The Climate Responses for Sustaining Peace initiative (CRSP) was launched at the UN COP27 Climate Conference in Sharm El-Sheikh during the conference’s thematic day on adaptation to climate change on Monday.
It aims to address problems relating to the ways in which climate change can negatively impact peace-building and peace-keeping efforts and contribute to igniting conflicts particularly on the African continent.
It is a first-of-its-kind initiative dealing with the nexus between climate change and peace, Minister of Foreign Affairs and COP27 President Sameh Shoukri said during the launch event.
“The devastating impact of climate change combined with conflict has far-reaching implications across the continent. CRSP will help deliver action on this critical issue as it addresses the potential risks posed by climate change for sustainable peace and development,” he said.
The initiative was launched by the Egyptian Presidency of the COP27 through the Cairo International Centre for Conflict Resolution, Peace Keeping and Peace Building (CCCPA), the UN Development Programme (UNDP), and the African Union.
“In fragile and conflict-affected areas, adaptation, access to water and renewable energy are key entry points to building peace and ensuring a resilient recovery,” Khalida Bouzar, director of the UNDP Regional Bureau for the Arab States, said.
Director-General of the CCCPA Ahmed Abdel-Latif said that this was the first time in the history of the COP conferences that the presidency had put forward an initiative that “aligns with the priorities of the COP in terms of implementation, moving from analysis to action, scaling up support for the African countries, particularly in terms of adaptation and finance, and making sure that we provide holistic and integrated responses to the challenges ahead” in an earlier interview with Al-Ahram Weekly.
The CCCPA, the secretariat for the Aswan Forum for Sustainable Peace and Development, is a high-level platform launched in 2019 to strengthen the links between peace and security and sustainable development.
It will assume the task of following up on the activities of the initiative, slated to last for five years. It will also ensure synergies between initiative elements and efforts to achieve the goals of the Africa Sustainable Development Agenda 2063 and the Africa Climate Change and Development Action Plan 2022-2032, according to a statement by the Egyptian Foreign Ministry.
The CRSP aims to implement a range of programmes and activities in various areas relevant to its four pillars, namely advancing the climate adaptation and peace-building nexus, building peace through climate-resilient food systems, accelerating climate finance for sustaining peace in Africa, and advancing durable solutions to the climate-displacement nexus.
“Actions under these pillars address some of the policy, knowledge, and operational gaps we have witnessed in the relationship between the climate and development,” Abdel-Latif said. The African continent is the most impacted by the climate change, while contributing the least to its causes.
Technical consultation meetings on the CRSP were held in September, at which representatives from international and regional organisations and experts from the relevant Egyptian ministries and research centres took part.
UN Resident Coordinator in Egypt Elena Panova highlighted during this week’s launch that countries affected by conflict are often also more subject to the impacts of climate change. “The UN system is well-placed to support the knowledge agenda on the linkages between climate change” and peace-building, she said, according to a press release issued after the launch meeting.
The initiative is “timely” and “important,” Deputy Representative of the UNDP in Egypt Sylvain Merlen said. He added that since climate change strains natural resources and increases competition, “sustaining peace requires reaffirmed conflict-resolution mechanisms, information flows, and awareness.”
*A version of this article appears in print in the 17 November, 2022 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly.