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.
In the Middle East, the consequences of climate change are already a reality of life. The region is one of the most water-stressed areas in the world, the average temperature is rising faster than elsewhere, and a massive reduction in rainfall is also expected for the coming years. Adding to the conflicts and quarrels – ranging from the Israeli–Palestinian conflict to Syria and Iraq as well as to rivalries between Iran and the Gulf states – access to and use of natural resources act as yet another crisis amplifier in the region: water is as important here as land ownership and as precious as access to oil.
"Land degradation is a root cause of migration and a trigger of conflicts", says Monique Barbut, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification. In the interview, she explains the links between environmental change and violent conflict in Africa. Concrete examples such as the "Great Green Wall" raise hope that conflicts over scarce resources can be successfully addressed and that degraded landscapes can be restored through collaborative efforts.
The ECC Factbook is an online tool presenting over 120 conflicts with an environmental dimension. This month, our Factbook team reviewed the links between food price hikes and political fragility in the Middle East and North Africa region, with a particular emphasis on the events leading up to the Arab spring revolutions. The latest additions to the ECC Factbook include a general overview of the origins and consequences of recent global food price crises, a series of specific case studies in selected MENA countries, and a discussion of possible policy solutions.
Following last month’s United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III) in Quito, Ecuador, it is worth raising attention to the key challenges and opportunities that the urbanisation process imposes on peaceful development. In fragile contexts, such as urban areas which are already highly exposed to multiple risks (including climate change, disasters, chronic poverty, insecurity and population displacement), the converging effects of climate change and growing youth populations can severely affect security risks.
26 May 2016 – At a meeting today in the United Nations Security Council on the situation in the Sahel region of sub-Saharan Africa, senior UN officials stressed that climate change plays a direct role in the region’s security, development and stability by increasing drought and fuelling conflict.
At its 585th meeting on March 30 2016, the Peace and Security Council of the African Union held an open session on Climate Change: State fragility, peace and security in Africa. The debate reflected the collective acknowledgement that climate change, peace and security in Africa are inextricably linked, stressing the need for all AU Member States to further build national resilience capacities.
The climate conference that took place in Paris last month has repeatedly been billed as a crucial global summit, and even as a decisive moment in human history – and its results have been judged as historic, too. To emphasize that the conference must not fail, Paris has seen the greatest ever gathering of leaders of state and government. And indeed, because anthropogenic climate change involves a huge range of risks – for human health and well-being, water and food security, and international security – it is fitting that the leaders who carry overall responsibility for their nations’ wellbeing engage on this issue.
If there is something positive about climate change it is that it challenges our habitual thinking and our tendency to view the world in bits and pieces rather than seeing it as one unity.
Migrants and Syrian refugees have become the new 'stranded polar bear' of climate change imagery. But most such impacts will seldom be so dramatic or camera-ready.
Global attention is understandably focused on Syrian refugees, but the migration crisis in Europe is part of a bigger trend that climate and social scientists have been warning about for years.
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.
The ECC Factbook sheds light on the role of environmental factors in over 100 conflicts worldwide. Did climate change contribute to the Syrian civil war? Find the answer in this video, infographics and data of the ECC Factbook.
As I looked in on my own children sleeping safely last Thursday night before I went to bed, I did so with added poignancy as I reflected that this was something Abdullah Kurdi was not able to do.