With global peace levels improving in the last five years, according to the Global Peace Index for 2019, another threat is looming on the horizon, the threat of climate change.
The Institute for Economics and Peace’s Global Peace Index for 2019 (GPI 2019) identifies the Philippines, Japan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, China, Indonesia, India, Vietnam and Pakistan as the top nine most vulnerable countries to climate change impacts.
The Institute for Economics and Peace is an organisation that has established its expertise and authority in developing metrics to analyse peace and quantify its economic value. Government and non-government organisations, businesses, educational institutions, and individuals use their research output to formulate policies and programs.
Rising sea levels, drought, and frequency of extreme weather events like heavy rainfall and cyclones are known impacts of climate change. The Asia Pacific is twice as vulnerable to these hazards as other regions. At the same time, the Pacific Islands are most susceptible to risks brought by sea-level rise and storm surges.
The GPI 2019 report shows that almost 1 billion people live in areas with very high exposure to climate hazards, and 41 per cent or 400 million live in countries with low levels of peace. Most of these countries have weak coping and adaptation capabilities. It is predicted that climate change hazards would most likely increase unrest in these countries as they will see more displacement and loss of livelihood and homes.
In Bangladesh, a delta country, increased rainfall has already seen thousands of Bangladeshis flee to urban areas abandoning their homes due to encroachment of water on their farms and homes. Crowding and overpopulation in urban areas will overwhelm infrastructure, causing it to break down and cause more unrest.
Climate change impacts will affect the peace levels of countries already vulnerable to it, with their coping and adaptation inadequate to face such hazards. Consequently, countries with high levels of peace have also high coping and mitigating capacities for climate change.
It’s interesting to note that New Zealand is the 2nd most peaceful country according to the GPI 2019. The top spot belongs to Iceland. Portugal is in the 3rd spot, followed by Austria, Denmark, Canada, Singapore, Slovenia, and Japan in 10th place.
Sub-Saharan Africa stands out as the region with the lack of coping capacity in proportion to their hazard risk, and one of the regions with low levels of peace, according to the study. Lack of coping capacity refers to the availability of resources that can ease the impacts of disasters.
This report treats vulnerability to climate change as a factor of peace in all countries. Vulnerable countries have insufficient mitigation and adaptation capabilities, and these countries also have low levels of peace.
Climate change poses an additional threat to any country exposed to it. For a country or region fraught with many dangers and problems, climate change can aggravate things, affecting peace, the economy, and the political stability of any country.
Climate change adaptation is one of the significant challenges facing the world today. How each country responds to it will have a global influence on our future generations.
Read the full report by clicking on the image below: