, and other creatures that become hooked or ensnared. These destructive practices severely threaten more than half of Southeast Asia’s coral reefs. Threats are particularly acute in the Spratly and Paracel Islands, where disputed resource rights have led to even more unregulated fishing.

Indonesia Fishery

A de-finned shark for sale at the port in Makassar, South Sulawesi. Indonesia, the 4th longest coastline country in the world, is the largest fishing nation in Southeast Asia, Fishing is a crucial part of the local economy. Photo/Conor Ashleigh

Much of the overfishing and destructive fishing in Southeast Asia is attributable to illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing (IUU). IUU fishing occurs region-wide, with violators ranging from small-scale local fishermen to large-scale enterprises conducted on commercial fishing trawlers. There are many drivers for IUU fishing in the region, not the least of which is that demand now appears to exceed supply. Operationally, the main issue is weak fishing regulations among the region’s many countries, together with a lack of cooperation on management among these countries.

Fishermen unload a fishing net off the coast of Krabi, Thailand. Overfishing and destructive fishing has threatened Southeast Asia’s fisheries. Photo/Flickr user Alex Berger

There is also a significant lack of science-based knowledge about the region’s marine ecosystems to inform policies that would lead to the establishment of sound models for fisheries management, as well as insufficient focus on cultivating alternatives to wild catch fisheries, such as sea-farming and inland freshwater aquaculture.

As competition for remaining fish stocks grows fiercer, some experts warn that the region’s entire fisheries industry will soon collapse. Estimates suggest that in order to prevent this, all countries fishing in the region would need to cease all destructive fishing practices and reduce harvest by nearly 50 percent.

Despite widespread recognition that the region’s fishery resources are severely threatened, coordination among countries over the management, and information regarding the extent and nature of threats, remains limited. On March 13-14, The Asia Foundation, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of State, the Royal Thai Government and the People’s Republic of China, convened 80 experts—diplomats, scientists, activists, entrepreneurs, and civil society organizations—from over 20 countries throughout the Asia-Pacific region, for an ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) in Bangkok to discuss a regional assessment of fisheries management and determine concrete ways for countries to urgently cooperate and exchange best practices to better ensure food security in Southeast Asia.

In particular, the two-day workshop explored opportunities to collaborate, including legal frameworks and institutions to improve shared management as well as to combat IUU fishing; promoting information-sharing and collaborative scientific platforms as a basis for the development of sound domestic and regional policies; strengthening ASEAN interoperability in the fisheries sector; country-level initiatives on sustainable fisheries management including aquaculture management; and emerging new technologies to support sustainable fisheries management.

Among the key messages drawn from the two-day meeting, political will topped the list. In order to seriously address the threats to sustainable fisheries management in Southeast Asia, it is necessary for government leaders and non-government actors to exercise the political will necessary for countries to move away from business-as-usual practice to new, sustainable patterns of fisheries management. Within this context, participants recommended the following priorities:

  • Inclusive and synchronized legal frameworks to regulate fisheries policies across the region. Southeast Asian countries need to coordinate in the legal field and share best practices such as how to manage the requirement for sustainable fishing practices in other countries. Countries that already have their own national plans of action for IUU fishing can harmonize these plans into common regional practice. Overlapping maritime jurisdictions should be treated as a priority concern as jurisdictional disputes create obstacles for regional cooperation necessary to establish the framework for building sustainable fishing in the region.
  • Regional cooperation on enforcement needs to be dramatically enhanced to address IUU fishing and improve overall sustainable fisheries management. More often than not, IUU fishing and crimes committed in the fishing industry are transnational and highly organized. Joint monitoring, surveillance and control, and subsequent investigation initiatives are pivotal to uphold sustainability of resources while preserving the sovereignty of each country.
  • Information-sharing between agencies involved in fisheries management within a country and between countries is critical to improving sustainable fisheries management. Further assessments pertaining to short-falls in country-level implementation and technical capacity are needed to develop effective capacity-building programs that address identified gaps and create accountable departments and reliable networks across the region.
  • Expansion of sustainable aquaculture within the region can help reduce pressures on natural fish stocks and should be actively promoted. Sea-farming can be especially helpful to small-scale fishery communities looking to shift into a more stable (and sustainable) livelihood, while expansion of freshwater aquaculture in inland farming communities can concurrently increase fish supplies sustainably.
  • Ongoing dialogue on sustainable fisheries management in Southeast Asia is needed to develop concrete action steps for countries to adopt and enact. Participants agreed to continue to explore opportunities for collaboration at the policy and technical levels and to contribute to the identification of concrete goals, milestones, and next steps for sustainable fisheries management.

