The German government utilized its period of membership in the UN Security Council in part to focus more attention on the topic of climate and security. In this context, the Foreign Ministry initiated four dialog forums in cooperation with the Berlin institute for political analysis, “adelphi”, the research group “Climate Change and Security” of the KlimaCampus, and the Institute for Peace Research, the latter two both from the University of Hamburg.
Four dialog forums on the topic of climate and security
The series began in May of 2011 with the consideration of the complex problems concerning water, food, energy and migration in the southern Mediterranean region. In June, the focus was on the role of regional cooperation in the areas of water and energy in Central Asia, while the third workshop in October was concerned with the capacity of national and regional institutions in Latin America to deal with expected climate change. The fourth and last workshop was now devoted to the security-related consequences of climate change in South Asia.
South Asia – a region full of paradoxes
The South Asian region is full of paradoxes in many respects. Here, 2.4 per cent of the global land area is home to 17 per cent of the world’s population. Environmental changes have a tremendous influence on the relationships between water, food and energy supplies. In addition, the region has a high rate of poverty. Further dynamics come into this constellation through the already visible melting of glaciers, and especially the border areas are threatened by tensions over dwindling resources and increasing migration. The negative effects on the health of the population are among the further challenges which demand attention. Climate change affects the chances for the region to develop, as Uttam Sinah, a scientist at the New Delhi Institute for Defense Studies and Analysis, explained in his lecture. Therefore, caution is called for when warning about transborder security effects.
Science and policy dialogs as trailblazers for regional integration
Michael Renner of the Worldwatch Institute showed numerous approaches for preventing crises parallel to the activities of governments. The International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development, for example, can contribute to bettering the data basis for forward-looking policy and for providing a joint basis for action to meet the challenges of climate change in the Himalayan region. Approaches regarding catastrophe diplomacy, peace parks and the establishment of efficient water utilization can profit from the intensification of dialog with the Federal Government and the EU, as became evident in the subsequent discussion. Scientific and political dialogs need to become more intertwined and players such as members of the parliaments of the South Asian countries need to be integrated into the process.
Further information as well as a more detailed report on the workshops can be found here: