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G20 Policy Brief on Climate and Displacement


Syrian refugee center, Turkish border (3 August 2012)

By Shiloh Fetzek, Senior Fellow for International Affairs

The Center for Climate and Security recently contributed to and co-signed a policy brief for the G20 on ‘Building Global Governance for ‘Climate Refugees’’. The brief was produced as a part of the Think20 (T20) dialogue process leading up to the G20 Summit in Hamburg on 7-8 July. The T20 is a network of think tanks that act as a research and policy advice network for the G20; its Think 20 Summit – GLOBAL SOLUTIONS will be hosted by German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin on 29-30 May, one of several civil society dialogue forums leading up to the G20 Summit. (more…)

New Article: “The Nexus of Climate Change, State Fragility and Migration”

Reuters/Rodi Said

Reuters/Rodi Said

Imperial College London’s Angle Journal recently published an article by Center for Climate and Security Co-directors Caitlin Werrell and Francesco Femia titled “The Nexus of Climate Change, State Fragility and Migration.” Here is an excerpt from the introduction:

The greatest migration since World War II is under way. Refugees are flowing in record numbers from Syria to both surrounding countries, and Europe. It is a humanitarian crisis of the highest order.

The proximate cause of this migration – the most immediate reason for it – is the long and brutal conflict in Syria. But a humanitarian crisis of such a historic and horrific scale necessitates the asking (and answering) of broader questions concerning a range of potential underlying contributors and causes. Here we examine the role of climate change with regard to state fragility and migration, and propose three guiding principals for governments to follow when faced with complex and uncertain climate-related threats.

Click here for the full piece.

On Syrian Refugees and Climate Change: The Risks of Oversimplifying and Underestimating the Connection

Syrian refugee camp on theTurkish border for displaced people of the Syrian civil war. Photo by Henry Ridgwell.

Syrian refugee camp on the Turkish border, 2012. Photo by Henry Ridgwell.

It unfortunately took the heart-wrenching image of a dead Syrian child on a Turkish seashore to fully alert the international community to an unfolding disaster: the greatest refugee crisis since World War II. As the crisis ensues, many in the public eye have been asking the question: What is behind this extraordinary exodus? Essentially, what is the proximate cause? The answer to that question is straightforward. A brutal civil war in Syria has left many people with little choice but to flee. Some commentators are asking another question, however, that seeks to illuminate “ultimate” causes of an unstable Syria, and the current crisis. Namely: What were the conditions that led Syria to collapse, and how can we prevent these crises in the future? And in that context, does climate change have anything to do with it? The answer to that is complex, of course. (more…)

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