CGIAR Focus Climate Security and ARDD partner to advance climate security understanding in MENA region

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A collaborative approach to climate, peace, and security

The relationship between climate change and conflict is often described as a casual loop or a vicious cycle, where the two compound to drive vulnerability.

Indeed, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region vividly exemplifies how climate change threatens stability and how instability undermines the State’s and vulnerable communities’ ability to adapt. Therefore, it is not surprising that the interplay between climate change, peace, and security has been the subject of increasing research in the MENA region. The FOCUS Climate Security team, within CGIAR’s Alliance of Bioversity and CIAT, is spearheading the development and expansion of the climate, peace, and security agenda in the region through its MENA Regional Climate Security Hub, as underlined by several research initiatives in Jordan: FCM, HER+, and most recently, a bi-lateral project with WFP that explores the financial status of refugees in host communities in Northern Jordan and their interest and ability to utilize financing strategies to improve livelihoods through climate resilient agricultural development.

Collaborating  with regional and country-level organizations, marrying their local and regional expertise with the transdisciplinary skillset of the FOCUS Climate Security team, is vital to advancing the climate, peace, and security agenda in a given context. This is the basis of a promising new partnership between the FOCUS Climate Security Team and the Arab Renaissance for Democracy and Development (ARDD) – a civil society organization that seeks to foster transformative changes towards an empowered, resilient, and just society in Jordan and the Middle East – kicked off with a two-day capacity building workshop on the climate, peace, and security nexus this month.

Capacity building for advancement of the climate, peace, and security agenda

Over the course of the two days, members of the CGIAR FOCUS Climate Security and ARDD teams engaged in a variety of training activities and exercises designed to develop a shared understanding of the climate, peace, and security nexus; identify entry points for mainstreaming these considerations into ARDD programming and research activities; and exploring opportunities for collaboration between CGIAR and ARDD. The workshop forms part of a wider Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the two organizations that will work to centrally position climate change and climate security in research, capacity development, and policy advocacy aimed at promoting social equality, community resilience, peace, and empowerment in Jordan and the broader MENA region.

“Throughout the workshop session with CIAT – Alliance of Biodiversity, we have not only learnt about the most pressing climate challenges that Jordan and the MENA region faces, but also how we can tackle them within our current and upcoming projects and programs” – participant from ARDD

The training began with a thorough examination of the impacts of climate change in Jordan. Employing several climatic models and projections, this session examined the consequences of climate change for social vulnerability, adopting a systems perspective to identify the structural determinants of disproportionate exposure to climate impacts amongst specific social groups such as women and refugee communities. As part of this process, participants constructed a number of climate impact chains that help visualise the often complex, socio-ecological consequences of climate change for a variety of sectors within Jordan. Participants were then provided a theoretical introduction to the climate, peace, and security nexus in order to obtain an appropriate conceptual framework through which to understand the multi-dimensional and multi-scalar nature of the nexus. This session also focused on conceptualising the emergence of climate-related security risks as dynamic change processes within complex systems characterised by feedback-type relationships between variables. Subsequent sessions were centred around exploring how climate, peace, and security can be integrated into climate policies and governance mechanisms, social protection, and humanitarian assistance programmes.

Mapping a climate impact chain

Future partnership activities  

The workshop also laid the foundations for an exciting chapter of structured collaboration between CGIAR and ARDD in Jordan and beyond on this topic. An action plan encompassing a range of thematic areas was developed by both teams, outlining a number of joint events, outputs, and products to be produced in 2024 and beyond. Such efforts will include:

  • A national policy dialogue in Jordan for evidence dissemination and advocacy with key state and non-state stakeholders around CGIAR’s Fragility, Conflict, and Migration (FCM) research initiative work in Jordan.
  • A Training of Trainers (ToT) module on climate, peace, and security to be targeted at NGO coalitions in Jordan to improve awareness of the nexus and provide entry points for mainstreaming such considerations into programming efforts.
  • Various knowledge products that promote climate shock-responsive social protection efforts, and identify entry points for integrating climate, peace, and security into national policy in Jordan.

“From my point of view, one of the key lessons from this workshop is that there is an urgent need for humanitarian and development programming to integrate climate change mitigation and adaptation components” – Participant from ARDD

Watch this space for more exciting updates and outputs as a result of this new collaboration!

 

Authors: George Meddings, Frans Schapendonk (Alliance of Bioversity and CIAT)

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