A new climate for peace: Taking action on climate and fragility

Lukas Rüttinger; Dan Smith; Gerald Stang; Dennis Tänzler; and Janani Vivekananda
2015

Summary

This independent report commissioned by members of the G7 calls for action on climate and fragility risk. It highlights risks and policy gaps that pose serious threats to the stability of states and societies in three key sectors: climate change adaptation; development and humanitarian aid; and peacebuilding. The report suggests concrete action from G7 member countries is necessary to create integrated and responsive systems that are resilient to a broad range of shocks and stresses.

The report identifies seven compound climate-fragility risks, highlighting their interconnection and complexity: local resource competition; livelihood insecurity and migration; extreme weather events and disasters; volatile food prices and provision; transboundary water management; sea-level rise and coastal degradation; and unintended effects of climate policies.

The compound nature of these risks means that single-sector interventions are not enough to prevent climate change impacts. Recognising that climate change is already occurring, it calls for these risks to be managed and minimised across three key sectors: climate change adaptation; development and humanitarian aid; and through peacebuilding.

It finds a number of gaps in existing programmes that offer opportunities for developing a more cohesive policy agenda:

  • There is a substantial amount of information about the links between climate change and fragility that could inform the improvement of early warning systems and assessments.
  • Following comprehensive planning processes could avoid duplication, prevent maladaptation and strengthen sustainable development.
  • There are few examples of integrated planning approaches that incorporate conflict sensitivity and follow the ‘do no harm’ principle.
  • Key institutions should be strengthened so they are able to manage competing interests constructively and peacefully.
  • Financial support, particularly in the long-term, is challenging. Unpredictable funding, a lack of coordination, weak institutions, and siloed agendas are key challenges for many countries, but especially for those experiencing situations of fragility.

The report also recognises that there is little guidance on lessons learned and best practices and on how to apply a ‘conflict-sensitivity’ check on climate change adaptation policies or projects.

Recommendations:

The report stresses that climate impacts are not limited to geographical or political boundaries and that efforts will only be effective in tandem to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases. It offers four recommendations with entry points identified at different levels:

  • Make climate-fragility risks a central foreign policy priority within G7 member governments
  • Enhance cooperation among G7 members
  • Set the global resilience agenda by informing global and multilateral processes
  • Engage widely to ensure global actions produce local results through working in partnership with a wide range of actors, including in countries affected by fragility

And it proposes five initial action areas:

  • Global risk assessment
  • Food security
  • Disaster risk reduction
  • Transboundary water disputes settlement
  • Building local resilience to climate-fragility risks.

Source

Rüttinger, L., Smith, D., Stang, G., Tänzler D. & Vivekananda, J. (2015) A New Climate for Peace: Taking Action on Climate and Fragility Risks.. adelphi / International Alert / Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars / European Union Institute for Security Studies.