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.
Water conflict and cooperation surrounding riparian countries among the Jordan River has been one of the most contentious issues in the Middle East, at times leading to the use of military force. While there are many studies analyzing current water contention over the lower part of the Jordan River, there is a gap in a comprehensive analysis of factors affecting various cooperation taking place within the basin, linking analysis to future potential areas of cooperation. This report is the result of a research project aimed at filling this gap.
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.
Climate finance is supposed to fund projects in developing countries that support the path towards limiting global warming to 1,5°C – a goal that was confirmed in the Paris Agreement in December 2015. For this it needs a paradigm shift to low-emission and climate-resilient development as the statute of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) states. At the same time, projects funded under climate finance should not hamper development or lead to the violation of human rights. Climate finance can therefore not only focus on the environmental aspects of the investments funded, but also needs to be incorporated into the wider context of development, as i.a. the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are reflecting.
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.
As the Global Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction soon gets underway, the world is witnessing the highest levels of famine risk in decades. While war and conflict stand as a major root cause of the crisis in the Middle East and Africa, climate change is a key “enhancer” of the humanitarian crisis unfolding before our eyes.
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 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.
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.