EU High Representative and EC Vice-President Catherine Ashton steps down from leading the European External Action Service in late 2014. She has presented her review of the organisation and how to make it more efficient. But despite her best efforts the basic case for the EEAS remains unclear to many. Winning that case depends not on efficiency alone but on whether the EEAS meets an important need. Continue reading
For the past two and half years, International Alert has been conducting field research in four South Asian countries on vulnerability to the effects of climate change, possibilities for adaptation, obstacles and how to overcome them. What shines out of these studies is the need for policies that integrate responses to climate and conflict challenges into developing a broadly based quality of resilience – in local communities and on the national stage. Continue reading
International Alert convenes an expert roundtable, Building resilience – building peace, in Kathmandu on Monday 8 July. It’s the culmination of two and half years of research on the impact of climate change on local communities in Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan. I can’t be there so we recorded four minutes to camera as my contribution to the day’s events.
My brief comments emphasise the importance of thinking about the impact of climate change on four critical system - supply of water, food security, energy availability and supply natural resources supply. Responding to the challenge of climate change is about building resilience in those systems on which people everywhere depend.
Anybody can be forgiven for feeling these are gloomy times. National economies are largely sluggish, abysmal at worst. Political leaders can’t fix a range of problems from the Euro to carbon emissions. From Mali via Syria to the Korean peninsula, peace in the world seems at risk. So it’s important to find the positive news. Continue reading
Posted in The State of the World
Tagged cancer, Climate change, democracy, gay rights, HIV/AIDS, inequality, Martin Bell, Martyn Lewis, mental health, peacebuilding, Positive News, UN, wars, women in politics
Today is publication day for the new edition of The State of the World Atlas. It presents information about the world – economics, politics, conflict, health, environment and demography – in a variety of forms, primarily in maps and other visuals, also in text. If you will excuse me, I want to introduce it to you. Continue reading
Posted in The State of the World
Tagged carbon emissions, China, Climate change, EU, global ineqaulity, health, India, International development, peace agreements, peacebuilding, UN, US
What is the name of our age? The late Eric Hobsbawm wrote a series of brilliant histories that each named the era it covered - The Ages of Revolution, Capital, Empire and, for the age in which I grew up and whose aftermath still shapes us, the Age of Extremes. So what is the name of our age? Continue reading
A recent meeting at DFID brought together a number of people from different government departments, NGOs and research centres to discuss some of the under-discussed aspects of the climate/security links. Laurie Goering captured the essence of the discussion in this AlertNet article.
It is sometimes difficult to give a vivid and convincing sense of the link between climate and the problems of insecurity. The linkage is indirect and can seem intangible. And there is a lack of hard evidence with which to demonstrate it because the problems are only now beginning. But then sometimes the link is brought out into the open in the most vivid and cogent form. Continue reading
Just before the summer shutdown, the last key decisions were taken to establish the EU’s new External Action Service – the European Parliament on 8 July and the Council of the EU on the 20th. As the EAS starts to become real, what can and should we expect from it? Continue reading
Posted in Conflict & peace, Power
Tagged adaptation, Ashton, carbon emissions, China, Climate change, Copenhagen, energy security, EU, EU External Action service, European politics, food security, fragile states, green economy, International development, Israel, Middle East, Palestine, peacebuilding, trade
Water is a basic condition of life. We depend upon it for daily use, for agriculture, for industry and infrastructure. A shortage, an excess and deficient quality can all undermine welfare, impair human security, hold back economic development and in some circumstances generate conflict. The London-based Foreign Policy Centre has published Tackling the World Water Crisis, an edited collection of articles in which mine looks at the peace and security issues around water. Continue reading
Posted in Climate change, Conflict & peace, International development
Tagged adaptation, China, Climate change, food security, fragile states, human security, India, peacebuilding, poverty, Yemen