Institute for Environmental Security

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CCIS PROGRAMME: Background

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Programme Background

Since its foundation the IES has worked to stimulate policy dialogue on the relationship between environment and security in general and climate change and security in particular. The Institute played a role through its many conferences and workshops in promoting the debate and development of policy by the European Union on climate change and international security.

In the past two years the IES has organised 6 events on climate change and security within the framework of its Climate Change and International Security (CISS) programme. IES co-convened a conference "From Bali to Poznan: New Issues, New Challenges" in December 2007 at the European Parliament and a conference "Planet in Peril: Poznan Outcomes & Copenhagen Prospects" at the European Economic and Social Committee in December 2008 both of which sought to link climate change and security to developments in the UNFCCC negotiations.

Two IES conferences, "After the Vote: Implications of the US Elections for Foreign Policy, Climate Change and International Security" in Brussels in November 2008 and "Climate Change and Security at Copenhagen" in Washington, DC in March 2009 drew attention to the importance of transatlantic co-operation on climate change and security.

Two other events in 2008 are especially relevant for this project. The "IES-IUCN Roundtable Workshop on Environment and Security" was held on 6 October 2008 at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Barcelona, brought together over 70 representatives from the worlds of conservation and security. They exchanged views on current and upcoming environmental security challenges. Participants from both worlds shared the vision that environmental issues and in particular climate change are a major security challenge for all nations. One of the recommendations of participants was that the security community should send a clear signal to the world that climate change has the potential to cause and aggravate conflicts around the world. To this end, it was agreed that efforts should be intensified to bring the security and environmental communities together for mutual advantage.

The IES co-sponsored the organisation of the workshop on "The Role of Military Organisations in Protecting the Climate: 2008" which was held in Paris, 3-5 November 2008. The workshop was organised by the Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development (IGSD) in partnership with US DOD, UNEP, the Institute for Environmental Security, US EPA, OSCE, the Institute for Defence Analysis and the ENVSEC Initiative. This workshop was scheduled to complement the EU Member States Defence Environmental Network (DEFNET) meeting (6-7 November).

The workshop drew attention to one of the great untold stories of environmental success: the role of the military in assuring the success of the Montreal Protocol. The full story is told in "Technology Transfer for the Ozone Layer: Lessons for Climate Change" by Stephen Andersen, Madhava Sarma and Kristen Taddonio. The military worldwide not only found ways of avoiding ozone depleting substances in their own weapons, they also led research into ways of reducing use of such chemicals in civilian life. Central to this effort were a series of five conferences culminating with a workshop in Brussels in February 2001. Now the same team, led by Stephen Andersen of the US Environmental Protection Agency, have turned their attention to what the military can do to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

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