Fourteen Latin American and Caribbean countries made history at the UN General Assembly on September 27 by signing the Escazú Agreement, a regional accord on public participation and access to information and justice in environmental affairs. It is the first region-wide agreement of its kind and has been touted a big step forward in recognising the rights of environmental defenders. Signatories now need to ratify the Agreement internally before it can enter into force.
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.
The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and World Bank predict that water scarcity, induced by climate change, will potentially reduce GDP of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region by 6 to 14% by 2050, if nothing is done to address this. In the report, the agencies highlight water and agriculture as key to conflict recovery, stabilization and peace building in the region currently experiencing armed conflicts and large refugee movements.
The experience of the Saralbhanga River, which flows from Bhutan to India, shows the power of involving local people in river management.
The world risks crossing the point of no return on climate change, with disastrous consequences for people across the planet and the natural systems that sustain them, the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres warned on Monday, calling for more leadership and greater ambition for climate action, to reverse course.
China’s vision of a global energy system overemphasises the benefits of connectivity. Planners and investors also have to consider the potential impacts on biodiversity and local community livelihoods from different power generation methods and find ways to prevent them.
A new report analyses how the transition to a low-carbon economy – and the minerals and metals required to make that shift – could affect fragility, conflict, and violence dynamics in mineral-rich states.
Ignoring cross border impacts of large infrastructure projects will spark conflict along rivers, argues Peter King. National level environmental impact assessments that ignore cross border impacts are likely to create conflict between countries.
On a visit at short notice to Germany, Russian President Vladimir Putin has met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel to discuss a range of bilateral and international issues, including the conflicts in Syria and Ukraine, and the future of the controversial gas pipeline project Nord Stream 2. The pair met for the second time within just three months to talk about the project.
Germany will hold a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council in 2019 and 2020, and has announced that climate fragility will be one of its priorities. In a new brief, Susanne Dröge from the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) comments on the challenges Germany will face when moving the topic forward. She stresses the importance of connecting the Security Council’s engagement to other climate and development policy processes and fora.
French environment minister Nicolas Hulot has resigned live on national radio in a surprise move that will come as a blow to president Emmanuel Macron’s green credentials. Nicolas Hulot had not made the French president aware of his decision to quit, he told radio presenters, adding his time in office had been an ‘accumulation of disappointments’.
Mine closures have caused social and political turmoil in many regions, for example in South Africa. But there are ways of planning and managing the phase-out so that when the inevitable happens, people are better prepared. A new study looks at opportunities beyond mining and finds that infrastructure that supports mining can also be put to new use.
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 Asian continent, and showcases how climate, environment and sustainable development cooperation can contribute to stability and peace. Dealing with themes such as water, natural resources and climate change, the exhibition shows how environmental degradation and resource scarcity can spark conflict and create new security risks.
Access to and competition over natural resources has been one of the most common triggers for conflict. Throughout the centuries, countries and communities have fought over productive agricultural land, trade routes, spices, textiles, opium, and oil, to name just a few. But the battle over one natural resource—fish—has long been overlooked. As trends in the global fish industry increasingly mirror the conflict-ridden oil sector, fish may become the newest addition to the list of resources driving geopolitical competition. There are five parallels between oil and fish that call for increasing the sustainability of the fishing industry, or we might find ourselves facing what U.S. Coast Guard Captain Jay Caputo has called “a global fish war.”