ECC Platform Library

2993 Results

"4th World Water Forum: Local Action for a Global Challenge" in Mexico City" (16 – 22 March)

17 February, 2006

The World Water Forum is an initiative of the World Water Council that has the aim of raising the awareness on water issues all over the world.


"14th Annual International Conference on Conflict Resolution" in St. Petersburg (5 - 15 May)

17 February, 2006

The ICR Conference offers an open forum for many perspectives and approaches, exploring conflict transformation within diverse contexts, including: ecology/environment, economics/business, education, gender, global/regional conflict etc.


Peace Research Institute Frankfurt (PRIF)

13 February, 2006

The Peace Research Institute Frankfurt (PRIF) directs its work towards identifying the causes of violent international and internal conflicts, carrying out research into the conditions necessary for peace, understood as a process of decreasing violence and increasing justice, as well as spreading


Can Gold Move Mountains? Conflicts in the Andes

19 December, 2005

Vast deposits of gold, silver and copper in the Andes Mountains have led to the first outbreaks of violence. In mid November, clashes occurred not among rival gold diggers, but rather between environmentalists and the police in the Chilean capital, Santiago. The conflict arose over gold mining in Pascua-Lama, a region located high in the Andes between Chile and Argentina. The Canadian mining company Barrick Gold Corporation plans to displace three glaciers to facilitate mineral mining. Such a move would have major impacts on the water supply and habitat of several indigenous tribes. Violent clashes took place when protesters attempted to submit a petition containing 18,000 signatures against the company's plans.

The conflict over exploitation rights, which pose a threat to the existence of the indigenous Huascoaltinos community, has been brewing for a long time. In 2001, the company was asked by the Chilean environment ministry to draw up a plan for the glaciers. The Environmental Impact Assessment submitted previously by Barrick had sidestepped this issue. The company has now, as a first step, committed USD 60 million per year for ensuring water quality. A dam is to be constructed to guarantee regular water supply. The Latin American Observatory of Environmental Conflicts (OCLA), an independent watchdog organization, views this conflict as symptomatic of the large number of environmental conflicts in Chile resulting from poor environmental legislation. There are neither any guidelines to ensure adequate participation of civil society in resolving conflicts, nor any mechanisms to minimize the ecological and social impacts of the activities of large corporations. These environmental policy shortcomings may result in gold actually moving mountains (DT).

For more information on this conflict, please see:

Latin American Observatory of Environmental Conflicts (OCLA) (in Spanish)

Barrick Gold Corporation in Chile (in Spanish)

Inter Press Service Agency (IPS)



Energy as a Foreign Policy Issue: From Dependence to Strategy

19 December, 2005

Even without the hurricanes of the last months, the vulnerability of national energy supply would have been a priority on foreign and security policy agendas. Even before the devastation wrought by Katrina and Rita, top level representatives of political establishments recognized the need for a strategic reorientation of energy policy. This was emphasized by the "Oil Shockwave" exercise carried out by former top US officials in energy and security policy. Simulating a crisis cabinet, they examined options available to US policy in a scenario in which oil supply on world markets drops in response to political crises, terrorist strikes, and adverse weather conditions. As the scenario played out, there were insufficient options available to avert massive economic losses. The virtual cabinet urgently recommended developing a long term strategy to regain the capability to respond to such situations.

The contours of such a strategy are the central theme of a recent book edited by Jan H. Kalicki and David L. Goldwyn. A comprehensive analysis of key actors, regions, and strategic demands reveals that it has so far not been possible to develop a long term, integrated energy strategy. This is likely to lead to foreign policy, economic and environmental contradictions, which are likely to escalate with time. A framework to minimize such risks is outlined, which is directed primarily towards the international level. However, national energy policy is also required to find ways to exploit the existing potential for energy conservation. At the foreign policy level, more multilateral cooperation is required to meet the challenge of the rising global energy demand through a collective security system. An international institution, which adequately reflects the global nature of risks by involving countries like China and India, could play a key role in this kind of energy security architecture (DT).

