The correlation between climate change and human security is complex and multifaceted and intersects with political, social, environmental, economic, and demographic factors. The human security risks associated with climate-related disasters, however, are not a distant future scenario, but are already a reality for millions of people around the world, especially in those countries that are the most vulnerable to the consequences of climate change.
The Pacific region is one of the most affected by climate change, which is impacting Pacific island countries in a variety of ways, including increased average temperatures, saltwater intrusion and coastal erosion, sea level rise, and increased intensity of extreme weather events.
Climate-related critical issues in the Pacific include, among others:
- Displacement and forced migration due to irreversible degradation of livelihoods, food sources and coastal erosion;
- Increased social tensions linked to access to land and fisheries resources;
- A decrease in national revenues that could affect the ability to mitigate the social impacts of climate change;
- Challenges to the Blue Economy (particularly losses in fisheries and tourism revenue);
- Food security and a decline in health and productivity due to local food source degradation;
- Reduced coping capacity and vulnerability of at risk populations with successive and strengthened natural disasters;
- Impacts of sea-level rise on the jurisdictions of neighboring Pacific Small Island Developing States (SIDS) with uncertainty on maritime zones and boundaries.
These and more climate related security risks faced by Pacific Small Island Developing States (SIDS) require urgent action to avoid reaching tipping points of irreversible consequences, which present existential threats for Pacific people and indeed the very existence of many small and low-lying atoll nations.