The Hague Declaration supports activities which encourage the creation of an institutional home for climate security within the UN, for example by appointing a special envoy for ‘climate security’ or establishing a unit within the UN Secretary-General's office
Action Area 1
Creating an Institutional Home for Climate Security
Climate change is increasingly recognised as a key factor contributing to global insecurity and conflict. Although the potential impacts of climate-related events on security are widely known, concrete and joint action in tackling climate-related security risks is only starting to take momentum. While the links between climate and security are global in nature, there is currently no institution that is systematically assessing climate-security risks or coordinating actions on these risks at the international level.
What the Hague Declaration is calling for
Overview of progress made on Action Area 1
Responsibilities for climate-related security risks still fall across different institutions within the United Nations systems with no single entity responsible for coordinating activities on joint risk assessment or risk management assistance. But since the launch of the Hague Declaration, the signatories of the Declaration brought climate-security before the United Nations Security Council at several occasions, and the links between climate, peace and security gained more prominence at the European level.
In March 2018, the United Nations Security Council, chaired by the Netherlands, adopted Resolution 2408 recognising the adverse effects climate change has on the stability of Somalia and emphasising the need for adequate risk assessments and risk management strategies. In July 2018, Hague Declaration signatory Sweden chaired the United Nations Security Council debate on climate-related security risks. The meeting discussed the relationship between climate change and conflict in two of the focus regions of the Hague Declaration, Lake Chad and Iraq.
On 25 January 2019 the Dominican Republic with support of Germany took over the torch of drawing attention to climate and security chairing an open debate in the United Nations Security Council on the impacts of climate-related disasters on security.
Significantly, three entities of the UN family in 2018 were tasked to start looking after how climate-security risks can be better taken into account in UN activities, and this so-called mini-mechanism could grow further in the future. A combined effort by DPA, UNDP and UN Environment, is now working to look after the climate-security nexus across the UN system and provide relevant inputs into policy, strategy and operational processes. Among UN member countries the Group of Friends on climate and security has been established, bringing together 27 nations with the aim to enhance actions on climate-related security risks within the United Nations system.
At the European level, the Hague Declaration was highlighted in the EU Council Conclusions on Climate Diplomacy as an example of how to translate climate and security analysis into action. In June 2018, the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini hosted a high level event on Climate, Peace and Security: The Time for Action.
The work on creating an institutional home for climate security within the United Nations system will continue to gain momentum, for example a high-level conference on climate and security will take place in Berlin in June 2019.
In addition to the progress which has been made on climate and security at the international and European level since the launch of the Hague Declaration, there are projects and initiatives underway translating the progress at the policy level into actions on the ground.
Actions at policy level
Arria Formula meeting on the security implications of rising temperatures
On December 15, 2017 Italy convened an UNSC Arria Formula meeting to discuss the security implications of rising temperatures. During the session the Netherlands referred to the Hague Declaration on Planetary Security. Consistent with The Hague Declaration, the meeting discussed how the Security Council can address climate-related security risks.
EU Council Conclusions on Climate Diplomacy
In its Conclusions on Climate Diplomacy, the Council of the European Union recognized that climate change has direct and indirect implications for international security and stability. The Council called for effective responses to climate security risks across policy areas and underlined the importance of translating climate and security analysis into possible action, referring to the Hague Declaration as an example.
UNSC Resolution on effects of climate change on stability of Somalia
On 27 March 2018, the United Nations Security Council chaired by the Hague Declaration initiator the Netherlands adopted S/RES/2408. The resolution recognizes the adverse effects climate change has on the stability of Somalia and emphasizes the need for adequate risk assessments and risk management strategies by governments and the United Nations.
African Union Peace and Security Council open session on climate change and conflict
On 21 May 2018, the Peace and Security Council of the African Union held an open session in which its members underscored the linkage between climate change and peace and security in Africa and called for an AU Special Envoy for climate change and security.
UNSC recognises link between food insecurity and conflict
In a vote on 24 May 2018, sponsored by Cote d’Ivoire, Kuwait and Hague Declaration signatories the Netherlands and Sweden, the UN Security Council recognised for the first time that armed conflict and violence are closely linked to food insecurity. Resolution 2417 aims at ending the use of starvation as a weapon of war and allowing for safe and unhindered access for humanitarian personnel to civilians in armed conflicts.
EEAS High-level event on “Climate, peace and security: the time for action“
On 22 June 2018, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, hosted an unprecedented high level event “Climate, Peace and Security: The Time for Action” which addressed the urgency and importance of tackling the risks that climate change poses to security and peace. Ministers from around the world, top United Nations officials, and leading experts testified to the many real and potential security threats deriving from climate change and formulated six points for further action.
