Climate change, conflict and migration: The water context

A recent symposium featured Wouter Veening, CEC Specialty Group Leader for Environmental Security, as panel moderator. Frits Hesselink, CEC Special Advisor, also participated in this September event in The Hague.

Flooded village of Godadha, Bangladesh 2008 (Cover photo: Environmental Guidance Note for Disaster Risk Reduction)

A symposium on the issues of climate change, conflict and migration was held at the Institute of Social Studies in The Hague, Netherlands, on 21 September 2011, organized by several international partners.The symposium served as a platform to discuss the links between climate change, water stress, migration and conflict from a human security perspective. Discussion revolved around capacity building and resilience in hotspots, conflict prevention, and an international legal framework of protection of environmental migrants.

While the global dialogue on climate change, its causes and its potential impacts continues, some people are already victims. Who are they? Nomads in Ethiopia and Somali forced to cross man-made borders in their search for food for their herds. Villagers in Malawi forced to choose between the dangers of flooding and a shortage of drinking water. And one day, Bangladeshis forced by flooding ever closer to the Indian border. “If we don’t do anything, these people will be stateless; they’ll have no legal status and no country will be obliged to do anything for them if something happens," said legal expert Wybe Douma, in a story by Radio  Netherlands Worldwide based on the symposium >>

Panel discussion

Mr Wouter Veening, Chairman of the Institute for Environmental Security, moderated a panel discussion and dialogue on "Different perspectives of the symposium theme". Members of the panel included the following:

  • Ms Dr Thanh-Dam Truong, Associate Professor of Women, Gender and Development at the Institute of Social Studies, The Hague, Netherlands
  • Mr Dr Michele Nori, Freelance Consultant Agro-Pastoral Livelihoods and Rural Development, Brussels, Belgium
  • Mr Dr Maarten Kappelle, Chief Conservation Officer for Biodiversity at WWF Netherlands, Zeist, Netherlands
  • Ms Dr Karen Witsenburg, Policy Advisor Both ENDS, Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Mr Ir Joep van Mierlo, Vétérinaires Sans Frontières, Brussels, Belgium


Alliance for the UN University of Peace (UPEACE), Costa Rica
Institute for Environmental Security
The Netherlands National Committee IHP-HWRP (UNESCO and WMO water programmes)
Institute for Social Studies (ISS)
UNESCO-IHE Insitute for Water Education
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Netherlands
Cordaid (Netherlands Catholic Organisation for Relief and Development Aid)
The Netherlands National Commission for UNESCO
World Wide Fund for Nature/Netherlands

For more information about CEC and environmental security, see the CEC Specialty Group >>

Work area: 
Climate Change
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