South Asia’s vulnerability to climate change and associated fragility risks calls for a regional approach to climate services. Different actors need to cooperate to share actionable climate information—the security architecture in the region would benefit.
Nepal and Afghanistan face a number of serious climate-fragility risks, so adelphi brought together regional government officials and NGO experts for a training in Kathmandu on 9 November 2019.
Small Island States will be facing dramatically higher adaptation costs to build resilience against the kind of impacts the IPCC projects in its most recent Special Report. Thoriq Imbrahim, former Environment and Energy Minister of the Maldives, urges the international community to attend to the political demands of countries particularly exposed to the impacts of climate change and also confront loss and damage with renewed urgency.
Though India is now pushing for BIMSTEC, geography dictates that it cannot ignore SAARC. South Asia is extremely vulnerable to a range of climate impacts, ranging from shrinking glaciers and water scarcity to floods and rising sea levels. Responding to these risks is a complex task, also because often impacts affect more than one country and their severity exceeds the capacity of national governments. Climate change creates new challenges for regional organisations, and simultaneously increases their relevance.
In 2018, many countries, including India, have been at the receiving end of the worst disasters the world has ever witnessed. It is imperative that they adopt a human security approach to achieve “freedom from hazard impacts” – nationally through a scientific disaster risk reduction strategy, and internationally through climate diplomacy.
Ignoring cross border impacts of large infrastructure projects will spark conflict along rivers, argues Peter King. National level environmental impact assessments that ignore cross border impacts are likely to create conflict between countries.
Peat areas have played a pivotal role in conflicts globally, and have also been a point of contention during post-conflict recovery. Communities in Southeast Asia as well as in the countries of the Congo are facing challenges as finding political solutions for this problem.
The surge in the frequency and intensity of climate change impacts has raised the alarm about how this could hamper coastal activities. Several critical ports in the Indo-Pacific region are hubs of international trade and commerce and at the same time vulnerable to typhoons, taller waves and erosion. India’s climate diplomacy at the regional level could activate climate-resilient pathways for port development and management.
As Day Zeroes are becoming commonplace across the world, India needs to prepare itself for its worst-ever water crisis by establishing a network of water policies and programmes, ranging from community engagement to multilateral/bilateral collaboration.
Tense relations between India and China and the lack of meaningful cooperation between them over the waters of the Brahmaputra could turn it into a geopolitical flashpoint. India should push for an all-encompassing dialogue on river water sharing that ensures transparency and cooperation at all times, on both sides of the Sino-Indian border and beyond.