On September 21st the world will observe the International Day of Peace. This year the focus is: “Climate Action for Peace”.
Climate change is a threat to global peace. It poses a threat to our livelihoods, and when our livelihoods are threatened, our peace and happiness are both at risk. It is not a distant threat, it is something that affects us all, here and now.
Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, best captured the grim scenario when she declared: “Whether the issue is desertification in parts of Africa, forced migration of vulnerable people in Central America, conflict over water scarcity, or rising sea levels and tropical storms for small island states, the security aspects of climate change are pressing and multifaceted.” UNITED NATIONS, Feb 13 2019 (IPS)
There are a number of factors that climate change can influence, but I will only focus on three.
- Local resource competition: Climate change directly affects local resources such as water and land. If there is not enough for everyone, there will be a competition, and history has shown that land disputes were at the heart of many conflicts and wars.
- Livelihood insecurity and migration: People whose livelihood is dependent on natural resources may be affected the most during droughts. They will not be able to grow their crops or feed their cattle. As their livelihood security is threatened, one option is to migrate and find solutions to secure their livelihoods. Migrating into areas where other people have settled already can lead to conflict.
- Natural disasters: In March and April 2019, Cyclone Idai and Cyclone Kenneth caused unprecedented damage to Mozambique including more than 1,000 deaths. Many people became homeless and displaced. This places an enormous strain on government, and it will take a long time to recover from this. Thousands of people are still displaced and lack basic services. If government doesn’t respond this will lead to grievances and unhappiness. WorldVision
The UN Secretary-General António Guterres is convening a Climate Action Summit. “Today peace faces a new danger: the climate emergency, which threatens our security, our livelihoods and our lives. That is why it is the focus of this year’s International Day of Peace. And it’s why I am convening a Climate Action Summit.” United Nations
What more can we do as partners of GIRLS Inspire? We are already doing a great job but there is a lot more we can do individually and collectively. As educational and training institutions we can increase our awareness raising on the theme and offer programs to promote sustainable lifestyles, conserving nature, and adopting environmentally-friendly practices in our households and organizations. Let us use this year’s International Day of Peace to mobilize our women and girls to engage as advocates for protecting our environment .
International days are organized to educate the public on issues of concern and to mobilize political will and resources to address global problems, and to celebrate and reinforce achievements of humanity (United Nations).