On 12 May, the Planetary Security Initiative (PSI) is officially launching the Basra Forum (BF) for Climate, Environment and Security at its second climate-security dialogue in Basra, southern Iraq. The forum seeks to foster dialogue and collaboration among Iraqi civil society, governmental institutions, non-governmental organisations, academia, and other relevant actors working in the fields of climate change, environmental degradation and security.
Established in 2020, the network already includes members such as the University of Basrah and several NGOs. Specifically focusing on southern Iraq, it aims to raise awareness and catalyze action on climate change impacts. Amongst other issues, the forum addresses the topics of water and food insecurity and environmental degradation, which have a severe impact on livelihoods and stability in the region. Related phenomena include water shortages and pollution, saltwater intrusion, and desertification.
In 2021, the first ever climate-security dialogue was held in Basra. In the hybrid event, climate change impacts on the stability of southern Iraq, with special regard to the protests and clashes following the 2018 water crisis, were discussed. This year's event builds on these topics, focusing on the issue of climate change-exacerbated water pollution and saltwater intrusion, and their impact on security.
The BF is open to all interested parties, organisations, and actors, that would like to participate in open and closed roundtable discussions, workshops, and publications. If you would like to become a part of the forum please contact the PSI outreach officer, Maha Yassin at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on the Basra Forum for Climate, Environment and Security and the work of PSI, you can contact Tobias von Lossow, PSI project leader and research fellow with expertise in water and security at email@example.com, or reach out to Louise van Schaik, PSI coordinator and senior research fellow at firstname.lastname@example.org.