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.
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.
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.
As India grapples with the worsening impacts of climate change, the need to strengthen its adaptation efforts has become more significant than ever. Climate diplomacy and mainstreaming climate adaptation into the most vulnerable sectors could provide some solutions to overcoming barriers, such as the lack of sustainable funding.
A multi-sectoral and multilateral approach to South Asia's rivers could provide sustainable development, but it needs to include those already marginalised by a narrow development path.
Women are vital for effective climate policy making and implementation. In South Asia, more needs to be done on systematically integrating women into policy processes - as active stakeholders and not merely as victims of climate risks.
As falling renewable energy costs and a shadow carbon price are making coal power investments unviable the Asian Development Bank (ADB) is making a decisive shift to clean energy, according to bank energy chief Yongping Zhai.
As opposed to China’s Belt and Road Initiative, India could lead a campaign for climate-responsible international development cooperation, shifting from coal to renewables domestically and promoting the values of the International Solar Alliance globally.
A recently published paper by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) has focused on the under-researched topic of how climate change impacts may affect violence in South and Southeast Asia. Titled “Climate change and violent conflict: Sparse evidence from South Asia and South East Asia”, the report highlights how little work has been done in looking at climate change and its possible impact on security in the most densely populated regions on the planet.
A new USAID report focuses on the intersection of climate exposure and state fragility worldwide. It finds that the factors that make a country vulberable to large-scale conflict are similar to those that make it vulnerable to climate change. The report thus offers a way for global audiences with an interest in climate and security to identify places of high concern.