Perhaps the most urgent takeaway was that at current trends, time is short, and the region must work collaboratively to achieve sustainable management of the region’s precious fisheries.

Kim DeRidder, who delivered welcoming remarks at the ASEAN Regional Forum event, is director of The Asia Foundation’s Environment program. Santi Nindang is a program officer for the Foundation in Thailand. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the authors and not those of The Asia Foundation or its funders.

About our blog, InAsia

InAsia is a bi-weekly in-depth, in-country resource for readers who want to stay abreast of significant events and issues shaping Asia’s development, hosted by The Asia Foundation. Drawing on the first-hand insight of renowned experts, InAsia delivers concentrated analysis on issues affecting each region of Asia, as well as Foundation-produced reports and polls.

InAsia is posted and distributed every other Wednesday evening, Pacific Time. If you have any questions, please send an email to [email protected].

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For questions about InAsia, or for our cross-post and re-use policy, please send an email to [email protected].

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New Police Database Documents Violence Against Women and Children in Sri Lanka

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Insights and Analysis

New Police Database Documents Violence Against Women and Children in Sri Lanka

November 29, 2017

By Radhika Abeynaike and Roshan Shajehan

The “16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence,” a global campaign that runs through December 10, occurs this year against the backdrop of an unprecedented global uproar against sexual harassment and other forms of violence that women face. Across Asia, as in many countries, violence against women continues to be one of the most widespread human rights violations. In places like Sri Lanka, which is emerging from decades of civil conflict, a lack of systematic reporting on the issue has made it extremely difficult to determine the magnitude of the problem.

The police are most often the first point of contact in Sri Lanka for women seeking redress from acts of violence.

The police are most often the first point of contact in Sri Lanka for women seeking redress from acts of violence, including sexual abuse. According to police statistics, over 33,000 cases of violence against women and children were recorded between 2005 and 2016. Incidences of rape and incest recorded by the police have increased by 40 percent in the last 10 years, from 1,463 cases in 2006 to 2,036 in 2016. However, cases reported to the police are likely very low compared to the real number of incidents that occur. The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) estimates that one in every four women in Sri Lanka has been sexually abused by the time she reaches 18. When victims do report acts of violence to the police or other agencies, there are incomplete systems in place to maintain statistics and comprehensive reports.

The Children and Women’s Bureau (CWB) plays a crucial role in addressing incidents of violence against women and children that are reported to the police. Each police station has a CWB which is responsible for dealing with issues related to women and children, including prevention awareness among schools and government institutions. Each CWB sends a report to their respective Divisional Office, which is then collated and sent to the national headquarters, but the reports are largely numerically based and lack detail required for useful analysis. For instance, the current system of documentation does not allow for tracking of cases and there is no record of what happens to the case after it is recorded at a police station. This also makes it difficult for the police to track down perpetrators.

Now, in a major step forward in improving the process, The Asia Foundation worked with the police and other relevant agencies over the past year to develop the very first computerized database for the CWB in Sri Lanka. Built by local developer Tyronics, the database is connected directly to the Sri Lanka Police intranet system which means that every police station in the country has immediate and protected access to enable confidentiality. As part of this process, we developed a user manual and trained CWB police officers and headquarter staff, and IT operators from the 42 divisional offices and 488 police stations across the country.

CWB police officers receive training on how to use the database.

The final database was installed to the police VPN system in March this year. Police stations island-wide now have access to the database and data is currently being entered into the system at the station level, with support from the IT unit of Sri Lanka Police.

Last month, the National Best Quality ICT Awards recognized the database and the Sri Lanka Police with a Bronze Award for innovation. With the tools in place, Sri Lanka’s police force is now better equipped to document, track, and address issues of violence against women and children.

Radhika Abeynaike is senior program officer and Roshan Shajehan is program manager for The Asia Foundation in Sri Lanka. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the authors and not those of The Asia Foundation or its funders.

