by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the high-level roundtable “Climate, Peace and Stability: Weathering Risk Through COP and Beyond” in Glasgow, UK

  • 02 Nov. 2021 -
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  • Last updated: 05 Nov. 2021 10:05

Ambassador Wolfgang Ischinger [Chair, MSC]: Welcome to this roundtable on climate security risks here at COP26. In my role as chair of the Munich Security Conference, I am absolutely delighted to co-host this event this afternoon, together with the German Federal Foreign Office and Adelphi, as well as with our partners Luxembourg, Nauru and the United Arab Emirates. 

With COP26, we find ourselves at a decisive, maybe a turning point in history. Can we stop global warming? Can we prevent security risks emanating from climate change, from exploding into bloody conflicts, and from creating existential threats to a growing number of countries? The impacts of climate change have been on the MSC, on the Munich Security Conference agenda for several years now, and we will place this item very high on our agenda going forward in… as we prepare for the next physical Munich Security Conference in February of next year. 

Today’s roundtable, titled Climate Peace and Stability: Weathering Risk through COP and Beyond, aims to first highlight how inextricably linked climate, peace and stability are. 

Second, to make sure this plays a role at this climate conference and is included in future action agendas going forward. 

And let me conclude by saying that actually this is, for the first time since its inaugural meeting in 1995, that climate security is now fully included in the agenda at COP. 

Before we dive into the discussion, I’m delighted to hand over to Martha Pobee, Assistant Secretary-General for Africa in the Department of Political and Peacebuilding at the United Nations. She speaks, of course, on behalf of the UN. Over to you, Martha. 

Martha Pobee [DPPA-DPO, United Nations]: Thank you, Ambassador. Ambassador Ischinger, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen. 

The Secretary General of the United Nations has called the climate crisis ‘a code red’ for humanity. We need ambitious and rapid climate action as our window to prevent the worst climate impacts is closing. 

The effects of climate change touch virtually every realm. They also threaten to reshape the peace and security landscape. Of the nearly one billion people who live in areas with high exposure to climate hazards, 40% also face low levels of peacefulness. 

The dual vulnerability of climate and insecurity has profound consequences, including for our work on conflict prevention, peace-making, peacekeeping and peacebuilding. 

This is most evident in situations where fragility and conflicts intersect with weakened coping mechanisms and heavy dependence on natural capital, such as fish stocks and forests for livelihoods. 

It is no coincidence that of the 15 countries most susceptible to climate risks 8 host a UN peacekeeping or special political mission. Climate change and armed conflict may represent distinct policy areas, but their consequences increasingly converge in the real world. 

The question is: from a prevention perspective, what is it that we need to put in place today to ensure that we can advance peace and prosperity in a climate-changing world? 

Allow me to outline three key areas for action. 

First, we need to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius - achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement remains our best chance to prevent a climate catastrophe, including its consequences for peace and security. 

Second, we must take immediate action to strengthen the resilience of countries, communities and people already suffering from increasingly frequent and severe climate impacts, including where these impacts are compounded by violence and conflict. 

Developed countries must live up to the promise of a $100 billion in climate finance to developing countries, and collectively we need to increase the share of adaptation to 50% of all climate finance. We must also ensure that climate finance goes where it is most needed. Conflict-affected countries and communities receive only a small fraction so far, or may lack access entirely. We cannot achieve our climate goals, nor our hope for lasting peace and security if resilience and adaptation continue to be the forgotten half of the climate equation. It is time for a breakthrough on this. 

And third, we must seize opportunities for climate adaptation and peacebuilding to reinforce each other. 

In West and Central Africa, for example, cross-border projects are enabling dialogue and promoting more transparent management of scarce natural resources. 

In Somalia, our political mission is supporting an initiative by communities whose livelihoods are impacted by climate change to develop sustainable solutions for shared resources and to promote peaceful coexistence. 

Local knowledge and expertise must guide these efforts. International actors can help build on good practices and help skilled responses. 

