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BERLIN: As ‘Putin’s War’ with Ukraine enters its 10th week, Berlin-based think tank Adelphi and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) have published 10 conclusions on why conflict prevention and peacebuilding need to become climate-sensitive:

1. The risks that climate change impacts pose to international peace and security are real and present.
2. Climate change impacts affect competition and conflict over natural resources such as land and water.
3. Climate change impacts undermine livelihoods, affect human mobility, and push people into illegal coping mechanisms.
4. Climate change impacts contribute to extreme food price spikes and food insecurity.
5. Extreme weather events challenge government effectiveness and legitimacy.
6. The unintended consequences of poorly designed climate and security policies carry their own risks.
7. Climate-related security risks are particularly significant where governance mechanisms are weak or failing.
8. We are very likely underestimating the scale and scope of climate- related security risks.
9. Climate-related security risks will increase and multiply in the future.
10. Our capacities to assess and manage climate-related security risks lag behind the changing risk landscape.

Adelphi, which specialises in change issues, says the global community must reduce its impact on ecosystems; adapt socio-economic systems; better manage the heightened resource competition that climate change will bring about; and strengthen governance and conflict management institutions.

“Managing these security risks requires action far beyond the peacebuilding community, yet every dimension of the response must be conflict-sensitive.”

A new report from the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) says up to 40 percent of the planet’s land is degraded – directly affecting half of humanity and threatening 50 percent (US$44 trillion) of global GDP.

“At no other point in modern history has humanity faced such an array of familiar and unfamiliar risks and hazards, interacting in a hyper-connected and rapidly changing world,” it warns.

Roughly half the world’s annual economic output is being put at risk by the loss of finite natural capital and nature’s services - underpinning human and environmental health by regulating climate, water, disease, pests, waste and air pollution.

On the other hand, the report notes the economic returns of restoring land and reducing degradation, GHG emissions and biodiversity loss could be as high as $US125-140 trillion annually - up to 50 percent more than the US$93 trillion global GDP last year.

“Conserving, restoring, and using our land resources sustainably is a global imperative, one that requires action on a crisis footing. Business as usual is not a viable pathway for our continued survival and prosperity,” it says.

“The second edition of the Global Land Outlook (GLO2) is a must-read for the biodiversity community,” declared Elizabeth Mrema, UN Convention on Biological Diversity executive secretary. “The future of biodiversity is precarious. We have already degraded nearly 40 percent and altered 70 percent of the land. We cannot afford to have another ‘lost decade’ for nature and need to act now for a future of life in harmony with nature."

The report from Adelphi and PIK concludes by suggesting climate change exacerbates many drivers of conflicts and fragility, thereby challenging the stability of states and societies and, ultimately, threatening international peace and security.
 
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