This week Sweden, the current holder of the European Union Presidency, will convene a conference
for EU member states on environment, climate change, and security. The Ministry of Defence and the Swedish Defence Research Agency are serving as organizers, yet they are constructing the conference in broad and inclusive terms. The objective is to highlight and address the links between climate change and security in the “broadest sense of the term.” This framing is perhaps less surprising when one remembers the Swedes have been leaders in both lightening the military’s environmental bootprint and supporting international development through the Swedish International Development Agency’s investments in water, development, and peace. Right now it is the European Union
, the UK, the Germans, the Finns, and the Danes joining the Swedes to drive policy action on climate and security links.
The climate security topic remains on the edges of the Copenhagen process, according to Adelphi Research’s Alexander Carius, but there is a constant flow of conferences in Europe and the United States nevertheless.
Committee Two of the UN General Assembly tackles it with a panel October 19th in New York (I’m fortunate enough to be making remarks). And the draft of the Secretary-General’s report on climate and security called for by this summer’s non-binding UNGA resolution is circulating for comment.
The Danish Minister of Foreign Affairs speaks at Chatham House the next day, presumably covering some of the same threat multiplier themes he highlighted September 19th> in Copenhagen.
The Holland-based Institute of Environmental Security brings its international group of military officers to engage Washington audiences October 29th after having had their European meetings in Brussels this past week.
CNA follows in November, including roll-outs of country-specific work on Colombia and China, made possible with support from the UK Foreign Commonwealth Office.
After that scholars convene at the University of Hamburg, and then on to Trondheim, Norway, next June for a PRIO -organized conference.
And the beat goes on for climate and security. Critically important will be whether the interest in climate and security links extends beyond Copenhagen, demonstrating it is more than just a slogan from a non-traditional climate audience aimed at nudging the negotiations at COP15. No doubt it will, with other milestones including the February 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review from the US Department of Defense and other processes yet to come.