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Peace Science Digest

For researchers looking into global security dynamics, it is becoming increasingly difficult to overlook climate change as a threat multiplier in conflict situations. While climate change may not directly cause conflict, it may be inextricably woven into pre-existing conflicts of power, ethnicity, and economic interest. Understading the role of climate-related impacts on security is therefore crucial for global peace.

This special edition of Peace Science Digest offers a compilation of articles on climate change, security, and conflict. It comprises five analyses, which include current research, key talking points, practical implications, further reading and contemporary relevance on the following topics:

  1. Exploring the Relationships Between Climate Change, Migration, and Violent Conflict
  2. Rethinking the Climate-Conflict Relationship
  3. How the Paris Agreement Can Help Us Get to a Low-Carbon Global Economy
  4. From Water Scarcity to Conflict or Cooperation
  5. Considering Links Between Gender, Climate Change, and Conflict

In “Exploring the Relationships Between Climate Change, Migration, and Violent Conflict,” Michael Brzoska, Associate Senior Researcher with the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, and Christiane Fröhlich, Research Fellow at the German Institute of Global and Area Studies, found that communities that receive migrants and have strong “exclusionary identities” see migrants of a different culture as eroding their traditions and social cohesion, which may set the stage for violence. The danger is particularly acute when migrants shift the balance of community identity in an already existing identity conflict. Peace Science Digest applies this analysis to the current wave of migration at the U.S. southern border. Some in the United States are concerned migration will lead to crime, but this analysis suggests that how migrants are perceived has a larger role to play than the number or identity of migrants.

For their article, “From Water Scarcity to Conflict or Cooperation,” the authors developed a framework for analysing conflict in internationally shared water basins. They focused on how humans interpret water stress, including the fundamental choice of framing water as a security issue in the first place. In looking at the Syr Darya/Amu Darya River Basin, shared by Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, the authors found that water availability challenges were framed as threats to security in contexts where there were “persistent national rivalries and frequent attacks against ethnic minorities.”

To find more information on the other analyses and to inform yourself about Peace Science Digest, go to their website.

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Further reading:

Rethinking Water in Central Asia – The costs of inaction and benefits of water cooperation

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