In January 2020, the German Federal Foreign Office launched Green Central Asia, a regional initiative on climate and security in Central Asia and Afghanistan. The aim of the initiative is to support a dialogue in the region on climate change and associated risks in order to foster regional integration between the six countries involved.
A high-level ministerial conference in Berlin is looking at the impact of climate change on regional security in Central Asia. The aim is to foster stronger regional cooperation, improve the exchange of information and form connections with academia and civil society.
Climate change poses a growing security risk in Central Asia and Afghanistan, where it has a particularly severe impact on glaciers and natural resources such as water, land and soil. As part of a preventive and stabilising foreign policy, the Federal Foreign Office will launch Green Central Asia, a regional initiative on climate and security in the region on 28 January 2020.
On 19 November in Dhaka, adelphi partnered with the International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD) to hold a roundtable and discussion on climate change and fragility risks in South Asia.
Nepal and Afghanistan face a number of serious climate-fragility risks, so adelphi brought together regional government officials and NGO experts for a training in Kathmandu on 9 November 2019.
As disasters wreak havoc all over South Asia, health impacts have increasingly emerged as a major concern for communities and governments in the region. It underscores the need for concerted efforts towards building synergies between the Paris Agreement, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, particularly now, in the post-disaster reconstruction phase, to ensure “building back better” and future disaster prevention.
A multi-sectoral and multilateral approach to South Asia's rivers could provide sustainable development, but it needs to include those already marginalised by a narrow development path.
Small Island States will be facing dramatically higher adaptation costs to build resilience against the kind of impacts the IPCC projects in its most recent Special Report. Thoriq Imbrahim, former Environment and Energy Minister of the Maldives, urges the international community to attend to the political demands of countries particularly exposed to the impacts of climate change and also confront loss and damage with renewed urgency.
Though India is now pushing for BIMSTEC, geography dictates that it cannot ignore SAARC. South Asia is extremely vulnerable to a range of climate impacts, ranging from shrinking glaciers and water scarcity to floods and rising sea levels. Responding to these risks is a complex task, also because often impacts affect more than one country and their severity exceeds the capacity of national governments. Climate change creates new challenges for regional organisations, and simultaneously increases their relevance.
In July 2018, a partially completed dam in Laos’ Attapeu province collapsed, washing away people and villages in its path. Hundreds of people were missing and more than six thousand lost their homes. And after last summer’s hurricanes, U.S. citizens in Houston and Puerto Rico escaped death but were forced to evacuate when dams were flooded. Dam failure can be catastrophic for people, property, and power – and the risks are rising.
In 2018, many countries, including India, have been at the receiving end of the worst disasters the world has ever witnessed. It is imperative that they adopt a human security approach to achieve “freedom from hazard impacts” – nationally through a scientific disaster risk reduction strategy, and internationally through climate diplomacy.
The experience of the Saralbhanga River, which flows from Bhutan to India, shows the power of involving local people in river management.
China’s vision of a global energy system overemphasises the benefits of connectivity. Planners and investors also have to consider the potential impacts on biodiversity and local community livelihoods from different power generation methods and find ways to prevent them.
Ignoring cross border impacts of large infrastructure projects will spark conflict along rivers, argues Peter King. National level environmental impact assessments that ignore cross border impacts are likely to create conflict between countries.