Trinnawat Suwanprik – We Must Know the Past, Understand the Present, and Plan for the Future

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Nov 03, 2017
by Trinnawat Suwanprik
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Trinnawat Suwanprik – We Must Know the Past, Understand the Present, and Plan for the Future

Chiang Mai municipality officer calls for Asia to come together as one to create a better-shared future for all Suwanprik says Asia has to come together as one with strategies and commitments to consolidate different development visions

Suwanprik will be a participant at the upcoming session in the series The Asia We Want: Building Community Through Regional Cooperation. All participants were invited to share their own vision for “the Asia we want.”

In the 21st century, the global balance of power will shift from West to East – to Asia. Processes affecting economic and social development will be bigger, faster, and more complicated. Nonetheless, for Asia to aspire to its full potential, we must, more than ever, know the past, understand the present, and plan for the future – a future that we want. Asia has to come together as one, with strategies and commitments to consolidate different development visions and stay on top of trends.

Asia will most likely face profound changes in all its dimensions, whether it be political concerns, socio-economic challenges and opportunities, environmental protection or energy security, as well as culture and conflicts. The lives of the people in Asia will be impacted by these topics in one way or another. Changes in Asia will undoubtedly influence the global scene. The world’s economic powers and businesses, for example, have been reconfiguring themselves to try to enter Asia, perhaps drawn by the region’s growth – something that is reflected in the increasingly larger share of the world’s GDP.

At the regional level, changes in Asia will particularly impact the shaping of infrastructure projects in newly developed economies such as Cambodia, Lao PDR, and Myanmar. Investors will participate directly in their economic development, beginning with those with low barriers to entry, which will make the Asia region better networked. On the ground, the changes and new economic developments will translate into urbanization; with huge and seemingly inexorable flows of people all around the region.

A Clean and Green Asia

As Asia develops, its energy consumption also rises. Fortunately, clean energy is becoming increasingly viable – and this trend has become too significant for the oil and gas industry to ignore. As the trend goes up, consumption of fossil fuel goes down. By 2035, it is expected that fossil fuel will no longer be the dominant source of energy. Hence, in the future for Asia that we envision, more households will have solar power panels, and the cities will be greener. However, the progress in the greening of the city will depend particularly on climate change, depletion of natural resources, and environment protection.

Moreover, in the bigger scheme of things, it should be noted that:

  1. China will rise to become the most powerful country in the world. Faced with this implication, other countries in Asia are left with two options: Accept partnership with China or make conflict with China to contain its power.
  2. The United State will still play a big role in Asia and the Pacific region. The underlying aim of their engagement and partnership with Asia and Pacific is probably to contain the influence of China. However, rapid expansion of many countries in the Asia and Pacific region will render the containment strategy less effective.
  3. India will become the third most powerful country, largely due to the size of its economy and its population. Although India is equipped with talent and technology, there is a power disparity compared to China. Thus it is no surprise that India has been building partnerships with the United States, Japan, and other powers in the Asia-Pacific to counterbalance China as it rises to power.

Numerous actors in Asia will try to steer themselves through the complex currents of change to achieve the glory of economic development. The price of success, however, inevitably leads to more consumption of energy, faster depletion of natural resources, and a greater chance of unintended or negative impact in the region. These are the challenges that Asia has to face. But the real challenge is: How can each country in Asia address and adapt to these challenges in a way that benefits all?

Trinnawat Suwanprik is a government officer serving as sanitary researcher at Chiang Mai municipality, Chiang Mai Thailand.


Session 591 - The Asia We Want: Building Community Through Regional Cooperation I - A Clean and Green Asia- is the first session of a new multi-year series held in partnership with the Japan Foundation. For more information on the Session, please click here. To keep up to date with the conversations taking place during the session on social media, follow #SGSasia.

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