Semi-Plenary Session I

Wednesday, 8 September 2021
11:00 – 12:30 CEST

Environmental geopolitics in Asia: Lessons for “Fit for Purpose” Policy Analysis

Host organization: 
The Institute of Water Policy, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore

Benjamin Cashore, Li Ka Shing Professor of Public Management, Coordinator, the initiative to build the Lee Kuan Yew School’s Public Policy Institute for Environment and Sustainability (PPIES), Co-director, Institute of Water Policy

Prof. Sreeja Nair (Bottom up sustainable development initiatives in India)
Prof. Marina Kaneti, LKYSPP (Resource extraction and the Belt and Road Initiative)
Prof. Vinod Thomas

One of the most important challenges of our times for environmental scholars in general, and the Earth System Governance network in particular, is the generation of practical insights from cutting-edge social science scholarship. These challenges are starkly evident and highly pressing in Asia, where governments, intergovernmental, and non-governmental organizations are seeking to develop meaningful policies and strategies to address enduring environmental challenges – from water use to biodiversity loss to the climate crisis. The purpose of this panel is to generate discussions about how best to draw on basic scholarship within international relations, comparative public policy, and area studies to inform applied policy analysis. This panel is also part of and will inform, deliberations for building the Lee Kuan Yew School’s Public Policy Institute for Environment and Sustainability (PPIES), as well as formalizing its role as Asia’s research hub for the Earth System Governance network. To do this, three leading scholars from the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy will reflect on the lessons from their research in informing practical policy analysis and the choice of “fit for purpose” policy tools.

Dr. Vinod Thomas is a former Director-General of Independent Evaluation at Asian Development Bank, and a Country Director for Brazil and Vice President of the World Bank. His current research interests include cutting edge issues in Climate Change and the Environment, Green Growth, Disparities and Inclusive Growth, Demographics and Aging, Cost-Benefit Analysis, Public Finance, Health and Education, Economic Policy and Reform, Governance and Institutions. Work on Evaluation and Results as well as on Organizational Change and Management are continuing interests.

Dr. Marina Kaneti studies China’s environmental and climate leadership initiatives in the context of the Belt Road and beyond. She examines their larger impact on questions of environmental global governance as well as their (potential) alignment with concrete, tangible solutions to the climate crisis

Dr. Sreeja Nair is an inter-disciplinary policy researcher with a specialization in environmental policy and governance. She studies policy processes and tools of governments for designing policies for the long-term focusing on the interplay of science and politics. Her research covers issues facing high uncertainty in the future policy context such as climate change, food and water security, and more recently digital transformation and workforce resilience. Her current research is on policy experimentation and piloting.