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Video: Climate crisis and conflict: cross-sector working for sustainable solutions

Tom Gillhespy and Dr. Haseeb Md. Irfanullah explore the need to mainstream climate and ecological concerns into our conflict-related work, and how this can be achieved.

In addition to the Covid-19 pandemic, the world has long been facing two unprecedented major global crises: climate change and an ecological crisis of biodiversity loss and environmental degradation.

“When you think how many conflicts are either directly linked to, or at least exacerbated by, natural resource pressures then to be able to restore landscapes in some of these contexts would be quite phenomenal.”

Despite efforts made over the past several decades to address these crises – the most well-known of which being the 2015 Paris Agreement currently being revisited at this year’s COP26 – the urgency of addressing the climate and ecological crises is no longer the sole responsibility of organisations working within the environment sector.

Within the UK FCDO and other donors, we have already seen an increasing trend toward making the link between conflict & stabilisation and climate change & the environment with a particular focus on nature-based solutions (NbS); but thinking is still in its early stages for FCDO and the aid sector more broadly.

[The climate and ecological crises] are really profound things that can have an impact but, as a conflict advisor, I find it hard to look at a conflict context and think, ‘oh, there’s an opportunity here for nature-based solutions’…

Similarly, there is a need for the environmental profession to better understand conflict dynamics, and integrate conflict sensitive approaches into their work.

By exploring this in more depth, we can:

  • Have a better understanding of the ‘conflict-climate change-ecological crisis nexus’
  • Add value to work across all sectors to meet social and ecological responsibilities
  • Support the MEL sector to better respond to global crises with sustainable solutions

In their latest working paper, summarised in this video, Tom Gillhespy (Principal Consultant within Itad’s Fragile and Conflict Affected States Practice) and Dr Haseeb Md Irfanullah (Independent Consultant in Environment and Climate Change, Bangladesh) explore the links between the climate & ecological crises and conflict & stabilisation, and how we integrate these two professions to mainstream climate and ecological concerns into our conflict-related work, and vice-versa.

View on YouTube

Read the recently published working paper ‘Connecting Conflict, Climate Change and Ecological Crisis’ here.

For more information and to discuss any of the topics from the video further, contact: Tom Gillhespy