Saturday, April 30, 2011

World not prepared for climate conflicts - security experts

Laurie Goering in AlertNet: Accelerating climate change and competition for limited supplies of water, food and energy are poised to ignite long-simmering conflicts in fragile states, monopolising the world's military resources and hampering development efforts, security experts say. Defusing these new 21st century conflicts – or at least preparing governments and citizens to cope with them – will require a broad range of innovative interventions, a gathering at Britain's Department for International Development (DFID) heard earlier this month.

Mitigation measures include borrowing business risk-management strategies, getting military officials to talk publicly about the constraints they face, building capable institutions in unstable countries, and ensuring billions in climate aid go to the right places and aren't lost to corruption, experts said. Putting the right strategies in place will require bringing together disparate groups – economists, military strategists, aid workers – and working out fresh approaches to the emerging problems, they said.

Climate change and resource scarcity are "setting a new challenge that we are not very good yet at handling", said Dan Smith, secretary general of International Alert and one of the organisers of the "Dialogue on Climate Change, Conflict and Effective Response".

In Yemen, for example, severe water shortages – the result of water mismanagement and changing climatic conditions – are hurting crop production and feeding into growing political strife that could unseat longtime ruler, President Ali Abdullah Saleh, and even break the country apart. The pressures have important military implications, not least because Saleh has cooperated with Washington to dismantle an arm of Al Qaeda in Yemen, and because food and water shortages appear to be contributing to recent violence.

Worsening climate impacts and resource shortages could similarly aggravate simmering conflicts from Pakistan to fragile regions like the Niger River basin, which includes parts of Mali, Niger and Nigeria, said Smith, whose independent organisation works on peace and conflict issues…

An FX-05 Xiyukohal (Xiuhcoatl) assault rifle, lensed by Rahlgd at en.wikipedia

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