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Climate, Peace, and Security in Iraq

In this updated Fact Sheet from the joint NUPI and SIPRI Climate-related Peace and Security Risks Project (CPSR), the team explore the nexus between climate change, peace and security in Iraq.
Photo: Mohammed Alsoufi/Flickr

Iraq is highly exposed to climate change-related extreme weather events. Droughts, floods, heatwaves and dust storms are negatively affecting the environment, agriculture, water availability, health and other aspects of the everyday lives of Iraq’s population. These climate change impacts undermine development and exacerbate existing vulnerabilities, which, combined with other factors, increases the risk of instability and conflict.

  • Droughts and water scarcity negatively affect agriculture and food availability and exacerbate livelihood insecurity. Women and girls are disproportionately affected due to pre-existing gender norms and persisting inequalities.
  • Loss of livelihoods, resulting in part from climate change and environmental degradation, contribute to increased internal migration and displacement and may exacerbate existing tensions in resource-strained host communities.
  • Armed groups and militias exploit economic hardships and grievances, which are exacerbated by the effects of climate change, to recruit and garner support. Violence and coercion by armed actors impede efforts to reduce climate vulnerability.
  • Weak governance and political competition facilitate elite exploitation and corruption and undermine climate change adaptation and resilience building. This in turn accentuates the marginalization, exclusion and grievances of vulnerable groups.

Iraq has been affected by economic and political instability, coupled with persisting challenges such as poverty, high unemployment, inequality, poor public service delivery, water scarcity and environmental degradation. Efforts by successive governments to implement reforms and address the country’s challenges have been impeded by corruption and political competition. Responses to climate change have also been affected by a lack of investment in adaptation and mitigation efforts. Iraq’s new government has committed to implementing reforms and addressing underlying challenges, including the impacts of climate change. The international community and the United Nations are working to support the new government in its efforts to address these underlying issues, improve public service delivery and invest in climate change adaptation and resilience building. Nevertheless, more needs to be done to address climate, peace and security risks in relation to Iraq’s adaptation, development and reconstruction efforts.

You can read the fact sheet, and its recommendations, here. A pdf version of the fact sheet can be downloaded here.


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More fact sheets in this series:

Relevant innhold
Research project
Research project
Climate-related Peace and Security Risks