Climate Change Threatens Peace and Compounds Hunger Say European Aid Groups



One of Germany’s largest aid groups has warned that climate change will worsen hunger particularly in areas where there is conflict, while a Swedish based research institute has said that climate breakdown will threaten many of the world’s peacekeeping missions.

Marlehn Thieme, the President of Welthungerhilfe, one of Germany’s largest aid groups, has warned that the world’s poor, mainly in the southern hemisphere, will bear the brunt of the climate crisis as many have “no more reserves or resilience” left.

Thieme warned that as the amount of productive land decreases and temperatures continue to rise, then many poor people in rural communities will be no longer able to feed themselves. Severe weather events like storms and droughts, which are increasing in intensity as a result of global warming, will make the situation even worse.

Aid agencies, which are already struggling to deliver food to the world’s starving, will be further impeded by conflict, which can effectively cut people off from the outside world.

War-Torn Countries Will Often be Hardest Hit

Perversely, many countries, which are ravaged by low-level conflict are also some of the world’s poorest and areas of the globe that will be most affected by climate change. Countries at risk include Somalia, South Sudan, Niger, and Afghanistan.

According to a briefing, earlier this week by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SPIRI) peace doesn’t stand a chance if climate change continues unabated.

“Climate change is directly affecting the dynamics of ongoing conflicts and increasing the likelihood of violent conflict. In addition to increasing the likelihood of violence, climate change challenges government assistance and support dimensions of multilateral peace-building efforts,” the briefing said.

Eight out of ten countries hosting the world’s largest UN peacekeeping operations were in areas where the effects of climate change would be greatest.

“While you are trying to patch the boat on one side, five more holes open up on the other. Military responses will not be able to address the issue, because while climate change is creating hard security challenges, there are simply no hard security solutions,” Florian Krampe, a researcher on climate change and security at SIPRI, told Deutsche Welle.

Krampe explained that if peace is to be maintained in the world’s most vulnerable regions then the way peacekeeping and peacebuilding is managed must change “especially if, by peace, we mean something more than the mere absence of violence,” he said.

Editorial Team