A vicious cycle linking natural resource depletion to violent conflict may have passed the point of no return in some parts of the world and is likely to be exacerbated by climate change, according to a report on Thursday.
Food insecurity, water scarcity and the impact of natural disasters, combined with strong population growth, fuel conflicts and displace people in vulnerable areas, said the think tank of the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP).
The IEP uses data from the United Nations and other sources to predict the countries and regions most at risk in its “Ecological Threat Register”.
Get the data behind global threats magnified by climate change, from food and water risks to rapid population growth and natural disasters.
Join the ETR 2021 briefings this Thursday, October 7:
Launch in the United States: https://t.co/VGRRhhMfeC
Launch in the EU: https://t.co/9C1YXbeycA pic.twitter.com/YnqFWoRSOC
– IEP Global Peace Index (@GlobPeaceIndex) October 5, 2021
Serge Stroobants, IEP’s director for Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, said the report identified 30 ‘hotspot’ countries – which are home to 1.26 billion people – as facing Most of the risks. This is based on three criteria relating to resource scarcity, and five focusing on disasters, including floods, droughts and rising temperatures.
“We don’t even need climate change to see a potential system collapse, only the impact of these eight ecological threats can drive it – of course climate change is making it stronger,” Stroobants said.
Afghanistan gets the worst score in the report, which says its ongoing conflict has hampered its ability to cope with risks to water and food supplies, climate change and alternating floods and droughts . According to the findings, conflicts in turn lead to further degradation of resources.
Last year, six seminars comprising governments, military institutions and development groups sent the message that “the international community is unlikely to reverse the vicious circles in some parts of the world,” IEP said .
This is particularly the case in the Sahel and the Horn of Africa, which have seen more and more conflict over the past decade, he said. “With tensions already mounting, climate change can only be expected to have an amplifying effect on many of these problems,” the report said.