About our blog, InAsia

InAsia is a bi-weekly in-depth, in-country resource for readers who want to stay abreast of significant events and issues shaping Asia’s development, hosted by The Asia Foundation. Drawing on the first-hand insight of renowned experts, InAsia delivers concentrated analysis on issues affecting each region of Asia, as well as Foundation-produced reports and polls.

InAsia is posted and distributed every other Wednesday evening, Pacific Time. If you have any questions, please send an email to [email protected].

Contact

For questions about InAsia, or for our cross-post and re-use policy, please send an email to [email protected].

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This year, we celebrate 70 years of improving lives and expanding opportunities.

Addressing Industrial Pollution Along the Kelani River

InAsia

Insights and Analysis

Addressing Industrial Pollution Along the Kelani River

April 26, 2017

By Johann Rebert and Dhiya Sathananthan

The lush banks and rushing waters of the Kelani River served as the indelible backdrop for the 1957 Academy Award-winning movie “The Bridge on the River Kwai” and today, the river remains a vital resource for about 25 percent of the Sri Lankan population who reside in its catchment area. The river is the fourth-longest and second-largest watershed in the country, and is the main source of drinking water to over 4 million people living in the greater Colombo area alone. Sadly, the Kelani River is also the most polluted river in Sri Lanka.

Kelani River

Laundry hangs along the Kelani River in the outskirts of the capital, Colombo. The Kelani is the main source of drinking water to over 4 million people living in the greater Colombo area alone. Photo/Flickr user Dhammika Heenpella

According to the Central Environmental Authority (CEA), most of the pollution comes from liquid waste discharged by the rapidly expanding industries that operate alongside the river, as well as agricultural runoff and domestic and municipal waste. An estimated 3,000 businesses that are required to have an environmental pollution license are located on the banks of the river. According to water tests conducted by the CEA near industrial locations, basic safe water quality limits are constantly exceeded, including chemical oxygen demand (36-37% over acceptable standards), dissolved oxygen (27-43% over acceptable standards), biological oxygen demand (7-13% over), and heavy metals (7% over). In August 2015, a significant diesel leak into the river from a multinational carbonated drinks manufacturer brought to the fore the hazardous impact that industrial pollution is having on the river, and potentially on communities who rely on the river for their livelihoods.

Despite this growing threat, local industries need to do more to comply with regulations to ensure waste water discharged into the river is safe. While existing policy and legislation for curtailing industrial pollution exists in Sri Lanka, more effective enforcement is needed, as well as highly stringent monitoring mechanisms to verify that all standards are met.

In late 2015, The Asia Foundation and local nonprofit Environmental Foundation Limited (EFL) started a project to help restore the water quality of the Kelani River. After identifying the 40-kilometer stretch between the town of Avisawella and the river outfall north of Colombo as the most polluted area, we began a comprehensive mapping of pollution sources, conducting surveys by road and by boat to mark locations of possible pollutant sources, as well as drains and canals that discharge into the river. We identified 150 sources of pollution, primarily from industries involved in tanning, oil refining, beverages, textiles and clothing, rubber, ceramics, food production, fertilizers, and plastics.

To educate the local communities along the river about the threat that pollution poses and to mitigate future damage, we conducted a series of training programs for 15 prominent community based organizations (CBOs) in the most polluted vicinities. The workshops trained 63 CBO members, primarily made up of volunteers and activists from local environmental and community development organizations, on preventing pollution and how to conduct water monitoring and identify sources of pollution.

Kelani River water testing

According to water tests conducted by the CEA near industrial locations, basic safe water quality limits in the Kelani River are constantly exceeded.

EFL developed a comprehensive booklet that includes guidelines on water quality maintenance and a map of pollution sources along the highest impact areas of the river. The resource was distributed among CBO members at the training sessions, as well as with local-level government officials and some small-scale industries operating along the river. This map assists the CEA as well as other relevant local and national authorities in identifying pollution sources. Participants have already begun reporting their findings to the CEA and other relevant government agencies so that full investigations of illegal discharge can be conducted.