For instance, in the Sahel, traditional dispute-resolution mechanisms deserve support. They allow us to resolve inter-communal conflict and thus deny opportunity to violent extremism to feed on local cleavages. 

Across all this work, women are crucial agents of change. They face particular threats from both climate change and conflict. Their meaningful participation and leadership bring more sustainable results that benefit more people. 

Youth, too, are key stakeholders driving innovative climate and peacebuilding action. No solution can be truly durable if it is exclusive of well over half of the population: women and youth. 
Ladies and Gentlemen, we see first hand that our prevention and peacebuilding work on the ground is incomplete without considering the effects of climate change. 

Through the Climate Security Mechanism - a UN initiative that brings together capacities across the political, development and environment pillars - we are working with partners to help the wider UN system address climate-related risks, through joint analyses and action. 

We welcome the shift in the international discourse from debating whether action is necessary, to what action is necessary. We must act well and act urgently. 

For this, we need new and better partnerships to connect our efforts at all levels, keeping in mind those in the world’s most fragile places that have done the least to contribute to climate change and yet are suffering the most from its consequences. 

I thank you. 

Ambassador Wolfgang Ischinger: Thank you very much. Thank you speaking to us from the United Nations, I think that was a great introduction to our discussion. 

Now let’s dive right in. I am absolutely excited by the significant number of participants, literally from all over the world, in this discussion. 

Some, exactly three, actually physically here with me in Glasgow, in the studio at COP26 and others who will be appearing on the screen from wherever they are around the world. The three - I have the pleasure to briefly introduce all three of them - first of all, Foreign Minister of Kenya, Raychelle Omamo. Second, the Defence Minister of the United Kingdom, Ben Wallace. And last, not least of course, the Secretary General of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg. 

I would like to invite the representative of our host country, Secretary Wallace, to get us started. And before you take the floor, let me implore all participants, not only those in the room, but also all those who will come on screen later, please don’t do a Joe Biden on us, because he was allowed only a couple of minutes and did nine minutes yesterday, and that unravelled the programme somewhat. So I hope that everybody will be so more disciplined, otherwise we will not get everybody… we will not be able to give everybody who wishes to participate such an opportunity. 

Ben Wallace, Secretary of State for Defence, please.

Ben Wallace [Secretary of State for Defence, UK]: Well thank you. I will, Jens knows, I’ll try not to speak to much, anyhow, you don’t need to take lots of words to say what you really mean. 

And I think the two areas that I will talk about, are clearly in the area of hitting the 1.5 percent target and working towards that, because without that, obviously, climate change impacts will continue to grow around the globe. 

And the second one is the 100 billion dollar pledge - converting that from a pledge into actually money, because I think we have seen, historically, lots of donor conferences over the years and not always people followed through with the money. Because actually helping countries that are less fortunate than us, or indeed not yet in the same cycle of industrial development to both move away from things like coal, et cetera, are really important in making sure that we prevent conflict in the future. 

And I think the difficulty as a defence minister - and I was just saying earlier, there aren’t many of us here, I think there’s two of us, there’s my colleague on screen from Luxembourg and myself - and, you know, as a defence minister, we have to effectively deal with both sides of the coin. 

We have a strong obligation to make sure that our forces deliver sustainable deployments and indeed make sure they move from traditional energies and fuel requirements to more modern requirements. 

But also, we will have to deal with the consequences of a failed climate change policy if that happens. We have to deal with the consequences of migrant flows, of breaking down of communities after fights over rare resources, of border frictions, which will no doubt grow as climate change increases - and we’ve already seen in the High North or the Arctic, we see frictions in a sense around, you know, parts of the world that were previously inaccessible. And we have to deliver that. 

So I have a double obligation not only to play a part in the British government’s delivery of a sustainable strategy - and we published our own climate change and sustainable strategy last year for defence - but I’ve also got to make sure I keep people safe, both ourselves and our Allies. 

