The expected effects of climate change are of great significance for international peace and security. Africa is highly vulnerable to climate change and already affected by warming trends and increases in drought. Climate change can act as a threat multiplier, influencing on water, food and energy security, changing and even increasing migration, raising tensions and increasing the risk of conflict.
Actions and commitments are nowhere near the needed level of ambition to halt dangerous climate change, even though progress has been made in bringing the topic of climate change mitigation on the agenda of policy makers and more than 80% of global greenhouse gas emissions are already subject to national reduction or limitation policies.
The Republic of Korea organised a third international conference on climate security, from 21 – 22 March 2013. Building on the conclusions of the previous conferences in Berlin ('Climate Diplomacy in Perspective: From Early Warning to Early Action') and London ('A Climate and Resource Security Dialogue for the 21st Century') about the importance of regional cooperation, the focus was on the Asia-Pacific region.
In February 2013, the Security Council once again took up the issue of climate change. Pakistan and the United Kingdom convened an Arria-formula meeting; a flexible, informal format designed to allow Security Council members together with other UN Member States to be briefed on the topic by experts in the field and provide space for an open exchange of views.
The region encompassing the Mediterranean, Middle East and North Africa, with a combined population of approximately 500 million people, is characterized by strong environmental gradients, climate extremes and diverse economic, social and cultural identities. From a global perspective, the region is a climate change “hot spot”. Adverse impacts of climate change throughout the 21st century are expected, and major challenges in energy and food security, threats to environmental integrity, as well as decreasing availability of fresh water are anticipated.
Africa is most affected by climate change as well as the induced security risks. Experts discussed during a scoping seminar on climate change, conflict and cooperation in Addis Ababa how conflict constellations could be transformed into opportunities for regional cooperation. The corresponding policy brief is now available.
On 28 September 2012, during the General Debate of the 67th Session of the UN General Assembly, the German and Moroccan Permanent Missions to the UN organised a side event on climate change and international security.
Building on the 2011 Security Council debate and Berlin Conference, the United Kingdom Foreign & Commonwealth Office, in partnership with Wilton Park, organised a conference in London on 22–23 March 2012 to reinforce and develop messages on the threat climate change poses to global security and prosperity.
The Andean countries will face a series of significant challenges posed by climate change, and will be among those most severely affected. Structural factors further deepen the region’s vulnerability. On 23 January 2012, experts from academia, civil society and public policy from the Andes met in Bogotá to discuss the interlinkages between climate and security in the region.
During the UN Security Council debate of 20 July 2011, the Council unanimously expressed concern about the possible impacts of climate change on peace and security. This lively debate with a record participation clearly underlined the need for climate protection and early action to address the security implications of climate change.
The countries of the Southern Africa will be among the most severely affected by climate change. Rising temperatures and sea levels as well as declining precipitation will challenge food, water and energy security in the Southern African countries. On 23 September 2011, 30 experts from Southern Africa, the African Union, Germany and UK gathered to discuss the security implications of climate change for the region. The Dialogue was organized by OneWorld, adelphi and the Institute for Security Studies, supported by the German Federal Foreign Office.
In recognition of the growing security concerns posed by climate change, the German Presidency of the Security Council for July 2011 took the initiative to further entrench the topic within the United Nations framework by calling an Open Debate on the impact of climate change on the maintenance of international peace and security.
The Climate Security Dialogues were created in cooperation with the KlimaCampus and Research Group Climate Change and Security (CLISEC) at the University of Hamburg as a forum to discuss the impacts of a shifting climate in times of political, economic and demographic transformation. Recognising that the transfer of scientific knowledge is crucial for the policy community and for evidence-based decision-making, the dialogues aimed to bridge the science – policy gap, and promote concrete cooperation at the regional level: