Climate and security were the focus of a high-level foreign policy conference held in Berlin in early June. At the core of the conference was the “Berlin Call for Action”, which aims to catalyse international responses to address climate change as a threat multiplier. The Call sets out three concrete action areas for tackling the threats posed by climate change to peace and security, namely risk-informed planning, enhanced capacity for action and improved operational response. It is more than likely that other foreign ministers will endorse the Call and spread the word. But what if the world doesn’t listen? It was former US Secretary of State John Kerry who highlighted during the conference the war on climate science in some parts of the world (and especially in his country). He stressed the difficulties diplomats are facing in ensuring fact-based foreign policy-making. The same holds true for the European landscape, which is on the edge after the recent European Parliament elections revealed how climate protection is the new conflict line in European societies. Accordingly, the Berlin Call is more than timely but requires substantially more engagement in the course of 2019 to be heard at the upcoming High-level Political Forum and Climate Action Summit in New York, COP25 in Santiago de Chile and elsewhere.
Colombia’s long-standing internal conflict and the country’s contribution to climate change share one common root cause: land concentration. Policies to strengthen access to land and to ensure sustainable land use might therefore hold the key to promoting peacebuilding in Colombia, while simultaneously reducing emissions.
As disasters wreak havoc all over South Asia, health impacts have increasingly emerged as a major concern for communities and governments in the region. It underscores the need for concerted efforts towards building synergies between the Paris Agreement, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda particularly now, in the post-disaster reconstruction phase, to ensure “building back better” and future disaster prevention.
In the Inner Mongolian county of Horinger, Northwestern China, afforestation efforts have transformed a barren, dusty landscape into a pine forest. Planting trees has diminished the sandstorms, boosted biodiversity and improved the environment generally. As the climate emergency worsens, the potential for planted trees to draw carbon out of the atmosphere is being re-examined. What can the world learn from the Chinese experience with afforestation?
Two events in August 2019 underlined the complexity of paving the way to a climate-neutral world: the publishing of the new IPCC report and the Amazon fires. Both events demand that climate diplomats move beyond a narrowed focus on energy in decarbonisation debates.