Janani Vivikananda: Security Dimension of Climate Change Bypassed

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon delivers a speech during the inauguration of the Climate Change Monument in April 2009. Climate change, says an expert, affects political stability, trade and the economy. Photo by: Mark Garten / United Nations

Adverse impacts of climate change go beyond climate concerns and affect political stability, development, government, equity, trade and the national economy, an expert says.

“The risk [of climate change] will be greatest where governance is weak,” according to Janani Vivekananda, senior advisor on climate change and security at international peacebuilding organization International Alert.

A report by International Alert estimates that some 3 billion people live in 56 conflict-torn nations, where climate change could intensify political instability.

Local systems of power and governance must be integrated into climate change adaptation strategies, according to Vivekananda.

“This must involve a deep understanding of the local context, and avoid pitting groups against each other. They must also address broader risks to resilience such as security,” Vivekananda writes in a blog published in Reuters Alertnet.

Vivekananda also criticizes the dependence on donor aid to combat climate change. He says such dependence “usurps local authorities’ roles and responsibilities and undermines the social contract between communities and local government.” 

About the author

  • Ma. Rizza Leonzon

    As a former staff writer, Rizza focused mainly on business coverage, including key donors such as the Asian Development Bank and AusAID.