24 April 2017

The Hague Roundtable on Climate & Security meets on water strategy

International cooperation on water-related climate risks was the theme of the fifth Hague Roundtable on Climate and Security on 19 April. More than 40 representatives of embassies and non-governmental institutes shared water strategies at the meeting hosted by the Ambassador of Australia to the Netherlands, H.E. Mr. Brett Mason, at his residence in The Hague. Threats and opportunities were examined from various perspectives with the aim of building capacities to peacefully address challenges such as sea level rise, disaster response, droughts and water-related conflict.

Admiral Chris Barrie (ret.) of the Global Military Advisory Council on Climate Change (GMACCC)  provided insights on climate/water adaptation actions vs. needs by Skype from Australia. Admiral Barrie pointed out needed planning for potential large-scale regional migration due to sea level rise, while noting the importance of the EU’s global role in climate and security.

In presentations, Mr. Jan Busstra, Head of Unit on Water Policy at the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment, opened an information exchange on initiatives such as the UN/World Bank High Level Panel on Water that comprises 11 Heads of State. It was stated that local actions of ‘informal structures’ can support positive outcomes within ‘formal structures’ such as global programmes and conferences. Also, representatives from Deltares highlighted multi-stakeholder programmes of the institute on water resource security and conflict, as well as specifics on ground water engineering for fresh water and related adaptation in small island states.

A Planetary Security Initiative update provided a preview of action focus in areas including Mali, Lake Chad and Iraq at the December 2017 conference.  Ongoing programmes from COP 22 Marrakech and the 2017 COP 23 – being organised by Fiji in Bonn, Germany – were mentioned in a briefing as opportunities to carry forward ideas developed at the Roundtable. The success of the recent SunGlacier solar-powered water generation mission in Mali and year-one progress of the Microbial Desalination (MIDES) project for lower energy desalination were featured as innovation updates.

The Roundtable meeting series is an initiative from the Institute for Environmental Security to share information and strategies to build action on addressing climate risks including natural resource availability, food security, migration, disaster response, and stability of fragile states.

A detailed meeting report will be published soon. For more information on engaging in The Hague Roundtable initiative, please contact Matt Luna, Roundtable creator and organiser, at mluna@envirosecurity.org.