the brief: issue thirty-eight


Crucial Forest conservation conference in Gabon discusses the fate one of the world’s most important areas
by Harvey Young

image credit: Aymatth2 (Wikimedia Commons) 

The One Forest Summit, one of the most important climate and environmental conferences in the world took place in Gabon last week between 1 March and 3 March. World leaders, international organisations, financial institutions, and representatives from the private sector all met in Libreville, the nation’s capital, to discuss how to protect the world’s largest forest areas whilst sustainably using them to the benefit of the developing nations, where most of these forests are located.

Gabon is located within the Congo basin, one of the world’s largest forests, which presents both opportunities and problems. The forest area contains vast quantities of natural resources, with many countries relying on evaporation from this forest for their water supplies. Furthermore, Africa is at great risk of the effects of climate change, which would only be accelerated by the deforestation of the Congo basin. This would leave around 22 million people at risk of flooding and droughts.


Serbian recognition of Kosovo may be on the horizon after countries informally agree to EU deal
by Fraser Cadman

image credit: Rjd0060 (Wikimedia Commons)

After decades of turmoil and ethnic tensions between Serbia and Kosovo, both states have agreed, in principle, to a deal proposed by the EU that could see Serbia recognise Kosovo’s statehood. In meetings with the EU High Commissioner Borrell on 27 February, the Serbian President and Kosovar PM agreed to recognise each other’s sovereignty and exchange diplomatic missions. Kosovo will agree to an autonomous self-governing region for Serbs in North Kosovo, whilst Serbia will allow Kosovo’s participation in international organisations such as the UN.

This framework is backed by the EU, who have offered large infrastructure grants to Serbia and an accelerated EU accession process for the Balkan nation in light of the deal.

Despite the success of this meeting, both parties still need to agree on the lengthy process of implementation. An end to uncertainty in this region still seems far away.

North America

CSIS warns climate change threatens Canada’s national security.
by Orestis Sechas

image credit: MapGrid (Wikimedia Commons)

In a newly released security analysis, Canada’s intelligence service warns that climate change poses a profound, ongoing threat to Canada’s national security and prosperity. The Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) foresees that global warming and rising sea levels could lead to the possible loss of parts of British Columbia and its Atlantic coast. CSIS also cautions the government of an increase in ideologically motivated violent extremism from groups of people who want to accelerate growth and preserve their current way of life, disregarding the negative effects of climate change.

The analysis was conducted in April 2021; however, it was only recently disclosed to The Canadian Press, following an Access to Information request. In the analysis, CSIS concluded that ‘there will be no single moment where this threat (climate change) will crystallise and reveal itself, for it is already underway and will incrementally build across decades to come.’


Tragic double whammy: Cyclone’s Judy and Kevin decimate Vanuatu
by Neo Allert

image credit: Denniss (Wikimedia Commons)

What happened to Vanuatu last week can only be described as a tragic double whammy. The small island nation has often been hit by cyclones but last week marked a new form of exposure to natural disasters. Battered by Cyclone Judy on 1 March, the Pacific nation was devastated by Cyclone Kevin just 24 hours later. At the same time many islands were rattled by earthquakes. Since then the government has declared a state of emergency.

Vanuatu has been left in a state of complete disarray, with hundreds of thousands of people being affected by the back to back impact of these two category 4 cyclones. The government has started assessing the damage and has done its best to ameliorate the situation on the ground. In this it is supported by the UN as well as the Australian government.

South America

Oilfield protests in Colombia
by Eleanor Austin

image credit: Milenioscuro (Wikimedia Commons)

Nine oil workers and 79 police officers who were taken hostage amid protests in Colombia’s oil fields  have been released following negotiations with government ministers. 

The locals of San Vicente de Caguán, where the Emerald Energy oilfield is located, have been protesting for the past 40 days. They have been demanding the oil company to provide better road infrastructure alongside compensation for the environmental damage that the fossil fuel industry has caused. Consequently, the protestors have been regularly blockading roads and access to the oilfields. 

The protests, which began on Thursday 2 March, saw protestors setting fire to the property as well as taking 88 hostages. After successful negotiations on Friday, the hostages were released. Two people were killed during last week’s upheaval, a civilian and a police officer. As a result, President Gustavo Petro has spoken out against the protests, naming them a popular movement aiming to destroy the government.

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