The region at the base of the Himalayas faces difficult tradeoffs when allocating water for energy production versus agricultural, industrial, and domestic uses. As weather patterns are becoming irregular, the construction of new power plants faces increasing resistance from local communities, resulting in social disruptions and instability. Keith Schneider argues that governments must look beyond hydropower and coal.
This policy brief analyses the challenges and potentials for cooperation among Middle Eastern countries through water governance. It takes the perspective of water insecurity as an instability multiplier, bringing the matter of water distribution and use to the center of the Middle Eastern conflict.
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 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.
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.
The Indian military could be an instrumental player and leading force in India’s climate change strategy on domestic and international fronts. Dhanasree Jayaram analyses its traditional functions and newfound responsibilities towards the environment. The example of the Ecological Task Force, the world’s first ecological battalion, shows how the military could be involved in successful climate action.
Cities are already facing the brunt of a range of interacting risks from criminal violence, terrorism and war to demographic pressures, to climate and environmental change. Coastal megacities are especially at risk given the specific impacts of climate change they face, such as sea-level rise, increased storm frequency and severity, and destruction to infrastructure such as ports, rail and road networks. These risks are amplified as urban populations become ever larger.
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.