Conflict considerations in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’s National Adaptation Plans

Elise Remling, Karen Meijer

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Abstract

Many places affected by violent conflict are also those with the lowest capacity to respond to the impacts of climate change and, therefore, some the most vulnerable. Consequently, it is here where climate change most likely results in social tensions that could escalate into or sustain conflicts. This double burden of compounding conflict and climate risks suggests an urgent need for climate adaptation interventions. However, so far adaptation agendas are often poorly aligned with those reducing conflict risk. Seeking to overcome this gap, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) National Adaptation Plan (NAP) process has been highlighted as an important opportunity to align adaptation and peacebuilding agendas. Based on qualitative analysis of the ten least peaceful countries’ NAPs (submitted by November 2022), and developing a novel analytical framework on climate, conflict and adaptation interactions, the paper examines whether and to what extent countries bring conflict considerations into their NAPs, and account for interactions between climate change, conflict and adaptation. Findings suggest that by and large, conflict considerations are not systematically brought into adaptation planning – an omission that might ultimately prove irresponsible, highly costly and dangerous. The paper concludes with recommendations that countries faced by the double-burden of climate change and fragility, and international actors supporting them in their NAP process, could employ.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalClimate and Development
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 26 Feb 2024

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