Women in the region suffer disproportionately from climate impacts, but they also play an essential role in addressing climate change. With the right policy responses, it is possible to reduce security risks and empower women to better address the challenges they face.
75 years ago, the UN was born. In Latin America and the Caribbean, the UN looks back at several important achievements, but much work on persisting challenges still lies ahead. Increased UN engagement in three areas can make the region more resilient to future challenges.
The "UN75 Regional Dialogue for the Americas: Toward Innovation and Renewal of Global and Regional Governance" (20 March–26 April 2020) was designed to bring diverse, multi-stakeholder, regional perspectives and actionable ideas into the final months of preparations for key global policy milestones of 2020, including the UN 75 Leaders Summit and its associated political declaration, as well as the 2020 Review of the UN Peacebuilding Architecture.
State fragility, often related to the expansion of organised crime and human rights violations, has contributed towards elevated rates of violence across Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). Additionally, high inequality is shaping how climate affects security in the region, raising new issues about climate justice and climate-related migration. In short, climate change acts as a risk multiplier in LAC, exacerbating existing conflict and fragility dynamics.
During the past two weeks, Antigua & Barbuda, Nicaragua and Panama ratified the Escazú Agreement, giving a major boost to the unprecedented and innovative Latin American pact that seeks to reduce social conflicts and protect frontline communities in the world’s deadliest region for environmental defenders.
If ratified, the Mercosur-EU trade deal may reinforce the parties’ commitment to climate action. Yet, its potential relevance is weakened by a language that often stops short of concrete commitments, as well as political resistance.
A new form of organized crime has recently been emerging in the Amazon: illegal mining. Miners fell trees, use high-grade explosives for blasting soils and dredge riverbeds. But the impacts go beyond environmental damage, bringing with it a slew of other social problems. Peace researcher Adriana Abdenur urges policymakers to improve coordination and argues that diplomacy may help prevent further conflicts, corruption and crime.
In some areas of the world, including Central America, rising sea levels and declining agricultural productivity due to climate change are expected to trigger major migratory flows, especially within countries. The role of policy-makers is it to promote local solutions while engaging in regional cooperation for a preventative approach.
The so-called Vulnerable Twenty (V20) Group was established in October 2015 with the inaugural meeting of the V20 Ministers of Finance at the Climate Vulnerable Forum in Lima, Peru. The V20 can be considered as an example of the importance of early action in the field of adaptation in order to initiate a transformative change towards resilient societies.
Small Island States will be facing dramatically higher adaptation costs to build resilience against the kind of impacts the IPCC projects in its most recent Special Report. Thoriq Imbrahim, former Environment and Energy Minister of the Maldives, urges the international community to attend to the political demands of countries particularly exposed to the impacts of climate change and also confront loss and damage with renewed urgency.
A new USAID report focuses on the intersection of climate exposure and state fragility worldwide. It finds that the factors that make a country vulberable to large-scale conflict are similar to those that make it vulnerable to climate change. The report thus offers a way for global audiences with an interest in climate and security to identify places of high concern.
Fourteen Latin American and Caribbean countries made history at the UN General Assembly on September 27 by signing the Escazú Agreement, a regional accord on public participation and access to information and justice in environmental affairs. It is the first region-wide agreement of its kind and has been touted a big step forward in recognising the rights of environmental defenders. Signatories now need to ratify the Agreement internally before it can enter into force.
Starting in 2014, the number of migrants from Central America’s Northern Triangle surged. Experts blame the region’s widespread criminal violence for spurring migration. But the Northern Triangle countries also share similar ecology, staple crops, and vulnerability to climate events. While environmental and natural resource factors are just part of the complex picture, understanding how they intersect with other migration drivers is key to creating and implementing effective policy responses.
Internal climate migrants are rapidly becoming the human face of climate change. According to this new World Bank report, without urgent global and national climate action, Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and Latin America could see more than 140 million people move within their countries’ borders by 2050.