Taking Action on Climate and Fragility Risks
This independent report, commissioned by the G7 members, identifies seven compound climate-fragility risks that pose serious threats to the stability of states and societies in the decades ahead. Based on a thorough assessment of existing policies on climate change adaptation, development cooperation and humanitarian aid, and peacebuilding, the report recommends that the G7 take concrete action, both as individual members and jointly, to tackle climate-fragility risks and increase resilience to them.
When climate change exacerbates conflicts and crises, resilience must be the compass for foreign policy. The Resilience Compass features news, reflections and opinions on climate change and fragility, with contributions from the Wilson Center’s New Security Beat, International Alert and guest authors.
This collection of resources complements and extends the analysis of the report. It contains an interactive factbook allowing users to explore case studies from around the world and provides background readings and contextualized report and event summaries.
Of the 186 countries assessed in a recent survey of climate vulnerability, Chad was rated most in peril. A combination of high poverty, frequent conflicts, and the risk of both droughts and floods means the central African nation is bottom of the list, just below Bangladesh and some way behind Norway, the country least vulnerable to climate change.
Scientists agree that many countries in tropical, subtropical, and arid regions should expect changes to water availability and supply from climate change. The U.S. intelligence community has likewise warned of water-driven challenges not only for countries directly affected by water changes, but indirectly to various U.S. national security interests. Perhaps not surprisingly then, the popular literature has been quite clear about prophesizing wars over water.
Across the world, land degradation is forcing people to flee their homes and homelands. Already, more than 500 million hectares of farmland – an area more than half the size of China – have been completely abandoned due to drought, desertification and land mismanagement.
The world’s most extensive humanitarian crisis is currently playing out in the Lake Chad region, with some 17 million people affected, and 7 million suffering food insecurity. We spoke with Ambassador Hinrich Thölken, Permanent Representative of Germany to FAO, WFP and IFAD, who travelled to both Nigeria and Chad to gain a better understanding of the different compound pressures.
Internationally, Australia resides in the region worst affected by climate change, a so called ‘disaster alley’. Robert Sturrock from the Centre of Policy Development argues that policy action to address climate vulnerabilities in Australia and the Indo-Pacific is not sufficient, and that Australia should offer leadership to encourage regional cooperation and prepare for climate crises.
Climate change, civil conflict, and violent extremism are among the most significant threats to global human development, peace, and security. UN-led plans to address all three require immediate action to prevent future crises, yet crucial investments may not yield tangible results for years to come—well beyond democratic term limits. Jonathan Rozen reflects on tensions between long-term planning and short-term action.
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.
Resilience is a widely used concept among development, environmental, security and peacebuilding organisations. However, it has rarely been applied together with the concept of environmental security, despite the obvious ways in which the concepts complement each other. These concepts can be jointly applied in the peacebuilding sector. Environmental security sharpens the scope of resilience, while resilience allows for taking issues into account that a traditional environmental security perspective might miss.
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.