Institute for Environmental Security
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15 countries attend IES meeting initiative on climate and security
26 October 2016
Fifteen countries and eight organisations were represented as Wouter Veening, Chairman of the Institute for Environmental Security (IES), presented the latest GMACCC publication at the Hague Roundtable on Climate and Security. The event was held on 25 October 2016 at the Embassy of Canada to the Netherlands.
The May 2016 GMACCC publication “Climate Change & Security In South Asia: Cooperating For Peace” analyses current and likely climate impacts on political stability, livelihoods and conflict. The report encourages regional cooperation to help mitigate risks. GMACCC Chairman, Major General Muniruzzaman (Ret.) of Bangladesh, addressed the Roundtable by video message to introduce the report.
The Hague Roundtable on Climate and Security is an ongoing initiative that brings together stakeholders for sharing information and identifying opportunities for cooperation in addressing climate risks to peace and sustainable development. The Roundtable meetings also support the annual Planetary Security Conference in the Netherlands by providing an interactive platform on the subject throughout the year.
Other presentations at the fourth Roundtable meeting included the Microbial Desalination (MIDES) project, transboundary water cooperation from UNESCO-IHE, and a COP 22 preview. A report from the Roundtable will be published soon.
For more information on The Hague Roundtable on Climate and Security, contact Matt Luna with the Institute for Environmental Security at email@example.com
Maintaining Security in South Asia in the face of climate change requires urgent cooperation
30 May 2016
A GMACCC report published on 31 May 2016 warns that a recent drought in India which has affected over 330 million people – causing displacement and threatening farms – is just the first hint of how climate change could destabilise the South Asian region, unless steps are taken to address the threat posed by a warming, resource-scarce world.
"Climate Change and Security in South Asia: Cooperating for Peace,” by GMACCC authors (from left in photo above) Lt. General Tariq Waseem Ghazi (Ret.) of Pakistan, Maj. General A.N.M. Muniruzzaman (Ret.) of Bangladesh, and Air Marshal A.K. Singh (Ret.) of India recommends that the region’s leaders strengthen cooperation to reduce the potential for widespread human suffering and further instability.
The report also calls for better data collection and sharing to inform policies to prevent climate risks leading to conflict, humanitarian crises and the spread of extremism by groups that exploit opportunities in times of crises and instability. In South Asia, climate change will result in more frequent and more intense natural disasters, spurring water and food shortages, mass displacement and migration and competition over land and natural resources.
The publication comes days after the Pacific Islands called for the creation of a UN Special Representative on Climate and Security at the World Humanitarian Summit. In addition, last week G7 leaders meeting in Japan missed an opportunity to scale up their plans to address the implications of climate change for security, despite a year-long work plan by those governments on the issue. With more such impacts on the horizon, the compounding effects can have far reaching consequences undermining economic stability, increasing societal tensions and threatening regional and international security, the report warns.
“The recent drought has illustrated just how climate change creates chronic economic problems in South Asia such as unemployment. These conditions can contribute to militancy, terrorism and organised crime, aggravating existing conflicts and giving rise to new ones.” - Air Marshall A.K. Singh (Ret.) from India said.
“While South Asia has a long history of regional instability, the challenge of addressing climate change actually represents an opportunity to catalyse long term peace in the region through continuous dialogue and cooperation. If South Asia succeeds in joining forces against this common and urgent challenge, it would be a model for other parts of the world.” - Maj. General A.N.M. Muniruzzaman (Ret.) from Bangladesh said.
Lt. General Tariq Waseem Ghazi (Ret.) of Pakistan added: “South Asia is an example of a region where climate impacts are already affecting security - other countries would benefit from watching closely, and moving to integrate climate change in their security planning. If addressed jointly across borders, we can increase stability and save lives, for example by coordinating in response to natural disasters and water shortages. This report is about militaries cooperating for peace.”
For Press Contacts and more information:
Matt Luna, Communication Officer, Institute for Environmental Security (IES) / GMACCC, firstname.lastname@example.org
Ria Voorhaar, Outreach and Engagement Director, Global Strategic Communications Council, email@example.com
Download the PDF "Climate Change & Security in South Asia: Cooperating for Peace"
IES organises third meeting
29 April 2016
(Photo from left: Ambassadors from France, Germany, Morocco, and the U.S. Embassy Charge d'Affaires.)
The Institute for Environmental Security held its third Hague Roundtable on Climate and Security at the Embassy of Germany to the Netherlands on 26 April. Ambassadors and representatives from more than a dozen countries and organisations participated in the discussion that focused on raising engagement in planning for climate risks to natural resources, potential conflict and stability.
Featured presentations included UNESCO-IHE Water Education Institute on coastal climate risk models and the Embassy of Sudan on climate challenges and options in Sudan. Preparations for the 2016 Planetary Security Conference in The Hague and COP 22 in Marrakesh were addressed by representatives of the Netherlands and Morocco respectively.
The Climate Roundtable enables a continuing international dialogue to support actions that contribute to the success of major climate conferences and other stakeholder initiatives. A report on the third Roundtable will be published in the coming weeks, and the fourth meeting is expected in mid-2016 at a location to be announced.