And that creates one quite interesting problem for defence, which is: we can’t have a gap. So, we can’t give up everything today and wait a few years to develop alternative energies or adopt hydrogen or whatever we’re going to do for our shipping because first and foremost we’ve got to provide security and defence. 

So it’s a really difficult point, an inflexion point that we have to work out. We can do two things: we can be the first adopters, you know, I have an 18 billion dollars, … billon pounds, sorry, capital budget every year, we can be a first adopter in technologies. We can really push the envelope on fuel cells and fuel and how we do things and being sustainable. But also we may in some areas be the last adopter, in another area, because we just simply can’t overnight give up some of the capabilities that would make us less safe. 

So we are confident in our strategy. We are here to help our friends and Allies. And my Defence Review, with which I’ll finish on, that we published in March didn’t just focus on warfighting, it focussed on developing a future armed forces for conflict prevention and post-conflict reconstruction. 

Because I think what you’re going to see in a world afflicted by climate change is conflict starting in a slow way and not a deliberate sort of act of war. And it’s really important that what we do around the world is provide resilience. 

Britain, as a partner to our friends and Allies - and I’m delighted to sit next to my Kenyan colleague, who I last met in Nairobi, that, you know, Kenya comes under real threat from the likes of al-Shabab and its neighbours. And the best way to support Kenya is to help them, to be alongside them, to work together as we have done for many years, and make sure we deal with that very pernicious threat. So that those threats don’t spill over and cause destabilisation in a neighbourhood where Kenya really is the glue to many of those countries neighbouring it, and providing stability that is so important. 

So that’s why we have to configure our forces. We have to have a strategy. But we also have to play our part in managing our environment, adopting new fuels and new technologies and making sure that we play our part across the world in climate emissions’ reductions. 

Ambassador Wolfgang Ischinger: Thanks. Thank you very much. That takes us straight to Kenya. 

Your country held the - if I’m not mistaken - held the presidency in the UN Security Council last month. And I was told that climate considerations played a significant role in your country’s handling of the agenda. 

So tell us how you see, from a Kenyan point of view, the risks of… that climate change poses for security and stability in your part of the world?

Raychelle Omamo [Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs Kenya]: Well, I thank you so much for inviting me to this important forum. I think it is clear as light and day that climate change is a threat multiplier in the Horn of Africa. It contributes to state fragility and to the vulnerability of our people. 

So the question then becomes: what are the steps that ought to be taken to shield our people from the effects of climate change, whether they be food insecurity, whether it’s migration, whether it is just water scarcity that makes agriculture no longer viable? 

For us in the Horn of Africa, it’s essential that we prevent conflicts. It’s not enough to deal with the conflicts after the event. 

And therefore a critical intervention must be improving early warning systems that will enable us to deal with the vicissitudes of the weather, enable us to track food insecurity, enable us to track the path of flooding and so on, so as to generate data and to apply data to decision making and to then ensure that we are able to keep ahead of the curve. 

We must adapt to climate change, and that’s why it is necessary for those who have made promises in terms of financing - keep those promises, because we have to invest in the technology. We have to invest in awareness. We have to invest in adaptation mechanisms that will ensure that our people, who contribute the very least to climate change, benefit from protection. 

Critically, the group that we must look at with the greatest sensitivity are women and children who are to bear the brunt of the challenge of climate change. It is them that are moving. It is them that are walking more miles to collect water. It is them that are spending days and months out of school because of flooding and because of displacement caused by climate shocks. 
As Africa, we can no longer just accept rhetoric. We would like to see promises being kept and we would like to see investment in the right places. And the right place is in the early warning systems that will shield our people and allow us to take proactive action as we adapt to the challenges of climate change. 

I thank you. 

Ambassador Wolfgang Ischinger: Great, thank you so much. Let’s now turn to NATO. Jens, you have spoken about climate change risks and how NATO adapts to meeting these risks in the past. 

