South America
Central America & Caribbean
Adriana Erthal Abdenur, Igarapé Institute, and Lukas Rüttinger, adelphi
Policy Brief

State fragility, often related to the expansion of organised crime and human rights violations, has contributed towards elevated rates of violence across Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). Additionally, high inequality is shaping how climate affects security in the region, raising new issues about climate justice and climate-related migration. In short, climate change acts as a risk multiplier in LAC, exacerbating existing conflict and fragility dynamics.

This brief identifies five major climate-fragility risks, i.e. five pathways by which climate impacts undermine security:

  • Damage to infrastructure and economies exacerbates tensions
  • Climate change and organised and environmental crime
  • Climate change contributing to migration and urban violence
  • The future of extractives in a changing climate
  • Increased spread of disease

Unfortunately, inertia or paralysis within most of LAC's regional organisations and the growth of climate denialism create additional challenges towards coordinating policies for tackling the climate-security nexus. However, it is possible to find strategic entry points around issues such as disaster risk reduction, water and food security and infrastructure.

This policy brief draws on the existing research from the region to outline some of those entry points for solutions and analyse the problems that need solving. It examines the relevance of the region's patterns of poverty, inequality, crime and governance to the relationship between climate change and security. The intended audience of this brief encompasses policymakers, researchers, other stakeholders from state bodies, civil society entities, UN and regional bodies, and companies concerned with the impacts of climate change in LAC. The overarching goal of the analysis is to promote further debate of, empirical research on, and policy action around climate change and security in the region.

Download the risk brief

For a quick overview of LAC's climate-fragility risks, take a look at this two-page factsheet:

Climate fragility risks Factsheet LAC

Versión en español

Informe de riesgos de fragilidad climática: América Latina y el CaribeHoja informativa de fragilidad climática: América Latina y el Caribe