The concept of refugees/displaced people´s crisis has always been associated with violent conflicts and low capacities from their countries of origin. However, we are facing a new reality in which displacement is not linked to violence but with climate change impact. In this case there is not the hope of reconstruction, resettlement after ceasefire or political reforms, there is not a second opportunity. There is only one no-way-back for those lands devastated by the impact of climate change.
It’s for all this reasons that a solid green adaptive process (public-private) need to be implemented in conjunction with the work of global institutions. Aid for development must be focused on adaptation policies that make countries resilient to change.
Climate change is becoming a threat almost in the short-term making reforms to the system a must to be addressed urgently. Paris agreement its just part of this commitment and it represents more than just specific regulations for “dangerous” areas.
Even if developing countries are the most affected and usually at the top of the list, this is not a “development issue” and may impact any country equally. There are many examples: Netherlands, has half of its population living in threaten areas. Maldives has 80% of their islands 1 m above sea level, that in addition is elevating 0.9 cm per year. In Spain the risk of desertification affects 37,4 million hectare from 50,5 million of the entire land. France accounts 300 buildings devastated for the advance of the sea since 1980, loosing 26 km of land.
At political level its very important to take in account adaptation processes in the context of the Paris agreement but mainly from a national-real-tangible commitment towards a responsive and resilient system able to face the progressive and desperate advance of climate change.
Spain is an example of how despite being part of the Paris agreement it is not developing policies strong enough to face the impact of a relentless change. Besides is it not fulfilling Brussels´s green requirements. A strong supporter of Paris agreement and the European Union however without responding with a clear strategy of reforming the system according to the new challenges. An austerity policy that is taking almost 10 years after the onset of the financial global crisis is one of the impediments to get to a real framework of political commitment and financial investment.
Land that cannot been harvested anymore, rise of the sea level -that is literally erasing cities-, drought that make rivers disappear, excessive rain that does not allow to develop normal agricultural process, etc, etc. All of these elements make people abandoned their homeland, in addition to the dispute of natural resources that acquire an overestimated value and become pillar for a fierce struggle in the hands of powerful elites or/and illegal market. Water is one of those assets that in developing countries represent a matter of power and monopoly. There is not enough control and an essential natural resource for surviving becomes a private, controlled tool for submission and tyranny. In fact, by 2025 is estimated that 2 billion people will not have access to safe water.
Tajikistan is one of those vulnerable places exposures to water scarcity but also for the corruption generated precisely because it becomes a “precious jewel” only for people that could afford it. Which reinforces the idea that political system reforms in conjunction with global institutions are the basis for building resilient countries able to adapt to new realities and avoid mass displacement of people.
Refugee/displaced people´s crisis + climate change = an explosive combination that is claiming for changes that go beyond “green initiatives” but to structural reforms of the systems becoming adaptive to changes and preventing mass flow of people. Adapt or died! Being GREEN…the resilient way out.
*Driftwood scultpure. Nagato Iwasaki