Following last month’s United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III) in Quito, Ecuador, it is worth raising attention to the key challenges and opportunities that the urbanisation process imposes on peaceful development. In fragile contexts, such as urban areas which are already highly exposed to multiple risks (including climate change, disasters, chronic poverty, insecurity and population displacement), the converging effects of climate change and growing youth populations can severely affect security risks.
With much of the Middle East in turmoil, authorities devote their resources to fighting ISIS, the refugee crisis and the most pressing economic and social concerns. Peter Schwartzstein, a Cairo-based journalist, reports on the struggle of environmental agencies to be heard in times of conflict. The secondary status of the environment is regrettable, as landscape degradation and pollutant floods in Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq, Sudan and other countries is contributing to a broader picture of instability.
Climate change is a decisive global challenge which, if not urgently managed, will put at risk not only the environment but also world economic prosperity, development and, more broadly, stability and security. Africa’s vulnerability to climate change is exacerbated by a number of non-climatic factors, including hunger, high prevalence of disease, widespread poverty, chronic conflicts, high dependence on rain-fed agriculture, low levels of development and low adaptive capacity.
While natural resource development can generate economic success, it can also increase the likelihood of conflict, particularly in Africa. Ongoing violence in Nigeria’s oil-rich Niger Delta is a good example of the so-called “resource curse” in action. In response, African governments continue to grapple with how best to use their resource endowments to foster both economic opportunity and peace. At a time of much soul-searching for the United Nations, there is a unique opportunity to put responsible and effective resource development at the heart of African peacebuilding. But how might local communities take greater ownership of these processes?
This briefing paper argues that in order to achieve the targets set out in the Malabo Declaration, which was adopted in 2014 with the aim to improve nutrition and food security across Africa, and to increase agricultural productivity by 2025 while building resilience to the effects of climate change, African governments must support programmes that will contribute to strengthening smallholder farmers’ resilience and improving their livelihoods.
26 May 2016 – At a meeting today in the United Nations Security Council on the situation in the Sahel region of sub-Saharan Africa, senior UN officials stressed that climate change plays a direct role in the region’s security, development and stability by increasing drought and fuelling conflict.
On 12 May 2016, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) through its Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) launched its annual publication “The Global Report on Internal Displacement (GRID)”, identifying climate change and related natural hazards, such as droughts, sea-level rise and desertification as increasingly important factors causing internal displacement.
At its 585th meeting on March 30 2016, the Peace and Security Council of the African Union held an open session on Climate Change: State fragility, peace and security in Africa. The debate reflected the collective acknowledgement that climate change, peace and security in Africa are inextricably linked, stressing the need for all AU Member States to further build national resilience capacities.