UNDP’s policy brief, “the climate security nexus and the prevention of violent extremism” draws on recent country level examples and preliminary insights from UNDP’s workstreams on climate security and PVE and identifies various action areas. While it is understood that climate change does not directly and in-and-of-itself cause conflict or violent extremism, the study’s point of departure is the intersection between the root causes of violent extremism and how they intersect with climate vulnerability. A Webinar will share the UNDP study and the outcomes of this discussion will inform next steps.

  1. How does climate change impact contexts and communities affected by violent extremist organizations?
  2. How are PVE (prevention and peacebuilding) programmes and plans of action addressing climate change, natural resources and environment sustainability? Are these considered in socio-economic activities through emergency employment and/or livelihoods support?
  3. How are climate security risks captured in PVE monitoring strategies and results frameworks, including which indicators and data sources are used?
  4. Have you engaged climate change and environmental experts in policy and programming design? In case not, what have been the obstacles to doing so?
  5. In which ways can women contribute to addressing climate risks and prevention of violent conflict including violent extremism?
  6. What good practices are there engaging youth-led and youth- centered organizations addressing climate risks and prevention of violent conflict including violent extremism?

Comments (11)

Stella m Katiku

 Despite the assiduous efforts by the states to counter violent extremism in the Horn of Africa, Women in these regions have played a significant role in preventing or curbing the spread of violence extremism. Think of the Kenya in the northern part, mombasa and Nairobi. In collaboration with  government and other NGOs programmes tool kit initiated to train them on how to de-radicalise, dconstruct  the youths mind and integrate them in the society. This is done in a special way  for a long term measures would help in knitting the social fabric, through educating, involving them especially the returnees .

Stella m Katiku

How does climate change impact contexts and communities affected by violent extremist organizations?

Cimate change has become a source of invisible and underlying  insecurity in the region which has changed the dynamics and the way of life in the region and  from food insecurity, disaster , and the source of confict in the community. besides this a lot of inconsistency in the relationship between the organisations and the communities, and governing states. Emergence of  actors with self interests who neither fall in the either of the groups.

There is issues of policy which is not leveraged, top down , seems

Ashley Jackson Moderator

Great points, Stella.

In particular, I think the "invisible" quality of climate change (in contributing to/exacerbating other factors of insecurity) continues to be a difficult thing to deal with in policy terms. We know there is a real relationship between the impact of climate insecurity security, on the one hand, and the drivers of insecurity in many contexts, on the other. 

But how do we effectively convince policy actors to take climate action seriously -- when it still seems to many as abstract or extraneous?

And this is, of course, not helped by the fact that there so often tends to be a short-termist approach to dealing with security issues. Broad generalization, of course (!) but maybe there are some great examples of how to address these dynamics that others might share...?

Catherine Wong

I think definitely as you mention Ashley, there is the challenge of acute versus chronic factors. Risk is important too, our understanding and perception of risk has a decisive role in shaping our response. 

James Blake

I have a piece coming out next week on climate migration and cities - didn't dwell on the PVE too much, but if cities don't act on this now, given what is about to happen with climate migration it may well be catastrophic. Speaking to various businesses to help enact mindset changes.

Catherine Wong

Great to hear about your work on climate migration and cities, James. It would be interesting to hear about observations you might have, for us here, even tangentially.

I think we definitely recognize that mainstreaming is needed in both directions: climate proofing of prevention, peacebuilding and PVE, but then also strengthening conflict sensitivity or ensuring peace positive adaptation and mitigation.

Shiloh Fetzek

So that it's easily accessible, here's the link to the recently-published UNDP brief on climate security and PVE: 


To Ashley's question on making the case for these linkages, and Stella's earlier points, I think the storytelling component, and continuing to build out the evidence base through more grounded research, will be key in raising awareness with policy actors. As discussed in the launch event for this SparkBlue, unfortunately the story of how climate and environmental change affect conflict dynamics will continue to write itself.

The tricky part is communicating the nuance, because people tend to hear direct causality even when that’s not what’s being suggested, and sometimes have a ‘fifth horseman of the apocalypse’ reaction. As a research community I think we’re still working to get this right – how to raise a very serious warning without triggering misdiagnosis and maladaptative responses. This is partly why, for quite a while there was a hesitancy to talk about climate security and terrorism, before ISWAP and others started making the case more ‘visible.’

As we go forward and see more situations emerge, I think we’ll need to pay more attention to narratives – getting them right, getting them out there and contingency planning around how they are used.

Adriana Abdenur

These comments underscore the importance of context-specific research to show the concrete links, or even (thus far) lack thereof.  And of balancing climate sensitive responses to more immediate-cause responses. The context I am familiar with, with respect to PVE, is Latin America and the Caribbean. I am thinking of Trinidad and Tobago, from where hundreds signed up to fight with ISIS, but featuring a very different pattern from other ISIS recruits, with respect to age, gender composition and cluster size (most of the recruits went to Syria as entire families, rather than individuals).  It is tempting to make the link to extreme weather events like hurricanes--I have been at meetings where people raised this as an assumption--but the literature points at family ties and one specific extremist group in T&T, linked to specific political events.  These are not mutually exclusive with climate, but if the policy focus ends up focusing excessively on climate, the proximate factors may be overlooked or underestimated.  I mention this because in the Caribbean climate financing is relatively abundant, at least when compared with  other parts of the world marked by VE issues-- but there are few resources for security.  (Which I understand is quite different from some African subregions, for instance.)

Ashley Jackson Moderator

Absolutely, a very important point about context (that, in turn, underscores Shiloh's points about nuance). My brilliant colleagues at ODI, Katie Peters, recently led a deep-dive through the existing lit on climate and conflict. One of the conclusions I found most striking was around the importance of context, and how easily that is often forgotten or misconstrued (or, indeed, distorted for political or material gain). 

Your comments on Trinidad and Tobago reminded me of this -- insecurity in a given time/place is driven by various micro/meso/macro factors inevitably tied to that context. Climate insecurity, and its consequences, might be one of those factors -- but that nuance and contextuality is important to hold onto in broader discussions.

Ashley Jackson Moderator

Good morning, and happy Monday to everyone! I thought I'd start off the week by summing up some key strands of discussion so far. 

Perhaps unsurprisingly, a lot of the posts referenced the importance of nuance and context -- both of which can so often get lost in discussions of climate and security/PVE (particularly at a general level).

Several people emphasized the importance of rooting our analysis in specific contexts, and of storytelling, both of which can help nuance interpretations of causality and understandings of how climate interacts with other factors in insecure environments (i.e. poverty, direct violence, migration, disenfranchisement). Catherine also raised the need for nuance in talking about climate itself (i.e., acute vs. chronic). 

Of course, this brings us back to some of the original questions up top, and raises some related ones:

  • I wonder how others have seen some of the dilemmas this throws up manifest in policy and programming?
  • At the policy level, how do you nuance a global narrative that tends to brush over contextual differences, and often risks implying causal links that are more complex in reality?
  • How do we adapt learning across contexts?
  • And how have different program strategies for engaging on the issues, and monitoring impact, worked on the ground?

Look forward to hearing everyone's thoughts!

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