Environmental and climatic changes have a disproportionate impact on countries affected by conflict.

We focus on building resilience to the interconnected challenges of climate change, poverty and conflict.

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Introduction: 

Environmental and climatic changes have a disproportionate impact on countries affected by conflict, interacting with factors such as poverty, political instability and social tensions.

We focus on building resilience to the interconnected challenges of climate change, poverty and conflict. We help to establish, promote and sustain peaceful communities that are able to withstand shocks and respond to change. We improve understanding of climate and security risks in vulnerable regions. We also advise local, national and international decision-makers involved in climate change, development and peacebuilding.

Our work is important because environmental and climatic changes, as well as poorly planned and uncoordinated attempts to adapt to their effects, could set back development and jeopardise the chance of sustainable peace.

Why: 

Communities around the world are already experiencing more extreme weather conditions, changes to agricultural cycles, longer dry seasons and rising sea levels. This is contributing to different patterns of migration, competition for natural resources and food insecurity – trends which look set to increase over time.

Environmental and climatic changes are affecting and exacerbating the complex burdens that developing countries have to face. Their impact is felt the most by the poorest and most vulnerable in society, particularly in fragile and conflict-affected states. Here, the disruption caused by these changes combines with issues such as poor infrastructure, fragile institutions and the effects of recent armed conflict or social unrest, to create a double-headed threat to peace and stability.

Effective responses to this threat are hampered by gaps in knowledge about the social, political and security impact of such change and a lack of understanding on how to strengthen resilience to these risks and challenges. There is also weak capacity among governments and international institutions to address these issues.

The inequitable governance of natural resources can also be a major cause of unrest and conflict. Mistrust and conflict between states, government departments and local communities are a major barrier to more effective and equitable natural resource governance. Greater public participation and consultation, as well as fair allocation of resources, are vital for promoting more peaceful management of natural resources.

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Climate and security in Tajikistan

International Alert has just completed an innovative project exploring the complex ways in which climate and environmental change interacts with existing challenges to sustainable development and peace in Tajikistan.

Our research project, ‘Climate change, community resilience and effective response in Tajikistan’, is the first and only initiative in Tajikistan to look at the local dimensions of resilience to the related risks of climate change, poverty and conflict.

Migration and governance shape climate resilience in Tajikistan

Central Asia faces the double burden of fragility and climate change. Uneven distribution of resources across the various Central Asian countries poses significant risks to stability, with climate change adding an additional layer of insecurity. The collapse of the Soviet Union left some Central Asian countries with an abundance of water resources but limited fossil fuel energy and others with less water but more fossil fuel reserves. Transboundary sharing of water and energy resources has caused escalating tensions between the various neighbours in the region.

Engineering peace

This project aims to reduce the impact that engineering schemes have on the ability of communities to adapt to climate change. We focus on those resources most susceptible to the effects of climate change, such as land, water and agriculture. We help engineers to better incorporate conflict and climate considerations in the design and implementation of infrastructure projects. This includes setting up partnerships with those in the industry.