Climate change conferences have concluded that LDCs like Nepal and Bangladesh are most vulnerable in terms of adverse impacts. Experts believe that climate change, besides creating new problems, will add to ongoing problems of the LDCs and make them worse.
South Asia is home to the largest number of people living below the poverty line. Irregular monsoon patterns, prolonged droughts, floods, and melting of glaciers are some of the current environmental trends plaguing the region. Many parts of South Asia are also experiencing violent conflicts and some regions are in a turbulent post-conflict stages. Conflicts, natural disasters, poverty, and globalization are contributing to unsustainable urbanization of traditionally rural communities.
As there is a growing debate over this, about 82 distinguished guests comprising professors, law makers, journalists, members of the civil society and other intellectuals attended an interaction on Climate Change and Security in South Asia. The event was organized by Friedrich EbertStiftung Nepal (FES Nepal). Dr. Christian Wagner, Dev Raj Dahal, and Udo Weber made up the esteemed panel. FES country representative Dev Raj Dahal, stressed the need to move towards the path of sustainable development by using alternate sources of energy (solar, water, wind) instead of unabated use of fossil fuels.
Udo Weber of the German Embassy to Nepal elaborated on the embassy’s role in dealing with climate change issues in Nepal. He stressed that climate change was a cross cutting issue, whose effects would be hardest felt by the rural population.
Dr. Chistian Wagner, an expert on policy, security, and environmental issues of South Asian countries, highlighted effects of climate change, particularly on water resources and agriculture.
The gist of his paper was that South Asian region’s existing security problems would aggravate due to climate change. Resources, particularly water, would be put under tremendous stress. Agriculture sector would be hit hard triggering migration and unsustainable urbanization, which would lead to tensions between the migrants and the community they move into. Rampant flooding and rising sea water would create environmental refugees.