The event was the result of a series of three interactive regional consultation workshops and three surveys on climate change and security, organized by the Office of the Co-ordinator of OSCE Economic and Environmental Activities and the Berlin-based think tank adelphi.
“We now have compelling evidence that climate change can influence or exacerbate factors that may lead to instability and tensions,” said OSCE Secretary General Helga Maria Schmid at the close of the webinar. “As with any global challenge, tackling the potential consequences requires cross-sectoral and transborder dialogue and co-operation.”
Naser Nuredini, Minister of Environment and Physical Planning of North Macedonia, said that the regional consultation process has helped in having a new conversation among neighbours on climate-related security risks faced by the region and how to overcome them. “These kind of conversations reinforce our individual efforts to tackle climate change. By bringing a regional dimension, they also pave the way for joint action and offer additional avenues for strengthening the security and stability in our region,” said Nuredini.
Ambassador Tobias Lorentzson, Chairperson of the OSCE Preparatory Committee, Deputy Permanent Representative of Sweden to the OSCE, said: “We need to work to achieve better and integrated analyses and management strategies from the field on this topic. What might be a manageable effect of climate change in one geographical context, in another context, it could contribute to a tense and potentially violent situation.”
Lukas Rüttinger, adelphi’s Senior Advisor, said that the consultation discussed risk clusters that are particularly relevant in terms of regional security and stability, including, amongst others, agriculture, tourism, energy, health, and forests. “It also identified specific geographic hotspots, such as shared river basins and shared mountain ecosystems.” He added that air pollution, mixed movements, and emigration emerged as important challenges shared across the region.
Vuk Žugić, Co-ordinator of OSCE Economic and Environmental Activities, said: “Today’s closing event marks the beginning of a new phase in the regional consultation process which will involve the development and implementation of co-operation measures that will further contribute to security and stability in the region.”
The first phase of the regional consultation involved over 80 representatives of governmental bodies, civil society organizations, academia from South-Eastern Europe, as well as regional and international organizations.
The process, launched in May 2020, is part of the OSCE’s extra-budgetary funded project “Strengthening responses to security risks from climate change in South-Eastern Europe, Eastern Europe, the South Caucasus, and Central Asia” funded by Andorra, Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, and Norway.
This press release was originally published on osce.org.