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.
Poor response to flooding has severe political consequences
In Thailand in 2011, 2 million people across 26 provinces were affected by floods caused by unprecedented monsoon rains, which surpassed the average rainfall of the previous 30 years. The monsoons damaged dams and reservoirs that were purposefully overfilled to mitigate the effect of 2010’s weak monsoon season. During the crisis, hundreds of civilians took to the streets to protest discrimination by the Flood Response Operation Centre and the unfair distribution of water, electricity supply, shelter, and food. Public unrest and discontent with the government continued until a military coup in 2013.
The floods occurred when Thailand’s political landscape was already fragile due to violent anti-government protests between 2008 and 2010. Elections in 2011 brought a new government party to power, which had not yet proven that it could redress class discrimination and deeply rooted citizen resentment. Following the poor emergency response, angry civilians broke a sandbag wall in Bangkok, which was protecting a wealthy district from water surges. Breaking the sandbag barrier was a public expression of frustration with the government for its discrimination and favouritism.
Although the government launched a three-phase recovery programme that included building new infrastructure to prepare for future floods, the compensation system was not transparent. After it was revealed that compensation was unevenly distributed, protesters demanded fairer compensation. The government’s poor disaster management and its inability to address the grievances of rural flood victims were strongly criticized.
Femia, Francesco and Caitlin E. Werrell 2011: Thailand forecast: floods, droughts and political instability. Retrieved 02 Sep 2014, from http://climateandsecurity.org/2011/11/14/thailand-forecast-floods-droughts-and-political-instability/.
Nindang, S. and T. Allen 2012: Ahead of flood season, Thailand’s communities demand greater preparedness. Retrieved 02 Sep 2014, from http://asiafoundation.org/in-asia/2012/08/08/ahead-of-flood-season-thailands-communities-demand-greater-preparedness/.
Shams, Shamil 2011: Flooded Thai residents protest against 'discrimination'. Retrieved 26 Mar 2015, from http://www.dw.de/flooded-thai-residents-protest-against-discrimination/a-6659110.
Thai Health 2012: Flood of the century: warning of things to come. Retrieved 08 Apr 2015, from http://www.hiso.or.th/hiso/picture/reportHealth/ThaiHealth2012/eng2012_14.pdf.