ECC Platform Library

0
Comments

Fishing Dispute in the South China Sea

Type of conflict main
Intensity 3
Region
South Eastern Asia
Time 2010 ‐ ongoing
Countries Philippines, Vietnam, China
Resources Fish
Conflict Summary Since the end of the Second World War, the South China Sea has been considered to be a major region of instability in Southeast Asia. Whilst territorial...
Fishing Dispute in the South China Sea
Since the end of the Second World War, the South China Sea has been considered to be a major region of instability in Southeast Asia. Whilst territorial disputes over islands, and their associated waters, seem to be linked primarily to oil and gas resources, fisheries may well become the core of future conflict, as over-fishing has led to increased competition between the fishermen of Vietnam, the Philippines and China. The frequency and intensity of clashes between fishing vessels has escalated in recent years.
Conceptual model
Climate Change Causes
Social Causes
(Human-Induced)
Environmental Change
Intermediary Mechanisms
Type of Conflict
Context Factors
  • Power Differential
  • History of Conflict
Conflict History

The South China Sea is one of the main economic hubs worldwide. Bordered by China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Cambodia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia and Singapore, it has long been considered as a major source of tension in the Southeast Asia region. The conflict, fuelled by sovereignty disputes over the waters and islands of the South China Sea, has intensified in recent years, due in part to ever increasing competition for resources. There is a belief that the South China Sea may have extensive oil and natural gas resources, although reliable data has yet to be published (BBC, 2015). Additionally, the South China Sea is one of the world’s major fishing areas. Fishing disputes occur especially between China, Vietnam and the Philippines. According to some experts, the trigger for regional conflict in the future may well be fisheries rather than fossil fuels (Pilto, 2013).

Fisheries as a trigger for regional conflict
The argument for this is twofold. Firstly, it is unclear as to whether fossil fuel resources will catalyse regional conflict. Although China perceives the South China Sea to be a new “Persian Gulf” in terms of hydrocarbon resources, the US Energy Information Administration estimates this supply to be roughly comparable to European resources. Moreover, the fossil fuel resources would be situated in non-disputed zones, close to the coast. In addition, deep-water drilling involves huge costs, advanced technologies and seismic risks which might restrain further exploitation of fossil fuel resources. From 2010, the dispute escalated due to clashes between fishermen and concerns were raised that it may become a flashpoint with both regional and global impacts. Secondly, the role of the South China Sea for fishing is significant, as the sea accounts for nearly 10 percent of fish caught globally (Rogers, 2012). It is all the more crucial for Asia, as fish accounts for 22 percent of the protein intake in the region, compared to a global average of only 16 percent (Rogers, 2012). Additionally, large parts of the coastal populations of China, Vietnam and the Philippines rely on fishing for their livelihood, making it a potent source of conflict.

Intensified competition for fish
The buoyant economic growth characterizing the region since the beginning of the 21st century, especially the rise of China, intensified the competition for fishing resources in the South China Sea (Council on Foreign Relations, 2014). A rising demand, driven by population growth and economic development, led to overfishing. According to the Global International Waters Assessment (GIWA), overfishing has already caused extensive loss of income and employment among coastal populations, especially in the Philippines and Indonesia (GIWA, 2006). Declining catch rates in traditional fish grounds as well as coastal pollution therefore pushed fishermen to ship further from their coast where sovereignty over water is disputed (EU Institute for Security Studies, 2014). Warming ocean temperatures due to climate change further alter migration patterns of vital fish stock, for example causing northern migration of fish from Vietnamese waters into waters claimed by China (Center for Climate Secutity, 2015). Smaller-scale fishing incidents happen regularly between Vietnamese, Filipino and Chinese vessels, as historical fishing grounds of these countries overlap. The respective national authorities have reinforced their marine patrols to assert their sovereignty while protecting their fishermen, and now intervene when their fishing ships are arrested by another nation (BBC, 2013EU Institute for Security Studies, 2014).

Fisheries as a strategic commodity
The fishing dispute contributes to the complex conflict over natural resources already ongoing in the South China Sea. With fisheries being about to collapse, it is all the more crucial for China to secure the largest part of the remaining fish resources. However, fish are also considered a strategic commodity and perceived to be part of the expansionist’s views of China. Fishing fleets are now used for geopolitical purposes as a part of the “fish, protect, contest and occupy” tactic of China to assert its sovereignty over the South China Sea. Fishermen from China, Vietnam and the Philippines form the “human front line” of the dispute, used as pawns by governments to assert their territorial claims, related to fishing interests but also to potentially vast fossil fuel resources (The Diplomat, 2015aFinancial Times, 2011). This strategic use of fishing fleets for marking territorial claims makes it difficult to ascertain the degree to which the conflict is about fisheries rather than these fisheries simply being a stand-in for an underlying conflict mostly about fossil fuels (and regional hegemony).

