27 July 2022
  • climate security
  • Balkans
  • Europe

IMCCS 2022 World Climate Security Report: A climate security shot of the Balkans

The International Military Council on Climate and Security (IMCCS) has released the second volume of its 2022 World Climate Security Report. This volume examines findings from analysis conducted of climate security risks in the Balkans using the Climate Security Risk Index (CSRI). Of the climate change hazards covered by the CSRI in the Balkans, an ethnically diverse geographic grouping of ten countries, droughts pose the largest threat to the region’s stability and prosperity. The Balkans face some of the most severe climate risks compared with the rest of Europe.

Those climate risks have a diversity of security impacts. For example, climate change—by placing pressure on the region’s resources—risks exacerbating existing ethno-political fault-lines, opening the door to the potential resurgence of conflict and/or political instability in the process.

Climate impacts may also reverse progress on climate mitigation through renewable energy development, given the significance of hydropower as a domestic energy source in Balkan nations. Drought significantly reduces hydropower production and may spark increased reliance on polluting fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and gas—counter to European energy goals. Foreign actors willing to invest in these environmentally regressive projects, primarily Russia and China, have the opportunity to expand their influence in the region to the detriment of European interests.

Finally, climate change contributes to increased migration flows from the Middle East and Africa, through the region, and towards other parts of Europe, increasing the risk of anti-immigrant extremism and violence.

The Balkans have a relatively moderate resilience when compared against the global average, meaning that it is more prepared than some other vulnerable regions across the globe to manage internal climate risks. However, this does not in any way make it immune to those risks or their security implications.

For the full report here

By Elsa Barron & Hugo van Manen

This report is the second of this year's World Climate Security Report, following on from the June 2022 publication of the first volume, "Decarbonized Defense: The Need for Clean Military Power in the Age of Climate Change", coauthored by Dr. Louise van SchaikAkash Ramnath & Douwe van der Meer from the Planetary Security Initiative, Katarina Kertysova from the European Leadership Network and Pierre Laboué from the French Institute for International and Strategic Affairs.
Photo Credits: NPS Climate Change Response/Flickr