The mission of the Munich Security Conference is to “address the world’s most pressing security concerns”. These days, that means climate security: climate change is the ultimate threat multiplier, and anyone discussing food security, political instability, migration, or competition over resources should be aware of the climate change pressures that are so often at the root of security problems.
These climate security issues were on the agenda throughout the conference, as speakers from former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon to former US Secretary of State John Kerry brought issues of environmental degradation to a conference best known for attracting the world’s most prominent generals and defence ministers. The MSC came hot on the heels of the World Economic Forum in Davos, whose top five risks for 2020 were all about climate and the environment.
adelphi Senior Adviser Janani Vivekananda was one of the panellists at an MSC town hall on food (in)security. Alongside UN World Food Programme Executive Director David Beasley and Bayer AG Chairman Werner Baumann, she spoke about how to reduce world hunger and thus the attendant security impacts. World hunger, Vivekananda argued, is largely not about availability of food but rather about “access, inequality, poverty and government policies”. Troublingly, “food security is increasing the risk of violence at every level in society between households, between different groups, and between people and the state.”
adelphi will continue to put climate security on the agenda and to contribute its expertise to the world’s most important international security conferences.
China’s Belt and Road Initiative projects may exacerbate the risk of climate-related instability across the Middle East in the long term.
With global climate action stagnating, sustained community-driven initiatives can fill the governance gap and also help mitigate climate-related security risks in South Asia.
The longstanding dispute over water rights among Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia escalated in 2011 when Ethiopia began construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), in the absence of any agreement with downstream Egypt. The GERD dispute offers an alarming insight into just how dangerous future transboundary water disputes may become, particularly in the context of a changing climate.
Coinciding with the first days the German Presidency of the European Council, on 3 July 2020 adelphi and the Institute for European Studies at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel launched a new report “The Geopolitics of Decarbonisation: Reshaping European Foreign Relations”. This summary highlights the event's key outcomes.