This edition of Perspectives Asia presents the work of climate change activists in Asia who are calling their governments and people to action. They are raising their voices, some of them despite severe restrictions on the right of free assembly and freedom of speech. These activists show immense courage and they deserve international recognition for their work.
Nationalistic sentiments spurred by populist rhetoric have been on the rise globally. Asia is no exception to this trend. Some Asian leaders communicate visions that can instill a feeling of pride, creating a rarely felt sense of belonging among people. Yet the current streak of Asian nationalism can also become a setbackfor democracy and human rights.
Over the last years, Asia has undergone an impressive digital transformation. Large parts of the continent have turned from the world’s factory into a creative industry. Asian countries not only manufacture, but also develop new digital products. The region already accounts for half of world’s 2.8 billion internet users and by 2025 fast changing technologies are expected to bring a massive economic change.
What we eat is determined by more than just our preferences. Food choices are shaped by availability, culture and global economic structures. Tradition and wealth can influence what we eat, just as trade and foreign investments can influence our access to food. Due to the high degree of economic interdependence, the purchase of a food product in one country can affect the price development in another, ultimately restricting food choices. In short: Food is a highly political issue. Nowhere is this more true than in Asia.
Asia, the world’s most populous continent, has been undergoing a dramatic transformation. Globalization and new technologies are leading millions of people out of poverty. At the same time thousands have to leave their country. A continent on the move.
This second issue of "Perspectives Asia" provides a forum for the voices of authors from various Asian countries to express their thoughts on possible development models for the region. How can we achieve prosperity for all, without doing long-term damage to nature or threatening the subsistence of entire populations?
In this issue, our authors report on conflicts stemming from coal and copper mining in Afghanistan, India, and Myanmar. The articles on Cambodia and on Inner Mongolia in China illustrate how the traditional economic models and ways of life of indigenous populations suffer from the unrestrained exploitation of raw materials.