What would Pakistan look like in 2050?

Habitat threatened by one billion people in 2050

According to a study, the habitat of more than a billion people in the world could be threatened by 2050.

Climate change, conflict and unrest could force many of these people to leave their home countries, according to a study by the Institute for Economics and Peace, which was presented in London.

Particularly threatened hotspots are the African Sahel zone, African states further south such as Angola or Madagascar and the Middle East from Syria to Pakistan. The authors see storms and floods as the greatest threats, but also water shortages and an unsafe food supply. In their calculations, the scientists assume that natural disasters will occur at least as regularly as in previous decades.

On the basis of a number of factors, the researchers identify a total of 31 states that they classify as not resilient enough to shoulder the ecological and political changes of the coming decades. This may not make these countries completely uninhabitable, but it will force a number of citizens to relocate. The population of these countries makes up more than a billion of the world's population.

The authors see a connection between political conflicts and ecological threats: the less there is peace in a region, the more likely it is to collapse. “It's kind of a vicious circle. Conflicts destroy the natural resources of countries - and the scarcity in turn leads to further conflicts, ”explains Killelea. This is the case in Yemen, for example.

As a result of this development, the experts warn of massive migration movements, which would particularly affect the European countries classified as relatively crisis-proof. "Since 2015 we have seen how even a relatively small number of migrants can trigger massive political unrest and developments," said author Steve Killelea of ​​the German Press Agency. At that time, more than a million refugees came to Europe, many from Syria or Iraq.

Future environmental and political threats are forecast to induce significantly larger numbers of people to leave their home countries and seek refuge in safer regions. For example, hundreds of millions of people from Pakistan, Iran or Ethiopia could set out.

Europe must be aware of the threat and the responsibilities that come with it, demanded Killelea. Governments would have to deal with how the resilience of crisis states can be strengthened. It is particularly important to support companies and governments when it comes to water scarcity. As early as 2040, more than five billion people could be affected by high or extremely high water scarcity, for example in India or China.

"We need a climate foreign policy that finally combats conflicts and flight as the cause of water and land shortages," demanded the spokeswoman for the Green parliamentary group, Lisa Badum. "We are not at all prepared for what is to come, and we are still pumping money into fossil subsidies and climate-damaging systems."

© dpa-infocom, dpa: 200909-99-485472 / 3