So, share with us your thoughts about what the role of these risks are for NATO, how NATO deals, or should deal with climate security risks going forward? 

You have the floor.

Jens Stoltenberg [NATO Secretary General]: Thank you so much, Wolfgang, and thank you so much for convening this very important platform, because I really believe that security and climate, that is two sides of the same coin. 

And I have participated in, actually, six different COPs, six different climate summits - the first one in 1997, when we agreed the Kyoto Protocol. But that has been in my previous capacities as Prime Minister of Norway and as Climate Envoy for the UN. This is the first time, actually, NATO is present at a climate summit as this one - and that reflects the fact that in NATO we have now made climate change an important task for our Alliance. 

Because as the Foreign Minister of Kenya stated, climate change is a crisis multiplier. Climate change is making our world more dangerous. Climate change increases competition about scarce resources as water, land, it forces millions of people to flee. And therefore it matters for security and therefore it matters for NATO. 

And we made an important decision at the NATO Summit in June, where we agreed an action plan. And there are actually three things NATO can do, and we are starting to do all three of them. 

One is to increase awareness. We will have annual assessments about the link between climate change and security. 

The second thing is to mitigate. We need to make sure that we have the technologies, which are reducing emissions - but, of course, we cannot choose between either green or strong armed forces, we need strong and green at the same time. But I’m absolutely confident that in the future, the most effective, the best planes, the best ships, the best military vehicles, they will be fuelled by something different than fossil fuels. They will not emit. 

And we have also seen the United Kingdom and very much pushed by Secretary Ben Wallace. They're actually now pushing this technological change, which is transforming the civilian sector, but also transforming the way we conduct military operations with less emissions. 

The third thing NATO should do is to adapt, because our Armed Forces, they're operating out in nature. And with more extreme weather, our armed forces have to be able to tackle that. 
Everything from extreme heat. We have a training mission in Iraq. Our forces are met or are facing more than 50 degrees Celsius, of course - approximate that is here now in this room…- so that matters for equipment, for uniform, the way they do their military operations.  

The melting ice in the High North matters for the High North, and how we operate out there. 

Increasing sea levels matters for our naval basis, more windier, wetter and wilder weather matters for everything our armed forces do. 

So, this will impact our exercises, our capabilities, and we're integrating this into our military planning and our capability development. 

So, climate change matters for NATO because it matters for our security and NATO is now addressing these challenges.
Ambassador Wolfgang Ischinger: Very good, thank you. Thank you. 

So we have concluded our first round of statements and comments from inside our studio here at COP. We’ll now go to our virtual participants. 

The first one is the one who is responsible really for this German Pavilion here in Glasgow. My good friend Miguel Berger, State Secretary in the Foreign Ministry in Berlin. 

Miguel, you have the floor. Climate and security risks. 

Miguel Berger [State Secretary, German Federal Foreign Office]: Ambassador Ischinger, thank you, thank you very much. And really, our thanks go to Adelphi, to Munich Security Conference for co-organising, but let me also mention Luxembourg, Nauru and the UAE for co-hosting this event today. 

And if I look back, it was in 2011, when Germany was in the UN Security Council as a non-permanent member, that we managed for the first time to negotiate a presidential statement on the question of climate and security in order to highlight, really the importance of this issue. And let me say that I remember very vividly that the Russian ambassador then came to me and said, ‘What do you want to do about climate change? Do you want to see…to send green helmets in order to change things?’ So there was a lot of resistance in the UN Security Council. Regrettably, there still is some. 

But nevertheless, let me say that I think that we have achieved a lot since 2011. We have managed to move the question of climate and security really to the centre stage. 

And why is that so important? I would say that what we need is to make sure that climate and security becomes an integral part of foreign and security policy. And we just have heard the NATO Secretary General speaking about that, and the British Defence Secretary. 

We have to understand that by putting it continuously on the agenda of the UN Security Council, we deal with the threat climate change poses to peace and stability. 

