Adapting to climate change and strengthening resilience are becoming priorities for the international community – however, they require greater ambition in climate policy. 107 governments and numerous international organisations have endorsed a call for action on raising ambition at the United Nations Climate Change Summit on 23rd September 2019. Following the summit, the Global Commission on Adaptation will begin its Year of Action to meet the climate challenges ahead. The Year of Action is here to accelerate climate adaptation around the world, to improve human well-being and to drive more sustainable economic development and security.
Climate adaptation as an agent for peace and security is identified as one of the driving forces of the Year of Action in the flagship report of the Global Commission on Adaptation, published ahead of the summit. In our work on climate security, we consider the potential role of climate change adaption as a threat minimizer, departing from the observation that climate change increases the frequency and severity of natural disasters, and reduces access to and the availability of resources. The resulting environmental changes have serious negative impacts on human development, peace and security.
From this perspective, a profound understanding of the interplay between climate change, adaptation, vulnerability and crisis prevention is crucial if decision-makers are to design and implement effective adaptation measures that strengthen resilience and promote long-term sustainable development. This is particularly important in developing countries and fragile states, where people already live in precarious conditions. This was also one of the key results of the flagship report A New Climate for Peace, commissioned by the G7 foreign ministers and published back in 2015 by adelphi and partners.
To address the lack of action on climate change adaptation, which often can be observed in conflict prone areas, we have prepared the ‘Guidelines for conflict-sensitive adaptation to climate change’. Published by the German environment Agency (UBA) ahead of the climate summit, the guidelines outline how to design and implement an adaptation project in a fragile or conflict-affected context. Addressing especially planners and project managers, the guide provides tools and methods to ensure that an adaptation project does not exacerbate tensions and, ideally, contributes to peace and stability. So, some food for thought as we enter a Year of Action towards strengthening resilience.
Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, numerous parallels have been drawn between this health crisis and the climate crisis. Science plays an important role in advising decision makers on how to ensure sustainable crisis management and a precautionary approach to avoid harmful repercussions, particularly where we do not yet know all the consequences of our actions. [...]
Decarbonisation won’t come as fast as the pandemic. But if fossil fuel exporters are not prepared for it, they will face an enduring crisis. The EU can help.
Stories of clear skies and wildlife conquering urban areas might provide much needed comfort during these uncertain times as the health crisis unfolds. But in Brazil, where climate and environmental issues already lack attention and resources, the pandemic underscores the next crisis.
Solutions to the current COVID-19 crisis need to be aligned to those of the climate crisis for a global transformation towards more sustainability, resilience, equity, and justice. Climate diplomacy has the tools to achieve these objectives simultaneously.