Lawmakers from nations in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization are warning that climate change will lead to conflict and mass migration in the Middle East and North Africa and are pressing governments to stick to their commitments under the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, notably pledges on climate financing for developing countries.
The Prime Minister of Fiji Frank Bainimarama, as incoming President of the UN Climate Change Conference in autumn in Bonn (COP23, 6-17 November), addressed delegates on the final day of the May UN Climate Change Conference in the former German capital. In his address, he set out his vision for Fiji's Presidency of COP23. During his speech, the new Presidency COP23 website was launched, and a powerful video showing the impacts of climate change on Fiji was screened (see below). These are his remarks as prepared for delivery.
As the Global Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction soon gets underway, the world is witnessing the highest levels of famine risk in decades. While war and conflict stand as a major root cause of the crisis in the Middle East and Africa, climate change is a key “enhancer” of the humanitarian crisis unfolding before our eyes.
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.
The epicenter of violence in the unstable country of Mali has historically been in the north, a contested region from where Touareg separatist and jihadist armed groups launched an insurgency against the state in 2012. But over the last two years, there has been a marked shift in communal and anti-state violence to the central region, and climate change may have played a role.
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.
The 9th Africa Carbon Forum (ACF) will focus on how engagement between State and non‐State actors can be further strengthened in the key sectors for Africa (energy, agriculture and human settlements), including the role of future carbon markets to achieve enhanced climate action, towards the goals of sustainable development.
The event will cover:
EcoPeace Middle East is an organization that seeks to create lasting peace though environmental cooperation and protection of shared natural resources. The Jordanian project coordinator, Mohammad Bundokji, explains the innovative approach to peacebuilding that consists in generating positive mutual dependencies for water and energy.
In the Middle East, the consequences of climate change are already a reality of life. The region is one of the most water-stressed areas in the world, the average temperature is rising faster than elsewhere, and a massive reduction in rainfall is also expected for the coming years. Adding to the conflicts and quarrels – ranging from the Israeli–Palestinian conflict to Syria and Iraq as well as to rivalries between Iran and the Gulf states – access to and use of natural resources act as yet another crisis amplifier in the region: water is as important here as land ownership and as precious as access to oil.
This volume brings together insights on the interactions between environmental change and human security in the Middle East and Africa. These regions face particular challenges in relation to environmental degradation, the decline of natural resources and consequent risks to current and future human security.
While all Americans know water is a precious resource, most of us take it for granted – until it’s not there when we need it. Three authors from the Wilson Center argue that water scarcity is undermining economic growth, limiting food production, and becoming an increasing threat to peace and security.