Tag Archives: environmental security

Round Table Debate: Challenges and Capabilities, Towards a European response to Climate Insecurity

Round Table Debate:
Challenges and Capabilities:
Towards a European response to Climate Insecurity

European Parliament, Brussels, 25 November 2013

At the invitation of Indrek Tarand, MEP, a group of more than thirty security and foreign policy specialists convened on Monday, 25 November at the European Parliament in Brussels to discuss the security and defence implications associated with climate change.

Led by a distinguished panel of speakers, the animated discussion also involved present and former parliamentarians, including Vittorio Prodi and Tom Spencer (former Chairman of the Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee and currently Vice Chair of GMACCC). Mr. Bastion Hermission of the Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung – co-organisers’ alongside ESRT – opened the panel discussion and set the scene for the interaction between the six panelists and the audience.

Radm. (ret) Neil Morisetti, formerly the UK Foreign Secretary’s Special Representative for Climate Change, spoke about the big picture and the need to act collectively.
Mr. Stefan Auer (Director Multinational Relations and Global Issues at EEAS) spoke about the outcome of the recently concluded Climate Change Conference in Warsaw and together with Radm. Bruce Williams (Deputy Director General of the EU Military Staff) elaborated on the details of what climate driven crisis actually is, highlighting aspects such as drought and migration.
Dr. Susanne Michaelis of NATO spoke about NATO’s current efforts as part of addressing emerging security challenges while emphasising the need for more effective NATO-EU and specifically NATO-EDA collaboration.
Brig. Gen. (ret) Vassilis Tsiamis of EDA spoke about Military Green as a platform for inter-institutional cooperation and pointed out the wealth of ongoing projects on energy and environment within EDA.
Mr. Dinesh Rempling of the Swedish Ministry of Defence (speaking as a subject matter expert) spoke of the holistic approach as embodied by Military Green where policy, technology and behaviour meet to form the basis for capability development, while pointing out that money talks and urged the EU to grasp the golden opportunity to exploit to the full the mechanisms in the Lisbon Treaty such as the Start-Up Fund (article 41.3) as a means to develop and enhance the EU’s existing capabilities in the most cost-effective way at a time of budgetary austerity.

At the end of the meeting, MEP Indrek Tarand concluded with the sincere hope and request that the made proposals will be considered, taken into account and addressed in the conclusions of the European Council in December.

References:

  • Huxham, Q.; Rempling, D. H. C. “The Start-Up Fund – An Elegant Treaty Mechanism for Sustaining Defence Capabilities” Security Policy Brief 2013, No. 28, 1-6 (link)

Debate agenda:
climate

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Environmental security

At their Summit in Strasbourg / Kehl on 3 and 4 April 2009, NATO’s Heads of State and Government tasked the Secretary General to develop a new NATO Strategic Concept. This exercise should be completed by the time of NATO’s next Summit, which is expected to take place towards the end of 2010.

NATO’s new strategic concept: link

The report can be found directly on the following link.

As the European Security Strategy recognises that predicted global climate change will have increasing impact on stability and security in many regions around the world and more particularly in Asia and Africa, and in the context of the forthcoming new NATO strategic concept, the set up of an environmental security strategy is more than needed.

It is important to analyse commonality of assessment between the EU and NATO of predicted global climate change as a factor of instability and insecurity in the most vulnerable places in the world, especially in terms of climate change as a driver of current or future conflicts. Climate change consequences like resource depletion, drought and floods, famine and mass migration, might have a direct impact on EU and NATO security interests.

The adequacy of existing NATO and EU capacities to respond to climate change driven catastrophes and the extent to which existing civilian, policing and military capabilities and assets could be deployed or adapted to meet these future challenges should be assessed.

It would be necessary to recommend measures and modifications to training – through NATO’s ACT described above – and to procurement policies, necessary to improve the EU and NATO’s ability to respond to such crisis.

Existing command and control structures and policies in the context of their applicability to the long-term nature of likely climate-driven crisis and conflicts should be reviewed.

The potential for burden-sharing and specialisation between the EU Member States and NATO allies to optimize resource allocation, civilian, policing and military assets which are required for crisis response and conflicts, whether climate driven or not should be explored.

At present, the climate change issue is only mentioned in the new report presented by the group of experts, chaired by Madeleine Albright.
Taking into account environmental security related to it in the new strategic concept would be a breakthrough.

