• There is a growing recognition of the role of climate change in exacerbating conflict risks. Climate-related changes in transboundary water resources, food security, sea levels, flood risks and migration patterns are already impacting the stability of many States and will require large-scale adaptation and mitigation. Some have even warned of impending “climate wars,” driven by a dramatic shortfall in key resources as the world overheats. As these trends continue to affect a growing number of countries around the world, UN Secretary-General António Guterres has explicitly placed climate change as a central aspect of the UN’s prevention agenda, as have key Member States.

    Today’s violent conflicts are proving deadlier and more difficult to resolve than ever before. Over the past decade, the number of civil wars has nearly tripled, driven by a growth in transnational criminal networks, greater presence of radical groups in many settings and a willingness of international actors to support intra-state conflicts. This, in turn, has contributed to historic levels of conflict-related displacement and far higher numbers of civilians caught up in violent conflict.

    UNU-CPR research focuses on this dynamic, highlighting ways that recent UN reforms offer an opportunity for the UN and its partners to adopt conflict-sensitive prevention approaches, taking into account the role of climate change in the risk landscape.

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