Climate change depletes, conflict worsens: IEP report


A vicious cycle linking the depletion of natural resources to violent conflict is likely to escalate into climate change in some parts of the world, a report said on Thursday.

The think tank of the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) has said that food insecurity, water scarcity and the impact of natural disasters, along with high population growth, are provoking conflicts and displacing people in vulnerable areas.

The IEP uses data from the United Nations and other sources to predict the most endangered countries and regions in its “Environmental Threat Register”.

Serge Strobands, IEP director for Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, said the report found that 30 “hotspot” countries – home to 1.26 billion people – were at high risk. It is based on three criteria related to resource scarcity and focuses on five disasters including floods, droughts and rising temperatures.

“We don’t even need climate change to see a potential systemic decline. The impact of those eight environmental threats will lead to this – of course climate change strengthens it,” Strobonds said.

The report says Afghanistan has a poor score, and that its ongoing conflicts have damaged water and food supplies, climate change and its ability to cope with floods and droughts. According to the findings, conflict leads to further resource degradation.

Last year, six seminars, including by governments, military agencies and development committees, delivered the message that “the international community is unlikely to reverse the vicious cycle in some parts of the world,” the IEP said.

This is especially true of Sahel and the horn of Africa, which has seen more and more violent conflicts over the past decade. “As tensions have already escalated, climate change can be expected to escalate into many of these issues,” the report says.

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