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.
The best resource for all of our 21st Century Diplomacy: Foreign Policy Is Climate Policy content is the official website, hosted by the Wilson Center and adelphi. But the ECC editors are also collecting the topics here for eager readers.
What exactly triggers food riots? At which point does climate change come in? And what can we learn from analyzing the lack and impotence of government action in conflict areas? In our Editor’s Pick, we share 10 case studies from the interactive ECC Factbook that address the connections between food, the environment and conflict. They show how agriculture and rural livelihoods can affect stability in a country, which parties are involved in food conflicts and what possible solutions are on the table.
Tensions in the South China Sea increased last April when a Chinese coast guard ship sank a Vietnamese fishing boat near the Paracel Islands—a fiercely disputed territory in the South China Sea. Disputes over island territories in the region have endured for decades, with China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Brunei all making overlapping territorial claims. The region is rich in natural resources and biodiversity, holding vast fish stocks and an estimated 11 billion barrels of oil and 190 cubic feet of natural gas.
Without a coordinated strategy to tackle flooding disasters beyond the traditional infrastructural measures and river water sharing agreements, South Asia’s woes will continue in the future.