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?
The experience of the Saralbhanga River, which flows from Bhutan to India, shows the power of involving local people in river management.
Ignoring cross border impacts of large infrastructure projects will spark conflict along rivers, argues Peter King. National level environmental impact assessments that ignore cross border impacts are likely to create conflict between countries.
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 EU’s decision to phase out palm oil biodiesel is likely to backfire, with negative repercussions not just on the countries concerned but also on international relations and the climate. The EU should hence invest more heavily in climate diplomacy in order to find a real solution to problems such as deforestation and wildlife loss.
The destruction caused by Cyclone Ockhi in South Asia portends what a ‘climate-changed’ world has in store for humankind, especially taking into consideration the adverse human security implications of such disasters that have to be addressed urgently. Dhanasree Jayaram argues that planetary security in this context can be best ensured at the regional level.
The impacts of new dams and diversions are felt across borders, and the development of new water infrastructure can increase political tensions in transboundary river basins. International water treaties and river basin organizations serve as a framework to potentially deescalate hydro-political tensions across borders.
On 4-5th May, adelphi was at the Resilient Cities Congress 2017 in Bonn to speak on a panel on ‘Violence and Climate Change in Cities’. The session was a unique and much required discussion on the interactions between climate change and conflict in urban settings.
Acute competition to access valuable resources in forested areas in Myanmar has, amongst other factors, contributed to large-scale deforestation and environmental degradation. This has had disastrous consequences for local communities dependent upon these forests for food, water, fuel, shelter and income.
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.
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.
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.