By Afrique en ligne, October 7, 2011
Security focus on climate change could blur real issues - A growing focus on national and international security challenges posed by climate change could distract attention from the root causes of the problem, the needs of the most vulnerable people and the search for appropriate solutions, according to a researcher at the UK-based International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED).
In an opinion paper published Thursday, Corinne Schoch said a growing focus on security could lead to top-down responses to climate change that marginalise the most vulnerable people and sideline the existing institutions that are best suited to meeting these people’s needs.
As ongoing UN climate-change negotiations in Panama reach their mid-point, security institutions – from the UN Security Council to national militaries – are increasingly looking at the potential for climate change to spark conflict.
Schoch’s paper examines why this is happening and what the implications of this trend could be.
“The focus on climate change and conflict implies an overly simple chain of cause and effect,” said Schoch. “The potential link between climate change and conflict may be real but the truth is that we have insufficient evidence to draw strong conclusions and there is a danger in extrapolating from the local to the global.”
“This could create top-down responses that focus on security in a very limited sense of the word and ignore both the causes of climate change and the best ways to limit its impacts on vulnerable communities,” the researcher observed.