Resilience is the best defence

International Alert’s latest research, produced in collaboration with the South Asia Network for Security and Climate Change (SANSaC), looks at the relationship between the environment and security in South Asia.

The research examines the links between climate change and community resilience in fragile contexts in four countries: Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan.

An overview of the four case studies is available here:

The individual country reports can be downloaded here:

The four case studies illustrate the current levels of risk and resilience to environmental change at the village level in each country, the double threat of climate change and insecurity, and the underlying obstacles to building local and national resilience to climate change in each country.

The case studies highlight a number of potential responses for ensuring greater resilience to climate variability:

  1. The importance of strong, accountable, participatory and effective local governance;
  2. Equitable management of and access to natural resources;
  3. Climate-sensitive alternative livelihoods;
  4. Fair access to credit; and
  5. Peaceful and safe management of migration.

What next?

The research findings confirm that despite increasing understanding of the links between climate change, development and security, little progress has been achieved in making the necessary changes locally or nationally.

In an effort to help deepen and operationalise understanding of how to respond to climate change and security risks in fragile states, we are bringing together a high-level group of experts from the security, climate change and development sectors to share thoughts, experiences and ideas on the emerging security implications of climate change, and to explore appropriate practical policy and institutional responses.

The expert dialogue will take place in Kathmandu, Nepal on 8th July. Confirmed participants include Major General Muniruzzaman, President of the Bangladesh Institute of Peace and Security Studies, Dr Michael Werz, Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress, and Mr Ali Taqueer Sheikh, Director of LEAD Pakistan, and others.

The objectives of the dialogue are to:

  • introduce the concept of security implications of climate change
  • explore the implications of current and future climate impacts on security in South Asia
  • promote policies and practices that reflect the complexity of these impacts and build resilience to the related challenges of climate change and insecurity

Although registrations for the event are now closed, we will publish a report of the discussions on our website.

You can also follow the dialogue on Twitter by using #climateresilience to get the latest information. Tweet about your experience, too. Join the conversation and ask questions by using @intalert.

International Alert is grateful for the support of the UK government and the support of the American People through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) for funding this project.

Photo: People fishing on Chilika Lake, by Rita Willaert