Expert Dialogues and Consultations
Climate Security Dialogues at the Foreign Office
The Climate Security Dialogues were created in cooperation with the KlimaCampus and Research Group Climate Change and Security (CLISEC) at the University of Hamburg as a forum to discuss the impacts of a shifting climate in times of political, economic and demographic transformation, bridging the science-policy gap.
SOUTHERN MEDITERRANEAN– The Water-Food-Energy-Migration Complex
The Southern Mediterranean region encompasses Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Palestine, Syria, Tunisia and Turkey. Key climate change challenges in the region include increasing water scarcity, desertification and the degradation of fertile soils, which already contribute to conflicts and population displacements. In May 2011, experts on food security, water, energy and applied economics from Tunisia, Morocco, Egypt and Palestine met to exchange perspectives on the potential effects of climate change. Recommendations by the regional experts included encouraging the integration of climate change into existing regional initiatives and agreements on shared water resources, as well as fostering their transparent management.
LATIN AMERICA – Addressing Food and Water Security Risks
Latin America comprises the countries of Central and South America as well as Mexico and the Caribbean. In September 2011, adelphi convened natural scientists in geography, meteorology and hydrology, along with civil society experts from Argentina, Mexico, Peru and Colombia to meet with European social scientists and members of the foreign, development and security policy communities. Resource competition among different sectors is likely to be accentuated as shared resources, such as water for energy security and agriculture, become scarcer. The key messages by the group of experts focused on the need for more consultation of different social groups and for strengthening the knowledge base for addressing climate change and planning adaptation measures in the region.
CENTRAL ASIA – Interlinkages between Water and Energy Security Trends
The Central Asian region stretches over Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Central Asia will be severely affected by climate change, particularly through water scarcity and related impacts on energy security. Experts from the region on integrated water resource management, transboundary water management and development met with academics and members of the security and foreign policy communities from Germany. The experts highlighted the need to improve resource efficiency and effective coordination to address climate change challenges. Recommendations included to go beyond a single-sector approach and gradually involve Afghanistan in cooperation mechanisms.
SOUTH ASIA – Conflict or Cooperation over the Himalayas?
Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and Sri Lanka belong to the region of South Asia. Decreased availability of natural resources and an increasing number and intensity of natural disasters will be the main climate challenges in the region. The dialogue drew from the insights of regional experts on climate, water, security and meteorology, who met with decision-makers, academics and representatives of civil society organisations and think tanks from Germany and other European countries. The sub-region is most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, in particular due to the effects on wetlands and glacial areas of the Himalayas. If these crucial elements of the overall regional ecosystem are damaged, a vital link in flood warning and protection against floods may be lost.
adelphi and the German Federal Foreign Office hosted a series of expert discussions from 2012 to 2017, each focusing on a geopolitical issue related to climate diplomacy.
Oleg Pluzhnikov, Deputy Head of the Branch Division of Business Russia, an association of entrepreneurs, presented opportunities and barriers for ambitious climate action in Russia. The discussion focused on current developments in Russian climate politics, its key actors, the role of progressive businesses, and specified entry points for re-vitalising international cooperation on climate topics.
Dhanasree Jayaram, Researcher at the Department of Geopolitics and International Relations, Manipal University, gave a talk on environmental change in the water-food-energy nexus in India, clarifying the links to national development priorities. The discussion explored opportunities to respond to the country’s challenges by means of international cooperation.
David Jensen, Head of the UNEP Environmental Cooperation for Peacebuilding programme, discussed the role of natural resources and climate change in violent conflict and achieving peace. He stressed that accounting for environmental factors inpost-conflict processes is crucial for long-term stability and highlighted ways to transform potential sources of tension into a platform for peacebuilding.
Professor Stacy VanDeveer of the University of New Hampshire (USA) met with German Federal Foreign Office staff to identify opportunities for transatlantic cooperation. The discussion highlighted the diverse policies and perspectives of Canadian and United States actors, and the dynamic nature of current discussions over possible energy futures.
In preparation for the UNFCCC COP in Qatar, Dr Mari Luomi of Georgetown University in Qatar elaborated on the climate and energy policy of the Arab Gulf states. As their population grows and energy demand increases, the Gulf countries show rising interest in the development of alternative energy sources.
