Regional dialogues

As part of its membership in the UN Security Council in 2019/2020, Germany has emphasised the need to address the security implications of climate change, and is liaising with partners globally to seek advice on their perspectives and priorities in this realm. To this end, adelphi, with support from the German Federal Foreign Office, hosted a series of Regional Dialogues and Roundtables on Climate and Security. The events were organised in partnership with multiple regional partners in different parts of the world:

The Dialogues brought together high- and working-level representatives from governments across the various regions, international and regional organisations, as well as European partner countries, to better understand the nationally and regionally specific climate security risks and to discuss potential strategies for addressing them. The series of events is supported by the Climate Security Expert Network (CSEN), which has produced detailed risk briefs for the regions covered by the Dialogues.

Please find the key take-aways from the events below. The PDF-summaries include more detailed information.

South Asia

Bangladesh - 19 November 2019, Dhaka:

One of the main climate-fragility risks in the region are high rates of migration and displacement. This trend is likely to continue – and grow further - as climate impacts pose a threat to livelihood security and increase the risk of natural disasters. Growing migration can boost anti-migrant sentiment in receiving communities and lead to social conflict.

Participants agreed that a stronger focus on protecting livelihoods and increasing human security is key to address the compound climate-fragility challenges in the South Asian region. This requires integrated approaches combining climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies with development policy and interventions. Improved education systems are an essential starting point for addressing climate-fragility risks.

North Africa & Sahel

Morocco - 28-29 November 2019, Rabat

The discussions in Rabat highlighted that development, security, and climate pressures already interact across and within state boundaries in North Africa and the Sahel. The impacts of climate change can – for example – exacerbate ongoing conflicts between herders and farmers, and with livelihoods changing or disappearing, could increase frustration with government and support for armed opposition groups.

Adequate responses on the ground need to connect the different elements affecting climate-fragility challenges. Integrated responses to climate-fragility are the most effective way of securing a lasting impact. Where climate change disrupts farmers’ livelihoods and increases the risk of communal conflicts, water and land management solutions play as big a role as responses to unemployment and migration. Implementing such approaches also requires greater investments into capacity building.

Niger - 24 October 2019, Niamey

Niger faces serious embedded challenges regarding food and water security, job creation and the provision of stability in a fragile context. Climate change impacts make it even more difficult to address these issues, especially the challenge of increased competition for natural resources.

Two entry points to address the crisis that were identified in the Lake Chad study “Shoring Up Stability”, which were presented and universally endorsed at the event, were governance and social cohesion, particularly with regards to improving service provision and reviving the social contract. Only if the state is able to respond to people’s needs and hear their grievances can true peace emerge. As one participant poignantly said, “we do not need to rehabilitate Lake Chad, we need to rehabilitate the state. We need to address unemployment, poverty, and the provision of security.”