For more information on the "Oil shockwave" scenario please see

For more information on "Energy and Security: Toward a New Foreign Policy Strategy" by Jan H. Kalicki and David L. Goldwyn please see




To the Point: USAID Publishes New Toolkits

19 December, 2005

The U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Office of Conflict Management and Mitigation (CMM) has published the next two toolkits in their series:

“CMM continues to develop packages of technical assistance in a number of critical focus areas that are related to conflict, including youth, land, local governance, water, natural resources, livelihoods, human rights and gender. These "toolkits" explain the connections between the focus area and conflict and aim to provide USAID missions with access to concrete, practical program options, lessons learned, and information about potential partners, mechanisms and monitoring and evaluation tools for implementing more effective conflict programs.”

This time attention is focussed on the relationship of forests and livelihoods to violent conflict. The 'forests and conflict’ toolkit, together with the 'valuable minerals’ (published earlier) and the 'water’ toolkit (to be published) are intended to highlight the different linkages these natural resources have to violent conflict, taking into account their fundamental differences in term of economic value, availability, and especially physical characteristics. These toolkits therefore present an overview of how the resources are connected to violent conflict on the one hand, and emphasize the possibility of environmental cooperation for trust and peace building on the other. The new toolkit on livelihoods brings together many aspects of the toolkits on natural resources and land. At the same time, it focuses on the vital concept of livelihood in its own right, highlighting the (socio-)economic links to violent conflict (MF).

To download all toolkits and read about the work of USAID’s CMM, please see



Good Advice for the EnvSec Initiative

19 December, 2005

The Environment and Security (ENVSEC) initiative’s Advisory Board meeting was held in Bratislava on 29-30 of September 2005. The meeting brought together the ENVSEC national focal points, donors, partner organisations, and other stakeholders. The participants (altogether 108) discussed the progress of the initiative as well as its future work. For each country of concern to ENVSEC, national implementation activities were presented. Transboundary environmental considerations (natural resource management and hazardous risks) and their impact on human security were additionally discussed in parallel theme sessions. For each region, in which ENVSEC is active (Caucasus, Central Asia, South Eastern Europe, Eastern Europe) working groups were held to debate on the latest developments, key projects and issues. For details on these points please refer to the ’Report of the Advisory Board Meeting’ at

One central theme of the session on future developments was the issue of growth. The initiative now spans four regions and plans dozens of projects. Some meeting participants were cautious of this fact and pointed to the small and efficient secretariat, which may have difficulties managing a continuously expanding initiative. Rather than becoming an umbrella initiative for all environmental projects in each region, it was suggested that ENVSEC should focus on transboundary environmental issues. An evaluation of ENVSEC programmes would additionally generate important feedback for the further management of the initiative.

Other participants argued to move beyond the boundaries of Europe and include other regions with environment and security problems, such as the African Great Lakes region. However, one of the unique selling points of the initiative, its high political standing through the collaboration with foreign ministries, would be more difficult to achieve in regions beyond OSCE’s mandate.

In the meanwhile, the perspective of the UN Economic Commission for Europe and the Regional Environmental Centre for Eastern Europe joining the initiative was widely advocated. These organisations in particular present possibilities of synergies with ongoing and planned ENVSEC activities. Additionally, the idea of ENVSEC’s potential collaboration with International Funding Institutions was raised for the financing of projects of common interest (MF).

For a full report of the ENVSEC Advisory Board Meeting and other ENVSEC activities, please see:



Global Water Issues: Is Water a Human Right?

19 December, 2005

Is access to water a human right? If it is, does an internationally recognized legal framework exist that can be implemented at the national and local level? These questions determined the agenda of the international conference on "Water as a Human Right", which took place from 21 - 22 October 2005. Inaugurating the 5th Forum Global Issues compact on the eve of the conference, then Minister of State Kerstin Mueller stressed that, "If we manage to deal with water - a vital, basic resource - in a more equitable, efficient and sustainable manner, we will simultaneously help resolve several conflicts." 

The underlying issue at the conference, jointly organized by the German Foreign Office and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, was the "General Comment on the Right to Water" adopted in 2002. The United Nations regards the Comment as a milestone and an official endorsement of the right to water. The precedence of international human rights law over nation states' obligations arising from international economic agreements, as formulated in the Comment, is significant, especially with regard to provision of water for the poor and for future generations.