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The Arctic

The Arctic is a vast area covering more than a sixth of Earth’s inland, covering all 24 time zones and over 30 million square kilometres. Most of the Arctic is a vast 14 million square kilometre ocean surrounded by treeless permafrost. The Arctic is a truly unique, yet vulnerable region.

There are now approximately 4 million people living permanently in the Arctic, including over 30 indigenous nations. The Arctic region includes the northern territories of the eight Arctic states- the United States (Alaska), Iceland, Canada, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Greenland (a territory of Denmark) and the Russian Federation. Five of the Arctic states are members of the European Economic Area (EEA), three of which are also Member States of the EU.

All eight states are members of an institution known as the Arctic Council (AC), founded in 1996. It is a high-level intergovernmental forum, and while not a law-making or resource-distributing body, the AC has produced important analyses and recommendations on environment protection, resource management and guidelines for shipping among others.

The Arctic region is still not regulated by multilateral agreements, because it was never considered that it would become a navigable waterway or that the region would be exploited for business purposes. However, today it can be said that the Arctic region’s geopolitical and strategic importance is growing. This is symbolised by the planting of a Russian flag on the seabed at the North Pole in August 2007.

Although scientists are still arguing over exactly how fast the Arctic’s ice will melt, one thing is clear- the effects of climate change are impacting the region more than anywhere else in the world. Arctic average temperature has risen by twice the global average rise in the past 50 years. The old, thick, permanent ice cap is retreating. In 2007, for the first time in modern history, the deeper-water, northern, more direct route opened for navigation by non-icebreaking vessels.

Such impacts threaten to destroy the already rapidly changing and fragile ecosystem network. The situation with a retreating icecap is perhaps the most worrying, as it affects directly the natural habitat of the region, e.g. posing problems for polar bears’ feeding habits.

Arctic is economically attractive for the AC member states in four main aspects:

  • the exploitation of newly accessible oil and gas deposits (and maybe other minerals)
  • Transit shipping
  • Fisheries
  • Tourism

In November 2008, the European Commission adopted a document (“The European Union and the Arctic Region”). In addition to setting out EU interests and policy objectives in the region, the text also proposes measures and suggestions for EU Member States and EU institutions to respond to the challenges. It is the first step towards an EU-Arctic policy. EU’s main policy objectives are as follows:

  • Protecting and preserving the Arctic in unison with its population;
  • Promoting sustainable use of resources;
  • Contributing to enhanced Arctic multilateral governance.

The Iceland’s EU accession negotiations are currently on. As EU’s presence in the AC would increase with Iceland becoming a Member State of the EU, it is a strategically great chance to play a more active and constructive role in the Arctic region, also contributing to the multilateral governance. It could also help to solve collective environmental problems and increase EU’s interest for the Arctic and for its protection on both regional and international levels.

For more information, please read:

EU Maritime Affairs: “The EU and the Arctic region – Overview”
“European Parliament resolution of 9 October 2008 on Arctic governance” (PDF)
Europa: “The Arctic merits the European Union’s attention – first step towards an EU Arctic Policy”
Arctic Council homepage

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L’Arctique

L’Arctique est une région immense qui s’étend sur plus d’un sixième du manteau terrestre, couvre les vingt quatre fuseaux horaires, et représente une surface de plus de trente millions de kilomètres carrés. Une grande partie de l’Arctique est composée d’un océan d’une profondeur maximum de  quatre km, mais il comprend également des terres émergées d’une superficie considérable. L’Arctique est une région unique autant que vulnérable.

La population de l’Arctique est de quatre millions d’habitants, dont trente peuples indigènes. Les territoires de huit Etats (États-Unis, Islande, Canada, Norvège, Suède, Finlande, Danemark/Groenland et Russie) s’étendent dans la région Arctique. Cinq de ces pays sont membres de l’Agence européenne pour l’environnement, et trois de ces derniers sont aussi membres de l’Union européenne.

Ces huit Etats sont tous membres du Conseil Arctique fondé en 1996. Ce conseil est un forum intergouvernemental traitant des problématiques rencontrées par les gouvernements arctiques. Sans pouvoir législatif, il a tout de même permis d’effectuer de nombreuses recherches sur la protection de l’environnement, l’utilisation des ressources et le transport maritime.

Jusqu’à présent, la région arctique n’a pas fait l’objet de législations multilatérales, car personne n’avait prévu que cette région puisse un jour être utilisée pour le transport maritime ou d’autres activités économiques. Or, la position géopolitique et stratégique de la région arctique ne cesse aujourd’hui de prendre de l’importance. Le drapeau russe planté au niveau du pôle Nord en août 2007 est symptomatique de cet engouement.

