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Global experts and governments convene to confront climate change security risks

Planetary Security Conference is held in The Hague
6 December 2016

Global experts and governments convene to confront climate change security risks - Image The leading lights of the global community working on the risk to security posed by climate change met in The Hague on December 5-6 at the Planetary Security Conference.

Launched in 2015, the Planetary Security Initiative (PSI) was created by the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs as a three year programme to engage representatives at all levels of governance, academia, civil society, and the private sector to work together on timely responses to climate related threats to security.

The conference is now organised by a consortium of leading think tanks and brings together expert input on policy solutions in this field. Many more organisations are involved in co-organising 12 Working Groups to discuss pressing issues on this increasingly urgent security agenda.

Clingendael Institute heads the consortium. Project Manager Louise van Schaik said “We are very excited to move from the introduction of the problem to formulating solutions. For that we need international political support up to the highest level.”

On behalf of the Netherlands government, Bert Koenders, Minister of Foreign Affairs, delivered the opening address. At last years' conference he emphasised the pressure on the world’s economic, social and political systems caused by climate change, and that the "most serious risks will emerge when the impacts of climate change overburden weak states". Netherlands Chief of Defence General Tom Middendorp who said earlier this month climate change impacts were fuelling war worldwide, also spoke in the opening session.

“Climate change creates conflict, it creates a ground for extremism, it creates a ground for migration flows,” Middendorp said.

Although numerous governments and institutions such as the UN and NATO have recognized climate impacts on conflict and human security, we now need to translate this into putting policies in place to deal with these risks which are still underestimated. This conference aims to improve understanding in foreign and defense policy circles.

Alexander Verbeek, advisor of the Planetary Security Initiative, said, “The PSI is about engaging the policy makers as we work to translate experts’ analysis into action. We aim to move forward, and quickly, on last year’s interaction of these two constituent groups from over 75 countries.”

Two groundbreaking reports were prepared as key inputs to the conference - a new monitor, the Economics of Planetary Security: Climate Change as an Economic Conflict Factor, which has for the first time modelled the economic impact of climate change in conjunction with conflict risk with startling results.

The second report, Towards A Global Resilience Agenda, assesses the developments in the climate and security policy space and finds further progress in this regard crucial as the security environment has worsened over the past 18 months.

Other top speakers at the Conference include Amina J. Mohammed, Minister of Environment of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; Peter Fischer, Deputy Director General for Energy and Climate Policy and Export Control, German Federal Foreign Office; Paula Caballero, Global Director, Climate Program, World Resources Institute (WRI); and André Haspels, Director General Political Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands.

GMACCC South Asia Paper Presented At Hague Roundtable

15 countries attend IES meeting initiative on climate and security
26 October 2016

GMACCC South Asia Paper Presented At Hague Roundtable - Image 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

GMACCC publishes "Climate Change & Security in South Asia: Cooperating for Peace"

Maintaining Security in South Asia in the face of climate change requires urgent cooperation
30 May 2016

GMACCC publishes 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.

Author comments:

“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,

Ria Voorhaar, Outreach and Engagement Director, Global Strategic Communications Council,

Download the PDF "Climate Change & Security in South Asia: Cooperating for Peace"

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The Hague Roundtable on Climate and Security meets at Embassy of Germany

IES organises third meeting
29 April 2016

The Hague Roundtable on Climate and Security meets at Embassy of Germany - Image (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

Report: Hague Roundtable 3rd Meeting [PDF] | Special: UNESCO-IHE and climate change, solutions through adaptation and mitigation

IES organises final environmental crime conference

2 March 2016

IES organises final environmental crime conference - Image 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

See also a report on Day 2 of the EFFACE Final Conference. | Photos from the EFFACE final conference

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