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.
Facing poverty, inequality and the need for foreign currency, governments in Latin America have employed different strategies to promote development and economic growth, as multiple stakeholders seek to turn the reserves of natural resources into sources of wealth.
The Western Ghats are one of the top biodiversity hotspots in the world and form an important watershed. In five Indian states, the mountain range is at the heart of environmental conflicts: Fragmentation and deterioration of forests, biodiversity loss, pollution, soil erosion and landslides, soil infertility and agrarian stress, depleting groundwater resources, climate change and introduction of alien species, caused by developmental and mining projects, have raised the alarm in recent years.
Even though nearly a decade has passed since the Cauvery (Kaveri) Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT) gave a final verdict on the sharing of the waters of the River Cauvery, the two main conflicting parties – the Karnataka and the Tamil Nadu – are still in dispute. The recent verdict by the Supreme Court (India’s apex court), directing Karnataka to release more water than the amount it informed the court it could, generated a fresh bout of protest, arson and violence in Karnataka. This occurred mainly in Bengaluru (erstwhile Bangalore), Mysore and Mandya. The dispute between the two states, which has lasted more than 150 years, refuses to cease.
Climate change is projected to produce more intense and frequent extreme weather events, multiple weather disturbances, along with broader climatological effects, such as sea level rise. These are almost certain to have significant direct and indirect social, economic, political, and security implications during the next 20 years. These effects will be especially pronounced as populations continue to concentrate in climate-vulnerable locales such as coastal areas, water-stressed regions, and ever-growing cities.
Fresh water is an indispensable resource for human life and ecosystem health. A considerable amount of fresh water resources accessible for human use are shared between two or more countries. Around the world, there are 286 transboundary river basins, and 148 countries include territory within one or more of these basins. Contrary to expectations, internationally shared water resources have long acted as a source of cooperation rather than conflict between riparian states.
The exhibition “Environment, Conflict and Cooperation” (ECC) will be shown in Beijing starting from 18 September 2016.
Many transboundary water basins around the world are facing climate-related challenges that will intensify in the decades to come. Successful adaptation will be an important precondition for ensuring sustainable development and political stability in these basins. At the same time, stability and cooperation are preconditions for successful adaptation. How can riparians best achieve these interrelated objectives? And with the international community seeking to support both processes, how can water and climate diplomacy strengthen each other?
Over millennia, warfare, environmental degradation, and social inequality have brought much suffering to humankind. In an effort to facilitate interdisciplinary cross-fertilization, WESIPS brings together a cadre of internationally recognized scholars to address the underlying causes of warfare, environmental degradation, the advent of social complexity, and social inequality from a host of interdisciplinary and theoretical perspectives.
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.
This article finds evidence that “risk of armed-conflict outbreak is enhanced by climate related disaster occurrence in ethnically fractionalized countries”. The authors state that while each conflict is the result of a very context-specific mixture of factors, natural disasters triggered by anthropogenic climate change might act as a threat multiplier.
For the abstract and full article please see here.
Earlier this month, armed clashes between competing factions of South Sudan’s government broke out in the capital Juba, a day after the nation’s fifth anniversary of its independence. The conflict dates back to political events and factional fighting that first emerged in 2013.
The exhibition “Environment, Conflict, Cooperation” (ECC), co-organised by The University of Queensland and adelphi, supported by the German Federal Foreign Office, is shown in Brisbane during 18th July and 4th August. The exhibition is accompanied by a public talk as well as a closing panel discussion:
While natural resource development can generate economic success, it can also increase the likelihood of conflict, particularly in Africa. Ongoing violence in Nigeria’s oil-rich Niger Delta is a good example of the so-called “resource curse” in action. In response, African governments continue to grapple with how best to use their resource endowments to foster both economic opportunity and peace. At a time of much soul-searching for the United Nations, there is a unique opportunity to put responsible and effective resource development at the heart of African peacebuilding. But how might local communities take greater ownership of these processes?
Wrapped in a purple boubou (robe), Salou Moussa Maïga, 60, sits with his hands clasped between his knees and explains how climate change has fuelled violent conflict in Ansongo, Mali. As the president of a farming cooperative, he knows the cost of drought all too well. ‘The rain period has decreased considerably from years ago … we don’t have grass anymore,’ he told ISS Today. ‘Everything is naked.’