The challenge now is to ensure that water quality monitoring takes place regularly so that large-and small-scale industries, as well as local government authorities, can ensure prescribed standards are being met and that the law is enforced. Industries have a vested interest in the health of the Kelani River system, which meets their own industrial, and most likely personal, water needs. It is time for them to take greater responsibility to protect and rehabilitate this water body. Harnessing the potential of the local community to play a more proactive role in preserving their own environment, as well as to communicate the overall message of preventing pollution in the Kelani River to other communities living in the vicinity, is a critical step forward.

Dhiya Sathananthan is project coordinator with the Environmental Foundation Limited and Johann Rebert is The Asia Foundation’s deputy country representative in Sri Lanka. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the individual authors and not those of The Asia Foundation or its funders.

About our blog, InAsia

InAsia is a bi-weekly in-depth, in-country resource for readers who want to stay abreast of significant events and issues shaping Asia’s development, hosted by The Asia Foundation. Drawing on the first-hand insight of renowned experts, InAsia delivers concentrated analysis on issues affecting each region of Asia, as well as Foundation-produced reports and polls.

InAsia is posted and distributed every other Wednesday evening, Pacific Time. If you have any questions, please send an email to [email protected].

Contact

For questions about InAsia, or for our cross-post and re-use policy, please send an email to [email protected].

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AsiaFoundation70

This year, we celebrate 70 years of improving lives and expanding opportunities.

Licensing Reform in Indonesia: What’s Next after the One-Stop Shop?

InAsia

Insights and Analysis

Licensing Reform in Indonesia: What’s Next after the One-Stop Shop?

April 12, 2017

By Erman Rahman

According to the World Bank’s 2017 Doing Business report, Indonesia has improved the ease of doing business over the last year, rising in rank from 106th in 2016 to 91st in 2017. The report, which ranks economies on 10 business regulatory areas, cited significant improvement in the area of “starting a business,” with the time it takes reduced from 48 to 25 days.

Indonesia business

Micro and small enterprises account for 98.8 percent of total businesses in Indonesia. However, an arduous licensing process often hinders their ease of doing business. Photo/Conor Ashleigh

The impressive jump in ranking is an outcome of the strong commitment from the Joko Widodo (Jokowi) administration since taking office in 2014 to improve Indonesia’s investment climate. More recently, the government announced that it would remove expiration dates of trading licenses (SIUP) and business registration (TDP) (previously they had to be renewed every five years). Although the tangible impacts of this effort to reduce costs and burdensome licensing timeframes are still marginal, the move clearly shows the government’s strong commitment in this area.

Indonesia’s push toward decentralization that began in 2001 brought with it enormous power to the local governments, including the increased ability to generate revenue from the people in the form of taxes and levies, and particularly so from local businesses. To obtain the necessary licenses to operate, local businesses had to apply at various local government offices in a painstaking process that was not transparent, allowing for back-room dealing in a burdensome process that hampered economic growth.

During this time, The Asia Foundation and local civil society organization partners developed the first one-stop shop (OSS) model to licensing reform, which integrated business licensing in one office at the district level, established standard operating procedures for licensing, provided transparent information for license applicants, and offered channels for raising complaints.

In 2006, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA) nationalized the OSS model, making it a model for a good business climate, corruption prevention, and bureaucratic reforms. Since then, according to the MoHA, more than 90 percent of 497 districts in Indonesia had established the OSS model by 2013. While this marked an improvement, our research at the time indicated that the majority of these OSS had limited authority to process numerous types of licenses required by the local governments. This meant that many micro and small enterprises (MSEs)—which account for 98.8 percent of total businesses in Indonesia—were still forced to go outside of the OSS to local government offices to obtain sectoral licenses.

To address this issue, the Foundation implemented a sub-national business licensing program, USAID-KINERJA, which has supported 40 local governments in Aceh, East Java, West Kalimantan, and South Sulawesi provinces—40 percent of the total of 99 districts in the four provinces—to improve their licensing services, including increasing the licensing authority of the OSS, simplifying the types of licenses required, and improving OSS business processes.

The program’s most significant impact has been on the reduction of the number of licenses required to formally run a business. Prior to the program, each local government required over a hundred types of licenses, most of them sectoral. Through the program, in Wajo District in South Sulawesi alone, the local government reduced the number of business licenses from 107 to 16 by merging and repealing licenses that are not under the authority of the local government. However, today local governments cannot take the next step in simplifying licensing since the remaining licenses are required by the national government through various sectoral regulations.