China's "nine-dash line"
In 2014, the provincial government of Hainan (Southeast China) issued a new regulation requiring that foreign ships transiting through what is considered as Chinese waters in the South China Sea should be granted permission by the relevant authorities. China’s mapping of the region does not comply with international law and goes well beyond its actual territory, along a “nine-dash line” which includes about 57 percent of the South China Sea. Given such a wide area, it is fair to assume that Chinese authorities will not be able to fully implement it (cogitASIA, 2014a). However, it now grants them a legal basis for compelling foreign fishing boats out of the disputed water, robbing their fish catch and fining their crew (cogitASIA, 2014a).

To summarise, fishing disputes escalated in recent years due to declining fish stocks and increasing demand, and further fuelled the territorial conflicts over the sovereignty in the South China Sea. Additionally, Southeast Asia has become a strategic region for both the U.S. and China in recent years, which has increased the prominence of the geopolitical situation in the South China Sea (Center for Strategic and International Studies, 2012).

Resolution Efforts

As the fisheries issues are deeply intertwined with broader territorial conflicts in the South China Sea, the conflict resolution efforts discussed here are not necessarily specific to fish resources, but address the broader territorial disputes instead.

ASEAN's attempt
The Association of the Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which comprises Vietnam, the Philippines and eight other Southeast Asian countries, supported multilateral talks on disputed waters. In 2002, the ten ASEAN member states signed with China the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, a non-binding political statement restating the freedom of navigation and asserting their common willingness to solve the disputes through peaceful means. However, none of the signatories have implemented the proposed confidence-building measures (Council on Foreign Relations, 2015).  In 2013, after years of political deadlock, the China-ASEAN negotiations resumed over a binding code of conduct, thanks to the mediation of Thailand and Indonesia, and enhanced priority given to the issue within ASEAN (Thayer, 2013). However, the achievement of a concrete agreement seems highly uncertain in a near future (The Diplomat, 2015b).

The Philippines legal action
In 2013, the Philippines took action against China in front of a UN Tribunal, without prior consultation with other ASEAN members (Thayer, 2013). The Philippines challenged Chinese territorial claims over the South China Sea, referring to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. This fostered great concerns among the ASEAN members that this complaint could jeopardize the negotiations on the code of conduct, which were about to resume. China might have tried to put pressure on them in order to have the complaint withdrawn (Thayer, 2013). These efforts being unsuccessful, China refused to officially participate in the case. Instead, in December 2014, China released a position paper rejecting the jurisdiction of the United Nations over the South China Sea dispute, stressing its willingness to resolve the dispute bilaterally. It also highlighted that the nine-dash line claim was not inconsistent with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, contrary to what the Philippines asserted. The same month, Vietnam filed a statement of interest before the UN Tribunal to have its interests and rights taken into consideration by the court when assessing the case. Vietnam also dismissed the nine-dash line mapped by China as having no legal basis. This legal move allows Vietnam to support the case brought by the Philippines “through the back door” (cogitASIA, 2014b). The Philippines answered China in front of the Court with a detailed argumentation and documentation in March 2015 (The Diplomat, 2015c).

On July 12, 2016, the international tribunal in The Hague delivered its verdict, which rebuked China’s behavior in the South China Sea, from the creation of artificial islands to interference with fishing. The ruling suggests that China’s expansive sovereignty claims have no legal basis. While China and other countries have historically used islands in the South China Sea, there is no evidence to support the Chinese claim to historic rights. Also, several rocks and reefs were found to be too small for China to use to make a claim to the surrounding waters. Thus, the tribunal concluded that China was engaged in unlawful behavior inside Philippine waters. China, which refused to participate in the tribunal’s proceedings, has rejected the decision as being invalid and not legally binding (The New York Times, 2016). Even in the event of Chinese non-compliance, however, the Philippines v China case can be expected to have important consequences for international law and future negotiations in the region (The Diplomat, 2016).

