The Weathering Risk projects are guided by the methodological approach of Weathering Risk, and combine state-of-the-art climate impact data and expert conflict analysis to build context-specific, solutions-oriented climate-security assessments.
The analyses help policymakers and practitioners on the ground to identify key climate-related security risks across different regions, and explore opportunities, best practices and a series of tailored, actionable recommendations to build climate resilience and sustainable peace.
The Weathering Risk projects currently span the African continent, the Pacific, Tuvalu, Kiribati, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Yemen, Jordan, Iraq and Syria.
Current Weathering Risk Projects:
- Climate Security in the Pacific
Countries: Tuvalu, Kiribati, Republic of the Marshall Islands
Partners: UNDP, IOM, Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFs)
Outputs: National climate-security risk assessments; regional climate-security framework report
Activities: Research, policy analysis, capacity development and training
Timeline: January 2022-September 2022
The Pacific has contributed the least to the rise in carbon emissions but are on the front lines in the effort to combat it. The region is already being impacted in various ways, such as increasing annual mean temperatures, sea level rise, salt water intrusion, coastal erosion, and increased intensity of extreme weather events. In low laying atoll nations, the threat is even higher. These phenomena are causing displacement and forced migration, diminishing food and water resources, undermining economic growth, hitting key sectors, such as tourism, aquaculture and agriculture, and putting strains on infrastructure, which ultimately have serious impacts health and productivity, livelihoods and employment, and human security and thus national and regional stability.
Evidence on security implications and associated risks needed to inform policy, as well as data on how, when and where these implications will manifest and who may suffer the most, is currently lacking, impeding important prevention work that can be undertaken to mitigate the Pacific’s’ considerable climate security challenges. Doing so also requires the explicit input of islanders themselves, who have intimate knowledge of the effects of climate change but also a trove of experiences and approaches to tap into when devising appropriate responses.
To tackle this lack of evidence and comprehensive articulation on climate security regionally, a tailored Pacific-specific methodology, informed by the Weathering Risk Methodology, is being developed and piloted. Building the evidence base in the Pacific will help development partners and regional governments deliver tailored and adequate responses and risk management strategies in the Pacific.
Taking our experiences and evidence from the three pilot countries, a regional framework will be developed to map trends and provide guidance to regional actors on how to conduct climate security assessments in other Pacific island contexts. By doing so, the region can further advance the implementation and uptake of the Boe Declaration and inform regional approaches to climate security action plans.
- Africa Continental Climate Security Assessment
Partners: Weathering Risk
Activities: Climatological, contextual and thematic analysis
Timeline: Early 2022 – Mid-2023
Many African countries and regions are affected by previous and ongoing violent conflict and fragility. Simultaneously, the continent experiences the effects of climate change, with rising temperatures, unpredictable rainfall variability and an alarming increase in extreme weather events such as drought and floods. These climate impacts put immense pressures on people’s livelihoods and exacerbate existing vulnerabilities. They have contributed to migration and displacement, environmental degradation, food insecurity and natural resource scarcity, mismanagement, and competition. These cascading effects of climate change multiply a range of security risks, including deepening of local grievances, mistrust against governmental actors, inter- and intra-communal violence, and environmental crime.
Some regions, in particular Central Africa and Southern Africa, have less data and existing research available on the interlinkages between climate, peace and security. Other regions, like the Horn of Africa and the Sahel, have extensively mapped out climate-related security risks and developed regional response and prevention mechanisms. However, significant research gaps on the solutions side, especially regarding climate adaptation and resilience still exist. The role of different actors in the climate security field also remains unclear and what synergies could be fostered. The African Continental Climate Security Assessment helps fill these knowledge gaps.
Throughout the research process and write-up of the Africa Continental Security Assessment, Weathering Risk will establish close working relations with the African Union and other regional stakeholders, in particular the RECs, the United Nations and African centres of excellence. The latter includes, amongst others, organisations such as the Institute for Security Studies (ISS), the Cairo Regional Centre for Conflict Resolution and Peacekeeping in Africa (CCCPA), West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP), West African Science Service Centre on Climate Change and Adapted Land Use (WASCAL).
In this report we analyse how climate change and environmental pressures affect peace and security in Africa, and what could be done to overcome existing challenges. This solutions-oriented assessment will help policymakers and practitioners to identify key climate-related security risks across the different African regions and explore opportunities, best practices and a series of actionable recommendations to build climate resilience and sustainable peace on the continent.