Jokowi’s administration is currently working to deregulate the business climate, including through license simplification. However, further simplification of licenses faces political resistance from various technical ministries, despite the agreement that some licenses are considered redundant.

In 2014, the government issued a Perpres (presidential regulation) to establish a simple, one-page license for MSEs, known as IUMK, that would in theory remove the need for them to apply for other types of licenses such as SIUP, TDP, and other permits.

In practice, however, this has not happened. Although the KINERJA program helped the government to formulate and disseminate implementation guidelines for the IUMK, many sub-national government officials are still not aware about the Perpres. And the regulations governing other types of licenses have not been revised to recognize the relatively new Perpres. In addition, most of the banks and micro-finance institutions still require an SIUP and/or a TDP as one of the requirements to obtain credit. The ASEAN Economic Community requires all MSEs to have an identification number to do business in other ASEAN countries—another obstacle for Indonesia’s MSEs given the arduous licensing process.

Many laws and regulations need to be harmonized with the Perpres for it to be effective. This should not be limited to the licensing sector, but also in the banking sector and government procurement to maximize the benefits for the MSEs.

The government would be wise to prioritize this reform agenda to further improve Indonesia’s business climate. By doing so, the current administration would inch closer to achieving its “Nawacita,” a nine-point list of priorities. Civil society, well-experienced in this sector, stands ready to support the government in this important reform effort.

Erman Rahman is a senior program director for The Asia Foundation in Indonesia. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and not those of The Asia Foundation or its funders.

Related locations: Indonesia
Related programs: Inclusive Economic Growth

About our blog, InAsia

InAsia is a bi-weekly in-depth, in-country resource for readers who want to stay abreast of significant events and issues shaping Asia’s development, hosted by The Asia Foundation. Drawing on the first-hand insight of renowned experts, InAsia delivers concentrated analysis on issues affecting each region of Asia, as well as Foundation-produced reports and polls.

InAsia is posted and distributed every other Wednesday evening, Pacific Time. If you have any questions, please send an email to [email protected].

Contact

For questions about InAsia, or for our cross-post and re-use policy, please send an email to [email protected].

The Asia Foundation
465 California St., 9th Floor
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AsiaFoundation70

This year, we celebrate 70 years of improving lives and expanding opportunities.

Jaime Faustino

Program Director, Economic Reform and Development Entrepreneurship

Jaime Faustino has managed the Foundation’s Philippine economic development program since 2006. He has worked on projects that led to significant and transformative results on the lives of millions of Filipinos. In civil aviation, liberalization has led to over 30 million passengers in 2010 from a low of 8 million in 1990. In sea transport, the introduction of Roll-on, Roll-off (RO-RO) policy in 2003 eliminated inefficient and costly cargo handling and led to transport costs being reduced from 22 to 57% (ADB 2010). In property rights, a law creating administrative procedures for titling residential lands passed in 2010 was partly responsible for a historic 1,450% increase in the titles issued by the government. The titles jumped from an average of 3,800 per year to over 55,000 titles in 2011.

From those reform experiences and successes, Faustino conceptualized development entrepreneurship, an operational model to assist development agencies and practitioners integrate the technical and political dimensions of reform. The model answers three questions: how is reform achieved, who will help achieve it and what role can development agencies play? The model is founded on three structures of practice: 1) Iterative Process, 2) Local Leaders known as ‘Development Entrepreneurs,’ and 3) Grant Project Structure.

Jaime Faustino co-edited Built on Dreams, Grounded in Reality: Economic Policy Reform in the Philippines, published in 2011. The book documented the political battles of seven economic reforms in the Philippines and drew lessons for others.

Education:  Master’s degree in Political Science at University of the Philippines (1992) and bachelor’s degree in History at Duke University.

Publications:

Development Entrepreneurship: How Donors and Leaders Can Foster Institutional Change

Built on Dreams, Grounded in Reality: Economic Policy Reform in the Philippines


Energy Crisis in the Philippines: An Electricity or Presidential Power Shortage?

InAsia

Insights and Analysis

Energy Crisis in the Philippines: An Electricity or Presidential Power Shortage?

