Institute for Environmental Security
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Water seen as biggest issues in South Asia
Speaking at a panel discussion with global security experts, co-hosted by the Institute for Environmental Global Security at COP25, Lieutenant General Tariq Waseem Ghazi (Ret.) highlights the role of military forces, how that role could evolve positively and how climate change can also lead to conflict if resource scarcity is not managed properly.
The video interview was conducted by Nick Breeze in his article entitled "UN climate talks: ‘in moral terms… it’s evil!’" on the Ecologist site on 16 December 2019.
Ghazi is quoted as seeing the growing constraints of a resource-strapped region where cross-border disputes move from the ideological to the climatically tangible, with the potential to escalate rapidly into something far more serious.
When asked what concerned him most about the future he replied: “I think my biggest concern, especially in the area in which I live, is water”. “It is the reduction in the flows of the river Indus, on which the people in my country depend”, he said.
IES Co-organised event at COP-25
28 November 2019
Climate change acts as a threat multiplier with serious implications for peace and security across the globe. Over the last decade, insecurities induced by climate change have been part of shaping our understanding of climate change as an urgent global issue with real impacts beyond the realm of ecological degradation. Climate security has also cast a wider light on the causes and implications of challenges of particularly vulnerable countries, connecting climate with discussions about regional stability, state fragility, and forced displacement.
On all levels climate change is amplifying global security challenges and increasing the need for accelerated implementation of the Paris Agreement, e.g. the 2007-2010 drought in Syria has caused massive exodus from the rural areas to the cities, which has been considered a key driver for the extreme violence and destruction of the country; droughts in the Sahel pit pastoralists against farmers with deadly conflicts as a result; climate change aggravating water deficits in the “Dry Corridor” are an important push factor contributing to migration from Central America to the U.S.
Together with GCCA+, the European External Action Service and the Global Military Advisory Council on Climate Change (GMCCC), IES is co-organizing an event at in the EU Pavilion at COP-25 in Madrid on 11 December 2019 on "Climate and Security- emerging trends and adaptive strategies" to explore current challenges and opportunities to address the climate-security nexus in LDCs, SIDS and associated territories. In addition, it discussed the local and regional approaches to tackle climate-security issues and analyze how various climate conflict resolution approaches could be integrated into current and future climate programs.
The session was meant to expand our understanding of the ways in which climate change interacts with international, regional, national, human and environmental security by examining themes such as:
- Case studies of how climate change adaptation has been utilized in cooperation or peacebuilding efforts;
- Climate-induced conflict as a factor in communities’ vulnerability as well as their struggle to gain greater adaptive capacity;
- The multiple forms of mal-adaptation including divergent adaptations that tend to increase resentment and conflict;
- Political ecological approaches and interactions in relation to adaptations and conflict;
- State-led or state-sponsored adaptations that lead to greater human insecurity;
- The role of the Military in assessing the security implications of a changing climate, in adaptation and in responding to climate change-related natural disasters.
"Introduction" by Mr. Stefano Signore, Head of Unit Sustainable Energy and Climate Change, DEVCO
“Climate and Security: An integral part of the EU’s external relations” by Ms. Signe Vikaer Leth Olsen, Policy Officer, EU Climate Diplomacy
“Climate change, Peace-building and Sustaining Peace” by Dr. Florian Krampe, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute
“Climate Change and Security in South Asia: Cooperation for Peace” by Lieutenant General Tariq Waseem Ghazi, Former Defence Secretary, Government of Pakistan / Member, Global Military Advisory Council on Climate Change
“SIDS: Climate-Security Risks and Opportunities” by Lieutenant Commander Olivier-Leighton Barret, U.S. Navy (Ret), Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Climate and Security
The session moderator was Mr. Matt Luna, Organizer, Hague Roundtable on Climate & Security / Communication Officer, Microbial Desalination (MIDES) / Project Officer, Institute for Environmental Security.
The Hague Roundtable on Climate & Security focuses on water
12 June 2017
International cooperation on water-related climate risks was the theme of the fifth Hague Roundtable on Climate and Security on 19 April. More than 40 representatives of embassies and non-governmental institutes shared strategies on water issues at the meeting hosted by the Ambassador of Australia to the Netherlands, H.E. Dr Brett Mason.
Threats and opportunities were examined from various perspectives with the aim of building capacities to peacefully address challenges such as sea level rise, disaster response, droughts and water-related conflict.
The Roundtable meeting series is an initiative from the Institute for Environmental Security to share information and strategies to build action on addressing climate risks including natural resource availability, food security, migration, disaster response, and stability of fragile states.
IES publishes briefing in Planetary Security Initiative
6 June 2017
The Horn of Africa is incredibly dynamic and one of the world’s most food-insecure areas, drought being a direct trigger of recent food insecurity crises. In a region that is one of the most conflict-prone regions in Africa, the humanitarian impact is severe on an already vulnerable part of Africa. In turn the consequences of the drought in such a context are costly and potentially explosive: food and nutrition security are both a cause and consequence of conflict and instability. Building resilience to shocks is even more important in conflict-affected countries.
Most of the Horn of Africa may be classified as arid and semi-arid and livestock production is the economic mainstay of these environments. Pastoral communities have long adapted to harsh climatic conditions but they are now facing endemic insecurity with increasing climate variability, more frequent occurrence and intensity of droughts and competition for shrinking pasture and water resources.
Building on the growing momentum for change that addresses the underlying causes of vulnerability, this brief calls for recognition that livestock is a powerful engine and a key driver for sustainable agriculture, for poverty reduction and the achievement of food security and nutrition. It highlights the importance of longer-term solutions that keep the enhancement of the adaptive capacities of communities at the core of the responses and which address the relationship between issues that have the potential to drive conflict or peaceful cooperation.
General highlights risks of a changing climate to global security
14 February 2017
Major General Muniruzzaman (Ret.) of Bangladesh on 9-10 February highlighted the risks of a changing climate to global security and offered potential solutions to mitigate impacts that are already taking place. Speaking at the plenary and in a breakout session of the Future Force Conference in The Hague, the Netherlands, General Muniruzzaman emphasised the need to “climatise” military operations and equipment to meet changing mission conditions, while engaging with policy makers to peacefully meet with future mass migration, as vast areas of nation states are being lost to sea-level rise.
The Dutch Minister of Defence and the Dutch Chief of Defence hosted the Future Force Conference as a highly innovative international networking conference addressing the theme: From partnerships to ecosystems: combining our efforts for a more secure world.
In the conference breakout session “The Natural Resources & Security Nexus” panellists and audience members worked together through interactive voting to identify threats such as potential conflict over water and migration threats to stability. The group then discussed ways of working together to provide a more peaceful response to crises by global stakeholders including military units.
General Muniruzzaman especially captured breakout audience attention when he referred to the “water elite” as people with access to water in countries that are facing resource problems. The continuing dynamics of nuclear-armed powers in South Asia competing over and sharing the same water resources was another area of increasingly urgent focus.
At the closing plenary session, General Muniruzzaman made it resoundingly clear that climate impacts to security are 1) happening now 2) increasing in scope and severity and 3) an issue that requires global co-operation to reduce potential for conflict and widespread human suffering.
Representatives of the Institute for Environmental Security at the Conference included Shirleen Chin, Matt Luna and Wouter Veening. Preliminary impressions of the conference have been published on the Future Force website. Check there and on the GMACCC website (gmaccc.org) for further reports in the coming weeks.
Major General Muniruzzaman (Ret.) is Chairman of the Global Military Advisory Council on Climate Change (GMACCC).