Water is a matter of survival and plays a critical role in social, economic and environmental activities as well. With a rise in global demand for water, water crises have consistently featured among the World Economic Forum’s top global impact risks. Water insecurity, i.e., the lack of water availability for basic human needs and socio-economic development, undermines billions of livelihoods and poses significant risks for peace and prosperity by thwarting progress and fuelling displacement and conflict.
Limited access to energy is a significant barrier to development and holds back efforts to improve living conditions in developing and emerging economies. Around the world, 1.1 billion people still do not have access to electricity, and 2.8 billion still rely on animal and crop waste, wood, charcoal and other solid fuels to cook their food and heat their homes.
“I want you to panic”. This was the message that 16 year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg gave to the World Economic Forum in Davos on 25 January, and in it she struck right to the intergenerational justice issue at the heart of the sustainability project.
A recent report by the UNEP focuses on addressing trade in wildlife and forest products across the three sectors of crime prevention and criminal justice, trade regulation and natural resource management. It finds that there is less focus on the legislative means for preventing offenses related to trade in wildlife and forest products and more attention on the means for detecting and punishing such offenses.
China is rapidly evolving into one of the world’s largest overseas investors and is now increasingly investing in the renewable energy sector. China has also enhanced its development cooperation stance through its ever more ambitious south-south cooperation agendas. As an emerging key international donor, China is at a crossroads and actively shaping its new role in the global development landscape. Could China become a new climate responsible donor?
The unabated growth of natural resource consumption raises risks that we will outstrip the capacities of ecosystems and governance institutions. At the same time, to achieve important global goals related to poverty alleviation, public health, equity and economic development such as those embodied in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), we will simultaneously need more resources and better management of natural resources everywhere.
The report, requested by the US Congress in 2017, drew sharp criticism for being too thin on details and failing to show which bases are most at risk across the military.
In some areas of the world, including Central America, rising sea levels and declining agricultural productivity due to climate change are expected to trigger major migratory flows, especially within countries. The role of policy-makers is it to promote local solutions while engaging in regional cooperation for a preventative approach.
Current trends depict an irreversible momentum for a global energy transformation. Renewables have moved to the centre of the global energy landscape. Technological advances and falling costs have made renewables grow faster than any other energy source. Many renewable technologies are now cost-competitive with fossil fuels in the power sector, even before taking into account their contributions to the battles against air pollution and climate change. These trends are creating an irreversible momentum for a global energy transformation leading to shifts that will affect almost all countries and will have wide-ranging geopolitical consequences.
This report published by IRENA's Global Commission on the Geopolitics of Energy Transformation with support from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the United Arab Emirates Ministry of Energy & Industry, and the German Federal Foreign Office looks into these developments from a foreign policy perspective.