The COVID-19 pandemic and its subsequent economic recession have revealed the failure of our current economic system to protect our human rights from a rising number of crises. It has shown how existing inequalities and low levels of workers protection in Southeast Asia have exacerbated the impacts of the pandemic and plunged vulnerable groups in precarious situations. It also illustrated how environmental destruction, at the heart of our production systems, has contributed to the rising number of deadly crises in the region, including zoonosis such as COVID-19, and climate change.
A fossil-fuel heavy economic recovery from this crisis, could prove to be a catastrophe for addressing climate change and reducing the rising number of pandemics. The region cannot afford to let short-term economic responses undermine the progress of the past several years, locking the world into a high-carbon trajectory that is not compliant with the Paris Agreement. This is particularly true for a region that is deemed one of the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.
In response to this situation, ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR) has organised a wide-range of activities in 2020 to ensure that parliamentarians in Southeast Asia are able to use their mandate to push for measures advancing a structural change towards low-carbon “green” economies in the economic recovery plans and measures on COVID-19. In November 2020, APHR issued a manifesto in which 67 current and former parliamentarians from Southeast Asia committed to promote concrete measures towards a structural shift to a just and sustainable economic recovery in Southeast Asia.
In order to support its advocacy effort, APHR is commissioning a research report to assess how and if measures adopted within the context of the economic recovery from COVID-19 in ASEAN contribute to decarbonising the economy, to identify existing best practices taken by ASEAN member states during the period of March 2020 to March 2021 and develop specific recommendations for ASEAN parliamentarians to take to ensure a green and low-carbon economic recovery.
This research will serve as a tool for MPs to deepen their understanding of the type of measures they can promote at the national level and identify potentially good practices adopted by some countries in the region that can be replicated in other countries and inspire our MPs for action. This research will also inscribe itself in continuity with our previous activities such as the COVID-19 APHR manifesto and help sustain our engagement with MPs adamant on this topic.
Assess whether (and if) measures adopted in ASEAN within the context of the economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic contribute to the decarbonisation of the economy
Identify potential best practices for ASEAN governments to advance a just transition to a low-carbon economy in order to contribute to a sustainable and successful economic recovery from COVID-19.
Devise targeted recommendations for parliamentarians to contribute to advancing a just transition to a low-carbon economy in their countries.
The methodology expected for this output is a mixed method.
Desk-based research: It is expected that the research consultant will conduct extensive desk research to identify and collect measures adopted by countries in Southeast Asia in response to the COVID-19 economic recovery. The research consultant will, among others review decrees, economic incentives, legislation etc.
Interviews: The research consultant will also undertake qualitative interviews of policy-makers, MPs, academics, civil society actors and other experts, including relevant international agencies.
It is likely that the researcher will require interpretation or might need the support of local researchers in some of the countries. The researchers can hire the support of some people he/she identifies as part of the payment package. APHR can assist in identifying potential research assistants.
APHR can also assist in recommending some of the literature reviews and some of the experts to interview.
Potential sub-research questions will include (as example):
What measures have been taken in ASEAN during the COVID-19 pandemic to:
Reskill workers and facilitate workers’ transition towards a low-carbon economy labor market? Boost opportunities for decent and green employment?
What is the overall share of renewables in the recovery program? Which are the other green elements of the recovery program that will support the energy transition?
What fiscal measures have been introduced to facilitate a just transition to a low-carbon economy?
Outputs and Timeframe
The final deadline for the report is 30 June 2021. The tone of the report should be objective and constructive. It should be clear, concise, and form a logical assessment and identification of short term, medium and long term recommendations for members of parliament of Southeast Asia. The report should be no more than 40 pages including footnotes, written in Arial font 11, spacing 1.15.
The Executive Summary of the report will be translated into eight languages (Thai, Burmese, Malay, Vietnamese, Khmer, Laosian, Indonesian, Tetum) and will be released through an online press conference in July 2021. APHR will develop a number of advocacy outputs based on the report such as a press release, social media videos and a short page brief condensed version of the report.
The deliverables include the following:
Inception meeting with the Advocacy and Campaigns Officer and Research and Advocacy Director to answer questions from the consultant.
1st March 2021
The consultant undertakes the research. Director and Officer to remain available to respond to any questions and clarifications required by the consultant. March-April 2021.
Consultant submits detailed draft outline – 3 May 2021 APHR to review within 72 hours.
First draft of the report 23 May 2021 – APHR to review by 7 June
Second draft of the report 20 June – APHR to review by 27 June.
Final report 30 June 2021
The consultant should have a background (at least Masters level) in social sciences including political science, economics, law and others. A focus on environmental policy-making is highly regarded.
The consultant should have at least 3 years prior experience in undertaking research and policy and legal recommendations relating to economic recovery from crises, environmental policy-making and/or low-carbon growth or decarbonisation. Prior research experience in the ASEAN region and working knowledge of local languages is highly regarded.
The researcher should be able to demonstrate his/her critical skills and understanding of the need/possibilities for systemic changes towards low-carbon economies in ASEAN.
The proposed fees for this consultancy is around 14,000 to 14,700 Euros (subject to Indonesian tax) as a research package for the whole completion of the TOR. Any fees incurred for translation or hiring of research assistants must be deducted from this amount.
About ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights
APHR is a regional network of current and former parliamentarians who use their unique positions to advance human rights and democracy in Southeast Asia. We seek to help create a region where people can express themselves without fear, live free from all forms of discrimination and violence, and where development takes place with human rights at the forefront.
Our members use their mandate to advocate for human rights inside and outside of parliaments, regionally and globally. They work closely with civil society, conduct fact-finding missions, and publish recommendations and opinions on the most important issues affecting the region.
APHR was born out of the recognition that human rights issues in Southeast Asia are interconnected, and from the desire of progressive legislators to work together across borders to promote and protect human rights.