Double vulnerability: the humanitarian implications of intersecting climate and conflict risk

Working and discussion papers
March 2019
Katie Peters, Leigh Mayhew, Hugo Slim, Maarten van Aalst and Julie Arrighi

This paper summarises current knowledge and analysis of the interactions between climate and conflict to set the scene for discussions at a global series of roundtables on ‘People’s experience of conflict, climate risk and resilience’ jointly convened by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre, the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) and local partners. The roundtables focus on people’s lived experience of conflict and climate risk in different parts of the world, and explore how humanitarian organisations and their partners can best support people’s efforts to survive, adapt and thrive.

Key messages

  • Climate change is already affecting risks globally, including in areas of conflict.
  • People in areas of conflict are often especially vulnerable to changing threats, shocks and stresses, for instance due to the lack of government protection and support, as well as limited and unequal access to resources. These pressures in turn may fuel further insecurity.
  • While attention for the climate–security nexus has been growing, there has been relatively limited attention to the humanitarian implications of these changing risks.
  • This lack of attention is relevant not only for effective humanitarian assistance, but also, in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement, the commitment for significant financial support to help the most vulnerable to manage changing risks – support which hardly reaches the most fragile contexts where vulnerability is most acute.