Climate change is the single greatest threat to the livelihood, security and well-being of Pacific Small Island Developing States (SIDS). The threat is increasing at a time when the region is already facing complex geopolitical dynamics and multifaceted security risks.
Meaningful engagement with the social and conflict implications of climate change in Solomon Islands must be firmly grounded within local worldviews—within Solomon Islanders’ physical, economic, political, and social and spiritual worlds. As we note in a recent policy brief for the Toda Peace Institute, when addressing conflict challenges exacerbated or caused by climate change, approaches should be drawn upon community understandings of what constitutes peace and justice.
At the conclusion of the 50th Pacific Islands Forum, Pacific leaders issued a Forum Communiqué and the ‘Kainaki II Declaration for Urgent Climate Change Action Now’ – the strongest collective statement the Forum has issued on climate change. Pacific leaders highlight the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Action Summit, the SAMOA Pathway Review, and 25th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 25) to the UNFCCC as “global turning points to ensure meaningful, measurable and effective climate change action”.
As the debate over climate-related security risks grows, many Pacific Island States are calling for more action by the international community to better address the links between climate change and global security. In an interview with adelphi, the former President of Nauru, Baron Waqa, highlights some of these calls as well as the challenges in getting the climate-security issue on the UN’s agenda.
The so-called Vulnerable Twenty (V20) Group was established in October 2015 with the inaugural meeting of the V20 Ministers of Finance at the Climate Vulnerable Forum in Lima, Peru. The V20 can be considered as an example of the importance of early action in the field of adaptation in order to initiate a transformative change towards resilient societies.
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.
The 6th Asia-Pacific Climate Change Adaptation Forum is scheduled to convene in Manila, the Philippines, from 17-19 October 2018.
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 island state of Fiji is hosting the presidency of the next United Nations climate conference. Inia Seruiratu, Minister of Agriculture, explains why the exit of the United States from the Paris Agreement also has positive aspects, why he is focusing on climate change adaptation, and why Fiji will not be joining the climate risk insurance.
The Environment, Conflict and Cooperation (ECC) exhibition visualizes the dramatic and growing impact of global environmental change. It demonstrates how climate change can threaten the security of the Pacific region, and showcases how climate, environment and sustainable development cooperation can contribute to stability and peace. It is hosted by UNSW in Canberra and Sydney.
Internationally, Australia resides in the region worst affected by climate change, a so called ‘disaster alley’. Robert Sturrock from the Centre of Policy Development argues that policy action to address climate vulnerabilities in Australia and the Indo-Pacific is not sufficient, and that Australia should offer leadership to encourage regional cooperation and prepare for climate crises.