Despite six years of crisis in Syria, agriculture remains a key part of the economy. The sector still accounts for an estimated 26 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) and represents a critical safety net for the 6.7 million Syrians – including those internally displaced - who still remain in rural areas. However, agriculture and the livelihoods that depend on it have suffered massive loss. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has now conducted the first comprehensive nationwide assessment on the cost of the war to the agriculture sector.
Extreme weather events and climate variability threaten millions of livelihoods. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization is developing a new tool that helps attenuate the impact of disasters before they occur. Andreas Wüstenberg, FAO Programme Officer for Early Warning Early Action, explains how it works and what results the team obtained from first projects.
Food is inexorably linked to many areas of policy – from climate change to sustainable development to conflict to migration. The EU has become a major player in ensuring global food security, both through its engagement in sustainable development and humanitarian assistance programmes. Daniele Fattibene argues that it should therefore develop its food diplomacy under the aegis of the European External Action Service (EEAS) and its security policy.
Changes in global weather patterns are now projected to have potentially devastating impacts on agriculture in the coming years and decades. The rising “double burden” of malnutrition already threatens to dampen global progress toward better health. Demographic change—a bulging population of youth in Africa and rapid urbanization—is creating opportunities for an economic growth spurt that will affect food demand and organized protests when food security is endangered.
The Earth’s front-line defenders are disappearing at an astonishing rate. On average three environmental activists were killed each week in 2015, according to a recent report from the United Nations special rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders. Global Witness, an international NGO that documents natural resource extraction, corruption, and violence, reports a 59 percent increase in deaths last year compared to 2014. In total, 185 killings of environmental defenders were recorded by Global Witness in 2015.
In December, the leading lights of the climate and security community launched an unprecedented declaration to catalyse action in the field in front of 350 participants at the Planetary Security Conference.
The world dismisses them as economic migrants. The law treats them as criminals who show up at a nation’s borders uninvited. Prayers alone protect them on the journey across the merciless Sahara. But peel back the layers of their stories and you find a complex bundle of trouble and want that prompts the men and boys of West Africa to leave home, endure beatings and bribes, board a smuggler’s pickup truck and try to make a living far, far away. They do it because the rains have become so fickle, the days measurably hotter, the droughts more frequent and more fierce, making it impossible to grow enough food on their land.
On 1 December 2016, adelphi researchers and the former Minister of Environment of Peru, Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, discussed the challenges and opportunities of a low-carbon transition during the closing event of the ECC Exhibition at the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru (PUCP).
"Land degradation is a root cause of migration and a trigger of conflicts", says Monique Barbut, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification. In the interview, she explains the links between environmental change and violent conflict in Africa. Concrete examples such as the "Great Green Wall" raise hope that conflicts over scarce resources can be successfully addressed and that degraded landscapes can be restored through collaborative efforts.
The ECC Factbook is an online tool presenting over 120 conflicts with an environmental dimension. This month, our Factbook team reviewed the links between food price hikes and political fragility in the Middle East and North Africa region, with a particular emphasis on the events leading up to the Arab spring revolutions. The latest additions to the ECC Factbook include a general overview of the origins and consequences of recent global food price crises, a series of specific case studies in selected MENA countries, and a discussion of possible policy solutions.
Sustaining peace in Kenya’s Kajiado County requires looking beyond climate change and recognizing the role of land privatization in pastoralists’ vulnerability. Author Jonathan Rozen illustrates how climate change acts as a threat multiplier, exacerbating challenges such as economic precariousness, water shortage and violent land disputes.
This meeting will discuss, plan and provide guidance to the implementation of activities on the water-food-energy-ecosystems nexus under the programme of work for 2016-2018 of the Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (Water Convention). More specifically, it will: review the status of ongoing basin assessments; discuss possible follow-up actions to assessments already undertaken; and reflect on knowledge gaps and strategic directions for future nexus work under the Water Convention.
The exhibition “Environment, Conflict and Cooperation” (ECC) will be shown in Beijing starting from 18 September 2016.