March 18, 2015

By Steven Rood

As predicted, the Philippines is heading into a severe “summer” power crisis. One peculiarity of the widespread use of English in the Philippines is the mismatch between seasonal names and the months of the year. Leaves start falling from trees in March – is it “autumn?” No, trees are just preparing for the dead season – not the long cold nights of winter, but the long, hot dry days of summer: April and May. The Philippine term for this period is literally “the time of heat,” but among English speakers this is “summer,” rather to the bemusement of Americans who associate that term with June through August.

Philippines Energy crisis

The Philippines faces a looming energy crisis, and general concern for electricity supply (and price) has been a feature in the Philippines for years. Photo/Flickr user Adam Cohn. http://bit.ly/1B17NNa

Thus the label “summer brownouts” for the impending power shortage expected to descend on the Philippines in the next few weeks. “Brownouts” is another Filipinism – rather than referring to voltage reductions, it means power outages or “blackouts.”

Hydropower is reduced due to the seasonal dry spell, and a major gas production facility supplying power plants will be shut down, so that electricity reserves will be running lower – low enough that a random “tripping” or shutdown of a power plant on the grid might cause widespread outages. Or there may be more proactive management of an electricity shortage, with rotating outages among localities – a practice that is fairly common in the southern island of Mindanao.

Those with long memories will remember that the Philippines has been here before, in the (literally) dark days of the early 1990s under the administration of President Corazon Aquino (the current president’s mother). The 1986 ouster of President Marcos led to the cancellation of a controversial nuclear power plant, and no new capacity was built – leading to daylong outages that stalled the economy. The incoming Ramos administration (1992-1998) solved the problem through emergency powers granted by the 1991 Energy Crisis Act to conclude contracts for new power generation.

Those whose memories do not go back that far might know that this looming energy crisis has been predicted for a year now, and general concern for electricity supply (and price) has been a feature in the Philippines for years.

So why hasn’t the government’s response been more proactive?  One answer is red tape. The Department of Energy estimates that it takes 165 signatures and a minimum of three years to secure the necessary permits (which can then be challenged, and delayed, in court by local activists opposed to, say, coal power plants). Another is reluctance of some investors in the face of contractual and pricing insecurity. In the last decade, the previous Arroyo administration renegotiated the contracts made during the energy crisis in the 1990s to try to get more favorable terms. And the Energy Regulatory Commission has often been slow to approve cost recovery, delaying rate changes in the face of increasing generation costs.

The main response to the predicted shortages has been the Interruptible Load Program (ILP). This enrolls large establishments who have their own generators (shopping malls, office buildings, factories) to voluntarily interrupt their power from the main grid and start running their generators when a shortage is predicted. The concept is that if an outage occurred they would have to do so anyway, so it is more socially and economically beneficial to do this in a planned fashion. Though the details of compensation – its source and amount – have not been finalized, many firms have signed up. Some private sector economists feel this will be sufficient. Others are not so sanguine, including the government’s Department of Energy. Thus, last year, the administration of President Noynoy Aquino requested a joint congressional resolution granting him emergency powers for a limited time period to fast-track contracts for new power generation. The proposal was controversial – naturally the political opposition was suspicious of increased presidential powers; some felt that since the ILP was in place it was not necessary, and others recalled the Ramos example as yielding high-priced power. In the event, Congress has not (as of this writing) passed the resolutions – both the Senate and House of Representatives passed a version, but a conference committee has been unable to resolve differences.

This feeds into the discourse about a “power shortage” of another kind – the allegedly waning power of President Aquino. Last year there were controversies about pork barrel funding through legislative-executive collaboration, and a flexible executive budgetary process (the Disbursement Acceleration Program), both of which were declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. Many warned that without these political tools the president’s influence over the legislative process would be weakened.

Most recently there has been the constant controversy over the January 25 clash in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, where 44 members of the Philippine National Police Special Action Force were killed in an operation against the Malaysian terrorist Marwan. Eighteen members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front were killed in the incident, along with five civilians. For six weeks now, controversies, multiple inquiries, and televised Congressional hearings have dominated the headlines.

This week public opinion data showed that nationwide approval and trust of President Aquino had taken a hit. Many take this as another sign that the president is weakened politically. What they do not take into account is that he is far more popular than was President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo at a similar point in her presidential term (15 months before the end), and she remained a political force right up to the very last day of her incumbency.