And people have to understand that what we have to look at are…, I would say all what we need is that in all the UN reporting, in all the UN analysis, we need to highlight the risk, the threat multipliers. 

And as the Foreign Minister of Kenya just said, what we need is an early warning. And we think that the UN is best placed to give us this early warning on possible water crisis, food crises, land, natural resources. 

And we also need an effective governance structure, because we know that countries which are fragile, which are instable, also have weak governance structures and administrative structures. So we need also here the help of the United Nations system in order to manage the policies which were just mentioned like adaptation, protection, how to shield people from the negative consequences. 

And allow me the last point, very quickly, that we also have to understand that climate action comes with a political and social price sometimes with implications. 

If we look, for example, at palm oil production.  8 million people in Indonesia depend on that. How do we deal with these questions? 

Renewable energy. We have a huge geopolitical transformation from fossil fuel-producing countries now with a decentralised, towards a decentralised system of energy production. 

So whatever we do on climate action, we have to think about strategies, but also about positive and negative implications. With that, back to you to Glasgow. 

Ambassador Wolfgang Ischinger: Great, thank you very much. My list is still pretty long, so I’m going to go straight to our next speaker, who is the Director-General of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Robert Mardini. Are you there? I think he is there. 

“The 12th most conflict-impaired nations are also those most vulnerable to climate change,”- I’m quoting. 

So the question is: how should the world, how should the international community deal to address these enormous climate-induced challenges for the most vulnerable countries? Robert, please.

Robert Mardini [Director-General, International Committee of the Red Cross]: Thank you, Ambassador Ischinger, excellencies, colleagues, thank you for the opportunity to address these important elements for climate action on the sidelines of COP26, where we all need to work together to leave no one behind. We may come from different ministries, sectors and agencies, but we have a common goal and objective. 

Today at COP26 there is an urgent need for concerted global efforts to limit climate change and avoid the worst effects for people and their environment. But even if ambitious mitigation measures are implemented, climate disruption will continue to severely affect people’s lives for several generations. 

Part of our role is really to acknowledge that people in conflict settings are among those hardest hit. 

I’m just back from a trip to Mali, where what we see there is crystal clear: people affected by armed conflict and violence are the ones also on the frontlines of the climate crisis and are at a massive disadvantage when it comes to adapting to climate change. They are the most vulnerable. 

The reasons are obvious: conflict, weakened institutions and essential services, poor economies, lack of social cohesion and reversal of development gains that have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

I want also to highlight how COP26 can really jumpstart scaling-up climate adaptation to limit the humanitarian impacts of climate change for countries enduring similar challenges. 

First, we need to live up to the commitment to bolster climate action in countries identified by the UNFCCC as particularly vulnerable to climate change. 

Countries enduring conflict are overly represented amongst these, unfortunately - as also was highlighted by previous speakers. Despite their clear vulnerability to climate risk, support for their adaptation to a changing climate is particularly weak because of the uncertainty attached to financing and programming in these very locations. 

We also need to ensure that efforts find their way to communities within these countries that are the most vulnerable, even if they live in unstable and hard-to-reach areas. You very often need to cross many active frontlines to reach some communities that are the most vulnerable of the most vulnerable. 

Second, we can do this by ensuring that climate action in these countries is adequately supported by fit-for-purpose climate finance. And here, risk adversity should not exclude millions of people from receiving much-needed support. States should coordinate to ensure that the process to access funds is simplified, guided by a suitable set of criteria with built-in flexibility to adapt to fluid situations. Harmonising funding and donor requirements could ease the burden and reduce transaction costs for all applicants, which would be particularly enabling for those in conflict or fragile settings. 

We’ve also been working with our partners in the Red Cross movement to really adapt humanitarian action in the face of the climate and environmental crisis. The Climate and Environmental Charter for Humanitarian Organizations - that was launched in May and has now been signed by over 160 humanitarian organisations, - is really a testimony to that. The charter can also be signed by governments as supporters to its key objectives and I really encourage all of you to make this commitment a reality. 

