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.
A recently published paper by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) has focused on the under-researched topic of how climate change impacts may affect violence in South and Southeast Asia. Titled “Climate change and violent conflict: Sparse evidence from South Asia and South East Asia”, the report highlights how little work has been done in looking at climate change and its possible impact on security in the most densely populated regions on the planet.
Pakistan’s unprecedented climate shocks make it clear: regional cooperation for managing shared waters is desperately needed. To halt the increasing impacts on agriculture and livelihoods that cripple the country’s economy, diplomacy is of paramount importance. In our interview, Moeen Khan explains how territorial and ethnic tensions with India hinder much-needed transboundary solutions – and how the international community can help.
The impact of hundreds and thousands of Rohingya refugees have been devastating to the forest cover and water availability in Cox’s Bazar, fuelling resentments with the local population.
The destruction caused by Cyclone Ockhi in South Asia portends what a ‘climate-changed’ world has in store for humankind, especially taking into consideration the adverse human security implications of such disasters that have to be addressed urgently. Dhanasree Jayaram argues that planetary security in this context can be best ensured at the regional level.
The region at the base of the Himalayas faces difficult tradeoffs when allocating water for energy production versus agricultural, industrial, and domestic uses. As weather patterns are becoming irregular, the construction of new power plants faces increasing resistance from local communities, resulting in social disruptions and instability. Keith Schneider argues that governments must look beyond hydropower and coal.
The Indian military could be an instrumental player and leading force in India’s climate change strategy on domestic and international fronts. Dhanasree Jayaram analyses its traditional functions and newfound responsibilities towards the environment. The example of the Ecological Task Force, the world’s first ecological battalion, shows how the military could be involved in successful climate action.
Cities are already facing the brunt of a range of interacting risks from criminal violence, terrorism and war to demographic pressures, to climate and environmental change. Coastal megacities are especially at risk given the specific impacts of climate change they face, such as sea-level rise, increased storm frequency and severity, and destruction to infrastructure such as ports, rail and road networks. These risks are amplified as urban populations become ever larger.
On 19 January 2017, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan hosted a roundtable seminar with international experts and country representatives to follow up on G7 efforts to address climate-fragility risks.
Will India back out of a treaty that it had been partied to with Pakistan for nearly 60 years? Is there a risk going forward if Modi’s government were to build dams - would there be an uptake in terrorist activity as a result of reducing water? Michael Kugelman explains the flare up in India-Pakistan water tensions.
As New Delhi and Islamabad trade nuclear threats and deadly attacks, a brewing war over shared water resources threatens to turn up the violence.
A paper published last week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences tests the hypothesis that climate related natural disasters may be part of the cause of conflict in countries with high ethnic fractionalization.
The eye catching headlines are familiar. “Water Wars” are imminent or already underway in the latest drought or dam-building hotspot. Such “wars” often extend to farmers battling over irrigation diversions, but at times countries are the players. Senior leaders are often quoted suggesting transboundary water theft constitutes a casus belli. Security officials are obliged to investigate.
‘No challenge poses a greater threat to our future and future generations than a change in climate’. Thus spoke President Obama, and most Western leaders have done likewise. Yet as the security policy community descends on Munich for its annual conference, climate change is likely to be a sideshow, again, despite the global attention that climate change received in the context of December’s conference in Paris.
The most important and anticipated climate change conference in years is finally underway. In some ways, as Bill McKibben and Andrew Revkin have pointed out, its success is relatively assured thanks to the number of major commitments countries have already made. But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to see here.