While the first day of the conference was devoted to the legal ramifications of water being regarded a basic human right, the practical aspects of implementing such a right were discussed extensively on the second day. The debate revolved around the future role of privatization and funding of this "blue gold". Regret was expressed that no representatives from International Financial Institutions (IFIs) such as the World Bank or the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development were present, who could have contributed substantively to the discussion. One thing is certain, however. The need to resolve the remaining legal grey areas, which became evident during the conference, cannot justify that 1.1 billion people still lack access to clean drinking water. Finding solutions to the global water and sanitation problems as stated in the Millennium Development Goals and reiterated at the UN World Summit in September 2005 calls for immediate action, regardless of the attendant legal issues. (EM)

For more information on the conference, please see here



Peace for Parks or Parks for Peace?

19 December, 2005

Nelson Mandela stated: “I know of no political movement, no philosophy, no ideology, which does not agree with the peace parks concept as we see it going into fruition today. It is a concept that can be embraced by all.” Parks for peace—transboundary conservation areas dedicated to the promotion of peace and cooperation—hold great promise and appeal, but have they lived up to this promise? Some say yes, others respectfully disagree with the former South African President’s assertion. A recent day-long conference hosted by the Environmental Change and Security Program explored the rhetoric and reality of peace parks, including their goals and the factors that determine their success or failure. Drawing on future plans and successful projects in southern Africa, Kashmir, and the Korean peninsula, the speakers debated whether peace parks can protect the environment and promote conflict resolution. The International Gorilla Conservation Programme, for example, brings together people in the conflict-ridden countries of Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to work toward a common goal: preserving the mountain gorilla. As a man working in the transboundary area told conference speaker Charles Besançon, "When we come together, we are conservationists. We all care about the mountain gorillas, so it is quite easy for us to get along."

The debate over peace parks and transboundary areas will continue for some time, as discussions on future challenges during the final session indicated. Identifying public outreach as an important area, Dr. Kim said, “You have to have comprehensive outreach programs before you actually set up peace parks programs. Particularly if you want to promote democracy worldwide, the public must be educated.” Another area of debate involved the definition of “peace park” and related terms, such as “transboundary conservation area.” Several attendees commented that the lack of a consistent and agreed-upon typology often leads to confusion and hinders international discussions and legal agreements. In their background paper, Besançon and his co-author Trevor Sandwith propose a typology to help resolve this confusion. (by Alison Williams, Environmental Change and Security Programme, Woodrow Wilson Center)

For more information about the conference (conference report, programme, papers), please see here

See also

Global Transboundary Protected Areas Network

Peace Parks Foundation


"Call for Papers: “Environmental conflict and security revisited"

19 December, 2005

The International Journal of Environmental Issues published a Call for Papers for a Special Issue on “Environmental conflict and security revisited: Examining multilevel interactions and responses to environmental degradation”

While a plethora of investigation has explored the links between environmental/resource conflict and (in)security, many studies are based on a single level of analysis, privileging the state, the international community, municipal government, non-state actors, or others. The purpose of this call for papers is to revisit, reflect, open, and advance the debate over environmental resources and conflict and to encourage an explicitly multilevel analytic approach. Conflict is defined broadly, to not only include examples of specific human conflict over resources, but also conflicts between policy prescriptions and norms relating to environmental degradation and resource use.  Beyond conflicts between social groups over natural resources, we are interested in analyses of conflict between different levels of governance and human agency. Contributions from a wide range of disciplines are encouraged, including but not limited to history, sociology, anthropology, political science, environmental studies, development studies, geography, economics, and natural sciences.

For more information and the programme, please see



Center for Security Studies (CSS) at the ETH Zurich

19 December, 2005
The Center for Security Studies (CSS) has for many years undertaken research in the field of conflict analysis, in particular with regard to security studies, environmental issues, and the psychological aspects of violent conflict.

"Human Security Projekt" at the Institute for Development and Peace (INEF)

08 October, 2005

In 2005, the Institute for Development and Peace initiated the project Human Security: Theory and Practice.  The project benefits from the members’ previous work on state failure, global governance, smart sanctions and environmental security.

Since the mid 1990s, the human security approach has been promoted by various actors, most prominently by UNDP and the Japanese and Canadian government. Though this concept is relatively well established as a political leitmotif, in the academic world the approach and especially its definition is criticized for being too ambiguous.

