Climate-related impacts on national security in Mexico and Central America
RUSI News, 26 Nov 2009
By Shiloh Fetzek, Head, Climate Change and Security Programme
Climate change will make Mexico and Central America's current challenges of poverty and governance much harder to solve in the future, and could contribute to a deteriorating security environment according to the preliminary report from a research project by the Royal United Services Institute.
Climate-related impacts on national security in Mexico and Central America warns that the region is already under strain from extreme weather and growing scarcities of water and arable land. New problems will emerge as the Mesoamerican climate continues to change, it adds.
Food and water stress will increasingly threaten regional stability, the report finds - citing projections that climate change may reduce the yields of key crops such as rice and corn by up to forty per cent by 2030.
Moreover, the region's current security challenges could also be transformed, as climate change increases resource competition and migration flows, and weakens governance and livelihoods. This could strengthen the foothold of serious organised crime in the region.
The report concludes that governments must do more to build 'adaptive capacity' within the region in order to minimise security risks arising from these changes.
To date, the report has received high-level engagement from Congressional and national security bodies in Mexico, Belize and Guatemala.
Produced in collaboration with academic institutions across Central America, the report combines geophysical analysis with RUSI's trademark political insight into security risks, and will help policy-makers and practitioners incorporate climate change projections into future security planning for their countries and the region.
The project will present its full conclusions in June 2010.
Further Analysis: Americas, Climate Security, Global Security Issues