CLIMATE AND SECURITY
CLIMATE, SECURITYAND HUMAN RIGHTS
While we speak of adaptation and security, we open up a whole range of new demands of action and planning for a greater effectiveness of public policies. We are speaking of roads, ports, buildings and an entire infrastructure of logistics that will have to be reconsidered, from their conception, in the light of climate risk. If we do not do this, we could become obsolete in a matter of years.
Executive Director of the Climate and Society Institute iCS
Carlos Eduardo Arentz
A PREVENTIVE SECURITY POLICY NEEDS TO OPERATE BROADLY AGAINST ALL THE RISKS AND POTENTIALS OF CONFLICT THAT COULD COMPROMISE OUR SECURITY, BOTH IN THE INTERNAL AND IN THE EXTERNAL POLICY. CLIMATE CHANGE IS A MULTIPLIER OF RISKS WITH A CONSIDERABLE POTENTIAL FOR CONFLICT
German Ambassador in Brazil
A MEETING MARKED BY THE DIVERSITY OF PERSPECTIVES ON SECURITY AND CLIMATE CHANGES
The holding of the International Meeting on Climate and Security encouraged diverse contributions to the debate. It brought together representatives from governments, civil society and academia in one more event of the series Sustainable Future Dialogues, on May 18, 2018, in Rio de Janeiro, as the result of the partnership between the German Embassy, iCS and the Institute of International Relations of PUC-Rio (IRI).
RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN SECURITY AND CLIMATE
When opening the meeting, the German Ambassador in Brazil, Georg Witschel, highlighted that climate change involved risks that had a considerable potential to produce internal and external conflicts for nations, such as the scarcity of water and food, migration and extreme climate events. Therefore, it is urgently required to place security on the climate agenda.
Ana Toni, Executive Director of the iCS, stated that it is needed to submit, through public debate, the different approaches with respect to climate and security in complying with the demands produced by these risks; to develop awareness about these vulnerabilities and to organize international arrangements in order to guarantee the conditions required for the survival of human life.
Different speakers raised the question of the inequality of access to basic resources and to survival as the crucial point of the question of climateand security. Monica Herz, a professor at IRI/ PUC-Rio, suggested that it is needed to guarantee, through a progressive policy agenda, the integrity of those who are fighting in the field for the protectionof the environment.
Julia Kweitel, Executive Director of Conectas Human Rights, demonstrated a significant concern in strengthening the protection policies towards environmentalists and combatting impunity.
The threats to the Amazon region were recalled by Marianela Curi, from the Fundación Futuro Latinoamericano, from Ecuador, who emphasized the importance of the forest for water, food and energy security and health. Yves Sassenrath, of UNFPA Brasil, stated that the least favored populations are also the most vulnerable to climate risks.
“We can no longer speak of security without speaking of the rights of the land and socio-environmental rights”
Executive Director of Conectas Human Rights
For the speakers, it is indispensable to rely on scientific data that allows the study of the risks and the vulnerabilities and to establish priorities of action, locally and globally. Alexander Carius, founder and Director General of the German think tank, adelphi, presented a series of maps that reported changes in the climate with weaknesses in security. He highlighted that four of the five main planetary risks indicated in the Global Risks Landscape 2018 report,at the World Economic Forum, are direct consequences of these alterations: extreme climate events, lack of water, failure of measures of adaptation and mitigation and natural disasters.
“The data places us whereas society needs to review quickly the rules and mechanisms of governance. In this regard, it is a problem of security because we are faced with conflicts that cannot be dealt with preventively, because the process of transformation is so rapid.
Professor from the Institute of International Relations of PUC-Rio (IRI)
DEVELOPMENT AND INFRASTRUCTURE
For PatríciaLeite, the representative from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the main challenge in Brazil is overcoming the inequalities and the deficit in implementing the plans and projects that are required to adapt to climate changes. According to her, it is the responsibility of developed nations, in accordance with the commitment assumed in the Paris Agreement, to guarantee help to developing countries in order to realize the initiatives of protection to climate risk. Sérgio Margulis, a researcher from the International Institute for Sustainability (IIS), also emphasized the urgency to develop infrastructure and preventive measures based on data, as a focus in the reduction of risks to national security.
John Conger, Director of the Center for Climate and Security of the USA, considers that the capability to predict risks and to anticipate them should be the main measure in the attempt to avoid them. It is necessary to qualify the security forces, to adapt the infrastructure and to rethink development processes. Conger highlighted the importance of the political dimension to which the demands and measures of mitigation and resilience are submitted, especially in a country such as the USA, which has a large number of skeptics in the environmental area.
"There are many skeptics in the environmental area in the United States. These same skeptics believe in the military forces but do not believe in academics (...) Last year, in the Republican Congress, there was a proposed amendment declaring that climate changes would be seen as threat to national sovereignty. Then there was the demand for mitigation plans, presented by the Democrats, which received votes from the Republicans. The conservatives united with the Democrats to guarantee that this was done (...) What is important is not only the message but also the messenger. How to convince people to listen and to do something with a capable spokesperson."
Director of the Center for Climate and Security of the USA
The representative from the Brazilian Armed Forces at the meeting, Rear Admiral Carlos Eduardo Horta Arentz, Deputy Chief of Policy and Strategy of the Office of Strategic Issues of the Combined General Staff of the Armed Forces from the Ministry of Defense, discussed the different conceptions of security and the role of the State in their guarantee, including the fields that affect national security, although not necessarily in the defense of sovereignty. In this regard, the Brazilian Armed Forces can collaborate, if requested, with other bodies to support civil entities, in humanitarian assistance and disaster support, among others.
The German Defense Attaché in Brazil ended the meeting by thanking the organizers and praising the contribution from the attending specialists towards the understanding of the future challenges.
Fotos: Guillermo Ribas
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