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Diplomacy, Development and Defense Need to Address Climate-Fragility Risks

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 The impacts of climate change are no longer an issue for development only, but a hard reality for armed troops and diplomats. Sherri Goodman is Founder and former Executive Director of the CNA Military Advisory Board and Public Policy Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center.

"I think it is very important to address climate-fragility risks as part of instability and fragility considerations globally today, because we are seeing floods, droughts, extreme weather events, migration of people across borders, as well as sea level rise, and we are going to see increasing challenges globally. We need to integrate our understanding of these risks into everything that we do from diplomacy, development and defense.

In diplomacy, we need to understand how this is changing how we interact with countries. We need to address these risks at the highest diplomatic level. Following on from the successful agreement in Paris we need to integrate these into our diplomatic practices worldwide.

In development, we need to understand how climate risks from drought to floods are affecting the ability of people to grow and prosper across the planet, and to take steps to improve agriculture and particularly to reduce the risks of water scarcity and water shortage.

Finally, in defense, we need to also to understand how these very same risks are increasing the demands for our military and other first responders to respond to emergency cases of natural disasters whether it is typhoons in the Pacific or whether it is floods in various places. So we need to be able to get in front of these risks to prevent them and understand how they are changing the demand signal for our troops that have to deploy across the planet."