Tackling climate risk in Asia through AMRO and the NGFS

Author: Giridharan Ramasubramanian, ANU Climate change will be a source of significant physical and socioeconomic risk in Asia. To manage the transition to a new climate reality, countries and international institutions in the region will need to account for climate risks when engaging in macroeconomic action. The ASEAN+3 Macroeconomic Research Office (AMRO) is particularly well […] The post Tackling climate risk in Asia through AMRO and the NGFS first appeared on East Asia Forum.

Tackling climate risk in Asia through AMRO and the NGFS

Author: Giridharan Ramasubramanian, ANU

Climate change will be a source of significant physical and socioeconomic risk in Asia. To manage the transition to a new climate reality, countries and international institutions in the region will need to account for climate risks when engaging in macroeconomic action. The ASEAN+3 Macroeconomic Research Office (AMRO) is particularly well placed to link with the Network for Greening the Financial System (NGFS) to advance sustainable finance in East Asia.

AMRO is a regional macroeconomic surveillance organisation that contributes to securing macroeconomic and financial stability in the ASEAN+3 region. It provides regional surveillance capabilities to members of the Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralization (CMIM) — ASEAN’s 10 member states, and China, Japan and South Korea.

AMRO already engages in the analysis of short-term risks, including the impact of pandemics on the macroeconomic stability of East Asia. But it does not yet engage in systematic analyses of the physical and transition risks associated with the impacts of climate change.

AMRO should rectify this by incorporating the NGFS climate framework into its assessment of financial risk in Asia and the macroeconomic stability of East Asian countries. By exploring the economic impacts of various climate scenarios, the NGFS provides a common toolkit that AMRO could include in its analyses of long-term climate risk.

The NGFS is a coalition of the willing comprised of a network of 89 central banks and financial supervisors. Its purpose is to enhance the financial system’s role in managing risks and mobilising capital for green and low-carbon investments to ensure environmentally sustainable development. It currently has participants from several countries in East Asia. To expand its role and ensure that it is a significant player in Asia, the NGFS should establish institutional linkages with regional specialist organisations such as AMRO.

AMRO should consider joining NGFS as an observer to have a better sense of the cutting-edge thinking and practices developed there. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is already an observer. Since AMRO maintains close formal and informal relations with the ADB, it will be well served to support the ADB in providing an East Asian regional perspective in NGFS discussions.

With the collective support of ASEAN+3 member countries, AMRO could sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the NGFS to cement its position within international sustainable finance architecture. AMRO has already signed MoUs to institutionalise joint collaboration with the IMF, the European Stability Mechanism and other international financial institutions. By expanding the range of partnerships, AMRO can bolster its status in East Asia.

AMRO should also undertake greater thematic research into the short-term and long-term risks of climate change by studying its impact on the financial solvency of ASEAN+3 countries. This can create specific case studies of the impact of climate change on different countries. AMRO can also engage in comparative risk analysis of ASEAN+3 countries, providing a window into how they can tap into CMIM funds as the number of climate-related disasters increases in the future. This can be done by harnessing internal staff capabilities or in partnership with the ADB.

AMRO could then provide the NGFS with the deep country specific and region-specific analysis that it currently lacks to refine its conceptual framework. This will allow the NGFS to better apply this framework in other countries and regions.

Through these potential linkages, AMRO can also provide additional space for the central banks of the remaining ASEAN+3 countries — Brunei, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam — to make a more informed judgement on joining the NGFS. By engaging with the NGFS and individual central banks, AMRO can enhance ASEAN countries’ familiarity with the relevance of climate risk in their countries and amplify East Asian voices in the NGFS. These countries can play a greater role in ongoing NGFS workstreams to better prepare East Asian countries to deal with the inevitable financial impacts of climate change.

By collaborating with NGFS, AMRO can provide data and research material that ASEAN+3 countries could use to expand the scope of the CMIM to respond to climate risks. Scholars have commented on the proliferation and fragmentation of financial swap lines in East Asia, potentially undermining the centrality of the CMIM. To ensure that the CMIM remains an important source of liquidity for East Asian countries, it needs to be responsive to future financial risks, including climate change. This will ensure that ASEAN+3 countries do not depend solely on IMF Article IV consultations, which recently started integrating climate analyses in annual country economic assessments.

Since its inception, AMRO has evolved to become more institutionalised. However, one challenge faced by AMRO is that its authority is both derived from and constrained by ASEAN+3 member countries. Regional institutions in the Asia Pacific have often established formal and informal strategic connections with other institutions to expand their operational space and enhance their influence.

AMRO should carefully design institutional linkages with regional and global financial institutions to strengthen its role in the region and ensure that it is at the forefront of supporting Asian countries in their transition to net-zero economies.

Giridharan Ramasubramanian is a PhD candidate at the Coral Bell School of Asia-Pacific Affairs, The Australian National University.

