Strengthening responses to climate variability in South Asia

The importance of local communities in addressing the impact of climate change on security

On 7 February, Janani Vivekananda, International Alert’s Climate Change and Conflict Programme Manager, spoke at the Strengthening Responses to Climate Variability in South Asia conference at the Woodrow Wilson Centre in Washington DC. Janani presented four case studies - on Nepal, Pakistan, India and Bangladesh - to illustrate levels of risk and resilience to environmental change at village level.

The presentation highlighted the importance of local communities in addressing the impact of climate and environmental change on security. Three distinct observations were made across the four case studies:

  • Resilience to climate and environmental change is already there within communities. It just needs to be understood in context and built upon in a conflict sensitive way.
  • Communities are struggling to cope with the variability and uncertainty posed by climate and environment change.
  • Risks linked to climate and environmental change play a role in rural-urban migration, largely within the same country. This is already contributing to conflicts between host communities and settlers.

The panel then discussed the research and policy implications of these micro-level findings at both local and national levels.

The case studies and an executive summary of the research can be found here.

A webcast of the conference is available below.

Disclaimer: 
Wilson Center (c) 2013
Author: 
Janani Vivekananda
Contact email: 
jvivekananda@international-alert.org