Climate Change, Conflict and Fragility

TitleClimate Change, Conflict and Fragility
Publication TypeBook
Subtitle / Series TitleUnderstanding the linkages, shaping effective Responses
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsSmith, D, Vivekananda, J
Number of Pages36 pp.
PublisherInternational Alert
ISBN Number978-1-906677-51-0
Accession Number1411

This paper outlines the climate-conflict interlinkages and the challenges involved in responding to their combined challenge. Establishing the overall goal of international policy on adaptation as helping people in developing countries adapt successfully to climate change even where there is state fragility or conflict risk, the paper makes and explains eight specific policy recommendations:
1. Adaptation to climate change needs to be conflict sensitive - responding to the needs of the people, involving them in consultation, taking account of power distribution and social order, and avoiding pitting groups against each other.
2. Peacebuilding needs to be climate-proof, ensuring that its progress is not disrupted by the effects of climate change that could and should be anticipated.
3. Shifts towards a low-carbon economy must be supportive of development and peace - unlike what happened with the rapid move to biofuels.
4. Steps must be taken to strengthen poor countries' social capacity to understand and manage climate and conflict risks.
5. Greater efforts are needed to plan for and cope peacefully with climate-related migration.
6. Institutions responsible for climate change adaptation need to be structured and staffed in a way that reflects the specific challenges of the climate-conflict interlinkages. For this to be possible, institutions must restructure in such a way as to maximise the participation of ordinary people and build accountable and transparent public institutions.
7. Development policy-making and strategic planning henceforth, at both international and national levels, need to integrate with peaceful climate adaptation planning. Compartmentalisation between these areas is no longer viable.
8. A large-scale systematic study of the likely costs of adaptation is required, including the social and political dimensions along with economic sectors that have thus far been left out of most estimates.The report updates the scene since Alert's widely quoted 2007 publication, A Climate of Conflict, and reveals the alarming consequences of continued inaction to enable affected countries to adapt to the consequences of climate driven changes on their populations.

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