What is your background, and main occupation(s)? Please give us a few details about yourself.
I am an independent author, researcher and consultant, and a Research Fellow at Chiang Mai University, Thailand. Main research interests: ethnic armed conflicts and peace processes in Burma/Myanmar and Mindanao; politics of language and education; climate change, resilience and varieties of adaptation. My publications are available at - www.AshleySouth.co.uk My latest: 'Towards a Tipping Point? Climate Change, Disaster Risk Reduction and Resilience in Southeast Myanmar' - Ashley South and Liliana Demartini (ActionAid Myanmar, August 2020): https://myanmar.actionaid.org/publications/2020/towards-tipping-point Key Messages: Myanmar bears little responsibility for the climate crises affecting the planet. Nevertheless, the country is highly vulnerable to climate-related hazards. Between 1981-2010, daily maximum temperatures went up by 0.4°C and are expected to increase further by the middle of the century. Serious changes in rainfall patterns are also expected, with sea levels rising between 20-41 cm by the mid-21st century. Already, the monsoon duration shows a significant reduction. Climate change particularly impacts the agricultural sector, which employs the majority of people in Myanmar. Hazards disproportionately affect the poorest and most vulnerable groups, such as conflict-affected people in Karen State who are increasingly exposed to floods and landslides, fire and droughts. Climate change can be an opportunity (or “critical juncture”) to re-imagine the kind of world we live in, and struggle for transformations in state-society and power relations. ‘Building back better’ should include the transformation of social and political-economic relations, through supporting community and women’s leadership. Local transformative capacity is strengthened when women take greater roles in Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR). DRR activities should be decentralized, within a federal constitutional framework, as envisaged in the peace process. In the immediate aftermath of disaster, local self-help and coping mechanisms are the most important elements of response. Strong community networks, based on ethno-linguistic and religious identities (‘social capital’), have sustained and supported absorptive capacities and foster social protection. Climate Resilient Sustainable Agriculture, including adopting new crops (green beans) can be an effective adaptation in areas where climate change is negatively impacting rice cultivation. Many of Myanmar’s remaining forested areas of biodiversity are located in areas controlled by the Karen National Union (KNU) and other EAOs, who should play key roles in climate change governance in Southeast Myanmar, as acknowledged in the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement. The capacities and resilience of individuals, families and communities described in this report will be fundamental elements of a sustainable, just and equitable recovery from the Covid-19 crisis. However, these responses and adaptations may not be enough to achieve long-term climate change resilience, particularly in the more disastrous climate change scenarios. Some communities may reach a ‘tipping point’, beyond which local adaptation strategies no longer work. Particularly vulnerable are potentially marginalised subgroups such as women and people with disabilities.
What is your purpose in joining the Forum? Do you have a particular idea or project in mind? Please be specific.
Deep adaptation in Burma/Myanmar - see above
Science / Research
Find out more about my work
Burma - Myanmar
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What are the other ways in which you would like to give back to and to support this community?
by contributing useful knowledge and relevant resources, by organising or hosting online meetings, by organising local/professional gatherings, by advising my fellow members or soliciting advice, by introducing the Deep Adaptation framework into my profession or policy-making