China-Vietnam hotline
Another initiative that is worth mentioning is the establishment of a hotline between the agricultural ministries of Vietnam and China in 2013, in order to cope with fishing incidents and avoid a possible escalation. Another hotline was established in 2014 between Defence Ministers, following months of tensions over territorial issues (Voice of America, 2014). Those diplomatic efforts, along with mutual visits and common dialog between Vietnam and China, illustrate China’s preference for bilateral cooperation rather than a multilateral framework with ASEAN or cooperation with the UN.

Enhanced cooperation between Vietnam and the Philippines
Responding to China’s growing aggressiveness and lack of commitment towards a binding code of conduct for the South China Sea, Vietnam and the Philippines also started to envisage an enhanced cooperation framework through a strategic partnership agreement (The Diplomat, 2015d). This political move is a landmark in the regional politics as it is the first time that Vietnam joins an US ally (The Diplomat, 2014d). Although the foreseen areas for cooperation are diverse, ranging from trade to education, one major driver for the ongoing negotiations is the common concern regarding China’s actions in the South China Sea. A clause on security and defence will probably be included in the agreement, which could entail information sharing and joint maritime patrols. This could have extensive consequences on the current conflict, by demonstrating to other ASEAN countries that cooperation on the South China Sea is achievable, and by limiting China’s freedom of action on the sea (The Diplomat, 2015d). If successful, this strategic partnership could pave the way for a multilateral security cooperation framework aiming at countering Chinese claims on the South China Sea (The Diplomat, 2015d).

To conclude, disputes over fisheries are one of the main components of the regional South China Sea conflict. The fisheries issue is however deeply intertwined with historical resentment and lure for fossil fuels. Additionally, fishing fleets are used strategically by governments to assert their territorial claims. Increased competition for resources could impede the resolution efforts and cause serious threats for the region’s security.

 

Intensities & Influences
conflict intensity scale
Intensities
International / Geopolitical Intensity
Human Suffering

Influences
Environmental Influences
Societal Influences

Diplomatic Crisis Diplomatic crisis involving non-violent tools such as economic sanctions
Fatalities
0
Violent Conflict Yes
Salience within nation National
Mass Displacement None
Cross Border Mass Displacement No
Resources
Fish
Resolution Success
Reduction in Violence There was no reduction in violence.
Reduction in geographical scope There has been no reduction in geographical scope.
Increased capacity to address grievance in the future The capacity to address grievances in the future has increased.
Grievance Resolution Grievances have been mostly ignored.
Causal Attribution of Decrease in Conflict Intensity There has been no reduction in intensity
General opencollapse
Conflict Data in Comparison
Country data in comparision
Fault Lines Defining Conflict Parties
Purely Environmental | Cultural   ♦   Occupational   ♦   Economic   ♦   Urban / Rural   ♦   National / International conflict   ♦   Sub-national political


Actors

Due to a technical problem, the assignment of actor information, such as functional group, might be erroneous. We are working to resolve this issue.

Participation Conflict Party     Conflict Resolution Facilitator
Chinese Government
Functional GroupPublic
Geographical ScaleInternal International
Philippine Government
Functional GroupPublic
Geographical ScaleInternal International
Vietnamese Government
Functional GroupPublic
Geographical ScaleInternal International
Association of the Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)
Functional GroupPublic
Geographical ScaleExternal
United Nations (UN)
Functional GroupPublic
Geographical ScaleExternal
Conflict Resolution Strategies
Institutional solutions to reduce conflict
2 Increased coordination The strategy is an important part of the conflict resolution process
1 Reduction in conflict potential of scarcity through
better management institutions The strategy is present, but only attempted weakly
Reducing Fragility and Increasing Resilience
0 Direct Negotiations Applicable, but not employed
Third Party Tools
2 Peacemaking / Mediation The strategy is an important part of the conflict resolution process
Further Details opencollapse
Conflict Characterization
Character of the contested good Common-pool resource: No one can be excluded from use but the good is depleted.
Structure of decision-making power / interdependence Asymmetric: The power to affect the environmental resource is unequal.
Broad conflict characterization Resource capture is not present.
Ecological marginalization is not present.
Data of involved Countries
Resources and Materials opencollapse
References with URL
×

Topics

Adaptation & Resilience

All countries will need to adapt to some of the environmental, social and economic impacts of climate change that are already unavoidable. Food security, livelihoods, water resource availability and public health are some affected areas. People living in poverty are more vulnerable, having a lower capacity to adapt. Thus, it is essential to promote resilience building. The adaptation and resilience aspects need to be mainstreamed into planning by policy makers and the private sector as well as integrated into development strategies.