- Integrating Climate Security into Policy Frameworks
Countries: Yemen, Jordan, Somalia, Iraq, and Syria
Partners: CGIAR, UNDP Regional Bureau for Arab States (UNDP RBAS), and the UNDP SDG Climate Facility
Activities: Climate security mainstreaming, Policy consulting, Capacity development, Monitoring & evaluation, Strategy & policy evaluation
Timeline: February 2022 – January 2023
The MENA region faces the dual threat of climate change and conflict. As of 2020, the region hosts some of the the highest incidents of international and civil conflicts in the world. Climate change threatens to interact with many of the conflict factors which affect the region today. Each of these forces are strong, stand-alone issues, but to contend with them in a siloed manner, as is the current state of play, is a dangerous endeavor given their tendency to act as multipliers of the other. Even nominally ‘post-conflict’ contexts often face continued instability and remain locked into vicious cycles of underdevelopment and unrest with continued governance issues causing a continued lack of public service provision and the persistence of patron-client hierarchies. Indeed, the region is consistently considered one of the most vulnerable to climate change, contending with high temperatures and irregular precipitation. Already, climate change is having important implications for livelihoods, food and water security which risk aggravating tensions and fault lines wherever they are present.
Making sure policies put in place at the national level to deal with climate or conflict deal simultaneously with climate and conflict from the outset. Otherwise, advancements on both may be limited as climate impacts which aggravate underlying conflict grievances risks undercutting fragile peace or the possibility for effective policy in the near- and medium-term. Even though climate change will have near term impacts on conflict dynamics, little attention is paid within policies and frameworks, especially around peacebuilding and reconstruction, to account for these future scenarios. That risk undermining long sought and fought peace processes and initiatives as climate change may up-end their efficacy in the face of increasing climate stress.
Ensuring policies and plans vital to post-conflict settings - including reconstruction but also agricultural or resource management policies - are climate security sensitive is an integral step in avoiding such an outcome. To ensure climate security is considered in these various plans and processes, a set of criteria and baselines were developed to help identify the degree to which climate security was accounted for in recovery plans and processes. Doing so not only allowed us to assess the degree of integration around climate security but also, and importantly, identify where and how policies could better reflect the dual issues of climate and conflict for a more resilient and sustainable future going forward. In the next step of the project, we will take that learning and develop roadmaps that articulate short and medium term activities governments can do to better align climate and conflict in recovery pathways and processes into the future. These guides are inclusive of the latest climate impact data provided by PIK, a rapid analysis of the main climate security trends which utilized the Weathering Risk methodology and work undertaken by CGIAR to assess the cost of inaction for each country. By ensuring climate security is well integrated into planning policies and processes needed to determine a post conflict future, these policies will be anticipatory and robust in the face of future climate impacts and their effects on conflict.
- East Africa learning facility on climate adaptation
Partner: UN World Food Programme (WFP)
Outputs: National and sub-national climate fragility profiles, topical briefings on interlinkages between climate security and food systems, a decision-making support tool and a stakeholder map
Activities: Research, policy analysis, conflict and risk analysis, capacity building, knowledge management and mainstreaming climate change adaptation
Timeline: January 2022 until June 2023
East Africa is a region frequently and severely affected by climate-related shocks and stressors, such as increasingly erratic rainfall patterns, frequent droughts and floods, landslides, heat waves, and pest and livestock disease outbreaks. Food systems and livelihoods are impacted quickly by the negative effects of climate change, which cause security risks such as natural resource competition, climate migration and displacement, and communal conflicts. Millions of people in the Horn of Africa and East Africa are in dire need of food assistance and humanitarian aid, which has become even more urgent during the 2022 drought.
Due to its first-responder mandate, WFP often needs to prioritize responding to food and nutrition crises generated by natural disasters or violent conflict, leaving less capacity to invest in climate adaptation and long-term climate resilience building. As a result, efforts to address and incorporate more comprehensive and systematic climate risk strategies into its strategic plans have yet to be fully realized. WFP’s activities in the East Africa region have made provisions for isolated responses to climate shocks, but despite these efforts, rigorous climate and response analyses are required to ensure sustainable and impactful climate adaptation and resilience-building programming.
The East Africa regional learning facility helps WFP and its partner organizations gain a deeper context-specific understanding of climate-related security risks in East Africa and how these risks affect food systems, people’s livelihoods, and WFP’s mission and mandate. It gives WFP the knowledge, tools and framework to identify which opportunities to address these risks exist, and how it can better integrate climate adaptation and resilience building into its strategies, programmes and projects.