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.
With global climate action stagnating, sustained community-driven initiatives can fill the governance gap and also help mitigate climate-related security risks in South Asia.
The longstanding dispute over water rights among Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia escalated in 2011 when Ethiopia began construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), in the absence of any agreement with downstream Egypt. The GERD dispute offers an alarming insight into just how dangerous future transboundary water disputes may become, particularly in the context of a changing climate.
Coinciding with the first days the German Presidency of the European Council, on 3 July 2020 adelphi and the Institute for European Studies at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel launched a new report “The Geopolitics of Decarbonisation: Reshaping European Foreign Relations”. This summary highlights the event's key outcomes.
Women in the region suffer disproportionately from climate impacts, but they also play an essential role in addressing climate change. With the right policy responses, it is possible to reduce security risks and empower women to better address the challenges they face.