So, we’ll have to see if the Philippines can avoid power outages this summer. But we can confidently predict a President Aquino to be reckoned with until July 2016, when he steps down.

Steven Rood is The Asia Foundation’s country representative in the Philippines. He tweets @StevenRoodPH, and can be reached at [email protected]. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and not those of The Asia Foundation.

About our blog, InAsia

InAsia is a bi-weekly in-depth, in-country resource for readers who want to stay abreast of significant events and issues shaping Asia’s development, hosted by The Asia Foundation. Drawing on the first-hand insight of renowned experts, InAsia delivers concentrated analysis on issues affecting each region of Asia, as well as Foundation-produced reports and polls.

InAsia is posted and distributed every other Wednesday evening, Pacific Time. If you have any questions, please send an email to [email protected].

Contact

For questions about InAsia, or for our cross-post and re-use policy, please send an email to [email protected].

The Asia Foundation
465 California St., 9th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94104

AsiaFoundation70

This year, we celebrate 70 years of improving lives and expanding opportunities.

One Year After Siege, Zamboanga Critical to Success of Any Peace Agreement

InAsia

Insights and Analysis

One Year After Siege, Zamboanga Critical to Success of Any Peace Agreement

September 10, 2014

By Steven Rood

On Sept. 9, 2013, Zamboanga City woke to an unfolding nightmare. Some 200 Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) fighters under the charismatic commander Ustadz Habier Malik had landed. They professed, despite the fact that they were fully armed, an intention merely to have a peaceful march in support of independence for Muslim-dominated areas in the southern Philippines. When government security forces halted their march, MNLF forces took hostages as a string of human shields, tying them together with rope. As a nightmare, this was a recurrence: the same tactic had been used by disaffected MNLF forces in Zamboanga City in 2001, and the resolution involved the captors marching away with their guns, shielded by hostages, and at the end releasing them unharmed (at least.)

In 2013 this was not to be. Government leaders decided not to negotiate, and the result was a drawn-out siege. Nineteen days later, 208 MNLF fighters had been killed (reportedly including Commander Malik), and 280 arrested. Twelve civilians were killed, including four of the hostages. Twenty-five members of the security forces died in the fighting. Five barangays (villages) were razed, some 10,000 houses destroyed, and some 120,000 people (mostly Muslims) displaced into makeshift shelters, the city’s grandstand, a seaside boulevard, and residences scattered throughout the city.

Zamboanga conflict

A view of battle-scarred Lustre Street in the center of Zamboanga City in the aftermath of fighting. Photo/Jowel Canuday

The one-year anniversary in 2014 was the occasion for considerable coverage. Al Jazeera’s Jamela Alindogan and the NGO Peace Advocates Zamboanga traced the events of the siege while other outlets such as AFP and Rappler covered the plight of those still displaced. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports that some 26,000 people are still in evacuation centers or transitional housing – with plans to move them all to the latter by December. Some 5,400 families are then to be accommodated in permanently built units, but that does not include some 1,661 packages of Home Materials Assistance that are meant to assist residents in self-repair. While in aggregate numbers this would cover those openly displaced, it does not include home-based displaced persons, which OCHA admits are hard to estimate and reach with services. It is clear that not all displaced residents will be allowed to return – the villages were largely informal settlements and in site preparation for residents’ return area will be devoted to streets wide enough for fire trucks, drainage to improve sanitation, access ways for bridges, walkways, and security outposts.

The city government, for its part, commemorated the anniversary on September 9 with a series of events: groundbreaking for residential “houses on stilts” in barangay Mariki for those who prefer to live on the sea; turnover of permanent housing units in barangay Sta. Catalina so that residents could return; an art exhibit produced by hundreds of children who had undergone workshops for psychosocial healing, and an ecumenical service honoring both the security forces and the hostages that included Muslim, Protestant, and Catholic speakers. Under the theme of “Build Back Better Zamboanga,” the aim of the day was to convey hope and progress in the face of unsatisfactory living conditions for displaced persons and the slow progress of return to their coastal communities.

