Climate change is a ‘threat multiplier’ for instability in some of the most volatile regions of the world. Impacts on water, food, health and weather could lead to mass immigration, lack of control over borders and potential armed conflict. CEC members are involved in raising awareness.
REASON TO ACT
Climate change has the potential to destabilize national security. Climate change is a ‘threat multiplier’ for instability in some of the most volatile regions of the world. Even in stable regions, tensions will rise. Impacts on water, food, health and weather could lead to mass immigration, lack of control over borders and potential armed conflict. Security issues affect every region:
- The 2003 European heat wave killed more than 35,000 people
- The 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami exemplifies the need for cooperation among nations in planning and response
- Two-thirds of the Arab world depends on water sources external to their borders
- Almost 40 percent of Asia’s 4 billion people live within 45 miles of the coast
Impacts on military systems include increased need to respond, rising sea levels threatening bases, increased scope of operations, and an urgent need for fuel economy.
Climate change, population change, energy dependence, and damage to ecosystems are a related set of global challenges that require global partnerships. Military experts are exploring how their countries and communities can adapt, build resilience and respond when disaster strikes.
The IUCN Commission on Education and Communication (CEC) is a member of the project ‘Climate Change and the Military’, which has issued a statement for Copenhagen. In the statement, military experts from five continents warn that “incremental, and at times, abrupt, climate change is resulting in an unprecedented scale of human misery, loss of biodiversity and damage to infrastructure with consequential security implications that need to be addressed urgently.”
CEC members are engaged in raising awareness as well as fostering alliances and partnerships on issue of climate change and security. They include Nancy Colleton, Frits Hesselink, Wouter Veening and Keith Wheeler.
Activities from October 2008 to October 2009
- The Commission co-organized the Roundtable on Environment and Security at World Conservation Congress, Barcelona, October 2008, with more than 70 participants. A video report was produced and distributed.
- The Commission joined the project ‘Climate Change and the Military’, coordinated by IES, the Institute for Environmental Security. CEC members have participated in meetings, reviewed concept notes and contributed to the military experts’ statement for Copenhagen.
- An informal lunch at NATO headquarters to meet with NATO representatives
- Seminars at the Woodrow Wilson Institute in Washington D.C.
- Seminars and meetings at IES, the Institute for Environmental Security in Brussels
- Attendance at a US Congressional hearing
- Meeting with Achim Steiner
- Meeting with Sherri Goodman of CNA