South Asia’s vulnerability to climate change and associated fragility risks calls for a regional approach to climate services. Different actors need to cooperate to share actionable climate information—the security architecture in the region would benefit.
Climate change poses a growing security risk in Central Asia and Afghanistan, where it has a particularly severe impact on glaciers and natural resources such as water, land and soil. As part of a preventive and stabilising foreign policy, the Federal Foreign Office launched Green Central Asia, a regional initiative on climate and security in the region on 28 January 2020.
Nepal and Afghanistan face a number of serious climate-fragility risks, so adelphi brought together regional government officials and NGO experts for a training in Kathmandu on 9 November 2019.
As India grapples with the worsening impacts of climate change, the need to strengthen its adaptation efforts has become more significant than ever. Climate diplomacy and mainstreaming climate adaptation into the most vulnerable sectors could provide some solutions to overcoming barriers, such as the lack of sustainable funding.
Women are vital for effective climate policy making and implementation. In South Asia, more needs to be done on systematically integrating women into policy processes - as active stakeholders and not merely as victims of climate risks.
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.
Small Island States will be facing dramatically higher adaptation costs to build resilience against the kind of impacts the IPCC projects in its most recent Special Report. Thoriq Imbrahim, former Environment and Energy Minister of the Maldives, urges the international community to attend to the political demands of countries particularly exposed to the impacts of climate change and also confront loss and damage with renewed urgency.
A new report released in May by Displacement Solutions and Yangon-based Ecodev urges the government of Myanmar to immediately establish a Myanmar National Climate Land Bank (MNCLB) to prepare the country and its people for massive climate displacement.
A new USAID report focuses on the intersection of climate exposure and state fragility worldwide. It finds that the factors that make a country vulberable to large-scale conflict are similar to those that make it vulnerable to climate change. The report thus offers a way for global audiences with an interest in climate and security to identify places of high concern.
Though India is now pushing for BIMSTEC, geography dictates that it cannot ignore SAARC. South Asia is extremely vulnerable to a range of climate impacts, ranging from shrinking glaciers and water scarcity to floods and rising sea levels. Responding to these risks is a complex task, also because often impacts affect more than one country and their severity exceeds the capacity of national governments. Climate change creates new challenges for regional organisations, and simultaneously increases their relevance.
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.
In 2018, many countries, including India, have been at the receiving end of the worst disasters the world has ever witnessed. It is imperative that they adopt a human security approach to achieve “freedom from hazard impacts” – nationally through a scientific disaster risk reduction strategy, and internationally through climate diplomacy.
The experience of the Saralbhanga River, which flows from Bhutan to India, shows the power of involving local people in river management.
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.
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.