Enabling Decision-makers with Localized, Policy-relevant Climate Evidence: CGIAR Launches the Climate Security Observatory (CSO) Platform 

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Climate is linked to conflict, acts as a multiplier, and exacerbates the risk of crisis and instability. Although this is widely recognized in the science-policy landscape, there is a lack of solid, localized, and policy-relevant evidence on how exactly climate security risks can arise in different geographical contexts.  

To address this, CGIAR created The Climate Security Observatory (CSO), a game-changing platform for stakeholder decision-making that provides access to various global climate and security-related analyses.

On May 23, 2023, CGIAR Focus Climate Security, with the CGIAR Initiatives on Climate Resilience; Agrilac Resiliente; Fragility, Conflict, and Migration; and Livestock and Climate, partnered with the Geneva Center for Security Policy (GCSP), Geneva Peacebuilding Platform (GPP), the United Nations University for Center Policy Research, to launch the CSO platform to a selected audience of government officials, policymakers, and various decision-makers and stakeholders. Hosted by GCSP at their office in Geneva and broadcast simultaneously worldwide via Zoom, the event provided a space for discussing the new CSO platform and the importance of peace and security in the context of a fast-changing climate. 

In her speech during the event, Ana Maria Loboguerrero, the Research Director of Climate Action for the Alliance of Bioversity International and International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) – CGIAR, said: 

“Food insecurity and conflict are very much aligned. It’s very important to realize that when food systems fail, and people fear hunger, then conflict follows. And when conflict occurs, food systems are threatened, and people go hungry. But if we add a third variable to this equation, then this becomes more complex, and this variable is climate change. When we add climate change to this Nexus, then the temperature is raised not only in the thermometers but also in the likelihood of conflict, and the consequences of conflict intensify. So just put these in very, very simple words. Peace should be climate-resilient, and under many circumstances, conflict worsens climate change. 

“One of those which is very close to my heart is an initiative on building systemic resilience against climate. And the idea of this initiative is to really address the root causes of vulnerability. We believe that the Climate Security Observatory is actual and that it’s going to help a lot – not only the CGIAR but our many partners. 

“At the heart of the Climate Security Observatory, it’s the understanding that we need quality data and also we need qualitative and quantitative evidence in order to develop these climate-smart policies and many other mechanisms through which through which climate related conflict can be avoided.” 

As an online platform for stakeholder decision-making, the CSO provides access to a range of global, national, and sub-national climate and security-related analyses.  

Using the most state-of-the-art science on land, water, and food systems, the CSO helps to answer four questions:  

  • How does climate exacerbate the root causes of conflict?  
  • Where are the most vulnerable areas to climate-related insecurities and risks?  
  • Who are the groups vulnerable to climate and security risks that should be targeted?  
  • What needs to be done to break the vicious cycle between climate and conflict? 

Ambassador Gamal Hassan, Head of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Centre for Climate Adaptation and Environmental Protection (CAEP) and the keynote speaker of the event, stressed: 

“Social scientists theorize that climate change is the conflict multiplier. It is, indeed. We have seen that. We have done the research. It is a conflict multiplier. For the millions of people in the IGAD region, however, the relationship is not theoretical.”  

Ambassador Hassan highlighted that within the region, communities are fighting over access to resources as well as to livelihood and food security.  

“Loss of livelihood increases poverty, migration, and displacement. The high number of vulnerable populations from one climate shock to the pressure of another climate shock increases the pressure on member States and national partners to provide humanitarian support, which is not sustainable. So again, it’s going back to building the resilience, working, making sure that we help with everyone system claim security, make them understand the linkage and supporting those communities adapt to these to these realities.” 

Through the CSO, the aim is to reduce or avoid the risk of climate-driven insecurity by providing accessible and actionable knowledge at multiple scales. In the long term, this should contribute to creating and maintaining climate-resilient peace.   

“We have to take Climate security out of these silos and to thinking complex systems’ terms. And that means that you’re not just looking at coral bleaching, but you’re looking at the sociopolitical landscape and saying how does this issue affect that broader complex landscape and looking at particular effects on women in certain communities and taking these other lenses,” said Adam Day, Head of the Geneva Office, United Nations University Centre for Policy Research. “You have to be able to go from the global to the regional to the local and back up again.” 

To explore the CGIAR Climate Security Observatory platform, visit: http://cso.cgiar.org

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