The INEF project perceives human security as a challenge to more traditional security concepts within the theories of international relations. The project distinguishes six dimensions of human security which have the potential to existentially threaten the individual’s physical and mental well-being. One goal of the project is to establish an easy manageable way to measure human (in)security through specific thresholds for each dimension. On a national or regional level, these will be based on aggregated data of international organisations. The second goal is to establish a tool for a rapid “bottom-up” assessment of the human security situation at the local level, which can contribute to the formulation of policy strategies. The project is conducted by Tobias Debiel, Sascha Werthes and Annabelle Houdret.

Further information:


On Conflict and Collaboration in the Management of Natural Resources

06 October, 2005

The viability of collaborative socio-environmental conflict management depends to a large extent on the possibility of overcoming the large power asymmetries existing in Latin America and the Caribbean. This is one of the key results obtained from a programm launched by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC-Canada) and the University for Peace (UPEACE) in Costa Rica in 1999. This program aims to support research about conflict and collaboration (C&C) in natural resource management in Latin America and the Caribbean and has awarded a total of 30 grants to research projects. C&C is supported by an advisory Committee of renowned researchers who provide orientation and select the grantees from a wide array of proposals. UPEACE, IDRC, and UNDP have prepared a comprehensive analysis of the lessons learned in the research process. The projects contribute to a better understanding of the achievements - and limitations - of collaborative natural resource management.

Interestingly, the projects reveal different ways of dealing with conflict resolution. The differences reflect a latent tension in the region between what is collaborative and what is adversarial, as possible ways of resolving socio-environmental conflicts. State stakeholders tend to go with strategies that favor a more efficient, organized, and in some cases, more equitable environmental and territorial management. On the other hand, NGOs, and grassroots organizations, tend to go with strategies that seek greater respect for and attention to local perspectives (DT/UPeace).

Complete information about C&C and all supported projects can be found at:

The results have just been published as a book (both in Spanish and English versions), including case studies and research methodologies. Copies can be obtained from UPEACE (




Environment, Conflict, and Cooperation: The next steps

06 October, 2005

Following the launch of the information portal "Civilian Crisis Prevention - Environment and Resources" ( one year ago, this is the first newsletter on Environ ment, Conflict, and Cooperation published jointly by Adelphi Research and Germanwatch. The partnership is intended to broaden the range of issues covered, turn the spotlight on civilian approaches to preventing and transforming environmental conflicts and integrate this issue in the activities of German and international non-governmental organizations.

The newsletter will appear every two months starting with this edition and provide information on political initiatives, new publications and events. In addition, a series of dialogues and events involving NGOs, government and business representatives on "environment and resource conflicts" and "environmental cooperation and peace building" will be organized jointly with Germanwatch over the next three years in Germany.

The German edition of this newsletter has over 600 subscribers, and this speaks volumes of the level of interest regarding these issues in the country. Germany is not alone in according priority to this issue in its development assistance. Foreign and multilateral donor institutions and implementing organizations are also increasingly focusing on how to integrate approaches for conflict management in projects and programmes on environmental cooperation. In keeping with this trend, the Environment, Conflict, and Cooperation portal and the newsletter will henceforth appear in English as well as in German ( Partners in the environment and development cooperation sector can access information on relevant developments in Germany and the world at We plan to gradually expand the platform by adding regional portals, which will be created locally together with other partner organizations. Our objective is to strengthen networking among relevant stakeholders across the world.

We would urge you to inform your partners in other countries that the information at this portal is now also available in English. This information platform is being funded till March 2008 as part of the Federal Environmental Agency's and the Federal Environment Ministry's programme for the promotion of non-profit associations. This will facilitate the long term establishment of an international network.

We would like to thank our readers and members of the Advisory Board for their constructive suggestions which have helped us to develop this information portal over the last 12 months.

The editorial team





Adaptation & Resilience

All countries will need to adapt to some of the environmental, social and economic impacts of climate change that are already unavoidable. Food security, livelihoods, water resource availability and public health are some affected areas. People living in poverty are more vulnerable, having a lower capacity to adapt. Thus, it is essential to promote resilience building. The adaptation and resilience aspects need to be mainstreamed into planning by policy makers and the private sector as well as integrated into development strategies.

Biodiversity & Livelihoods

Nature protection is most sustainable if it essentially contributes to the long-term stability of human needs. Today many regions around the world are confronted with increasing destruction of the natural foundations of life. The consequences of wide-ranging resource destruction are no longer regionally limited, but rather represent a global threat. Those affected are mainly rural populations, who find the sources of their income and the foundations of their way of life swept away. The depletion and destruction of natural resources goes hand in hand with decreasing agricultural yields and increasing poverty, which in turn forces the affected populations to deplete the remaining resources.

