Migration, political and financial crises threaten the European Union’s very existence. But the destabilized political landscape after the US elections is an opportunity for the EU to lead by example and show leadership. Pushing forwards on pan-European energy transition and trade partnerships with China will be key to ensuring implementation of the Paris Agreement.
"Land degradation is a root cause of migration and a trigger of conflicts", says Monique Barbut, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification. In the interview, she explains the links between environmental change and violent conflict in Africa. Concrete examples such as the "Great Green Wall" raise hope that conflicts over scarce resources can be successfully addressed and that degraded landscapes can be restored through collaborative efforts.
The ECC Factbook is an online tool presenting over 120 conflicts with an environmental dimension. This month, our Factbook team reviewed the links between food price hikes and political fragility in the Middle East and North Africa region, with a particular emphasis on the events leading up to the Arab spring revolutions. The latest additions to the ECC Factbook include a general overview of the origins and consequences of recent global food price crises, a series of specific case studies in selected MENA countries, and a discussion of possible policy solutions.
How to deal with the impact of climate change on peace and stability? What are the key climate-fragility risks to development in Africa and how can integrated policy responses be designed and implemented? Two side events at COP22 discussed entry points for addressing climate-security risks on the ground.
The T20 Africa Conference will bring together opinion leaders from think tanks and universities in Africa and the G20 countries to further promote the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The key objective of the conference is to discuss options about what future cooperation between the G20 and Africa could and should look like.
Following last month’s United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III) in Quito, Ecuador, it is worth raising attention to the key challenges and opportunities that the urbanisation process imposes on peaceful development. In fragile contexts, such as urban areas which are already highly exposed to multiple risks (including climate change, disasters, chronic poverty, insecurity and population displacement), the converging effects of climate change and growing youth populations can severely affect security risks.
Last month, our author Dr Vigya Sharma visited Colombo to speak at the 5th Asia-Pacific Climate Change Adaptation Forum. In her report, she highlights some takeaways from the conference to which more than 1,000 representatives from across science, policy, national to local governments, multilateral donor agencies and various arms of the United Nations came together.
With much of the Middle East in turmoil, authorities devote their resources to fighting ISIS, the refugee crisis and the most pressing economic and social concerns. Peter Schwartzstein, a Cairo-based journalist, reports on the struggle of environmental agencies to be heard in times of conflict. The secondary status of the environment is regrettable, as landscape degradation and pollutant floods in Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq, Sudan and other countries is contributing to a broader picture of instability.
Manipal University is organising a thematic seminar series on “Environmental Security in India” in November 2016, under the auspices of the Climate Diplomacy initiative supported by the German Federal Foreign Office. As a part of the ongoing efforts to build the University’s research and development base in environmental studies and climate change, it seeks to establish synergies between fundamental research in natural (physical) sciences, engineering, security and policy, especially in the environmental and climate policy domains.
Assessing the positive impacts of climate action, an approach which considers the broad spectrum of social, economic and health benefits, has increasingly gained global recognition. This is due, in part, to the insightful work done by the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate. On this platform, Christian Friis Bach from UNECE noted on February 2016: “Taking into account such co-benefits can radically change the picture and demonstrate that action can pay off, not only in the long term, but also in the short to medium term.” With the Paris Agreement recently ratified by the European Union (EU), what is the potential of the benefits approach for achieving these new commitments in Europe?
Will India back out of a treaty that it had been partied to with Pakistan for nearly 60 years? Is there a risk going forward if Modi’s government were to build dams - would there be an uptake in terrorist activity as a result of reducing water? Michael Kugelman explains the flare up in India-Pakistan water tensions.
As New Delhi and Islamabad trade nuclear threats and deadly attacks, a brewing war over shared water resources threatens to turn up the violence.
The exhibition “Environment, Conflict and Cooperation” (ECC) will be shown in Beijing starting from 18 September 2016.