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Ecological threat Report 2023

  • Published
    6th Nov, 2023
Context:

Recently, the Ecological Threat Report 2023 has been released by the Institute for Economics & Peace (IEP).

About the Report:
  • This is the fourth edition of the ETR which covers 228 independent states and territories.
  • Objective: The report analyzes global ecological threats, identifying 30 high-risk countries with 1.1 billion people affected.
  • Need for assessment:
    • Without action, ecological degradation worsens, exacerbating conflicts and forcing migration whereas 30 countries face severe threats with low resilience.
    • Recent food price pressures intensify challenges for ecologically threatened countries, exacerbating existing food insecurity concerns.
  • Significance:
    • The ETR is unique in that it takes a multi-faceted, machine learning approach to combine measures of resilience with the most comprehensive ecological data available to shed light on the countries least likely to cope with extreme ecological shocks, now and into the future.

Key Findings:

  • Ecological threats, such as rapid population growth, water risk and food insecurity will be compounded by climate change, causing mass displacement of people and conflict.
  • A 25% rise in food insecurity increases the risk of conflict by 36%.
  • Similarly, a 25% increase in the number of people without access to clean drinking water increases the likelihood of conflict by 18%
  • 1 billion people are living in 42 countries that currently face severe food insecurity
  • 1 in 4 people globally do not have regular access to safe drinking water
  • By 2050, 2.8 billion people will reside in countries facing severe ecological threats, compared to 1.8 billion today
  • More than 60% of the world's megacities are growing rapidly and are in countries with high levels of violence or conflict.
  • These cities lack the financial resources to cater for their population growth.
  • Hotspot Countries:
    • Three new countries have emerged as 'hotspots'.
      • They are Niger, Ethiopia, and Myanmar, all of which have entered a detrimental cycle of increasing ecological threats, lower societal resilience and escalating conflict.
    • Each has faced famine and violence in the last 12 months: Ethiopia's ongoing conflict, Niger's recent military coup, and Myanmar's violence following its coup in 2021.
  • Conflict, Food and Water Stress:
    • Global food prices have increased by 33% since 2016, placing further stress on the most vulnerable. Currently, 42 countries face severe food insecurity, with almost four billion people living in areas with high or severe food insecurity. Most of these countries are in Sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Megacities: Rising Pollution and Population:
    • The number of megacities^5^ are on the rise and projected to increase from 33 to 50 by 2050.
    • Over 267 million people currently live in the world's least peaceful megacities.
    • These cities will experience rapid growth over the next 30 years, but lack the financial resource to manage their expansion, resulting in increases in crime, poverty, traffic congestion, and pollution.
  • Conflict & the Green Economy
    • Countries that rely heavily on fossil fuels will struggle without assistance during the forthcoming green transition. For example, DRC, Libya, Iraq, Angola, and Timor Leste derive over 25% of their GDP from fossil fuels.
    • Confronted with major ecological challenges and low societal resilience, these countries may face a decline in GDP of up to 60% between 2030 and 2040.
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