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.
One of the most pressing—and distressing—climate change impacts faced by the world is storm surge, a storm-induced increase in water level exceeding normal, tidal levels. Storm surge is becoming more of a threat to coastal communities due to rising sea levels, since higher sea levels mean higher “normal, tidal levels” before surge even occurs. Affected communities face risks to their homes, infrastructure, and livelihoods, but what can we do about the problem, aside from abandoning coastal communities altogether?
As the Global Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction soon gets underway, the world is witnessing the highest levels of famine risk in decades. While war and conflict stand as a major root cause of the crisis in the Middle East and Africa, climate change is a key “enhancer” of the humanitarian crisis unfolding before our eyes.
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.
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.
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.
EcoPeace Middle East is an organization that seeks to create lasting peace though environmental cooperation and protection of shared natural resources. The Jordanian project coordinator, Mohammad Bundokji, explains the innovative approach to peacebuilding that consists in generating positive mutual dependencies for water and energy.
Small steps by Pakistan are helping it create resilience in the face of climate change, an issue the Indus Waters Treaty did not anticipate, and which endangers it.
On the Mekong Delta, the massive river system in Southeast Asia, we see a prime example of how import water and water management are for sustainable development and climate change. This has to do, for one, with the human right to access to clean drinking water, as well as with agriculture, which now accounts for around 70 percent of global water consumption. In India, this share is as high as 90 percent. Water management along large rivers, especially in light of climate change, is an urgent challenge that developing countries must confront. FAIReconomics discussed water management and climate diplomacy in the Mekong Delta with Sabine Blumstein, a Project Manager at adelphi, an independent think tank and leading advisory body for climate, environment, and development issues.
Cities are already facing the brunt of a range of interacting risks from criminal violence, terrorism and war to demographic pressures, to climate and environmental change. Coastal megacities are especially at risk given the specific impacts of climate change they face, such as sea-level rise, increased storm frequency and severity, and destruction to infrastructure such as ports, rail and road networks. These risks are amplified as urban populations become ever larger.
In the Middle East, the consequences of climate change are already a reality of life. The region is one of the most water-stressed areas in the world, the average temperature is rising faster than elsewhere, and a massive reduction in rainfall is also expected for the coming years. Adding to the conflicts and quarrels – ranging from the Israeli–Palestinian conflict to Syria and Iraq as well as to rivalries between Iran and the Gulf states – access to and use of natural resources act as yet another crisis amplifier in the region: water is as important here as land ownership and as precious as access to oil.