Max Schön, Chairperson of Stiftung 2 Grad, an initiative of German corporate directors and family business leaders, briefed Federal Foreign Office staff on business engagement in addressing climate change. He argued that companies are willing to actively engage in the debate on climate change mitigation if a climate change policy provides a reliable framework for action.
Dr. Marco Grasso, Senior Lecturer at the Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca (Italy), led an exchange on a realistic, fair and effective climate agreement in the run-up to the UNFCCC COP in Paris. He emphasised the need to bridge the expectation gap between countries, and suggested a carbon budgeting approach based on CO2 consumption rather than CO2 production.
Cleo Paskal, Associate Fellow at Chatham House (UK), commented on the current geo-political, geo-economic and geo-physical changes in worldwide power relations, taking the South Pacific as an example. She advocated an ambitious climate diplomacy engagement under the leadership of Europe, the US and Canada in the Pacific region.
Regional Consultation Processes
The security consequences of climate change will be different in each continent and will interact with social, political and economic processes and capabilities that are unique to each region. Different ecoregions in Asia, Pacific, Africa and Latin America will thus be confronted with diverse challenges.
In order to build up understanding of the particularities of each region in the face of climate change and further develop the engagement with and between diverse actors in their societies, the Federal Foreign Office sponsored a series of dialogues in all these regions between 2011 and 2016. Organised by adelphi in cooperation with local partners, the discussions provided a forum for local partners and experts from different countries in each region to exchange views and network. They were complemented by an array of activities including public exhibitions on environment, conflict and cooperation; executive policy briefings for decision-makers; roundtables in universities; and briefings for journalists.
Climate change will have a wide range of repercussions in Asia. Among the major risks are natural disasters such as storms, floods and droughts, and scarcity of water, food and energy. These impacts have the potential to slow economic growth and development progress. In regions where scarce resources meet natural stresses and socio-economic cleavages, climate change can act as a multiplier of threats to international peace and security. The German Federal Foreign Office and adelphi have in the past focused on different sub-regions in order to account for differences between the various sub-regions with respect to the linkages between climate change, resources and conflict, and to develop targeted strategies for preventive action and diplomacy.
- Regional Dialogue Event in 2016, Tokyo, Japan: Climate-Fragility Risks in Japan and the Asia-Pacific Region
- Regional Dialogue Event in 2013, Republic of Singapore: New Approaches for Climate Diplomacy in Southeast Asia
- Roundtable Discussion in 2011, New Delhi, India: South Asian Perspectives on Water, Climate Change and Conflict (Agenda and Report)
The Pacific islands are hit hard by the impacts of climate change, including sea-level rise, tropical and extra-tropical cyclones, increasing air and sea-surface temperature, and changing rainfall patterns, with significant geopolitical consequences. To discuss these, adelphi hosted a side-event during the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in 2014 in cooperation with the University of the South Pacific, Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. High-level officials from the Pacific region and from Germany, as well as experts from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the University of the South Pacific, discussed ways to integrate the perspectives of small-island states on climate risk and resilience-building into the international climate discourse.
- Regional Dialogue Event in 2014, Apia, Samoa: Foreign Policy Challenges in the Context of Climate Change in the Pacific Islands Region
Livelihoods in several African countries often depend heavily on natural resources. The rates of undernourishment are high in various parts of the continent and by 2025 about 230 million people are expected to face water scarcity in Africa. Climate change may increase tensions over scarce resources in regions where urgent development needs meet natural stresses. The absence of fair and effective mechanisms of conflict resolution can increase this risk to peace and stability. In October 2013, 50 experts from the climate policy and development communities assembled to discuss the impacts of climate change on the African continent.
- Regional Dialogue Event in 2013, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: New Approaches for Climate Diplomacy in Africa
- Regional Scoping Workshop in 2012, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
- Roundtable Discussion in 2011, Pretoria, South Africa
The Andean region is already facing increased temperatures and rapid glacier melt, and is expected to suffer greater precipitation variability, which will in turn impact on water supply and agriculture. The intense floods experienced in Colombia, Peru and Bolivia in recent years demonstrate the significant impacts that climate variability, climate change and intensified natural disasters can have in the Andean ecoregion. The Regional Dialogue Event aimed to identify specific regional risks and strategies to counter them.