Category: Uncategorized

Climate Change, Migration, and Conflict – Addressing Complex Crisis Scenarios in the 21st Century

by Michael Werz, Laura Conley

The costs and consequences of climate change on our world will define the 21st century. Even if nations across our planet were to take immediate steps to rein in carbon emissions—an unlikely prospect—a warmer climate is inevitable. As the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, noted in 2007, human-created “warming of the climate system is unequivocal, as is now evident from observations of increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice and rising global average sea level.”

As these ill effects progress they will have serious implications for U.S. national security interests as well as global stability—extending from the sustainability of coastal military installations to the stability of nations that lack the resources, good governance, and resiliency needed to respond to the many adverse consequences of climate change. And as these effects accelerate, the stress will impact human migration and conflict around the world.

It is difficult to fully understand the detailed causes of migration and economic and political instability, but the growing evidence of links between climate change, migration, and conflict raise plenty of reasons for concern. This is why it’s time to start thinking about new and comprehensive answers to multifaceted crisis scenarios brought on or worsened by global climate change. As Achim Steiner, executive director of the U.N. Environment Program, argues, “The question we must continuously ask ourselves in the face of scientific complexity and uncertainty, but also growing evidence of climate change, is at what point precaution, common sense or prudent risk management demands action.”

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The Arab Spring, One Year On

by Christine Lagarde

Rejecting the Past, Defining the Future

Let me start with the context. As we all know, almost one year ago, everything changed for the people of the Middle East. The region embarked upon a historic transformation. But at the time, few realized where this journey would lead. When Mohamed Bouazizi, the Tunisian street vendor, set himself on fire last year, who could have predicted that his tragic death would herald a whole new Middle East?

Who would have foreseen that this act of desperation against a violation of human dignity would ignite a flame that would eventually illuminate the entire region, toppling governments and leading to mass awakening of social consciousness?

This much is clear: The Arab Spring embodies the hopes, the dreams and aspirations of a people yearning for a better way of life. Yearning for greater freedom, for greater dignity, and for a more widespread and fairer distribution of economic opportunities and resources. Basic human yearnings.

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Gender and Climate Change: Durban Explores the Intersection

by Rebecca Lefton

Most people do not think of climate change as a gender issue. But experts at the COP 17 climate conference in Durban, South Africa are trying to raise awareness of the disproportionate impact that a changing climate has on women. Women are responsible for collecting water that is becoming increasingly scarce, and they are needing to travel farther distances to reach clean water supplies. Women are primarily responsible for putting food on the table, but food prices are rising and as climate change worsens agricultural productivity. And women are often the most vulnerable in war and regional conflicts, which will be exacerbated by resource scarcity.

A discussion held  in Durban focused on these impacts. The panel featured the Honorable Mary Robinson, the former president of Ireland and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. In addressing climate resilience, Robinson stressed the importance of focusing on health and burden impacts of climate change. One of the keys is access to reproductive health for women.

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Politics and parenthood

by Damien Hickman

My 11 week old daughter likes to sleep while going for a ‘walk’ in her pram. Recently as I we walked along, left to my thoughts, I realised that politics is a lot like parenthood. Both are journeys of unexpected twists and turns, highs and lows, sheer exhilaration and utter desperation. Former British Prime Minister, Harold Wilson is famously quoted as saying: ‘A week is a long time in politics’. He must have been a parent. With sleepless nights, never ending feeds and nappy changes, plus the repetitive ‘walks’ around the block trying to get the little one to sleep, he could have easily said: ‘A week is a long time in parenthood’.

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Australia’s creeping inertia

by Ken Boundy

There are many things that fill me with pride as an Australian. There are others about which I am increasingly embarrassed. We will all have long lists on both sides of that ledger. The one which disturbs me most, and which can most impact our long term prosperity, is inertia.

I’ve been in the UAE, China and Singapore recently and returned wondering why we’re being beaten hands down in development of convention centres, bullet trains, sustainability programs, new hotels, freeways, and even knowledge economies.

The world is moving at an incredible pace. In many areas, we seem to lag, even behind the developing world. Why?

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