The post Tackling climate risk in Asia through AMRO and the NGFS first appeared on East Asia Forum.
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No Holds Barred: Myanmar Junta Grabs Family Members to Get at Wanted Protesters

One critic likened the hostage-taking tactic to “the work of a terror gang."

No Holds Barred: Myanmar Junta Grabs Family Members to Get at Wanted Protesters

Facing unrelenting popular resistance to military rule three months after they ousted the elected government , Myanmar’s junta has increasingly turned to hostage taking – grabbing family members to force wanted opponents to surrender, legal experts and rights activists said Thursday. 

The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners in Myanmar, a Thailand-based NGO that gas tracked more than 770 killings of civilians and more than 3,700 arrests since the Feb. 1 army takeover, has also document 40 people who have been taken hostage by the military to get at opponent of the junta or supporters of the shadow government.

The well-known film actor couple Pyay Ti Oo and his Aindra Kyaw Zin are now in detention at Shwe Pyi Tha Interrogation camp, charged with incitement under Section 50(a) of the Penal Code, after turning themselves in to protect their children, a friend told RFA.

“They (police and soldiers) asked the family to call them back. They threatened to arrest the children and family if they don't show up,” said a source close to the couple.

Families of members of the Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM) of work stoppages by professionals including teachers, civil servants, bankers and doctors are a major target, as are relatives of supporters of the new National Unity Government (NUG), made up of ousted lawmakers and ethnic minority leaders.

In the Mandalay region of central Myanmar, the military and police raided the home of a schoolteacher involved in the anti-military movement and arrested her mother and younger brother, a second bother said.

"She is a school teacher who had joined the CDM. About 40 soldiers and police raided the house one day without any arrest warrant being issued. And our mother and brother were arrested because they could not find her,” he told RFA.

Soldiers also searched the home of Yan Naing Lin, an electrician in the Bago Division of central Myanmar, seizing his wife, mother and brother without releasing them for about three weeks, he said from hiding.

"I haven’t been able to contact them since April 15th. I can’t find out where they are detained. Their main thing is to get me. I don’t know whether they will release my family or not if I surrender,” Yan Naing Lin told RFA.

Illegal everywhere

The military has accused him of making a hand grenade, he said, adding that he is unable to produce evidence to support his innocence and he isn’t sure his family would be released even if he cooperates.

According to local media reports, incidents of hostage-taking have become more frequent, with most of those detained to force the surrender of a wanted relative remaining in custody.

Khin Maung Zaw, one of the lawyers for deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi, said the tactic is illegal everywhere.

"In every country, the law permits action to be taken only against the perpetrator and no one else can be prosecuted in his place,” he told RFA.

Taking hostages to pursue suspects “is not the action of an organization that works with a constitution and existing laws.” Said journalist Si Thu Aung Myint

“It is more like the work of a terror gang," he said.

The brutal crackdown on anyone who has been involved in anti-government protests have driven many demonstrators and NUG supporters into hiding. 

"Ever since we decided to join the CDM, we have considered the consequences,” said a doctor in Mandalay, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

“We knew we could lose our jobs, our licenses could be revoked, and we might have to go to jail. We might even get killed. But we never thought our children, our families would be harmed. This is worrisome.”

Security forces walk past shops as they search for protesters, who were taking part in a demonstration against the military coup, in downtown Yangon, May 6, 2021. Credit: AFP

Hindu, Chinese woman killed

The military's actions transcend simple human rights abuses, said Nicky Diamond, of the NGO Fortify Rights.

"Not only are they violating human rights. Their actions are so vicious that they are violating the obligations of the military to protect the people of the country,” he told RFA.

RFA tried to contact Maj. Gen. Zaw Min Tun to ask about the allegations but reporters phone calls to the junta spokesman went unanswered.

The family of Aung Khaing Myint, 33, were told Wednesday to inspect his body, they told RFA.

“We saw his body at the 1,000 bed hospital in Shwedaung. They said he was arrested in connection with the bombing of Innwa Bank in Sagaing and that he had died after jumping out of the car following the arrest,” said a relative.

“They didn’t show us the whole body – just the face – and we saw beating marks on his cheeks and throat and bruises on his chin,” the family member said.

“We are Hindus and told them we need to hold our religious rites but they refuse to give the body back,” added the bereaved family member

In Mandalay, junta soldiers shot two ethnic Chinese Myanmar nationals who were coming home after getting coronavirus vaccinations at a local hospital, killing one and wounding the other, said witness.

“A passing motorcyclist was showing a three-finger salute and the soldiers fired four shots at him but instead hit the Chinese couple on another motorcycle,” the source said.

“The woman was hit in the face and died on the spot but the guy who got hit near the jawline was taken for medical treatment to Nandwin hospital.  The woman’s body was taken to Chinese Yunnan Temple after an autopsy,” said the witness.

Reported by RFA’s Myanmar Service. Translated by Khin Maung Nyane. Written in English by Paul Eckert.

Source : Radio Free Asia More   

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