This report looks at trends in conflict and instability in the Indo-Pacific region, focusing on climate change effects and a number of civil liberties. The Indo-Pacific region is both highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change and already facing significant security risks and challenges, many of which will be exacerbated by the impact of climate change. There are notable increases in resource-based conflicts, migration-induced violence, and armed insurgencies. The countries reviewed all show worrying trends in terms of erosion of freedom of expression, media freedom, freedom of belief, and civil society freedom. The situation in Bangladesh and India is particularly serious and is already fuelling violence and
This EIR largely draws on grey literature, as well as media articles, blogs, and other such sources. Given the wide range of issues and countries covered in this report (see below), it should be considered as a ‘broad brush’ review – it does not go into each issue in-depth. The available evidence was sufficient for this purpose. Evidence on climate change effects was particularly strong. However, the literature was gender-blind to a considerable extent.
The two themes on which the EIR focuses are (i) climate change and (ii) guarding civil space and including all voices. While there is a general consensus in the literature that there is not a direct causal link between climate change effects and conflict, the former can, in conjunction with other factors, lead to/exacerbate conflict risks. Guarding civic space and including all voices encompasses a broad range of issues. This EIR looks at freedom of expression, media freedom, freedom of belief, civil society freedom, and treatment of underrepresented groups. Trends indicating that these freedoms are being undermined could fuel conflict risk. Indeed, in many of the countries reviewed, the erosion of these rights is already
leading to violence and conflict.
The EIR examines the above two themes in five Indo-Pacific countries: Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Thailand. These were chosen to give a broad range of situations and challenges/risks from the region. Note that this EIR is confined to an assessment of conflict risks and does not examine measures being taken by the government or others to address these.