Climate Change
Conflict Transformation
Global Issues
Susanne Wolfmaier, Janani Vivekananda and Lukas Rüttinger, adelphi

Exploring the relationship between humanitarian action, conflict, climate and environment has never been more urgent. The humanitarian sector is stretched to the limit. It is struggling to meet the growing demands posed by climate change, the changing nature of conflict, the increasing severity of disasters and the protracted nature of crises. Currently, over 125 million people require humanitarian assistance and over 60 million have been displaced. The prospects for the future show no abatement, with climate change only projected to increase the number and intensity of catastrophes.

The ill-fated Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) experience showed that failure to tackle the drivers of conflict and crisis inhibits development progress. The current climate emergency means that more people than ever before are affected by climate-related humanitarian risks – especially in already fragile contexts. Science shows that extreme weather events - which drive humanitarian needs - are set to increase. As a result, more countries are slipping into fragility, further reducing their ability to cope when the next disaster strikes. Meeting Agenda 2030 targets therefore requires learning from the missteps of the MDGs. It requires a thorough understanding of the two-way relationship between climate and conflict risks and for this to be reflected in a new way of working on humanitarian response and sustainable development.

The publication addresses four questions:

  • Why consider climate change, conflict and humanitarian action?
  • How do climate change and conflict affect humanitarian need?
  • What are challenges for addressing climate, peacebuilding and humanitarian action?
  • How can humanitarian responses in climate and conflict affected contexts be improved?
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