South Asia’s vulnerability to climate change and associated fragility risks calls for a regional approach to climate services. Different actors need to cooperate to share actionable climate information—the security architecture in the region would benefit.
Nepal and Afghanistan face a number of serious climate-fragility risks, so adelphi brought together regional government officials and NGO experts for a training in Kathmandu on 9 November 2019.
Small Island States will be facing dramatically higher adaptation costs to build resilience against the kind of impacts the IPCC projects in its most recent Special Report. Thoriq Imbrahim, former Environment and Energy Minister of the Maldives, urges the international community to attend to the political demands of countries particularly exposed to the impacts of climate change and also confront loss and damage with renewed urgency.
Though India is now pushing for BIMSTEC, geography dictates that it cannot ignore SAARC. South Asia is extremely vulnerable to a range of climate impacts, ranging from shrinking glaciers and water scarcity to floods and rising sea levels. Responding to these risks is a complex task, also because often impacts affect more than one country and their severity exceeds the capacity of national governments. Climate change creates new challenges for regional organisations, and simultaneously increases their relevance.
In July 2018, a partially completed dam in Laos’ Attapeu province collapsed, washing away people and villages in its path. Hundreds of people were missing and more than six thousand lost their homes. And after last summer’s hurricanes, U.S. citizens in Houston and Puerto Rico escaped death but were forced to evacuate when dams were flooded. Dam failure can be catastrophic for people, property, and power – and the risks are rising.
In 2018, many countries, including India, have been at the receiving end of the worst disasters the world has ever witnessed. It is imperative that they adopt a human security approach to achieve “freedom from hazard impacts” – nationally through a scientific disaster risk reduction strategy, and internationally through climate diplomacy.
The surge in the frequency and intensity of climate change impacts has raised the alarm about how this could hamper coastal activities. Several critical ports in the Indo-Pacific region are hubs of international trade and commerce and at the same time vulnerable to typhoons, taller waves and erosion. India’s climate diplomacy at the regional level could activate climate-resilient pathways for port development and management.
As Day Zeroes are becoming commonplace across the world, India needs to prepare itself for its worst-ever water crisis by establishing a network of water policies and programmes, ranging from community engagement to multilateral/bilateral collaboration.
Internal climate migrants are rapidly becoming the human face of climate change. According to this new World Bank report, without urgent global and national climate action, Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and Latin America could see more than 140 million people move within their countries’ borders by 2050.
Tense relations between India and China and the lack of meaningful cooperation between them over the waters of the Brahmaputra could turn it into a geopolitical flashpoint. India should push for an all-encompassing dialogue on river water sharing that ensures transparency and cooperation at all times, on both sides of the Sino-Indian border and beyond.
The Vietnamese Mekong Delta is one of Earth’s most agriculturally productive regions and is of global importance for its exports of rice, shrimp, and fruit. The 18m inhabitants of this low-lying river delta are also some of the world’s most vulnerable to climate change. Over the last ten years around 1.7m people have migrated out of its vast expanse of fields, rivers and canals while only 700,000 have arrived.
On November 17, adelphi hosted a high-level panel discussion on “How to prevent climate security risks?” at the German Pavilion at COP23. The panel discussion was an opportunity to take stock of what has been achieved and to deepen the discussion on how to prevent climate-related risks and incorporate them into policy planning.
In this report, various challenges faced by Asia-Pacific's most vulnerable areas to disasters attributed to climate change are specified, and a qualitative analysis is made on the instability of public security, politics and social climate observed in the region. The purpose of these two exercises is to gain insight into the situation through the overlapping of natural science and social science perspectives.
The Asia-Pacific region is extremely vulnerable to climate change impacts. Frequent flooding and extreme weather events, and ecosystem collapse, could undo hard-won achievements in economic and human development. However, as a new report by the Asian Development Bank argues, Asia also has the opportunity be a leader in green technologies.