CALL FOR PAPERS | Climate Disaster Governance

Minghua Tay's picture
Call for Papers
May 15, 2017
Subject Fields: 
Social Sciences, Social History / Studies, Southeast Asian History / Studies, Urban Design and Planning, Urban History / Studies

DATE OF EVENT : 21-22 September 2017
VENUE : National University of Singapore


This conference is organized by Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore; with support from Singapore Ministry of Education Tier 2 Grant - Governing Compound Disasters in Urbanizing Asia.

In Anthropocene Asia-Pacific, climate change is driving rapid alterations of the environment that combine with processes of planetary urbanization. Taken together, these converging forces pose fundamental questions about human settlement and the health of our planet. Impacts of climate change are already well known: global sea rise threatening island and coastal settlements, the melting of high mountain glaciers that threatens major riparian regions, the destabilization of regional food production sources, extreme weather events, including record high temperatures around the world and extreme droughts and water shortages. The year 2016 saw the highest temperatures for a third consecutive year since 1880. Global sea ice is at its lowest level since satellite monitoring began in the 1970s, and recent research suggests that predicted sea-level rises will be higher than previously estimated. Complete melting of polar glaciers will result in the complete inundation of many islands and large lowland coastal regions that combine in total to hundreds of millions in population. The projected loss of the Himalayan glaciers will have parallel devastating impacts on livelihoods and produce compound disasters across continental Asia.

As livelihoods, food security, infrastructure, and health are more frequently and deeply impacted by climate change, disasters will experience several key trends. One is the merging of conflict disasters with environmental disasters as, for example, droughts mix with ethnic and other sources of social conflicts. Another is that populations facing disasters will increasingly migrate across national borders as home regions become unliveable through either conflict over resources or environmental disasters such as chronic flooding, or combinations of both.

A third dimension is the emergence of cities and inter-urban networks replacing or at least providing alternative systems of flows of people and resources (including migrant remittances) to the international political system based on the nation-state. With refugee flows across borders expected to exponentially increase with the intensifying impacts of climate change, national governments will also increasingly default to migrant receiving cities to cope with climate change refugees. This further underscores the already observable growth of the role of non-state actors in responding to disasters. In Asia to date, however, neither cities nor non-state civil society actors are recognized as major players in disaster relief. When coupled with the absence of official recognition of climate change refugees in international organizations such as the United Nations, anticipating the impacts of, and alternative sources of, responses to climate change is exceptionally difficult.

The rapidly changing contexts for research and action suggested by the trends noted above provide the basis for building a research agenda specific to climate change-induced disaster governance in the Anthropocene and the necessity of learning from the past as well as from the present in thinking about cultural adaption and strategies for coping with climate change in the coming years. This agenda includes the following components: population mobilities, urban resilience and adaption; conflict and environmental disaster; health; cultural adaption.


Paper proposals should include a title, an abstract (250 words maximum) and a brief personal biography of 150 words for submission by 15 May 2017. Please submit your proposal, using the proposal template available on the website, to Ms Tay Minghua at Successful applicants will be notified by mid June 2017 and will be required to send in a draft paper by 1 September 2017.


Conference Convenors

Dr Fiona Williamson
Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore
E |

Dr Michelle Miller
Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore
E |

Prof Michael Douglass
Asia Research Institute, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore
E |

Contact Info: 

Ms Tay Minghua
Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore
AS8 Level 7, 10 Kent Ridge Crescent, Singapore 119260
Tel: (65) 6516 4224
Fax: (65) 6779 1428