With the failure of July 14-15 talks held between India and Pakistan to settle concerns raised by the latter over the former’s dam projects (Kishenganga and Ratle) over the Western rivers (Jhelum’s tributary and Chenab respectively) of the Indus Basin (allocated to the latter under the Indus Waters Treaty), Pakistan has now decided to take the matter to the International Court of Arbitration (ICA), based in the Hague. While the political and legal battles over the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) continue to create headlines in the region, and across the world, there is another time bomb ticking beneath the surface.
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.
India is all set to embark on exploration and other developmental activities pertaining to polymetallic sulphides in the Indian Ocean after a cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Modi approved the signing of a contract between the Minister of Earth Sciences and the International Seabed Authority (ISA), that formalises India’s exclusive rights for exploration in the Central Indian Ridge, and South West Indian Ridge in the Indian Ocean for 15 years. India is not the only country that is actively tapping into the resources of the region, or is attempting to do so. China, South Korea and Germany have also been granted permission to prospect for polymetallic nodules and sulphides, increasing the potential for competition in the region.
The China-funded dam highlights lack of green safeguards along the New Silk Road, writes Eugene Simonov.
Over the past decade, the number of undernourished people around the world has declined by around 167 million, to just under 800 million people. However, this positive trend glosses over a stark reality: Food insecurity is increasing in the world’s mountains. This pattern has been under-recognized by development experts and governments, a dangerous oversight with far-reaching social and environmental repercussions.
2015 was a historic year for international commitments to sustainable development, climate change action, and new kinds of peacebuilding. For governments and policymakers, now comes the difficult task of living up to those commitments.
Security concerns, like ISIS and a revanchist Russia, tend to dominate people’s attention, but less sensational challenges to stability and economic development are piling up as well, threatening to overwhelm humanitarian budgets and prompting governments to shift funding from development to emergency aid.
South Asia is on the front line in confronting the implications of climate change and addressing the consequences for security. To analyse this and more, the Global Military Advisory Council on Climate Change (GMACCC) has just released its report “Climate Change and Security in South Asia”.
On 12 May 2016, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) through its Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) launched its annual publication “The Global Report on Internal Displacement (GRID)”, identifying climate change and related natural hazards, such as droughts, sea-level rise and desertification as increasingly important factors causing internal displacement.
Intensive international cooperation is a key prerequisite for successful and ambitious global climate action. Russia, one of the world’s top 5 greenhouse gas emitters and the second largest producer of crude oil and natural gas, has long been regarded as one of the major veto players in international climate politics. Nevertheless, during the last decade climate awareness among Russian policymakers and other relevant stakeholders has increased dramatically. This is illustrated by the fact that the updated Strategy of National Security of the Russian Federation refers to climate change as a threat to national and public security. The Paris Agreement gave the Russian climate policy a new strong impetus.
India, as one of the world’s most vulnerable countries to environmental change, is at the undeniable centre of various discourses relating to the impact of environmental changes on human security and conflicts driven, or exacerbated, by the exploitation of natural resources. India also has the potential to promote stability and peace through sustainable development and environmental cooperation. Integral to adelphi’s project – “Environment, Conflict and Cooperation” (ECC) – these issues have been dealt with at length on numerous occasions and on a host of platforms. As the ECC exhibition travelled to Manipal University (a university that commands a panoramic view of the Arabian Sea to the west and the Western Ghats to the east) the primary focus has been to examine the realities on the ground realities and to integrate these into the larger national and international frameworks of climate diplomacy and environmental governance.