The Syrian crisis and the multi-year drought that preceded it have become emblematic of contemporary discussions about the possible security implications of climate change. Jan Selby and colleagues argue in a recent study that there is insufficient evidence to support a significant link between climate change, drought and violent conflict in Syria. Adrien Detges (adelphi) takes a close look at this study and provides an outlook on the points and critiques raised by it.
Former UN climate Chief Christiana Figueres, one of the architects of the Paris Agreement, has called on the European Union to step up regulatory action against deforestation in the global south by tackling emissions of imported agricultural goods like beef, soy and palm oil.
The Nordic country becomes the first to significantly upgrade its ambition in light of the international climate deal adopted in Paris in 2015. It was previously targeting carbon neutrality by 2050.Coming two weeks after US president Donald Trump announced his intention to pull out of the Paris Agreement, the act underlines a growing transatlantic rift when it comes to climate change.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent visit to Europe has been a strategic endeavour to reaffirm India’s engagement with the European Union and firmly establish India’s position as a key global actor, writes Gauri Khandekar.
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 Kigali amendment - seeking to reduce climate-damaging HFCs - is considered a diplomatic victory. In fulfilling its pledge, India’s cooling sector has a crucial role to play. The Indian government hence seeks to cooperate with the EU to learn from their experiences, in order to advance the country’s green cooling efforts.
At the Paris Climate Conference held in December 2015, 195 countries adopted the Paris Agreement – the first universal, legally binding global climate deal. The signatory parties committed themselves to a global action plan that aims to keep global warming to well below 2°C and to limit the global temperature increase to 1.5°C.
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.
Food is inexorably linked to many areas of policy – from climate change to sustainable development to conflict to migration. The EU has become a major player in ensuring global food security, both through its engagement in sustainable development and humanitarian assistance programmes. Daniele Fattibene argues that it should therefore develop its food diplomacy under the aegis of the European External Action Service (EEAS) and its security policy.
The race is on for Saudi Arabia to find new sources of income before the oil age peters out. Could acting on climate change cause some of the world’s wealthiest countries to collapse into disorder and danger?
The European Union has long played a leadership role in climate diplomacy. One challenging development for future EU climate diplomacy is the centrality of technology in contemporary global interventions to deal with climate change and promote sustainable energy. Challenges and opportunities in this field of action were central to a workshop hosted by the Foundation for European Progressive Studies (FEPS) in partnership with the Transnational Law Institute (TLI) of the Dickson Poon School of Law, King’s College London, and Fondation Jean-Jaurès.
"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.