Climate change is feeding poverty, instability, hunger and violence in the Lake Chad basin.
Food is an undeniable human right that for many years has been interpreted either as a pure gastronomic topic or in terms of humanitarian assistance. These visions have totally disregarded the complex dynamics that are linked to its production and distribution.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.