In March, the Trump Administration released a new budget proposal that would cut funding to the Department of State and U.S. Agency for International Development by 28 percent. At the same time, the White House considered withdrawing from the Paris Climate Accords. Critics both outside the administration and within have pointed to the drawbacks of these moves, but the sum of the policy changes could have an even greater impact than the individual parts.
The NATO Parliamentary Assemblies’ Science and Technology Committee drafted a new report on Food and Water Security in the Middle East and North Africa. The report underlines that pressures on natural resources and connected impacts on food production are factors that contribute to the (in-) security of the MENA region. The document summarizes causes as well as possible technical and governance approaches to improve food and water security in the region. The initiative shows that the role of environmental resources is increasingly taken seriously in the sphere of security policy. The Science and Technology Committee will discuss the draft and recommendations to NATO countries at the Spring Session in Tbilisi from 27-29 May.
Without concerted efforts to help small-scale farmers raise productivity and adapt to climate change, the G20 will not come close to attaining its goal of securing global food systems, argue Ruth Delzeit, Kacana Sipangule and Rainer Thiele.
There has been a surge in international migration in recent years, reaching a total of 244 million individuals in 2015. Forced displacement has also reached a record high, with 65.3 million individuals displaced worldwide by the end of 2015 – including refugees, IDPs and asylum seekers. Yet while the absolute numbers have increased over the last 15 years, migrants as a percentage of total global population has remained stable at about three percent. A majority of migrants remain on their own continents – nearly nine out of ten African migrants settle on the African continent, while eight out of ten Asian migrants remain in Asia. Forced displacement is predominantly an issue outside wealthy economies:
nine out of ten refugees are hosted by low and middle-income countries.
FAO warns that without urgent intervention, 20 million people will starve to death over the next six months in South Sudan, Somalia, north-eastern Nigeria and Yemen. UNICEF reports that 22 million children across these countries “are hungry, sick, displaced and out of school,” mainly because of conflict. Climate change and water insecurity are major challenges to ending hunger and achieving sustainable agriculture, outside of conflict, a primary driver.
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).