Iraq is on the verge of an environmental breakdown, and climate change is not helping. The country's fragile environment and the increasing scarcity of natural resources — particularly water — are a result of poor environmental management, as well as several political and historical factors. However, as climate change impacts add to the existing pressures, the environmental collapse turns into a security issue.
As the May 2019 EU elections loom and a new European Commission takes office, climate action can become a key driver of a reformed EU project for more solidarity, protection and innovation, writes Luca Bergamaschi, Senior Associate at E3G.
In many ongoing armed conflicts, water has been used as a weapon of war, but it can also be a strong instrument of peace.
Climate change threatens conflict and poverty in the Arab region, according to the UN Development Programme (UNDP). In a report published last week, the agency suggested climate risks could derail development gains, such as the decrease in infant mortality and the achievement of near universal primary education.
High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini hosted on 22 June 2018 an unprecedented high level event - Climate, Peace and Security: The Time for Action - which drove home both the urgency and importance of tackling the risks that climate change poses to security and peace. Ministers from around the world, top United Nations officials, and leading experts testified to the many real and potential security threats deriving from climate change.
On 22 March 2018 on the occasion of the World Water Day, the EU called on all States to fulfil their obligations regarding access to safe drinking water without discrimination. High Representative Frederica Mogherini reaffirmed that water was not only a "driver of social and economic development but also of peace and security". She stressed that the availability of water was one of the key factors that can lead to conflicts and mass displacements and that climate change was taking a toll on the drier areas of the planet.
On November 17, adelphi hosted a high-level panel discussion on “How to prevent climate security risks?” at the German Pavilion at COP23. The panel discussion was an opportunity to take stock of what has been achieved and to deepen the discussion on how to prevent climate-related risks and incorporate them into policy planning.
EcoPeace Middle East is an organization that seeks to create lasting peace though environmental cooperation and protection of shared natural resources. The Jordanian project coordinator, Mohammad Bundokji, explains the innovative approach to peacebuilding that consists in generating positive mutual dependencies for water and energy.
In the Middle East, the consequences of climate change are already a reality of life. The region is one of the most water-stressed areas in the world, the average temperature is rising faster than elsewhere, and a massive reduction in rainfall is also expected for the coming years. Adding to the conflicts and quarrels – ranging from the Israeli–Palestinian conflict to Syria and Iraq as well as to rivalries between Iran and the Gulf states – access to and use of natural resources act as yet another crisis amplifier in the region: water is as important here as land ownership and as precious as access to oil.
The UK must address a number of urgent risks due to climate change, the government’s climate advisers have warned.