Featured East-West Center Research Projects


Pacific RISA (Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments) Program

Press conference with Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell
The East-West Center's Victoria Keener (right) at a press conference with (from left to right) University of Hawai'i Professor Chip Fletcher, Honolulu Chief Resilience Officer Josh Stanbro, and Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell.

The East-West Center’s Pacific RISA program helps communities in Hawai‘i and the US-Affiliated Pacific Islands understand, plan for, and respond to the impacts of climate variability and change. The Pacific RISA team led writing of the chapter on Hawai‘i and the US-Affiliated Pacific Islands in Volume II of the Fourth National Climate Assessment. Released in November 2018, this is the most significant US report to assess the effects of climate change on the US economy and communities. Strained freshwater supplies, damaged and compromised coastal infrastructure, coral reef death, and greater stresses on native biodiversity and species are major concerns and challenges detailed in the Hawai‘i-Pacific Islands chapter of the report.


Changes in Rice Farming in Mainland Southeast Asia

East-West Center Fellow Phanwin Yokying
interviews farmers in Northern Thailand.

Ongoing changes in the global economy as well as environmental changes mean that both the incentives for growing rice and the ways in which rice is produced will require novel socioeconomic, environmental, and technological adaptations. To help address these challenges, East-West Center researchers are conducting a collaborative study on changes in rice farming in mainland Southeast Asia. Researchers will examine one of the most intriguing agricultural-development questions in the region—how have fewer, older farmers with fewer agricultural laborers and smaller farms managed to more than double rice production over the past 20 years?


Population and the Generational Economy

Participants in NTA workshop in Capetown, South Africa.
Participants in NTA workshop in Capetown, South Africa.

Throughout the world, including Asia and the Pacific, rapid demographic change is having an important impact on national economies. To improve the analysis of the economic impact of population change, research teams in more than 90 countries have developed a new set of economic accounts, National Transfer Accounts (NTA), that estimate how people at every stage of life acquire and use economic resources to support themselves, their families, and—through public programs—others in their societies. These new data add an important dimension to estimates of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and other measures of national economies.


HIV Policy Analysis, Research, and Training

HIV graph

Center researchers work with national partners throughout Asia and with colleagues from regional and international agencies to improve understanding of national HIV epidemics and help policymakers achieve the maximum impact in countering epidemics with the limited available resources.





Addressing Drought in Hawaii and the US-Affiliated Pacific Islands

East-West Center researchers are collecting and analyzing statewide information on drought in Hawai'i across multiple sectors. They are working with partners at the US Department of Agriculture Forest Service and the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa to pilot Drought Knowledge Exchange projects in which researchers collaborate with land managers to co-produce site-specific drought information.


Rise of China and the Strategic Environment in Northeast Asia

Book cover

Research explores Chinese foreign policy, the North Korea nuclear weapons crisis, and China's relations with Japan and Taiwan. One focus is on tensions arising from disputed claims in the South China Sea.








Mapping Forest Dynamics after 25 Years of Community Management in the Middle Hills of Nepal

Tree Cover graph

Multi-disciplinary research is analyzing forest transitions and associated socioeconomic variables in Nepal, where an innovative system of community forest management has received worldwide recognition but little documentation.




Climate, Health, and Migration from the Marshall Islands

Flooding in the Marshall Islands.

The Pacific RISA (Regional Integrated Science and Assessment) program team is working with the Marshall Islands Ministry of Health and Human Services, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the University of Hawai’i Sea Level Center on the Marshall Islands Climate and Migration Project. The aim of the project is to improve climate information delivery to the health sector in the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) and to inform health service providers in Hawai’i about migration, health, and climate change in the Pacific Islands region.



Exposure to Air Polution and Health Effects in Urban Vietnam

People in rain
Research team interviews commuters in Saigan, Vietnam.

The East-West Center has initiated a project to promote air quality management in the future smart cities of Vietnam. The goal is to create a multi-disciplinary action-research network.







North Pacific Arctic Conference

East-West Center President Richard Vuylsteke
addresses the North Pacific Arctic Conference.

The annual North Pacific Arctic Conference brings together an international group from the public and private sectors and civil society for discussions around a broad theme. Papers presented at these gatherings are published in a series of proceedings on The Arctic in World Affairs.



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