Ahead of the 27th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 27) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Global Center on Adaptation released the State and Trends in Africa Report 2022 (STA22) which completes an overview of the present and projected climate risks in Africa and provides a blueprint for adaptation action.
This year, the chapter on security was provided by the International Military Council on Climate and Security (IMCCS) Expert Group, co-authored by Elsa Barron of the Center for Climate and Security (CCS) and Laura Birkman of the Hague Centre for Strategic Studies (HCSS).
The chapter advocates the need to “climate-proof” security action and “conflict-proof” climate adaptation. This message is underscored through the chapter’s five key messages:
- As a “threat multiplier,” climate change exacerbates fragile situations and worsens social tensions and upheaval. Therefore, countries with fragile socioeconomic and political systems are especially susceptible to the security impacts of climate change.
- There can be no adaptation without security, just as there is no security without adaptation. Without effective governance and social and political stability, adaptation projects fall to the wayside, or may even risk exacerbating population vulnerability if they do not consider emergent security risks.
- A range of early-warning systems (EWS) have emerged in the African context, which effectively warn and inform about dimensions of climate and conflict. EWS should rely on local actors and their knowledge in order to prevent maladaptation and to not enhance or exacerbate existing vulnerabilities of local and marginalized communities.
- Integrating dialogue into the planning and implementation stages of all adaptation projects is important for addressing community concerns. Otherwise, adaptation projects could create economic or social winners and losers, increasing instability among the local population. Dialogue programs help to avert these missteps toward maladaptation and establish local partnerships that are more resilient to climate and conflict risks.
- Regional and local security sectors in Africa have a significant opportunity to engage in climate adaptation and climate-security risk reduction. This is because, in many cases, they may be the only existing or best-equipped force to prepare for and respond to disasters.