There is very little literature available that explicitly discusses the interplay between climate change and state fragility. The general assumption is that the social and economic impacts of climate change are likely to generate demands which they will be unable to meet and may be overwhelmed by. In fact, increased demand for adaptation and mitigation activities may divert resources for fulfilling their core functions and this may lead to further destabilisation. These same pressures may also serve to increase the number of fragile states.
One of the key factors upon which the vulnerability of people to climate change depends is the extent to which they can adapt to changes to the climate sensitive resources and services that they rely upon. This ability to adapt is based on a broad range of social factors, including poverty, support from the state, access to economic opportunities, the effectiveness of decision making processes, and the extent of social cohesion within and surrounding vulnerable groups. These factors are all linked to the state’s capacity to provide services and maintain institutions, which is often lacking in fragile states.
There is also very little information on aid effectiveness and climate change in fragile situations. Nevetheless, merely increasing financial assistance is unlikely to be enough. In the absence of state capacity, donors must learn to work with multiple local actors, whilst ensuring government engagement and capacity building.