The NATO Parliamentary Assemblies’ Science and Technology Committee drafted a new report on Food and Water Security in the Middle East and North Africa. The report underlines that pressures on natural resources and connected impacts on food production are factors that contribute to the (in-) security of the MENA region. The document summarizes causes as well as possible technical and governance approaches to improve food and water security in the region. The initiative shows that the role of environmental resources is increasingly taken seriously in the sphere of security policy. The Science and Technology Committee will discuss the draft and recommendations to NATO countries at the Spring Session in Tbilisi from 27-29 May.
There has been a surge in international migration in recent years, reaching a total of 244 million individuals in 2015. Forced displacement has also reached a record high, with 65.3 million individuals displaced worldwide by the end of 2015 – including refugees, IDPs and asylum seekers. Yet while the absolute numbers have increased over the last 15 years, migrants as a percentage of total global population has remained stable at about three percent. A majority of migrants remain on their own continents – nearly nine out of ten African migrants settle on the African continent, while eight out of ten Asian migrants remain in Asia. Forced displacement is predominantly an issue outside wealthy economies:
nine out of ten refugees are hosted by low and middle-income countries.
World-wide, cities are on the advance. Today, they host more than half of the world's population and every minute, their population grows by 140 people: 200,000 a day, 1.5 million a week. Cities have become so powerful that some even sign international agreement with nation states, conducting their own foreign policy. However, the scale and pace of current urbanization trends poses a threat to even the best managed cities.
This working paper by adelphi explores the new research field of city fragility and its links to climate change and migration.
At the Paris Climate Conference held in December 2015, 195 countries adopted the Paris Agreement – the first universal, legally binding global climate deal. The signatory parties committed themselves to a global action plan that aims to keep global warming to well below 2°C and to limit the global temperature increase to 1.5°C.
In recent years, a growing number of studies have appeared that analyse the statistical relationship between climate change and violent conflict. Whilst this research offers a comprehensive and systematic assessment of emerging climate-security risks, its results remain ambiguous and are often misinterpreted. This is all the more serious as quantitative evidence dominates current discussions on the security implications of climate change and therefore has a major bearing on policy-making.
Over the past ten years, both our understanding and awareness of the links between climate change and security have increased tremendously. Today the UN, the EU, the G7 and an increasing number of states have classified climate change as a threat to global and/or national security. However, the links between climate change, conflict and fragility are not simple and linear. The increasing impacts of climate change do not automatically lead to more fragility and conflict. Rather, climate change acts as a threat multiplier.
Despite six years of crisis in Syria, agriculture remains a key part of the economy. The sector still accounts for an estimated 26 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) and represents a critical safety net for the 6.7 million Syrians – including those internally displaced - who still remain in rural areas. However, agriculture and the livelihoods that depend on it have suffered massive loss. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has now conducted the first comprehensive nationwide assessment on the cost of the war to the agriculture sector.
For the past decade, western public discourse and the policy world have become increasingly concerned about ‘irregular’ migration and, to a slightly lesser extent perhaps, what driving role conflict and climate change play in triggering it. Addressing the causes and effects requires having a better understanding of the impacts that climate change has on multi-dimensional crises and the knock-on effect this has on migration. A key factor in understanding how these processes affect different women, girls, men, boys and other gender identities is gender.
When it comes to climate, timing is everything – It is the aim of Mission 2020 to keep the world on track to meet the climate targets that 194 countries agreed on at the COP 21 in Paris: limiting global warming to well below 2°C and pursuing efforts to limit it to 1.5 °C. Bending the global GHG emission curve by 2020 and entering a phase of emission decrease is crucial for reaching this goal.
Policy communities in the United States and Europe are increasingly identifying climate change, environmental deterioration, water management, and food security as key concerns for development and global governance. The interplay of these trends is visible in the upheavals across the Middle East, with food riots and water disputes illuminating the region’s food insecurity.