Biodiversity & Livelihoods

Nature protection is most sustainable if it essentially contributes to the long-term stability of human needs. Today many regions around the world are confronted with increasing destruction of the natural foundations of life. The consequences of wide-ranging resource destruction are no longer regionally limited, but rather represent a global threat. Those affected are mainly rural populations, who find the sources of their income and the foundations of their way of life swept away. The depletion and destruction of natural resources goes hand in hand with decreasing agricultural yields and increasing poverty, which in turn forces the affected populations to deplete the remaining resources.

Read more

Capacity Building

On the one hand, conflicts are caused by structural factors, such as economic and social inequality or environmental destruction. On the other hand, conflicts are fuelled by a lack of democratic structures, deficient mechanisms of non-violent conflict settlement, inadequate rule of law, the destruction of social and cultural identity and the disregard of human rights. Against this backdrop, development policies have been dedicated to a broad concept of security, which comprises political, economic, ecological and social stability. As a consequence, development cooperation agencies and actors have developed a broad spectrum of approaches for conflict prevention and transformation as well as for sustainable use of natural resources.

Read more

Civil Society

Civil society is the first victim of environmental pollution, under-development and conflicts. Economically disadvantaged and politically marginalized population groups are particularly affected by violent conflicts as well as increasing resource degradation. Simultaneously, civil society is a fundamental pillar for implementing sustainable development. It contributes in many ways to strengthening conflict prevention and plays a significant role in the peaceful and democratic development of states. It must be supported to strengthen civil rights, adherence to human rights in general and democratic participation.

Climate Change

Climate change resulting from the emission of greenhouse gases represents one of the vital challenges for international environmental policy. Flooding, droughts, shifting of climate zones and increasingly frequent and intense extreme weather events will have serious economic and social consequences for entire regions. The climate problem is also directly linked to the question of future energy generation.

Read more

Climate Diplomacy

To address the challenges posed by climate change, a new profile of climate diplomacy is evolving. This utilises a full range of policies, including development cooperation, conflict prevention efforts, and humanitarian assistance, in addition to more traditional measures of climate change adaptation and mitigation. Moving from a risk analysis of climate-related threats to well-timed preventive action requires a greater commitment to integrating climate change concerns into development, foreign, and security policies. Examples include strengthening diplomatic networks, building new alliances with partners, and raising awareness – not only of potentially negative climate change impacts, but also of opportunities to embark on a sustainable transformation of our societies.

Read more

Co-Benefits

Climate action entails an array of economic, social, political and environmental co-benefits. It provides an opportunity for economic growth and new jobs. Many investments can take into account climate considerations without becoming more costly. Further important co-benefits include: improved energy security, less local air and water pollution, health benefits as well as ecosystem and biodiversity protection.

Conflict Transformation

In order to overcome the structural causes of violent conflicts and thus bring about an improvement in the framework conditions for peaceful and fair development, it is essential to have long term and broadly planned peace development and peace advancement. Various governmental and non-governmental, national and international actors and groups are involved in these processes.

Read more

Development

Climate change and development are inextricably linked. Climate change endangers the development agenda and has the potential to reverse development goals. Furthermore, successful mitigation of climate change heavily depends on development choices around the world. Therefore, development strategies need to be climate-compatible to provide long-term success, and there are viable policy options that support this compatibility. Many mitigation and adaptation activities can present development opportunities to developing countries and avoid the lock-in to environmentally damaging technologies.

Early Warning & Risk Analysis

The reasons for the development and escalation of conflicts and the incidence of risks are multifaceted and complex. Simultaneously, the assessment of the specific causes in the form of risk and conflict analyses can contribute to a better understanding of these processes and make it possible to provide warning of negative developments, or ideally help prevent them. In the context of natural resource use, risks and conflicts have gained increasing attention in the past years. The debate on possible future water wars is merely one example.

Read more

Energy

The well-being of individuals, communities and nations depends on the availability of energy resources. The gap between energy supply and demand appears to be growing, making the world vulnerable to serious economic shocks. At the same time, the burning of fossil fuels causing climate change is one of the vital challenges of international environmental policy. So far, only rudimentary approaches exist for shaping climate and energy security in a sustainable way. The components of a strategy that can contribute to reducing vulnerabilities related to climate change and energy policy include a greater role for renewable energies, the improvement of energy efficiency and a stronger decentralisation of energy supply.