UNSC debate on climate-related security risks
On 11 July 2018 Hague Declaration signatory Sweden chaired the United Nations Security Council debate on climate-related security risks. UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed stressed the complex relationship between climate change and conflict in the Lake Chad region and called action on climate change an integral part of building a culture of prevention and ensuring peace.
Iraq’s Minister of Water Resources, Hasan Janabi, who is also a signatory of the HD, drew attention to the impacts of climate change on river basins and the competition for shared water resources in his country and stressed, in line with the Hague Declaration, the conflict potential arising from the absence of an agreement on transboundary waters.
National statement by Minister for Foreign Affairs of Sweden Margot Wallström, on behalf of Sweden, at the United Nations Security Council Debate on Climate-Related Security Risks, 11 July 2018, New York.
27 United Nations member states join to form the new Group of Friends on Climate and Security
On 1 August 2018, a total of 27 United Nations member states joined together to form the new Group of Friends on Climate and Security with the aim of cooperating to develop solutions for the impact of climate change on security policy, raise public awareness and boost the involvement of the United Nations in this area. Co-chaired by Germany and Nauru, the group unites states representing all the regional groups of the United Nations. Hague Declaration signatories the Netherlands and Sweden are among the founding members of the Group.
UNSG remarks on the role of natural resources as a root cause to conflict
On 16 October 2018 UN Secretary-General António Guterres stressed the link between the competition over natural resources, impacts of climate change and conflict in his remarks to the Security Council on “Maintenance of International Peace and Security: The Root Causes of Conflict – The Role of Natural Resources”. Mr. Guterres announced that the United Nations aim at enhancing its capacity to address climate-related security risks.
Arria-Formula Meeting on Water, Peace and Security
On October 26 2018, an Arria-Formula meeting was organised by the Hague Declaration initiator the Netherlands in collaboration with the State of Bolivia, Cote d’Ivoire, Belgium, Dominican Republic, Germany, Indonesia and Italy, on the links between water, peace and security. The meeting stressed the need for information sharing and early warning on water-related security risks. The Water, Peace and Security Partnership (WPS), which is aiming to predict water threats to security and was initiated by Hague Declaration signatories, was highlighted as one initiative addressing the impacts of water availability on security.
Open debate on the impacts of climate-related disasters
On 25 January 2019, the Dominican Republic chaired an open debate on ‘Addressing the impacts of climate-related disasters on international peace and security’.
The Hague Declaration’s focus regions and countries Mali, Lake Chad and Iraq were pointed out during the debate by several members of the UN Security Council as examples where climate impacts threaten peace and security. Members called upon the UN system to strengthen its capacities to address climate and security, such as for example in policies and missions and assessments on the ground.
Watch here the statement by Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Rosemary A. DiCarlo on the impacts of climate-related disasters on international peace and security.
Actions on the ground
Climate Change and Security Project
The Climate Change and Security project is a joint initiative by the European Union and UN Environment aiming to strengthen the resilience of crisis-affected countries by integrating climate change in peacebuilding efforts and reducing conflict risks in climate change programming. The project which is being implemented in Nepal and Sudan is partnering with Hague Declaration signatory adelphi.
The climate change and security project is the first intiative under the EU’s Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace which addresses the security implications of climate change.
Water, Peace and Security Partnership
The Water, Peace and Security (WPS) partnership is designing innovative tools and services that identify water shortage-related security risks. These tools and services demonstrate changes in short term water availability and their impacts on societies, and link them to both hydrological as well as social, economic and political factors. Based on this information, evidence-based actions can be triggered to prevent or mitigate human security risks. The WPS will promote this by raising awareness, developing capacities and supporting dialogue. Launched in March 2018, the partnership is a collaboration among an expanding group of organizations supported by the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Current partners include IHE Delft (lead of the partnership) and Hague Declaration signatories Deltares, the Hague Centre for Strategic Studies (HCSS), the World Resources Institute (WRI), Wetlands International and International Alert.
Combining capital from public donors, banks and investors this fund aims to act as a vehicle for risk sharing and technical assistance through blended finance with commercial and development banks. The funds objective is to enable banks to finance environmental and social impact projects despite perceived higher risk. The fund has been initiated by UN Environment and Hague Declaration signatory Rabobank.
This video provides more information on the Agri3 fund.
Report “Europe’s Responsibility to Prepare”
This report from the Center for Climate and Security in cooperation with the Planetary Security Initiative argues that the security threats of climate change should be more routinely integrated into EU institutions at a senior level and be elevated alongside other ‘traditional’ security issues like terrorism and nuclear threats.