Bien que les scientifiques débattent de la vitesse à laquelle la glace fond en Arctique, il est certain que les effets du changement climatique sont ressentis plus fortement en Arctique qu’ailleurs dans le monde. Durant les cinquante dernières années, la température en Arctique a augmenté deux fois plus que la moyenne mondiale. La banquise arctique est en train de disparaître. Pour la première fois, pendant l’été 2008, les passages du Nord-Ouest et du Nord-Est ont dégelé pendant une période courte permettant le passage avec un simple bateau.

Passage du Nord-Ouest :

De tels effets, mettent en danger les réseaux d’écosystèmes fragiles de l’Arctique. La fonte des glaces constitue un phénomène très inquiétant, car les diverses formes de vie présentes au-dessus et en dessous de la glace sont toutes mises en danger par le réchauffement climatique.

D’un point de vue économique, quatre aspects rendent l’Arctique une zone attrayante pour les Etats du Conseil arctique :

  • Les réserves de pétrole et de gaz (et peut-être d’autres minéraux) qui n’ont pas encore étés découvertes
  • Le fret
  • La pêche
  • Le tourisme

En novembre 2008, la Commission européenne a présenté un document qui décrit les intérêts de l’Union européenne dans cette région et propose des mesures à prendre pour les États membres et pour les institutions de l’Union européenne. C’est le premier pas vers une politique qui vise l’arctique dans son ensemble. Les principaux objectifs de l’Union européenne sont les suivants :

– Protéger et préserver l’Arctique en coopération avec sa population ;

– Promouvoir l’utilisation durable des ressources naturelles;

– Contribuer à une gestion multilatérale plus efficace de l’Arctique.

Les négociations pour l’adhésion de l’Islande à l’UE sont en cours. Cette adhésion, en plus de renforcer la présence de l’UE au sein du Conseil arctique, constituerait une opportunité stratégique pour l’UE de jouer un rôle plus actif et constructif dans la région de l’Arctique et de contribuer à une gestion multilatérale dans cette région. Cela permettrait aussi de résoudre des problèmes environnementaux communs et d’accroître le rôle de l’UE dans l’Arctique et dans la protection de cette région aux niveaux régional et international.

Liens utiles :

http://ec.europa.eu/maritimeaffairs/arctic_overview_en.html

http://www.arctic-council.org/

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Environmental security strategy

At their Summit in Strasbourg / Kehl on 3 and 4 April 2009, NATO’s Heads of State and Government tasked the Secretary General to develop a new NATO Strategic Concept. This exercise should be completed by the time of NATO’s next Summit, which is expected to take place towards the end of 2010.

NATO’s new strategic concept: http://www.nato.int/strategic-concept/index.html

The report can be found directly on the following link: http://www.nato.int/nato_static/assets/pdf/pdf_2010_05/20100517_100517_expertsreport.pdf

As the European Security Strategy recognises that predicted global climate change will have increasing impact on stability and security in many regions around the world and more particularly in Asia and Africa, and in the context of the forthcoming new NATO strategic concept, the set up of an environmental security strategy is more than needed.

It is important to analyse commonality of assessment between the EU and NATO of predicted global climate change as a factor of instability and insecurity in the most vulnerable places in the world, especially in terms of climate change as a driver of current or future conflicts. Climate change consequences like resource depletion, drought and floods, famine and mass migration, might have a direct impact on EU and NATO security interests.

The adequacy of existing NATO and EU capacities to respond to climate change driven catastrophes and the extent to which existing civilian, policing and military capabilities and assets could be deployed or adapted to meet these future challenges should be assessed.

It would be necessary to recommend measures and modifications to training – through NATO’s ACT described above – and to procurement policies, necessary to improve the EU and NATO’s ability to respond to such crisis.

Existing command and control structures and policies in the context of their applicability to the long-term nature of likely climate-driven crisis and conflicts should be reviewed.

The potential for burden-sharing and specialisation between the EU Member States and NATO allies to optimize resource allocation, civilian, policing and military assets which are required for crisis response and conflicts, whether climate driven or not should be explored.

At present, the climate change issue is only mentioned in the new report presented by the group of experts, chaired by Madeleine Albright.

Taking into account environmental security related to it in the new strategic concept would be a breakthrough.

Seotud postitused