Read more

Environment & Migration

The economic, social and environmental consequences of climate change aggravate the breakdown of eco-system-dependent livelihoods and are likely to become dominant drivers of long-term migration. Natural disasters already cause massive shorter-term displacement and the number of temporarily displaced people is likely to further increase with climate change. For vulnerable populations in vulnerable regions, such as the Sahel zone or the Ganges delta, migration often becomes the sole survival strategy. In order to address climate-related displacement and migration successfully, knowledge of effective adaptation and an improved understanding of how environmental change affects human mobility is essential. 

Read more

Finance

Climate finance, from all sources, plays a key role in supporting and enabling adaptation and mitigation action as well as climate and energy innovation. The Paris Agreement ensured that the Green Climate Fund and the Global Environment Facility are at the core of climate finance architecture as entities entrusted with the operation of the Financial Mechanism of the UNFCCC. Increasing climate finance from all relevant public and private sources is crucial. Furthermore, much needs to be done to redirect finance flows to sustainable paths, e.g. reducing fossil fuel subsidies, introducing maritime and air transportation taxes. The conditions for green investment in developing countries should also be improved.

Forests

Forests are disappearing at an alarming rate. Competition for forest resources triggers, exacerbates, or finances numerous crises and conflicts in tropical developing countries. Illegal logging and timber trade foster instability and sometimes violent conflict by strengthening illegal and armed groups, increasing corruption and exacerbating use and claim conflicts among local communities, the state and the business sector. Forests are a vital resource to poor people but they can also become areas of conflict. Sustainable management of forest resources is therefore key to preventing violent conflict over and within forests.

Read more

Gender

Gender plays an important role as a category of conflict for many reasons. The interlinkages between gender, environment and conflicts are complex and much research is still needed. Existing insights suggest that conflicts may worsen gender inequalities that existed before the outbreak of violence. The unequal distribution of land property rights in many parts of the world serves as an example. Moreover, women (and children) are among those most affected by both violent conflict and natural disasters. At the same time, women carry much of the burden of trying to implement rehabilitation measures after crisis events.

Read more

Land & Food

Increasing water scarcity, desertification and crop failures due to extreme weather events are becoming more and more of a threat to global food production. While the world’s population continues to grow rapidly, food production is unable to keep pace. Due to the global food crisis in 2008, the number of hungry people reached the symbolic one billion threshold for the first time – corresponding to about 16 percent of world population. Food insecurity may be a consequence or cause of conflicts. Violent conflicts often lead to the destruction of agricultural infrastructure and means of production, as well as to the displacement of local communities.

Read more

Minerals & Mining

In the past, the discovery and tapping of valuable or strategic resources like valuable minerals, oil and natural gas, particularly in developing and emerging countries, has often led to large scale environmental contamination and negative development. The "resource curse" of some countries shows that the wealth from resource yields is frequently unfairly distributed; instead of serving development it advanced the formation of corrupt elites and in some cases even led to conflicts and civil wars. Measures in various sectors and at all levels are important in order to use the potential of these natural resources in a manner that is sustainable and prevents conflicts.

Read more

Private Sector

The spread of violent conflict not only affects people but also companies located in such regions. Destruction of investments and infrastructure, collapse of markets and trade partnerships, flight and expulsion of employees are phenomena of conflicts and environment-induced crises that directly affect companies in unstable regions. Almost all branches of the economy thus have a clear interest in a stable and peaceful environment for their activities. Conversely, the business sector plays an important role in the interaction of economic growth, social development and a healthy environment, all of which can advance peace and sustainable development. 

Read more

Security

Environmental issues have a significant security dimension. Access to, and overuse of, natural resources often play a key role in civil wars or other forms of internal domestic conflict. This is compounded by climate change and environmental degradation. Climate change is now widely recognised as a non-traditional, risk-multiplying threat that will have increasing security impacts. Key risks with possible implications for human and national security include water scarcity, food crises, natural disasters, and displacement. More preventive diplomacy and advocacy is needed to address the strategic implications of climate and environmental change.

Sustainable Transformation

Sustainable Transformation allows societies to profit from a growing, environmentally sustainable and socially inclusive economy – especially in emerging and developing countries. This requires a higher up-front investment, but the benefits of a sustainable transformation in the medium and long term are significant. For instance, energy cost savings and reducing the impact of price volatility offer major incentives for deploying renewable energies and promoting energy efficiency. Such benefits exist in all key sectors of the economy.

