04 December 2017

CEPSA Brief Highlights Climate Change Risks to Cities and Governance in South Asia

The Strauss Center’s Complex Emergencies and Political Stability in Asia (CEPSA) program released a brief titled, “Climate Vulnerability in South Asia’s Coastal Cities.” Strauss Center Distinguished Scholar and CEPSA researcher Dr. Paula Newberg, along with Samuel Tabory, formerly a Brumley Fellow at the Strauss Center, co-authored the research.

The brief explores the cumulative impact of climate change on coastal cities in Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan, where more than 70 million people live. The authors also discuss how states, regional governments, and cities respond – or fail to respond– to climate risks in the context of poverty and weak governance. The region is especially vulnerable to instability resulting from climate change due to extreme heat, mass migration of populations as sea levels rise, and disastrous weather events that threaten coastal areas. Notably, city governments in South Asia struggle to cooperate with state governments to mitigate the risks of climate vulnerability for political reasons and limited resources such as housing and potable water. Some of these challenges are not new in the monsoon-prone region, but climate change inevitably exacerbates the problems South Asian coastal cities face.

The authors find that issues of governace may pose to be gravest, since a coordinated response by local, regional, and state governments and other stakeholders will be necessary to mitigate the climate vulnerabilities highlighted in the report. 

Previous CEPSA briefs can be accessed here.