Addressing climate-fragility risks in Asia
- Climate-fragility Risks - The Global Perspective
- Climate-fragility Risks in Asia: The Development Nexus
- Climate-fragility Risks in Japan and the Asia-Pacific region
- Climate-fragility Risks in Japan: Some Initial Reflections
- Climate and Fragility Risks in Japanese Development Cooperation: Implications of Adaptation and Peacebuilding Experiences
- Foreign Policy Implications of Climate-fragility Risks for Japan
Climate change is one of the key global security challenges of the 21st century. It is a ‘threat multiplier’ that will increase state fragility, fuel social unrest and potentially result in violent conflict. Existing state fragility is simultaneously hampering efforts at adaptation, particularly among vulnerable populations. This threatens to lock many societies into ‘fragility traps’.
Japan as part of the Group of 7 (G7) has recognised the resulting challenges for sustainable economic development, peace and stability. In April 2016, under the Japanese G7 presidency and following up to the independent report "A New Climate for Peace: Taking Action on Climate and Fragility Risks" commissioned by G7 members, the foreign ministers of the G7 reiterated their commitment to prioritise prevention of climate-fragility risks, including taking steps to integrate climate-fragility considerations across their national governments.
To facilitate a broader discussion on climate-fragility risks in Japan and Asia and reflect on and discuss the findings of the G7 report and its implications and relevance for Japan, adelphi and the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies initiated a partnership. Under this partnership, two expert workshops were organised in June 2016. The first workshop took place on 14 June 2016 and brought together 31 Japanese and international experts as well as government representatives. It was followed by a workshop on 16 June 2016 with 15 participants from Japanese civil society. The workshops focused on two central topics:
- Climate-fragility risks for Japan and the region: What are the direct and indirect impacts of climate change on Japan and the region? Which climate-fragility risks might emerge for Japan and the region? What role do these risks play in terms of disaster risk, and energy, food and water security?
- Ways to address climate-fragility risks: Which experiences and approaches exist in Japan, regionally and within the G7 to address climate-fragility risks and which approaches are most relevant for Japan in terms of its climate change, development and foreign policy? What are possible short and long-term solutions, actions and entry points for Japan?
This workshop documentation summarises key results of the discussion. It is the first of a series of papers in 2016 that adelphi and IGES are jointly publishing in Japanese and English to foster the debate on climate-fragility risks in Japan (Please see the list of publications above).
Climate-fragility risks for Japan and the Asia-Pacific region
During the workshops, the Japanese and international participants shared the following experiences: a) Risk perception is key for ambitious action; b) Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) is a key strength of Japan; c) Adaptation is a new and quickly developing policy field; d) Fragility and conflict are key development challenges in the region; and e) Political leadership is important. As a result, there is a need for raising more awareness on climate-fragility risks and broadening the risk perception in Asia. One key conclusion of the discussion around emerging risks was that climate-fragility risks are shared across the region and the globe. Japan will unlikely be able to isolate itself from these risks and will be directly and increasingly affected if no appropriate policy responses are formulated in time. A particularly underrated and understudied security challenge is the geopolitical risks that might be exacerbated by climate change. For example, how will the role of China change as it feels the impacts of climate change more severely or what consequences will the additional stress climate change puts on the North Korean regime have? These questions remain largely unexplored, but will be key to further assess the security implications of climate change in the region.
The following climate-fragility risks and related issues were identified during the workshops:
1. Key climate-fragility risks for Asia:
2. Ways forward
Climate-fragility Risk Index
A Climate-fragility Risk Index (CFRI) that compared major countries in Asia and Oceania was developed (Prabhakar et al., 2017). CFRI clearly shows that countries differ in the extent and nature of climate-fragility risks (Figure above). This underlines the need for country-specific solutions. The average CFRI for developing countries comprising Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam stood at 0.76 while it was 0.66 for the developed countries comprising Australia, Japan, South Korea. The differences between countries were largely due to variations in exposure to sea level rise (where Vietnam and Thailand are highly vulnerable) and food price volatility (where Pakistan scored highest). There was much less diversity regarding the indicators of internal displacement and regulatory quality of country governance systems. Among the developed countries, Australia showed a relatively high CFRI because of its high exposure to water stress and high food price volatility. Furthermore, the analysis indicated a reasonably close association between CFRI with the per capita GDP of countries suggesting a critical threshold level of per capita income below which countries tend to have higher climate-fragility risks.