Wherever I am, the world comes after me.
It offers me its busyness. It does not believe that I do not want it.
Now I understand 
why the old poets of China went so far
and high 
into the mountains, then crept into the pale mist.
"The Old Poets of China" by Mary Oliver

The UP Asian Center will co-host the 7th NACAI International Symposium: Energy and Environment Nexus and the Future of the Asia-Pacific Region on 17 November 2023, at the GT-Toyota Asian Cultural Center Auditorium. The event is strictly by-invitation only.


The nexus between energy and the environment is a major concern when discussing modernization and industrialization, and sustainable growth and development. In the Asia-Pacific region, the interconnectedness between growth and development on the one hand, and energy use and the environment on the other is salient. With the populations and economies of the region growing rapidly in the past decades, so too has its unsustainable use of energy and natural resources increasing the vulnerabilities of its ecosystems. For instance, from 2014 to 2017, Asia-Pacific was hit by more natural disasters than any other region. These calamities—2,017 storms and cyclones and 236 cases of severe flooding—affected 650 million people and led to about 33 thousand deaths.1
One immediate challenge is climate change. Data shows that the Asia-Pacific region accounts for more than half of the greenhouse gas emissions in the world, thus, global warming. This phenomenon is illustrated by the changing weather patterns which include the frequency and intensity of typhoons and droughts, and rising sea levels. Such natural disasters, in turn, have contributed to the displacement of rural and coastal communities, threatening of the flora and fauna, and putting at risk vulnerable island nations. Economic losses have amounted to billions of dollars while poverty in disaster prone areas have worsened.
In this light, many Asia-Pacific countries have passed national policies that aim to promote a balanced approach to national growth and development, energy security, and environmental preservation. Yet despite pledges to net zero and carbon neutrality, only a few countries are on track to meet their National Determined Contribution (NDC) commitments to reduce greenhouse emissions. In 2022, 38 out of 49 countries in the Asia-Pacific contributed 95% of regional emissions.2 Clearly, not much has changed in energy use. Many Asian economies continue to rely on traditional energy sources, particularly coal and crude oil. Many also depend on imported oil from the Middle East, Africa, the Caspian Sea, among others, to meet their energy needs.
At present, the need for new thinking and comprehensive pragmatic solutions to the challenges of meeting development needs while safeguarding the environment has become more urgent. On the same note, the transborder character of development issues arising from the environment, energy, and the economic nexus has also raised the importance of strengthening regional cooperation. Hence, there is a need to study existing agreements and regimes, including those that bring the suppliers and consumers together, to identify and work on policy and technological innovations toward achieving net zero and carbon neutrality. In line with this, the following questions must also be answered: How do developing countries provide for the needs of their economies and societies and still dramatically reduce carbon emissions? How can developed and developing countries cooperate in making the transition toward renewable energy more feasible for households and domestic industries alike? What are the mechanisms that would facilitate and strengthen national, bilateral, and multilateral cooperation to advance green energy?
In this regard, this International Symposium aims to bring together scholars and experts on the subject matter from NACAI member countries. To study the interconnectedness of energy, environment, and economic issues, the presentations and discussions shall adopt multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches.


1.     Climate change and regional mitigation
2.     Development and environmental challenges
3.     Energy Security: Supply and demand
4.     ASEAN’s response to energy and environmental challenges
5.     Issues on ASEAN and China’s oil and gas importation
6.     Asia Pacific greenhouse emissions and ASEAN economic NDC
7.     Energy and environmental regional cooperation and action
8.     Pollution and environmental issues
9.     Environmental Issues and Health
10.   Environment, energy, and Economy
11.   Regional cooperation on Environment and Energy supplies
12.   Energy supplier-consumer cooperation in mitigating environment
13.   Investment flow on Energy and Environment


Established in 2017, the Network of ASEAN-China Academic Institutes (NACAI) consists of ten founding members: Institute of Asian Studies at the Universiti Brunei Darussalam; Institute of Humanities and Social Sciences at the Royal Academy of Cambodi; Center for China’s Relations with Neighboring Countries at Fudan University; ASEAN Study Center at Universitas Indonesia; Asia Research Center at the National University of Laos; Institute of China Studies at the University of Malaya; Department of International Relations at the University of Yangon; the Asian Center at the University of the Philippines, Diliman; the ASEAN Studies Center at Chulalongkorn University; and the Institute for Southeast Asian Studies at the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences. Since its founding, the NACAI has organized six annual international symposia. The UP Asian Center will host the 2023 international symposium. For more information about NACAI, visit their website.
For inquiries, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


The UP Asian Center offers M.A. degrees in Asian Studies with four fields of specialization: Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, and West Asia. The Center also has an M.A. program in Philippine Studies that allows students to major in Philippine society and culture, Philippine foreign relations, or Philippine development studies. The Center offers a Ph.D. program in Philippine Studies in conjunction with the College of Arts and Letters and the College of Social Sciences and Philosophy. For an overview of these graduate programs, click here. The Asian Center also publishes Asian Studies: Journal of Critical Perspectives on Asia, the latest issue of which can be downloaded at the journal's website. For other news and upcoming events at the Asian Center, click here.