Institute of Asia and Pacific Studies

Non-Traditional Security in Asia

There are many aspects of non-traditional security in Asia. These themes are deliberately broad, encompassing multiple strands.

Resource security

One major issue that IAPS members engage with is that of resource security, specifically energy and food security and the politics of water. Over one third of the world's freshwater is located within the Himalayas. Tensions between upstream states and those lower downstream seen in all regions of Asia are likely to intensify as the call for hydro-energy and irrigation grows more acute due to population growth, climate change and economic development.

These issues not only affect relations between states but are increasingly the source of tension within countries. The conflicts and resolutions of trans-boundary natural resources and the geographies of rehabilitation of natural disaster-affected populations, particularly in Southeast Asia have been the focus of the work of some of our members. 

The intertwined issues of energy security, water politics and food security are an important area which IAPS will be organising events on in the coming academic year.

Human security

Another area of non-traditional security is human security. IAPS members currently work on the impact of the 'War on Terror' on human security in Asia, particularly on the relationship between anti-terrorist measures and a broad understanding of human security. Migration is another issue that IAPS members have engaged with, seeking to examine the (historical and present) causes of migration and conflict occurring from migration. Much of this research also links to the recognition and identity research strand of IAPS.


A final theme links into the idea of humanitarianism. The concept is increasingly used to legitimate a range of actions and actors in response to complex emergencies and natural disasters. 

But do all cultures understand humanitarianism in the same way? Do all attach equal value to the oft cited 'core principles of humanitarianism': humanity, impartiality, neutrality and independence? Do different understandings of humanitarianism shape the way different societies and cultures respond to humanitarian imperatives and to humanitarian challenges? 

This research examines how different societies understand the nature of humanitarian obligations, and how they believe these obligations should be acted upon in responding to humanitarian emergencies.


Current projects being undertaken by IAPS members in this area include:

Non-traditional security


Institute of Asia and Pacific Studies

School of Politics and International Relations
Law and Social Sciences building
University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

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