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.
On 19 November in Dhaka, adelphi partnered with the International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD) to hold a roundtable and discussion on climate change and fragility risks in South Asia.
One of the world’s lowest-lying countries invited international experts to discuss the security challenges related to climate change.
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 disasters wreak havoc all over South Asia, health impacts have increasingly emerged as a major concern for communities and governments in the region. It underscores the need for concerted efforts towards building synergies between the Paris Agreement, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, particularly now, in the post-disaster reconstruction phase, to ensure “building back better” and future disaster prevention.
In the Inner Mongolian county of Horinger, Northwestern China, afforestation efforts have transformed a barren, dusty landscape into a pine forest. Planting trees has diminished the sandstorms, boosted biodiversity and improved the environment generally. As the climate emergency worsens, the potential for planted trees to draw carbon out of the atmosphere is being re-examined. What can the world learn from the Chinese experience with afforestation?
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 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.
Peat areas have played a pivotal role in conflicts globally, and have also been a point of contention during post-conflict recovery. Communities in Southeast Asia as well as in the countries of the Congo are facing challenges as finding political solutions for this problem.
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.
In many parts of South and Southeast Asia, high population density and vulnerability to climate change combine with low levels of household resilience and poor governance to increase security concerns and the potential for political instability.