Supporting climate security
While climate change does not cause violent conflict, in and of itself, it can through its interaction with other social, political and economic factors have negative impacts on international peace and security. The pathways through which these risks manifest is highly contextual and determined by the interaction between climatic hazards, exposure, and, most importantly, the vulnerability and coping capacity of states and societies. The risks are greatest where institutions and communities are unable to cope with the stress or absorb the shock and can lead to downward spirals when critical thresholds are exceeded and adaptive capacity compromised. These risks have already become a reality for millions of people around the world.
While the issues are not new, the interlinkages are still not well-understood nor are the solutions well-documented. Tackling climate-related security risks represents an innovative line of work for UNDP and a strategic focus on delivering advanced and cross-cutting approaches to policy and programming in the nexus of climate change, conflict prevention and sustaining peace.
A multi-dimensional approach is needed to find sustainable solutions. This includes recognition of the importance of effective, accountable central and local governance; equitable management of and access to natural resources and ecosystem services; availability of climate-resilient alternative livelihoods; resilience-building of individuals, communities and institutions, and the peaceful and safe management of migration and displacement. The possible implications of disruptions to systems must be understood in the short term as well as the more medium and long term. Such an approach can be the catalyst for collective efforts to address climate change in conjunction with other potentially destabilizing factors, and ultimately facilitate a systemic shift from crisis response to coordinated risk prevention, early warning and effective adaptation.
UNDP partners with DPPA and UNEP under the Climate Security Mechanism, established in 2018 an inter-agency initiative supported by Sweden, Norway, Germany and UK to strengthen the capacity of the UN to address the interlinkages between climate change, peace and security. The Mechanism was tasked by the Secretary-General’s Executive Committee to develop a toolbox for integrated climate-related security risk assessments which includes a briefing note, conceptual approach, data sources and check list for political analysis and conducted the first global scan of the UN’s work on climate security, together with the UN Community of Practice on Climate Security. Please inquire here for more information.