“Natural Disasters as Threats to Peace”

United States Institute of Peace - 2012-09-13

From the US Institute of Peace, this new special report was recently released.  The executive summary and details about the author are located here.  A link to the full text ( 17 pages) also is provided.

I think I will have to add this topic to my list of What Keeps Me Up at Night. The current list was posted on Nov. 15th on this blog.

The main theme is fascinating and one that would make a great discussion topic at future conferences. The author makes a number of generalizations about disasters and emergency management systems used in recent years, which I find interesting and consistent with some of my observations.  One example follows:

Most fundamental to stoic readiness is the political capacity of societies to mobilize in the face of crises. Such capacity includes the ability to make decisions quickly and cohesively, to redirect funding rapidly without corruption, and to deliver supplies and support efficiently. * * * In failed or failing states, government capabilities are especially lacking, and such political capacity is the most difficult set of skills and institutions to improve, even with major develop assistance from outsiders.”

A related report is this one from Harvard University: Climate Change As a National Security Issue. Feb. 2013. The full report ( 184 pp.) is here.

One more article on the topic, from the NY Times on March 3 in this review by Thomas Friedman of The Arab Spring and Climate Change.