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.
Cities are already facing the brunt of a range of interacting risks from criminal violence, terrorism and war to demographic pressures, to climate and environmental change. Coastal megacities are especially at risk given the specific impacts of climate change they face, such as sea-level rise, increased storm frequency and severity, and destruction to infrastructure such as ports, rail and road networks. These risks are amplified as urban populations become ever larger.
On 19 January 2017, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan hosted a G7 roundtable seminar with international experts and country representatives to follow up on the group's efforts to address climate-fragility risks.
Climate change is no longer an 'environmental' issue only but a global security concern that has gained the attention of diplomats, defense communities, development practitioners, and others. 300 experts and policy makers gathered in The Hague from 5-6 December 2016 to exchange on strategies to address climate-risks effectively. At the annual conference, a diverse 'community of practice' is built to jointly work on resilience.
"Land degradation is a root cause of migration and a trigger of conflicts", says Monique Barbut, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification. In the interview, she explains the links between environmental change and violent conflict in Africa. Concrete examples such as the "Great Green Wall" raise hope that conflicts over scarce resources can be successfully addressed and that degraded landscapes can be restored through collaborative efforts.
Last month, the urban community met in Quito, Ecuador for the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III). At this event, United Nations (UN) member states agreed on the New Urban Agenda, which elucidates a broad vision for sustainable cities. Since returning from Quito, many participants of the Habitat III conference have asked: what now? What is the significance of the New Urban Agenda, and how will it be implemented? After some brief observations on the relevance of the Habitat III process in general, this article delves into the implications of the New Urban Agenda for urban resilience in particular.
Women are at the forefront of climate change, facing disproportionately high risks to their health, education, food security and livelihoods. The gendered impacts of climate change are particularly strong in the case of climate-induced disasters and are exacerbated in contexts of violent conflict, fragility and extreme poverty. At the same time, women can be important agents of change in adaptation and peacebuilding. Disaster management can provide opportunities to overcome traditional gender roles and strengthen women’s voices in decision-making.
The Nile River is shared by 11 countries, for which it is vital for food and energy production, freshwater, and as a means of transportation. Sharing the resources of the Nile has, however, been politically difficult. Recently, the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam has caused a major dispute with downstream Egypt which fears the dam will affect water flow in its own territory.
One fear of climate change is that more variable weather conditions will lead to violence and chaos in some places. But looking at it methodically, do erratic weather conditions actually lead to violent conflict and political instability? Not necessarily.
The landmark decision on a new climate agreement in Paris in December 2015 is a major step in preventing dangerous climate change. How dangerous climate change could be is indicated by the Global Report on Internal Displacement 2016, just published by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC). According to the report, 19.2 million new displacements in 2015 can be associated with disasters in 113 countries across all regions of the world. Of course, only part of these events, such as floods, storms, wildfires, landslides or extreme temperatures may be influenced by a changing climate.
By joining up action – and funding – on climate change, conflict and poverty, the world’s biggest crises could get easier to manage.
Last month, the World Bank’s Fragility Forum in Washington, DC, brought together some 600 participants to discuss how to advance sustainable development in the context of increasing conflicts and violence. World Bank President Jim Yong Kim opened the forum by emphasizing that we are at a critical moment. While the first two decades after the end of the Cold War saw a significant decline in the casualties from violent conflicts around the world, this trend has unfortunately reversed in recent years. Around 60 million people were forcibly displaced last year – the most since World War II – and these numbers are on the rise. Most displaced persons remain within their respective home countries, but more than 15 million are refugees.