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How Jordan’s Climate and Water Crisis Threatens its Fragile Peace

Jordan_Drought3

A satellite image showing the Wadi Rum desert and irrigated farmland in Jordan. (Image credit: NASA)

By Peter Schwartzstein

For years, security service recruitment has masked climate instability in rural Jordan. Now that strategy is breaking down and no one knows what will take its place.

In the desert villages of south Jordan, the security services dominate. They run many of the schools. They maintain the roads, water infrastructure, and bridges. Crucially, they also employ most of the men.

Roughly 70% of those in full time employment in rural stretches of the southern governorates are in the army, civil defense, or intelligence corps, according to CCS research conducted in about 20 villages, a figure that rises to around 90% in some of the most distant, isolated communities. Most of the other residents are dependent on soldiers’ spending. Such is the security services’ outsized role that many districts have practically been emptied of young and middle-aged men. “It’s only when the soldiers are back home that this feels anything like a village,” said one farmer in the far southern Aqaba governorate. (more…)

Global Peace Index Factors in Climate Change Risks for the First Time

GPI 2019Every year since 2007, the Institute for Economics and Peace has published the “Global Peace Index (GPI),” which, as the title implies, measures the “peacefulness” of nations and regions of the world. In 2019, the GPI for the first time factored climate change into its analysis, and the results were significant. The GPI determined that climate change already has a notably negative impact on peace and security, illustrated by the following top 7 findings:

  • An estimated 971 million people live in areas with high or very high exposure to climate hazards. Of this number, 400 million or 41 per cent, reside in countries with already low levels of peacefulness.
  • Climate change can indirectly increase the likelihood of violent conflict through its impacts on resource availability, livelihood security and migration.
  • In 2017, 61.5 per cent of total displacements were due to climate-related disasters, while 38.5 per cent were caused by armed conflict.

(more…)

Can Typhoon Recovery Help Resolve Conflict?

800px-Homes_destroyed_by_Typhoon_Bopha_in_Cateel,_Davao_OrientalThere is quite a bit of research on the opportunity to forge peace agreements in the wake of natural disasters. Geoff Dabelko, among others, is a leader in this space (see for example “Climate Change, Adaptation and Peacebuilding in Africa”). Could there be such an opportunity in a typhoon-torn Philippines?

The road to recovery in the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda will be long, a fact recognized by the Philippine government that has declared a “state of national calamity.” But there is evidence to suggest that the recovery effort could help resolve conflict between separatists and the Filipino government, as well as tensions between the Philippines and China. (more…)