Climate change and conflict: PIK researchers give policy advice to the German government

02/03/2021 - Training programs on environmental peacebuilding, pooling international expertise to deal with acute risks of violence, and an even stronger focus on gender roles in crisis regions - these are some of the concrete recommendations for action made by the German government's advisory council for civilian crisis prevention and peacebuilding in its latest study on the interactions between climate impacts and security.
Climate change and conflict: PIK researchers give policy advice to the German government

„In recent years, the negative consequences of climate change have become much more obvious in fragile regions,” writes lead author Kira Vinke, a scientist at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and co-chair of the advisory council in the study's introduction.

„Even with a temperature rise of about 1.2°C, extreme events and gradual changes threaten the livelihoods of people living in poverty and those who are politically and socially marginalized in particular. Resource scarcity can exacerbate intercommunal tensions and escalate already existing conflicts.”

The study, to which two other PIK researchers, Janna Rheinbay and Stefanie Wesch, contributed in addition to Vinke, also shows that climate destabilization not only threatens peace in the so-called “Global South” but can also have long- and medium-term consequences for stability within Europe.

In this context, an important prerequisite for controlling climate-related security risks – in addition to lowering CO2 emissions in accordance with the Paris Agreement – is the creation of more multilateral capacities and structures in the areas of development, trade and defence policy. For example, the German government's guidelines on preventing crises, in which the issue of climate change has already been identified as a security policy challenge, should be backed up with new concrete voluntary commitments. These could include, among other things, continuing education programs on climate impacts in fragile states for security policy actors. 

The publication is accompanied by a debate on the PeaceLab blog, which documents the latest developments in crisis prevention, conflict management and peacebuilding. As a starting point for civil society engagement with the topic of “climate and conflict,” the results of the study will be further discussed there with the involvement of civil society and other voices from academia.

Read the report (in German):

Vinke, Kira; Dröge, Susanne; Gießmann, Hans-Joachim; Hamm, Charlotte; Kroll, Stefan; Rheinbay, Janna; Wesch, Stefanie (2021): Klimawandel und Konflikte. Herausforderungen für die deutsche Außen- und Sicherheitspolitik. Herausgegeben vom Beirat Zivile Krisenprävention und Friedensförderung. Studie 2. Berlin.

Join the discussion:

Debate on PeaceLab


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