In his address on this year’s World Cities Day, UN-Secretary General António Guterres recognised that “cities have borne the brunt of the pandemic” and called upon governments to “prepare cities for future disease outbreaks”. Authorities cannot waste this opportunity to build back better by simultaneously addressing the increasing economic hardship for the urban poor and climate change impacts. This will help prevent not only future health risks but also the increased risk of urban violence and insecurity.
As political and public narratives on COVID-19 shift towards the need to ‘build back better’, the pandemic continues to take a heavy toll for many. A new report by the Climate Security Expert Network (CSEN) shows how COVID-19 can exacerbate climate-related security risks.
China’s Belt and Road Initiative projects may exacerbate the risk of climate-related instability across the Middle East in the long term.
With the European Green Deal, the European Commission under President Ursula von der Leyen has committed to accelerating decarbonisation in Europe as a major priority. The report "The Geopolitics of Decarbonization: Reshaping European Foreign Relations" shows how the EU’s external relations need to evolve to adequately reflect the political, economic and social outcomes of this process.
Decarbonisation won’t come as fast as the pandemic. But if fossil fuel exporters are not prepared for it, they will face an enduring crisis. The EU can help.
Greenhouse gas emissions are down and air quality has gone up, as governments react to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the head of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), Inger Andersen, has cautioned against viewing this as a boon for the environment. In this First Person editorial from UN News, Ms. Andersen calls instead for a profound, systemic shift to a more sustainable economy that works for both people and the planet.
With cities continuously more threatened by climate change-induced disasters, urban planning’s reflex response is to protect cities against nature. But what if the solution lies in working with nature instead against it? Architect Kongjiang Yu invites readers to imagine what cities could look like if they took into account ancient wisdom on spatial planning.
The European Green Deal has made the environment and climate change the focus of EU action. Indeed, climate change impacts are already increasing the pressure on states and societies; however, it is not yet clear how the EU can engage on climate security and environmental peacemaking. In this light, and in the run-up to the German EU Council Presidency, adelphi and its partners are organising a roundtable series on “Climate, environment, peace: Priorities for EU external action in the decade ahead”.
Climate change will shift key coordinates of foreign policy in the coming years and decades. Even now, climate policy is more than just environment policy; it has long since arrived at the centre of foreign policy. The German Foreign Office recently released a report on climate diplomacy recognizing the biggest challenges to security posed by climate change and highlighting fields of action for strengthening international climate diplomacy.
For the first time in the survey’s 10-year outlook, the top five global risks in terms of likelihood are all environmental. They are: extreme weather events, failure of climate change mitigation and adaptation, major natural disasters, major biodiversity loss and ecosystem collapse, and human-made environmental damage and disasters.
Environmental peacebuilding is a good idea. As a practice, it aims to address simultaneously environmental problems and challenges related to violent conflict. Examples include the promotion of environmental cooperation between rival states, conflict-sensitive adaptation to climate change, and restoring access to land and water in post-conflict societies. However, environmental peacebuilding can negatively affect development, chip away at environmental protection, and erode peace. In new study, Tobias Ide highlights six different aspects of the dark side of environmental peacebuilding.
The momentum for climate action we are witnessing is extraordinary. Throughout 2019, millions of people took the streets all around the world to join the youth climate movement's school strike. Yet at this year’s most important climate politics meeting, the UN Climate Action Summit in New York, most governments were far from committing to sufficient action to avert dangerous climate change. Dr. Beatrice Mosello and Dr. Virginie Le Masson explain how to move things forward.
Climate change is increasingly challenging global security and undermining peacebuilding efforts. UN Environment and the European Union have joined forces to address these challenges. With the support of adelphi, they have developed a toolkit on ‘Addressing climate-fragility risks’. This toolkit facilitates the development and implementation of strategies, policies, and projects that seek to build resilience by linking climate change adaptation, peacebuilding, and sustainable livelihoods, focusing on the pilot countries Sudan and Nepal.
“Climate Security risks will materialise in very different ways and forms, whether we talk about Lake Chad or about the Arctic, Bangladesh and the Small Island Developing States,” said the EU’s Ambassador to the United Nations in New York, Joao Vale de Almeida, in his opening remarks. “But for the EU, there is no doubt, as underlined in 2016 in our Global Strategy, and reaffirmed by the 28 Ministers of Foreign Affairs, that climate change is a major threat to the security of the EU and to global peace and security more generally,” he said.