Zamboanga siege anniversary

Under the theme of “Build Back Better Zamboanga,” the aim of the anniversary event was to convey hope and progress in the face of unsatisfactory living conditions for displaced persons and the slow progress of return to their coastal communities. Above, a housing resettlement plan for displaced residents in Zamboanga. Photo/Jason Reyes

But all of this examination covers just one year, from the beginning of the siege to its commemoration. Understanding the significance of what has happened requires a longer perspective.

First, the motivation for the incursion – whether or not it was originally meant as peaceful – was MNLF dissatisfaction with the implementation of their 1996 “Final Peace Agreement” with the government, in the face of rapid progress in negotiations with the rival Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). The Philippine Congress is now considering a bill that would institute a revamped “Bangsamoro” political entity to replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (which the MNLF ran for five or nine years depending on how you count after the 1996 agreement). In the meantime, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation still backs the MNLF as the representative of Muslims in the Philippines, and in June 2014 said that the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro with the MILF was only a “partial implementation” of the 1996 Final Peace Agreement. In short, no progress has been made in reconciling the various elements of the MNLF to progress being made with the MILF.

Second, while considerable controversy attends the decision not to negotiate with Ustadz Malik, but rather to fight it out, the basic disposition to resist armed Muslim incursion is rooted in history. Muslims are not totally marginalized – 31 of the 98 barangays are headed by Muslims, and three members of the city council are Muslims. But the many Muslims fleeing from the Sulu archipelago over four decades of armed conflict settled in a city with a distinct character. For centuries Zamboanga was the bastion of Spanish colonial power in the southern Philippines, to the extent that the language spoken, Chavacano, is a creole language based on Spanish. And, as noted, only a dozen years before a similar hostage-taking incident had occurred as a result of MNLF dissatisfaction with how the 1996 Final Peace Agreement was being implemented. Thus, there is an allergy to being included in a peace process with Moros – just last month the city turned down a JICA-funded project in Sacol Island because it was being implemented by the development arm of the MILF, the Bangsamoro Development Agency. Sacol Island was among the areas covered under the ill-fated 2008 Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (which was invalidated by the Supreme Court amid an upsurge of separatist violence). Zamboanga City has been adamant that no part is to be included in the Bangsamoro settlement, though it wishes Muslim-dominated areas well as they negotiate the new arrangement.

Even though it will not be part of the Bangsamoro territorial coverage, Zamboanga City is crucial to the success of any peace agreement for a number of reasons. The treatment of Muslim displaced persons needs to justify faith of the Muslim community that they are welcome in the larger Philippine nation. If a “Latin City” is seen as not caring sufficiently for its Muslim inhabitants, it strengthens the case for separatism. Economically, as an entrepôt sandwiched between the mainland hinterland of the Zamboanga Peninsula and the Muslim-dominated Sulu Archipelago, the city provides a vital link in value chains and trade routes. Culturally it is vibrant, and potentially a demonstration of the benefits of pluralism and tolerance.

Leadership, both from the city government and the various communities and peoples of Zamboanga, will be needed to fulfill potential and avoid pitfalls. The glass as of today is indeed half-empty if you look at the continuing plight of those displaced, and half-full if you look at progress that is finally being made at repairing lives. Much rides on how fast the water level rises.

Steven Rood is The Asia Foundation’s country representative in the Philippines. From 2009-2013 he observed negotiations between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front as the Foundation’s representative on the International Contact Group. Since 2013 he has been a member of the Third Party Monitoring Team, overseeing the implementation of agreements. He tweets as @StevenRoodPH, and can be reached at [email protected]. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and not those of The Asia Foundation.

Related locations: Philippines
Related programs: Conflict and Fragile Conditions, Good Governance
Related topics: Bangsamoro, Religious Conflict

About our blog, InAsia

InAsia is a bi-weekly in-depth, in-country resource for readers who want to stay abreast of significant events and issues shaping Asia’s development, hosted by The Asia Foundation. Drawing on the first-hand insight of renowned experts, InAsia delivers concentrated analysis on issues affecting each region of Asia, as well as Foundation-produced reports and polls.

InAsia is posted and distributed every other Wednesday evening, Pacific Time. If you have any questions, please send an email to [email protected].

Contact

For questions about InAsia, or for our cross-post and re-use policy, please send an email to [email protected].

The Asia Foundation
465 California St., 9th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94104

AsiaFoundation70

This year, we celebrate 70 years of improving lives and expanding opportunities.