With the failure of July 14-15 talks held between India and Pakistan to settle concerns raised by the latter over the former’s dam projects (Kishenganga and Ratle) over the Western rivers (Jhelum’s tributary and Chenab respectively) of the Indus Basin (allocated to the latter under the Indus Waters Treaty), Pakistan has now decided to take the matter to the International Court of Arbitration (ICA), based in the Hague. While the political and legal battles over the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) continue to create headlines in the region, and across the world, there is another time bomb ticking beneath the surface.
The eye catching headlines are familiar. “Water Wars” are imminent or already underway in the latest drought or dam-building hotspot. Such “wars” often extend to farmers battling over irrigation diversions, but at times countries are the players. Senior leaders are often quoted suggesting transboundary water theft constitutes a casus belli. Security officials are obliged to investigate.
The China-funded dam highlights lack of green safeguards along the New Silk Road, writes Eugene Simonov.
Intensive international cooperation is a key prerequisite for successful and ambitious global climate action. Russia, one of the world’s top 5 greenhouse gas emitters and the second largest producer of crude oil and natural gas, has long been regarded as one of the major veto players in international climate politics. Nevertheless, during the last decade climate awareness among Russian policymakers and other relevant stakeholders has increased dramatically. This is illustrated by the fact that the updated Strategy of National Security of the Russian Federation refers to climate change as a threat to national and public security. The Paris Agreement gave the Russian climate policy a new strong impetus.
Forging national unity has been a perennial challenge to Nigeria’s evolution as a country. Since independence from Britain 56 years ago, the country continues to weather severe existential storms that strike at its very core.
India, as one of the world’s most vulnerable countries to environmental change, is at the undeniable centre of various discourses relating to the impact of environmental changes on human security and conflicts driven, or exacerbated, by the exploitation of natural resources. India also has the potential to promote stability and peace through sustainable development and environmental cooperation. Integral to adelphi’s project – “Environment, Conflict and Cooperation” (ECC) – these issues have been dealt with at length on numerous occasions and on a host of platforms. As the ECC exhibition travelled to Manipal University (a university that commands a panoramic view of the Arabian Sea to the west and the Western Ghats to the east) the primary focus has been to examine the realities on the ground realities and to integrate these into the larger national and international frameworks of climate diplomacy and environmental governance.
A fifth of Mongolian land has been earmarked for mining. Investors are so happy about this they have given a new moniker to the world’s second-biggest landlocked country: “Minegolia”. Mining’s share of Mongolia’s economy has doubled in a decade. Copper, gold, uranium, silver and coal mines account for 20-30% of national GDP and 89% of annual exports. Oyu Tolgoi, already one of the largest mines in the world, is expected to expand during the next few years despite weak commodities prices, and will have an increasing impact on the country’s economy and its ecology.
Water, food, waste, emissions – from whatever measure you can think of, the 18-odd million people who live in New Delhi have large footprints, with most of its needs supplied by neighbouring areas. The danger of this near-total dependence on the hinterland is now being underlined as members of the Jat community in the adjacent state of Haryana stage a series of violent protests to support their demand for job reservations.
Now that the much-awaited Paris (COP-21) Summit has come to an end with a broad consensus on the post-2020 – termed a historic breakthrough – the next steps towards planning and implementation are to be taken in an incremental fashion. Amidst fears that talks would be derailed, due to differences between developed and developing nations, the least developed and island nations played a crucial role in pressing hard for their demands, ensuring that an agreement was reached.
The most important and anticipated climate change conference in years is finally underway. In some ways, as Bill McKibben and Andrew Revkin have pointed out, its success is relatively assured thanks to the number of major commitments countries have already made. But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to see here.
The Tibet government wants massive expansion of the bottled water industry by tapping the Himalayan glaciers, but the environmental stakes are high.
The booming geothermal industry in Kenya illustrates how rapid transitions to renewable energy systems can risk generating conflicts if they are not done with sensitivity to the impact of transition on marginalised populations and to local ethnic and political dynamics.