For more information on The Hague Roundtable on Climate and Security, contact Matt Luna, IES Communication Officer, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2 March 2016
More than 100 participants met in Brussels for the final event of the EFFACE project. This conference brought together stakeholders from universities, governments and NGOs to highlight the conclusions and recommendations to be brought forward from the 40-month joint research.
Moderator Wouter Veening, president of EFFACE partner organisation the Institute for Environmental Security, opened the 17 Feb. meeting recognising that the final stage of the project is aimed at translating 40 months of academic research into political action and policy. Furthermore, environmental crime is a serious and complex crime that requires the allocation of adequate resources at national, EU and international levels.
Speakers at the opening session addressed the progress of the project and concerns from experts in the field.
Christiane Gerstetter, Senior Fellow, Ecologic Institute / EFFACE Coordinator: Lawyers argue that an environmental crime has to be something illegal, while criminologists could say it needs to involve a certain amount of harm. Despite the difficulty to find statistics on something that is hidden by nature, the EFFACE project has worked with case studies in which information was available, and translated these case studies to policy recommendations.
Rob White, Professor of Criminology, School of Sociology and Social Work, University of Tasmania / Member, EFFACE Advisory Board: Ecocide was withdrawn from the Rome Statute at the very last moment. But many people try to revive the concept and it can be very relevant. It is not the same as homicide, suicide or genocide but it has overlaps with all three. To combat environmental crime it’s not just about having a big stick but to use it systematically. One effective tool was to add community service to monetary fines. A CEO of a polluting company may find a USD 330,000 fine worth the pollution, but 400 hours of community service is a lot more costly for this CEO.
The illegal waste afternoon working group examined how Improved data collection, incompatibility of data between MS and barriers to sharing data are problems. However, these suggestions even if systematic do not help the fact that the very illegality of illegal waste is that it is not reported on. MS report annually on legal shipments of waste but these are unreliable. Illegal data does not become known through data gathering. Targeted specific actions are needed, such as IMPEL joint networks and the DEMETER project. This remains a challenge.
The wildlife-related crime working group emphasised a need for co-ordination between government agencies and other stakeholders, such as shared information systems and joint planning. The possibility of EU-wide inspectors was brought up, with the potential of developing an operational handbook that could be translated into local languages. In such multi-stakeholder interactions, it was also stated that the role of NGOs in working with governments can help the identification and dissemination of information. On environmental crime data, one participant said, “Let’s put more money in Europol to get good data on environmental crime, process it and then propose some priorities to the EC”.
The mining and other corporate pollution crimes working group noted one example that while mining is Armenia’s biggest threat to the environment, the country's environmental protection laws are vague, convoluted, contradictory and outdated. On top of that, decrees are sometimes issued that override formal laws. There is widespread corruption and merging of political power with economic power. Despite all this, there have been a few successful cases of legal cases that protected the environment – but on mining projects it is even more difficult, and so far, the international community has turned a blind eye on environmental crimes in Armenia.
About the conference:
"Combatting Environmental Crime: Priorities and Opportunities for further EU Action" was the theme of the EFFACE final conference in Brussels on 17-18 February 2016, that brought together environmental crime stakeholders at the local, national, European and international levels. Participants included legal, judicial and crime experts; environmental policy experts; EU and Member State policy makers, customs and law enforcement officials; representatives from civil society / NGOs; and others.
The programme includes sessions on:
Key conclusions and recommendations from EFFACE, (including from case studies on wildlife, logging, fishing, mining, wastes, etc.);
Priorities for further action by the EU; and
Facilitating the role of NGOs and civil society in combatting environmental crime
For further information, please visit the EFFACE website at efface.eu
The document calls for more integration of the military as a stakeholder in climate risk planning and response
15 December 2015
The Global Military Advisory Council on Climate Change (GMACCC) Call for Action 2015 was presented on at the COP 21 Paris on Monday 7 December during a GMACCC event at the Netherlands Pavilion. The Call emphasises the need to adapt to climate stress points with the military as a key contributor to climate preparedness in the wider community of diplomats, development experts, intelligence experts and academics. High levels of global cooperation are needed to help mitigate risks to national and international stability from resource scarcity, extreme weather events, migration, disease, sea level rise and other threats to human security.
In the time since GMACCC issued its first Call for Action in 2009 at Copenhagen COP 15, the view that the military should have a key role in preparation and response mechanisms to combat the impacts of climate change has grown into a needed reality. Defense forces around the world increasingly need to integrate with all stakeholders in mitigating potential climate related conflict situations. It is within this context that the military, equipped with the best science, should have as its mission to identify risk areas and prepare responses to meet climate related challenges to global stability.
The COP 21 side event featured presentations from:
Major General (ret) A N M Muniruzzaman, GMACCC Chairman, Bangladesh;
Tom Spencer, Vice Chairman, GMACCC / Former Chairman EP Foreign Affairs Committee, United Kingdom;
Brigadier General (ret) Dennis Murphy, GMACCC Council Member, Ireland; and
Durwood Zaelke, President, Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development, United States