Read more

Capacity Building

On the one hand, conflicts are caused by structural factors, such as economic and social inequality or environmental destruction. On the other hand, conflicts are fuelled by a lack of democratic structures, deficient mechanisms of non-violent conflict settlement, inadequate rule of law, the destruction of social and cultural identity and the disregard of human rights. Against this backdrop, development policies have been dedicated to a broad concept of security, which comprises political, economic, ecological and social stability. As a consequence, development cooperation agencies and actors have developed a broad spectrum of approaches for conflict prevention and transformation as well as for sustainable use of natural resources.

Read more


Sorry, no description found.

Civil Society

Civil society is the first victim of environmental pollution, under-development and conflicts. Economically disadvantaged and politically marginalized population groups are particularly affected by violent conflicts as well as increasing resource degradation. Simultaneously, civil society is a fundamental pillar for implementing sustainable development. It contributes in many ways to strengthening conflict prevention and plays a significant role in the peaceful and democratic development of states. It must be supported to strengthen civil rights, adherence to human rights in general and democratic participation.

Climate Change

Climate change resulting from the emission of greenhouse gases represents one of the vital challenges for international environmental policy. Flooding, droughts, shifting of climate zones and increasingly frequent and intense extreme weather events will have serious economic and social consequences for entire regions. The climate problem is also directly linked to the question of future energy generation.

Read more

Climate Diplomacy

To address the challenges posed by climate change, a new profile of climate diplomacy is evolving. This utilises a full range of policies, including development cooperation, conflict prevention efforts, and humanitarian assistance, in addition to more traditional measures of climate change adaptation and mitigation. Moving from a risk analysis of climate-related threats to well-timed preventive action requires a greater commitment to integrating climate change concerns into development, foreign, and security policies. Examples include strengthening diplomatic networks, building new alliances with partners, and raising awareness – not only of potentially negative climate change impacts, but also of opportunities to embark on a sustainable transformation of our societies.

Read more


Climate action entails an array of economic, social, political and environmental co-benefits. It provides an opportunity for economic growth and new jobs. Many investments can take into account climate considerations without becoming more costly. Further important co-benefits include: improved energy security, less local air and water pollution, health benefits as well as ecosystem and biodiversity protection.

Conflict Transformation

In order to overcome the structural causes of violent conflicts and thus bring about an improvement in the framework conditions for peaceful and fair development, it is essential to have long term and broadly planned peace development and peace advancement. Various governmental and non-governmental, national and international actors and groups are involved in these processes.

Read more


Climate change and development are inextricably linked. Climate change endangers the development agenda and has the potential to reverse development goals. Furthermore, successful mitigation of climate change heavily depends on development choices around the world. Therefore, development strategies need to be climate-compatible to provide long-term success, and there are viable policy options that support this compatibility. Many mitigation and adaptation activities can present development opportunities to developing countries and avoid the lock-in to environmentally damaging technologies.

Early Warning & Risk Analysis

The reasons for the development and escalation of conflicts and the incidence of risks are multifaceted and complex. Simultaneously, the assessment of the specific causes in the form of risk and conflict analyses can contribute to a better understanding of these processes and make it possible to provide warning of negative developments, or ideally help prevent them. In the context of natural resource use, risks and conflicts have gained increasing attention in the past years. The debate on possible future water wars is merely one example.

Read more


The well-being of individuals, communities and nations depends on the availability of energy resources. The gap between energy supply and demand appears to be growing, making the world vulnerable to serious economic shocks. At the same time, the burning of fossil fuels causing climate change is one of the vital challenges of international environmental policy. So far, only rudimentary approaches exist for shaping climate and energy security in a sustainable way. The components of a strategy that can contribute to reducing vulnerabilities related to climate change and energy policy include a greater role for renewable energies, the improvement of energy efficiency and a stronger decentralisation of energy supply.

Read more

Environment & Migration

The economic, social and environmental consequences of climate change aggravate the breakdown of eco-system-dependent livelihoods and are likely to become dominant drivers of long-term migration. Natural disasters already cause massive shorter-term displacement and the number of temporarily displaced people is likely to further increase with climate change. For vulnerable populations in vulnerable regions, such as the Sahel zone or the Ganges delta, migration often becomes the sole survival strategy. In order to address climate-related displacement and migration successfully, knowledge of effective adaptation and an improved understanding of how environmental change affects human mobility is essential. 

