Coping with climate change related conflicts – The first framework to identify and tackle these emerging topics

Last modified: 
September 12, 2019 - 4:40pm
Type: Journal Article
Year of publication: 2019
Date published: 11/2019
Authors: Alexandra Jiricka-Pürrer, Thomas Wachter
Journal title: Environmental Impact Assessment Review
Volume: 79
Pages: 106308
ISSN: 01959255

Climate change is supposed to exacerbate conflicts arising from resource scarcity and contrasting objectives. Some European authors highlighted already the need to look at conflicting interests when elaborating and applying adaptation and mitigation strategies. This study analysed the level of consideration of these emerging topics arising through increased competition of resources, contrasting interests, climate change adaptation as well as mitigation measures for Austria and Southern Germany in detail. Furthermore, it surveyed the application of possible approaches for conflict prevention and mitigation in an international perspective and additionally examined the particular role of SEA as one of the instruments to cope with conflicts related to climate change. The results express the strong need to look at emerging conflicts in cross-sectoral and sectoral adaptation early enough and a strategic perspective. Based on the content analysis of the Austrian and German adaptation and mitigation documents, expert interviews as well as the international literature review, a rather low consideration of these emerging topics as well as approaches to cope with them became evident. In response to these deficiencies, the paper introduces a first framework to identify and tackle emerging and exacerbated conflicts related to climate change. This novel framework is internationally applicable. In the final step of the framework approaches to prevent and minimize conflicts are the key topic. Among these approaches, SEA could take a leading role in case mandatory planning instruments cover the topics related to potential or existing exacerbated fields of conflicts. Overall a mix of formal and informal instruments and a more cross-sectoral perspective seems necessary. To this aim, the paper introduces four main guiding principles to consider and minimize up-coming conflicting topics.

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