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:
in Dhaka, Bangladesh together with the International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD),
in Rabat, Morocco together with the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD),
in Nairobi, Kenya together with the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), and
in Niamey, Niger together with the Centre National d'Etudes Stratégiques et de Sécurité (CNESS).
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.
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.
Download summary as PDF: Summary - Regional Dialogue on Climate and Security South Asia
Download CSEN Risk Brief: Climate-Fragility Risk Brief South Asia
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.
Download summary as PDF: Summary - Regional Dialogue on Climate and Security North Africa and Sahel
Téléchargement résumé en français: Résumé - Dialogue Regional sur la Securite Climatique Afrique du Nord et Sahel
Download CSEN Risk Brief: Climate-Fragility Risk Brief North Africa & Sahel
Téléchargement version en français: Dossier sur les Risques Entraînés par le Climat et la Fragilité: Afrique du Nord & Sahel
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.”
Read a summary here.
Access the full Lake Chad study in English or in French.
The following platforms offer further analysis on the interlinkages between climate change and security:
- Center for Climate and Security
- Climate Diplomacy Initiative
- Planetary Security Initiative
- Stockholm Climate Security Hub
- Wilson Center Environmental Change and Security Program
Center for Climate and Security
The Center for Climate and Security (CCS) explores and highlights the security risks of climate change at the sub-national, national, regional, and international levels and offers solutions for mitigating and adapting to those risks. The CCS is a non-partisan institute of the Council on Strategic Risks, with a distinguished Advisory Board of senior retired military leaders and security professionals; it facilitates policy development processes and dialogues, provides analysis, conducts research, and acts as a resource hub in the climate and security field.
Climate Diplomacy Initiative
The Climate Diplomacy Initiative was launched by the German Federal Foreign Office in cooperation with adelphi and partners to leverage diplomacy in support of international action on climate change. The initiative has played a central role in catalysing international debates on climate diplomacy and security, developing key narratives, contributing to awareness-raising and capacity-building efforts, supporting policy-makers in moving from risk analysis to timely preventive action, and facilitating international and regional dialogues on this topic around the world. The Climate Diplomacy Platform provides a comprehensive collection of reports, policy briefs, articles, videos, and podcasts on these issues.
Planetary Security Initiative
The Planetary Security Initiative (PSI) has hosted four Planetary Security Conferences (PSC) which gathered representatives from governments, international organisations, think tanks, NGOs, academia, and the private sector from more than 70 countries. The conferences have successfully strengthened a community of practice around climate and security, bolstered knowledge, and forged an agenda for action. In 2017 the PSI launched The Hague Declaration on Planetary Security at the 3rd PSC to support concrete steps to advance action in six different areas connected to climate change and security. This website gives an overview of the six action areas and the progress that has been achieved so far by the international community in this respect.
As an independent international institute dedicated to research into conflict, armaments, arms control, and disarmament, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) provides data, analyses, and recommendations on global security. Part of SIPRI's research is dedicated to climate change and risk and looks into how climate-related security risks are interlinked and interact with different social, political, and economic processes. SIPRI also analyses how different policy organisations are responding to these risks and advises them on conflict-sensitive adaptation and mitigation strategies and international efforts for sustaining peace.
Four assessments of climate-related security risks for regions under discussion in foreign policy and security policy communities have been published by SIPRI's Expert Working Group on Climate-related Security Risks:
Central Asia – Climate-related security risk assessment (SIPRI, 2018)
Iraq – Climate-related security risk assessment (SIPRI, 2018)
Somalia – Climate-related security risk assessment (SIPRI, 2018)
Stockholm Climate Security Hub
The Stockholm Climate Security Hub brings together four research institutes: Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI), Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), and Stockholm Resilience Centre at Stockholm University (SRC). The hub was launched in response to Sweden’s non-permanent membership to the UN Security Council from 2017-2018 with the aim to push climate security up on the international agenda.
Wilson Center Environmental Change and Security Program
For 25 years the Environmental Change and Security Program (ECSP) of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars (Wilson Center) has been actively pursuing the connections between the environment, health, population, development, conflict, and security. ECSP brings together scholars, policy-makers, media, and practitioners through events, research, publications, multimedia content, and their blog New Security Beat.
We welcome further submissions by interested institutions that are dedicated to addressing and assessing climate-related security risks. Please direct submissions to the Secretariat of the Climate Security Expert Network.