Read more


Climate finance, from all sources, plays a key role in supporting and enabling adaptation and mitigation action as well as climate and energy innovation. The Paris Agreement ensured that the Green Climate Fund and the Global Environment Facility are at the core of climate finance architecture as entities entrusted with the operation of the Financial Mechanism of the UNFCCC. Increasing climate finance from all relevant public and private sources is crucial. Furthermore, much needs to be done to redirect finance flows to sustainable paths, e.g. reducing fossil fuel subsidies, introducing maritime and air transportation taxes. The conditions for green investment in developing countries should also be improved.


Forests are disappearing at an alarming rate. Competition for forest resources triggers, exacerbates, or finances numerous crises and conflicts in tropical developing countries. Illegal logging and timber trade foster instability and sometimes violent conflict by strengthening illegal and armed groups, increasing corruption and exacerbating use and claim conflicts among local communities, the state and the business sector. Forests are a vital resource to poor people but they can also become areas of conflict. Sustainable management of forest resources is therefore key to preventing violent conflict over and within forests.

Read more


Gender plays an important role as a category of conflict for many reasons. The interlinkages between gender, environment and conflicts are complex and much research is still needed. Existing insights suggest that conflicts may worsen gender inequalities that existed before the outbreak of violence. The unequal distribution of land property rights in many parts of the world serves as an example. Moreover, women (and children) are among those most affected by both violent conflict and natural disasters. At the same time, women carry much of the burden of trying to implement rehabilitation measures after crisis events.

Read more

Land & Food

Increasing water scarcity, desertification and crop failures due to extreme weather events are becoming more and more of a threat to global food production. While the world’s population continues to grow rapidly, food production is unable to keep pace. Due to the global food crisis in 2008, the number of hungry people reached the symbolic one billion threshold for the first time – corresponding to about 16 percent of world population. Food insecurity may be a consequence or cause of conflicts. Violent conflicts often lead to the destruction of agricultural infrastructure and means of production, as well as to the displacement of local communities.

Read more

Minerals & Mining

In the past, the discovery and tapping of valuable or strategic resources like valuable minerals, oil and natural gas, particularly in developing and emerging countries, has often led to large scale environmental contamination and negative development. The "resource curse" of some countries shows that the wealth from resource yields is frequently unfairly distributed; instead of serving development it advanced the formation of corrupt elites and in some cases even led to conflicts and civil wars. Measures in various sectors and at all levels are important in order to use the potential of these natural resources in a manner that is sustainable and prevents conflicts.

Read more

Private Sector

The spread of violent conflict not only affects people but also companies located in such regions. Destruction of investments and infrastructure, collapse of markets and trade partnerships, flight and expulsion of employees are phenomena of conflicts and environment-induced crises that directly affect companies in unstable regions. Almost all branches of the economy thus have a clear interest in a stable and peaceful environment for their activities. Conversely, the business sector plays an important role in the interaction of economic growth, social development and a healthy environment, all of which can advance peace and sustainable development. 

Read more


Environmental issues have a significant security dimension. Access to, and overuse of, natural resources often play a key role in civil wars or other forms of internal domestic conflict. This is compounded by climate change and environmental degradation. Climate change is now widely recognised as a non-traditional, risk-multiplying threat that will have increasing security impacts. Key risks with possible implications for human and national security include water scarcity, food crises, natural disasters, and displacement. More preventive diplomacy and advocacy is needed to address the strategic implications of climate and environmental change.

Sustainable Transformation

Sustainable Transformation allows societies to profit from a growing, environmentally sustainable and socially inclusive economy – especially in emerging and developing countries. This requires a higher up-front investment, but the benefits of a sustainable transformation in the medium and long term are significant. For instance, energy cost savings and reducing the impact of price volatility offer major incentives for deploying renewable energies and promoting energy efficiency. Such benefits exist in all key sectors of the economy.

Technology & Innovation

Innovations and technologies are already readily available and affordable but their global diffusion and uptake remains a challenge. Innovation and technology are crucial to achieving ambitious climate change mitigation and adaptation targets. However, research and development often do not receive appropriate public support. Developing countries can leapfrog high-carbon industrialisation phases by adopting, deploying and improving existing innovations and technologies. For this, it is essential to minimise financial, administrative and political barriers.


