On 19 November in Dhaka, adelphi partnered with the International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD) to hold a roundtable and discussion on climate change and fragility risks in South Asia.
The consultation dialogue event, which took place at the Ascott Palace Hotel, was convened in the framework of the Climate Diplomacy Initiative (supported by the German Federal Foreign Office). The goal was to deepen the understanding of national and regional concerns and priorities and best practices in the face of climate change-related security impacts, as well as to discuss potential strategies and solutions relevant to the South Asian context.
There were 31 participants from academia/research organisations, international and national NGOs and civil society organisations, donors and international and multilateral organisations. They highlighted two key climate-fragility risks in particular.
First, management of transboundary water resources. The countries of South Asia often rely on the same water supply and there is real potential for disagreement over supply. At the moment, each country tends to put its own political priorities first even though joint river basin management is the best way to meet everyone’s needs.
Second, climate-induced migration, especially from rural to urban areas. Dhaka receives over 1,000 migrants a day, and Bangladesh is also hosting Rohingya populations in the southern part of the country, where anti-migrant sentiment is growing among communities who themselves are negatively affected by climate change impacts.
Regional experts picked out improved education as one of the most important responses. Education is a means to give youth—especially girls—the tools and capacities they need to address these issues in the future. Any policy interventions must also take into account political economy dynamics and power relations: marginalised people living in poverty will struggle to take effective climate action.
adelphi Senior Project Manager Dr. Beatrice Mosello presented the Climate Security Expert Network (CSEN)'s South Asia risk brief, while Senior Project Manager Lukas Rüttinger gave welcome remarks alongside Dr. Saleemul Huq of ICCCAD, also a member of the CSEN.
Extreme weather events such as droughts and floods are expected to become more severe under future climate conditions. This implies a concern for policymakers in national and international security.
A major challenge in the field of environmental peacebuilding is showing the impact of its initiatives. Questions emerge, such as "Which dimensions of post-conflict peacebuilding are more likely to be affected by natural resource management projects?". Although quantitative studies assess the relation between natural resource management programmes and conflict risks, there is less research on what the specific mechanisms involved in implementing projects designed for environmental peacebuilding are.
Chatham House's International Affairs Journal has just released a special issue focused on environmental peacebuilding. adelphi Managing Director Alexander Carius, alongside Tobias Ide, Carl Bruch, Ken Conca, Geoffrey Dabelko, Richard Matthew and Erika Weinthal, introduces the special issue giving particular emphasis on environmental opportunities for building and sustaining peace.
A lack of targeted policies to manage climate migration in South Asia is aggravating the vulnerabilities of various communities in the region. International and regional cooperation and strategy on climate action (broadly) and climate migration (specifically) is the need of the hour.