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.
Inter-regional and supra-regional hotspots:
Climate change risks
Socio-political and socio-economic challenges
The global socio-economic scenario is crucial for understanding environmental cooperation. It is substantially shaped by large economic disparities not only within, but particularly between countries – the rich global North and the poor global South. The latter additionally faces major challenges due to poor governance. These disparities affect power and trade relations with implications for the management and the allocation of revenues from natural resources. Poor governance, often expressed through indicators such as corruption, lack of accountability, and regulatory quality, compromises adaptive capacities and hence increases vulnerability.
Most of global environmental cooperation takes place within the framework of the United Nations (UN). Dedicated specialized institutions and programmes include
Institutions with a broader mandate such as the UN General Assembly and the UN Security Council have also recognized the conflict potential and the possible security implications of climate change.
Besides UN institutions and programmes, there are various institutions with a more narrow geographic focus, such as the Arctic Council, which can help address the implications of the melting Arctic.
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