The security consequences of climate change will be different in each continent and will interact with social, political and economic processes and capabilities that are unique to each region. Different ecoregions in Asia, Pacific, Africa and Latin America will thus be confronted with diverse challenges.
In order to build up understanding of the particularities of each region in the face of climate change and further develop the engagement with and between diverse actors in their societies, the Federal Foreign Office sponsored a series of dialogues in all these regions between 2011 and 2016. Organised by adelphi in cooperation with local partners, the discussions provided a forum for local partners and experts from different countries in each region to exchange views and network. They were complemented by an array of activities including public exhibitions on environment, conflict and cooperation; executive policy briefings for decision-makers; roundtables in universities; and briefings for journalists.
Climate change will have a wide range of repercussions in Asia. Among the major risks are natural disasters such as storms, floods and droughts, and scarcity of water, food and energy. These impacts have the potential to slow economic growth and development progress. In regions where scarce resources meet natural stresses and socio-economic cleavages, climate change can act as a multiplier of threats to international peace and security. The German Federal Foreign Office and adelphi have in the past focused on different sub-regions in order to account for differences between the various sub-regions with respect to the linkages between climate change, resources and conflict, and to develop targeted strategies for preventive action and diplomacy.
The Pacific islands are hit hard by the impacts of climate change, including sea-level rise, tropical and extra-tropical cyclones, increasing air and sea-surface temperature, and changing rainfall patterns, with significant geopolitical consequences. To discuss these, adelphi hosted a side-event during the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in 2014 in cooperation with the University of the South Pacific, Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. High-level officials from the Pacific region and from Germany, as well as experts from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the University of the South Pacific, discussed ways to integrate the perspectives of small-island states on climate risk and resilience-building into the international climate discourse.
Livelihoods in several African countries often depend heavily on natural resources. The rates of undernourishment are high in various parts of the continent and by 2025 about 230 million people are expected to face water scarcity in Africa. Climate change may increase tensions over scarce resources in regions where urgent development needs meet natural stresses. The absence of fair and effective mechanisms of conflict resolution can increase this risk to peace and stability. In October 2013, 50 experts from the climate policy and development communities assembled to discuss the impacts of climate change on the African continent.
The Andean region is already facing increased temperatures and rapid glacier melt, and is expected to suffer greater precipitation variability, which will in turn impact on water supply and agriculture. The intense floods experienced in Colombia, Peru and Bolivia in recent years demonstrate the significant impacts that climate variability, climate change and intensified natural disasters can have in the Andean ecoregion. The Regional Dialogue Event aimed to identify specific regional risks and strategies to counter them.