Planetary Security conference held at the Peace Palace

The Hague, 3 November 2015

IES staff and associates played leading roles in the organisation of and reporting on the conference on Planetary Security: Peace and Cooperation in Times of Climate Change and Global Environmental Challenges was held at the Peace Palace in The Hague on 2-3 November 2015.

The event was organized at the initiative of The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands. The Netherlands aims to facilitate such events on an annual basis to provide a regular time and place where experts, organizations, and decision makers can assemble, share, connect and strengthen their parts of the new strategies needed for the future of planetary security.

Focus on the impacts of climate change

The Peace Palace Library reported that “In contrast with the upcoming Paris Climate Summit, the Planetary Security Initiative and conference focuses on the consequences and effects of climate change. The conference provides an international platform for high level policy makers and experts working on the threats posed to security, stability and development by climate change, environmental degradation and resource scarcity. The aim of the conference is to enhance knowledge sharing and international cooperation amongst leading decision makers, academics, think tanks and security organizations”. 

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bert Koenders, stated the following in his opening speech at the conference: "I expect this Planetary Security Conference will provide the strategic review with valuable insights. Climate fragility needs to be a central foreign policy priority. The new climate perspective in diplomacy also implies new coalitions. Good research does not magically become good policy or good practice. Too often, policymakers miss out on insights from the academic world. And too often, researchers find it hard to explain what their work implies in terms of concrete action. The Planetary Security Conference brings together thinkers and doers. It provides an annual platform for better cooperation and action between politicians, policymakers, academics, think tanks, security organizations, the private sector, civil society and the media. You are all pioneers, and we need you. This conference offers you the chance to compare agendas. It gives you the opportunity to develop planned or ongoing research. It enables you to discuss new policies and initiatives. And it allows you to expand your networks and outreach. In short, it will help all of us to move from knowledge to action."

From knowledge to action

The Planetary Security Initiative could foster greater political awareness and stimulate the involvement of a wider community of actors in the discussion and action on climate change and security. The conference could also promote increased interaction between related initiatives and processes addressing the planetary security risks caused by climate change, environmental degradation and help shape the needed policies for the decades to come. New about this conference is that is not just an intellectual exercise; it also proposes new initiatives for action. While the annual conference could be seen as a new institution, its main aim is to help the existing foreign policy and security architecture to come to integrated solutions required by the new eco-geopolitical landscape. Conferences like this could help stimulate engagement by an ever larger community of committed citizens leading to new ways of protecting our planet. Research, of course, has to lead to action. This conference could help build the bridge between the intellectual and the practical through the action-oriented strategies that have been developed.

OSCE Secretary General Lamberto Zannier, speaking at the conference, underlined the importance of climate change and global environmental challenges. “Climate change is a long term challenge for humanity. It may become an existential threat for life on the planet and we have to take it seriously. We must anticipate problems and address it now.”

Download the report of the conference.

Read the Peace Palace Library blog and research guide on Climate Change and Planetary Security here.

Photos copyright by Maurits van Hout