Climate change is a global threat to security in the 21st century. Despite future emissions reductions, the physical impacts from anthropogenic climate change are already visible and will continue for decades to come. The sharpest risks emerge where institutions and governments are unable to manage the stress or absorb the shocks: climate change is the ultimate “threat multiplier” that will aggravate already fragile situations and may contribute to social upheaval and even violent conflict. Are we prepared to deal with these challenges? And what role can foreign policy play in tackling these risks?
In early 2014, G7 members commissioned an international consortium of leading research institutes headed by adelphi, together with International Alert, the Wilson Center, and the EU Institute for Security Studies, to conduct an independent study on climate change and fragility and establish an open online platform to share and disseminate the collected knowledge and research.
The report 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 the resilience of states and societies to them. Stakeholders across five continents have engaged in discussions on risk perception, preventive policy approaches and strategies as part of a series of dialogues and consultations. The results of this process are also part of the study.
In addition to the study, the consortium has also developed an online knowledge platform to generate knowledge and bring together resources to build the evidence base on climate change and fragility. It serves as a resource hub for policy makers, practitioners and experts engaged in foreign affairs, peacebuilding, development and humanitarian aid to discuss and share emerging thinking and analysis on the links between climate change, vulnerability, fragility and conflict. It provides contextualized reports and expert opinions, informs about upcoming events, consolidates on-topic, international discussions and offers tailor-made information for foreign policy-makers. It also prominently features the opinions from science and civil society, particularly in regions affected by fragility and conflict, thereby complementing dialogue processes with partner institutions, governments and stakeholders.