Technology & Innovation

Innovations and technologies are already readily available and affordable but their global diffusion and uptake remains a challenge. Innovation and technology are crucial to achieving ambitious climate change mitigation and adaptation targets. However, research and development often do not receive appropriate public support. Developing countries can leapfrog high-carbon industrialisation phases by adopting, deploying and improving existing innovations and technologies. For this, it is essential to minimise financial, administrative and political barriers.

Water

The availability of freshwater resources in sufficient quantity and quality is essential for the preservation of human health and sound ecosystems. The use of water resources is also vital, however, for economic development: whether for agriculture, industrial production or for electricity generation. The world's freshwater resources are distributed very unevenly in terms of geography and seasons. In addition, water shortage is becoming more prevalent in several regions due to population growth, economic development, urbanisation and increasing environmental pollution. Thus, water resources can hold potential for conflicts between parties who have different interests and needs.

Read more

Regions

Asia

The environment in Asia is already under tremendous pressure as a result of the unsustainable use of land, forests, water and even air in many regions. Climate change will only exacerbate these challenges. Rising sea levels will likely endanger densely populated areas, changes in the monsoon patterns can strongly impact agriculture, melting glaciers will increase long-term water scarcity, and extreme weather events such as heavy rainfall and cyclones can pose further hazards.

Read more

Central America & Caribbean

Natural disasters and water scarcity are key challenges for most of Central America and the Caribbean. These challenges will become even more pronounced as the climate changes. Weak resource and disaster risk management and land disputes pose additional security challenges for large parts of the region. Several countries of Central America and the Caribbean have limited adaptive capacities as they face political instability caused by high social inequality, crime, corruption, and intra-state conflicts.

Read more

Europe

As one of the most developed and most densely populated regions in the world, Europe makes heavy use of its resources, resulting in difficult trade-offs and negative consequences for the environment and ecosystems. Land is used for settlements, agriculture and dense infrastructure, creating problems of soil degradation. Water resources are stressed due to unsustainable agricultural practices. Despite nature protection policies, Europe continues to lose biodiversity at an alarming pace. Some of these trends are exacerbated by climate change, which is expected, for instance, to lead to shifts in water availability.

Read more

Global Issues

Resource scarcities, environmental pollution and climate change are not limited by national borders, but often have a transboundary or even global impact. These issues interact with political stability, governance structures and economic performance, and can trigger or worsen disputes and violent conflicts. Exacerbating some of these trends, climate change is likely to lead to the degradation of freshwater resources, declines in food production, increases in storm and flood disasters and environmentally induced migration. All these developments pose potential for conflict.

Read more

Middle East & North Africa

The geopolitical position of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), its fossil fuel resources, high population growth and the political changes spurred by the Arab Spring all make the region one of the most dynamic in the world. Nevertheless, it is also one of the most arid and environmentally stressed. Dwindling water resources, limited arable and grazing land, high pollution from household and industrial waste, remnants of conflicts and increasing desertification are key environmental challenges.

Read more

North America

Climate change has various impacts on the three North American countries of Canada, Mexico and the US. Canada and the US have well-developed adaptive capacities and foster the strengthening of capacities in other regions as well. With high per capita emissions, these two countries also bear a greater responsibility for a changing climate. Mexico has a sound national strategy for climate change adaptation, yet fewer capacities than Canada and the US. The poorer and rural populations of Mexico are especially vulnerable to climate change, due to an increased sensitivity and a lower adaptive capacity.

Read more

Oceania & Pacific

In Oceania, population growth and economic development trends put a strain on oceanic and island ecosystems. Freshwater scarcity, overexploitation of fisheries, loss of land biodiversity, forests and trees, invasive species, soil degradation, increasing levels of settlement, poor management of solid and hazardous waste and disproportionate use of coastal areas are some of the problems. Climate change exacerbates most of these trends, while also raising questions about the future sovereignty of some island states.

Read more

South America

South America has diverse and unique ecosystems and is very rich in biodiversity. Weak natural resource management, land disputes and extreme weather events bring about significant challenges for the region. While South America accounts for relatively few CO2 emissions, the changing climate will alter its ecosystems and greater climate variability will lead to more hurricanes, landslides, and droughts.

Read more

Sub-Saharan Africa

In many African states, environmental security issues rank high on the political agenda. Throughout the continent, countries suffer from water scarcity, food insecurity and energy poverty. These chronic and worsening resource scarcities have severe livelihood implications and are exacerbated by political conflicts over access to and control over these resources. Climate change may seriously threaten political and economic stability in Africa. It may also put a severe strain on the capacities of states and societies to co-ordinate activities, to communicate and to organize.

Read more