What does climate security mean for diplomacy and development?

The security risks of climate change are likely to place stresses on both diplomacy and development.

Diplomacy: As climate change interacts with state fragility, places strains on global food, water and energy supplies, and alters geopolitical dynamics, nations and intergovernmental institutions will need to develop more sophisticated means of addressing these issues. This may include incorporating climate concerns into existing multi-lateral institutions, such as the UN Security Council and the G7, creating new international institutions to address climate-related challenges, and elevating climate security as a priority in bi-lateral relations. Disputes over addressing climate change can also spill over into other areas of international security cooperation, potentially fraying relationships between states and within intergovernmental institutions. However, given that climate change represents a threat to international security, responding to the threat also provides opportunities for increasing cooperation – on climate change and a broader array of issues.

Development: Fragile nations that are already experiencing conflict, extreme poverty, weak institutions of governance, food and water insecurity and persistent diseases, are the most vulnerable to the effects of a changing climate. These nations are also the most likely to experience an increased incidence of conflict as a result of stresses associated with a changing climate. In this context, agencies and international institutions concerned with development will need to ensure that assistance to these nations are climate sensitive, including sensitive to the possible effects of climate change on instability and conflict. Ensuring that climate policies and investments are conflict-sensitive will also be important.

Read more:

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2014: Forced Migration Review. Refugee Studies Centre, University of Oxford
2014: USAID: Climate Change and Conflict, Findings and Lessons Learned from Five Case Studies in Seven Countries
2014: Policy Directive from the Secretary of State
2014: USAID: Climate Change and Conflict in the Sahel, A Policy Brief on Findings from Niger and Burkina Faso
2014: Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability: IPCC Working Group II Contribution to AR5
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2012: USAID Climate Change and Development Strategy, 2012-2016
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