22 January 2019

Meeting in Washington DC discusses Climate Risks and Resilience initiatives

On April 24, the 7th meeting of The Hague Roundtable on Climate & Security was held in Washington D.C., co-organised by PSI-Consortium partner the Center for Climate and Security in collaboration with Deltares, IHE Delft, Institute for Environmental Security and the World Resources Institute.  This first international meeting of The Hague Roundtable was co-hosted by the George Washington University Elliott School and the Embassy of the Netherlands to the United States – to discuss climate and water-related risks and resilience initiatives.

Building on the agenda for a community of practice on Planetary Security, this discussion shed light on the key component of the Hague Declaration. The participants focused on initiatives that have been undertaken to mitigate climate risks as well as strengthening resilience measures. They discussed how different sectors from the government, the military, and the private sector could better develop information tools for early warning and decision support. The constructive dialogue illustrates the growing interest of policy-makers and the enlarging community of practice around this topic in the US.

The events's discussions accentuated the need for anticipating and preventing climate security crises which require efficient early warning and rapid reaction capabilities. One of the pathways to do so would be to ensure that multilateral security bodies including the UN Security Council are informed and able to respond to the climate-related dimensions of security crises.

Two main points of the discussion:

Progress toward an institutional home for climate-security at the United Nations

While the UN Security Council has slowly but increasingly acknowledged security impacts of climate change, with recent discussions on fragile regions, such as Somalia and Lake Chad, the need to build an institutional home inside the United Nations framework remains key to future climate-related crisis reaction. Thanks to the Dutch presidency of the Council and efforts from other non-permanent Security Council members, the prospect of an institutional change toward a more sensitive climate risk analysis and assessment may be possible.

Role of national security actors in civilian preparedness to climate change

Discussing climate security, the most recurrent topics usually revolve around the rising sea-level that threaten many areas in the world such as Small Islands Developing States and the changing role of the military in tackling climate security issues. Indeed, the military does have the potential to spearhead the preparedness of civilian authorities to mitigate flood risks caused by rising sea-level and build-up infrastructure resilience.

The convergence of a community of practice at this Roundtable or through forums like the Planetary Security Conference, is critical in catalyzing efforts toward an efficient and comprehensive foresight. This will be essential in order to mitigate crises which climate change will inevitably bring in the coming years and decades.

The Hague Roundtable initiative aims to increase international cooperation in addressing climate impacts on issues including water scarcity, natural disaster/flood events, migration, and regional stability. For more information, contact Matt Luna, of IHE Delft and the Inst. for Environmental Security, Roundtable creator & organizer: mluna@envirosecurity.org

The agenda of the meeting can be downloaded here.