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.
“In the last decade, almost half of Africa’s elephants have been killed for their ivory, and some experts are predicting that both elephants and rhinoceros will be extinct by 2030,” said Nancy Lindborg, President of the U.S. Institute of Peace at a recent event on wildlife poaching and trafficking. The illegal trade in protected wildlife is worth US$7-10 billion—some of which has ended up in the pockets of armed groups like Al-Shabaab and the Lord’s Resistance Army, said Lindborg.
In July 2018, a partially completed dam in Laos’ Attapeu province collapsed, washing away people and villages in its path. Hundreds of people were missing and more than six thousand lost their homes. And after last summer’s hurricanes, U.S. citizens in Houston and Puerto Rico escaped death but were forced to evacuate when dams were flooded. Dam failure can be catastrophic for people, property, and power – and the risks are rising.
Access to and competition over natural resources has been one of the most common triggers for conflict. Throughout the centuries, countries and communities have fought over productive agricultural land, trade routes, spices, textiles, opium, and oil, to name just a few. But the battle over one natural resource—fish—has long been overlooked. As trends in the global fish industry increasingly mirror the conflict-ridden oil sector, fish may become the newest addition to the list of resources driving geopolitical competition. There are five parallels between oil and fish that call for increasing the sustainability of the fishing industry, or we might find ourselves facing what U.S. Coast Guard Captain Jay Caputo has called “a global fish war.”
The idea of a “new middle” or “third way”—a blend of neo-liberal economic doctrines and social policies that was supposed to overcome the dichotomy between mixed economy and free market paradigms—more or less dominated U.S. and European politics for the last two decades. But today, this centrist consensus has been upended by a wave of populist, nationalist parties. Many have won over their electorates by questioning the benefits of free trade and globalization (as well as the international institutions that espouse them), while pursuing expansionary domestic economic policies.
With the tumultuous NATO summit and a simmering trade war dominating stateside headlines last month, the European Union’s progress on climate-security connections has received little attention. Three significant events herald what could be the start of a new era of climate-security policymaking—one under European leadership.
In many parts of South and Southeast Asia, high population density and vulnerability to climate change combine with low levels of household resilience and poor governance to increase security concerns and the potential for political instability.
Both those who argue for and those who refute climate-conflict links draw on Darfur to support their case. New analysis of political bias behind the environmental narratives and their critiques adds much-needed nuance to our understanding of when drought is – and is not – relevant to the conflict.
One of the biggest challenges to climate action is not only understanding the risks of flooding, extreme heat and other challenges, but how your community might respond to these risks. What are its strengths? How might policymakers augment existing capacities and address weaknesses?
"Land degradation is a root cause of migration and a trigger of conflicts", said Monique Barbut, Executive Secretary of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification in a recent interview with the ECC platform. Whether for growing crops, grazing animals or constructing houses – land is a prerequisite for human life. But global pressures on land are increasing and threaten millions of livelihoods - and thus peace and stability.
Can climate change be the source of conflicts or is it merely one among several catalyzers that worsen the pre-existing condition on the ground in some cases? And how can we avoid climate change mitigation and adaptation policies not to become a new source of tensions between groups in society?