The availability of freshwater resources in sufficient quantity and quality is essential for the preservation of human health and sound ecosystems. The use of water resources is also vital, however, for economic development: whether for agriculture, industrial production or for electricity generation. The world's freshwater resources are distributed very unevenly in terms of geography and seasons. In addition, water shortage is becoming more prevalent in several regions due to population growth, economic development, urbanisation and increasing environmental pollution. Thus, water resources can hold potential for conflicts between parties who have different interests and needs.

Read more



The environment in Asia is already under tremendous pressure as a result of the unsustainable use of land, forests, water and even air in many regions. Climate change will only exacerbate these challenges. Rising sea levels will likely endanger densely populated areas, changes in the monsoon patterns can strongly impact agriculture, melting glaciers will increase long-term water scarcity, and extreme weather events such as heavy rainfall and cyclones can pose further hazards.

Read more

Central America & Caribbean

Natural disasters and water scarcity are key challenges for most of Central America and the Caribbean. These challenges will become even more pronounced as the climate changes. Weak resource and disaster risk management and land disputes pose additional security challenges for large parts of the region. Several countries of Central America and the Caribbean have limited adaptive capacities as they face political instability caused by high social inequality, crime, corruption, and intra-state conflicts.

Read more


As one of the most developed and most densely populated regions in the world, Europe makes heavy use of its resources, resulting in difficult trade-offs and negative consequences for the environment and ecosystems. Land is used for settlements, agriculture and dense infrastructure, creating problems of soil degradation. Water resources are stressed due to unsustainable agricultural practices. Despite nature protection policies, Europe continues to lose biodiversity at an alarming pace. Some of these trends are exacerbated by climate change, which is expected, for instance, to lead to shifts in water availability.

Read more

Global Issues

Resource scarcities, environmental pollution and climate change are not limited by national borders, but often have a transboundary or even global impact. These issues interact with political stability, governance structures and economic performance, and can trigger or worsen disputes and violent conflicts. Exacerbating some of these trends, climate change is likely to lead to the degradation of freshwater resources, declines in food production, increases in storm and flood disasters and environmentally induced migration. All these developments pose potential for conflict.

Read more

Middle East & North Africa

The geopolitical position of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), its fossil fuel resources, high population growth and the political changes spurred by the Arab Spring all make the region one of the most dynamic in the world. Nevertheless, it is also one of the most arid and environmentally stressed. Dwindling water resources, limited arable and grazing land, high pollution from household and industrial waste, remnants of conflicts and increasing desertification are key environmental challenges.

Read more

North America

Climate change has various impacts on the three North American countries of Canada, Mexico and the US. Canada and the US have well-developed adaptive capacities and foster the strengthening of capacities in other regions as well. With high per capita emissions, these two countries also bear a greater responsibility for a changing climate. Mexico has a sound national strategy for climate change adaptation, yet fewer capacities than Canada and the US. The poorer and rural populations of Mexico are especially vulnerable to climate change, due to an increased sensitivity and a lower adaptive capacity.

Read more

Oceania & Pacific

In Oceania, population growth and economic development trends put a strain on oceanic and island ecosystems. Freshwater scarcity, overexploitation of fisheries, loss of land biodiversity, forests and trees, invasive species, soil degradation, increasing levels of settlement, poor management of solid and hazardous waste and disproportionate use of coastal areas are some of the problems. Climate change exacerbates most of these trends, while also raising questions about the future sovereignty of some island states.

Read more

South America

South America has diverse and unique ecosystems and is very rich in biodiversity. Weak natural resource management, land disputes and extreme weather events bring about significant challenges for the region. While South America accounts for relatively few CO2 emissions, the changing climate will alter its ecosystems and greater climate variability will lead to more hurricanes, landslides, and droughts.

Read more

Sub-Saharan Africa

In many African states, environmental security issues rank high on the political agenda. Throughout the continent, countries suffer from water scarcity, food insecurity and energy poverty. These chronic and worsening resource scarcities have severe livelihood implications and are exacerbated by political conflicts over access to and control over these resources. Climate change may seriously threaten political and economic stability in Africa. It may also put a severe strain on the capacities of states and societies to co-ordinate activities, to communicate and to organize.

Read more