Iran is currently experiencing extreme water shortages. The Center for Climate and Security and others have reported on the water crisis in the country for some time, but it continues unabated. Iran has experienced a reported 14 years of successive drought, and today Twitter is abuzz with images of protests in Isfahan, Iran, over water shortages in the area.
As with so many water problems, this is a crisis primarily about water management, and the current Iranian government does not seem up to the task. With so many other security risks demanding the attention of leaders in the region and internationally, it remains unclear whether or not better water management will receive the attention it deserves (See “Iran: Dried Out” by Najmeh Bozorgmehr for more on the need for Iran to improve its governance of this vital resource).
Of course, water is not known to acknowledge political boundaries, so Iran’s water problems will not remain confined to the nation for very long. Given broader instability in the region, and the likelihood of a continued decline in precipitation levels (due to the effects of climate change), the international community should pay very close attention to what’s happening in Isfahan.
Rick Noack with the Washington Post recently penned an article titled “Experts are predicting a famine in South Sudan. Why can’t we stop it?” In the article, Noack explores the dire situation in the world’s newest nation. South Sudan, in the midst of an ongoing conflict, now faces the threat of famine. There are warning signs that the famine will endanger the lives of millions, yet actions to avert the crisis do not seem commensurate to the scale of the risk. As Noack states: “The problem is that South Sudan is following a standard pattern for these kinds of problems: The help only really arrives once it’s too late.”
The situation in South Sudan certainly deserves more immediate attention and response. It is also worth considering what can be learned from this situation about risk management in general. (more…)
The West African country of Liberia has experienced many years of devastating civil war. Now its fragile stability is threatened by the consequences of climate change.
Liberia’s recent history of conflict
Liberia has a long history of conflict and civil war. Between 1980 and 2003, various ethnic factions battled for political influence as well as power over mineral, natural and commercial strategic resources such as the infamous ‘blood diamond’. (more…)
Columbia University is harnessing the knowledge of its Earth Institute, Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN) and Master of Science in Negotiation and Conflict Resolution program for an Executive Seminar on Environment, Peace and Security, September 17-21, 2014. Full details of the seminar can be found here. Given the increasing risks associated with environmental and climatic stressors, this executive seminar will provide a valuable foundation for those wanting to learn more about this growing area of interest. Deadline for applications is September 1, 2014. (more…)
The annual Australia-United States Ministerial Consultations (AUSMIN), the “principal forum for bilateral consultations between Australian and the United States,” took place this week in Sydney, and discussion of the security implications of climate change was on the agenda. The consultations included the Australian Ministers for Foreign Affairs and Defence, the US Secretaries of State and Defense, and other senior officials from the countries’ respective diplomatic and defense establishments. According to the Australian government’s website, “The Consultations provide a major opportunity to discuss and share perspectives and approaches on major global and regional political issues, and to deepen bilateral foreign security and defence cooperation.” In this context, discussion of climate -security is important. (more…)