A flooded street in the town of Pibor, South Sudan, following heavy rainfall. (UN Photo/Francesca Mold)

Last month, the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General called the latest assessment report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) a “code red for humanity,” noting that the evidence is irrefutable: global heating is affecting every region on Earth, with many of the changes becoming irreversible. His message is one that all countries are now recognizing: climate change is not a future risk. It is already affecting every aspect of our collective lives, including our ability to sustain international peace and security.

Last year was the hottest year on record, and even that statement is a soberingly familiar refrain. Heat waves, wildfires, and floods affected the lives of millions, regardless of whether they lived in developed or developing countries. More intense and frequent extreme weather events are contributing to greater food and water insecurity, and according to the World Food Program, up to 270 million people are now acutely food insecure. The double burden of climate shocks and violent conflict is driving an alarming trend in areas that are already food insecure, and the COVID-19 crisis has exacerbated this trajectory. As pointed out by Professor Yu Hongyuan, managing and resolving the world’s energy-water-food nexus will require significant global cooperation. Read more