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Review: IOM Outlook on Migration, Environment and Climate Change

Photo by Oxfam

“Horn of Africa famine refugee” Photo by Oxfam

By Sandra Fatorić, Center for Climate and Security Research Fellow

The new International Organization for Migration (IOM) Outlook on Migration, Environment and Climate Change report is intended to be a reference publication on environmental and climate change migration, which targets policymakers, practitioners, researchers, international agencies, the private sector, donors, students, and think tanks. Environmental migration intersects a range of policy areas, including migration, climate change and environment, security, development, and humanitarian assistance. (more…)

New Research: Local Food Price Spikes Increase Likelihood of Unrest

 

Protesters marching in Cairo, "Bread, Freedom, Social Justice By, Mariam Soliman from Cairo, Egypt

Protesters marching in Cairo, “Bread, Freedom, Social Justice By, Mariam Soliman from Cairo, Egypt

This is a cross-post by Todd G. Smith via New Security Beat (see the original post for some great questions in the comments section).

From the Roman poet Juvenal’s observations about bread and circuses to Marie Antoinette’s proclamation, “let them eat cake!” the link between food and political stability is well established in pop culture. In academic and policy circles, however, it’s a source of considerable debate.

Since 2008, when the FAO Food Price Index spiked to previously unseen levels, reports of so-called “food riots” have become common. In 2011, researchers at the New England Complex Systems Institute (NECSI) released a short paper presenting a compelling correlation between spikes in the FAO Food Price Index in 2008 (and again in 2011) and media reports of food riots across the Middle East and North Africa. (more…)

Cascading Disasters in the Mediterranean: Storm in Lampedusa

800px-Boat_People_at_Sicily_in_the_Mediterranean_SeaLast Friday the Mediterranean areas around Southern Italy experienced a rare “Medicane” event of tropical storm-like conditions. Jeff Master’s explains the science behind these rare weather events, and the likelihood of seeing more of them under a changing climate.

Storms of this nature are just one more stress to the small Italian island that is also a main point of entry to the European Union for migrants and refugees from places like Syria and Eritrea. The voyage from point of origin to the shores of Europe and Italy is no cruise (more…)

Event: US Foreign Policy, Climate Change and Natural Resources

Water_reservoir,_yemenThe World Affairs Council is hosting (and live-streaming) an event tomorrow evening titled: In Pursuit of Prosperity: US Foreign Policy in an Era of Resource Scarcity. It is a timely topic and includes an impressive set of speakers.

The event is from 6:30-7:30Pm (presumably Pacific time) at the World Affairs Council Headquarters in San Francisco. If you are not able to attend you can watch it online as well. (more…)

Lessons on Catastrophic Risk Management From South Sudan’s Looming Famine

800px-Refugees_queue_for_water_in_the_Jamam_camp,_South_Sudan_(7118597209)

Refugees queue for water in the Jamam camp, South Sudan. Photo by: Robert Stansfield/Department for International Development‬

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…)

Columbia University: Environment, Peace and Security Executive Seminar

Tarbela_Dam_Pakistan_during_the_2010_floodsColumbia University is harnessing the knowledge of its Earth InstituteCenter 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…)

Creating Climate-Secure Water-Sharing Treaties

Sudan_Nile_agriculture_LandsatIn light of the recent news of armed bandits demanding water in India, and on-going water tension in Iraq and Syria, we are cross-posting the below post from Thomas Currant at the New Security Beat titled “Climate Change Will Test Water-Sharing Agreements.” The post looks at a working paper by a group of researchers at the World Bank, “Climate Change, Conflict, and Cooperation: Global Analysis of the Resilience of International River Treaties to Increased Water Variability.”  Neil Bhatiya, with The Century Foundation, also wrote a good summary of the working paper, “Designing an Ideal Water-Sharing Treaty.”  (more…)