Thank you. And over to you in Glasgow, Ambassador. 

Ambassador Wolfgang Ischinger: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you for a very interesting contribution. 

The next one on my list is the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Malta. 

Minister, you are currently seeking a seat at the table of the United Nations Security Council for the next period, 2023/24. If your country gets elected to the Security Council, what might be the kinds of key priorities which you would pursue in terms of climate change and security risks? 

Please, Minister Bartolo.

Evarist Bartolo [Minister for Foreign Affairs, Malta]: Thank you. Thank you, Ambassador Ischinger. 

Our track record is very clear on this. 

Even 54 years ago, our diplomat, Arvid Pardo, introduced the concept of The Common Heritage of Mankind. We used it then as… for the, eventually, the UN Convention for the Law of the Sea. But there was already an in-built approach there that our planet is our shared home, is our common home. 

In 1988, just when there was the first talk of climate change - at that time referred to as the greenhouse effect - we also introduced the concept of the climate change as being The Common Heritage of Mankind as climate influences all walks of life. 

Later on, our approach was completely incorporated in the 1992 Convention on Climate Change. 

And as I said when we introduced it in 1988, there was a unanimous approach and support for our resolution. 

So our track record is very clear, but we’re not happy with having a tradition on this, but also to build a future. The unfinished business that was started 54 years ago must now continue for the areas beyond also national jurisdiction. 

And that is, about two thirds of the oceans are still the law of the jungle and as part of our planet and tied to climate change, we will work with other countries to also consider that as Common Heritage of Mankind. 

We will speak up for the voiceless. We are the smallest state in the EU, very small island in the Mediterranean, so we will speak up for those islands in other parts of the world, which are the least contributors to climate change but the most hit, the worst hit. Being also neighbours of Africa, Africa is very important for us. 

It is calculated that in the next 7 years, if climate change is not reversed, it will knock off 15% of Africa’s GDP. 100 million people will be pushed into starvation. Larger areas will be uninhabitable and people will move. So there will be a big push for migration. 

We think that approaching this only from a security point of view is not enough. I know I might sound naive, but I’m not afraid to sound naive in this case. We do find money to buy arms, practically about $2 trillion a year. And we are struggling to find, -you know-, 5% of that - $100 billion for climate change mitigation. 

Apparently, we need some $50 trillion, … $50 trillion for the next 20 years to really cope with this. So, unless we really find the money to cope with this, we will have a backlash and it will fade. And if we really need to save the planet I think we need to get our priorities right. 

Peace is important, obviously, it’s essential, but built on that is development. Unless there is socio-economic development, unless people have a job, unless people have enough money to have a decent life, this problem will continue. 

So obviously, climate change is not a standalone. 

Peace and security are not standalones. 

They need to be completely aligned with development. 

Unless we create a better life for people in their daily life, wherever they are, it will… we will fail. And we cannot afford to fail. We must save the planet geographically, but at the same time, let us ensure that we have people still living in it. 

So yes, let’s work on climate change, but let’s also find new ways of living together. This is tied to peace. It’s tied to arms talk. At the same time that we are facing this climate emergency, this is the worst time since the Cold War, when arms talks and arms negotiations and arms control is deteriorating and we cannot afford that. 

Please let us have our priorities right. 

Thank you very much. 

Ambassador Wolfgang Ischinger: Thank you. Thank you so much. We go from the heart of the Mediterranean now once again to the African continent. The next speaker on my list is Ali Bety of Niger. Niger is obviously one of the most vulnerable countries in this respect, because of its very high exposure to climate risks and because of its landlocked position. So give us an explanation, from a point of view of Niger, about what the priorities ought to be, please? 

Ali Bety [High Commissioner of the 3N Initiative, Niger]: Thank you for the invitation to join this meeting. Now, it’s widely accepted that the effect of climate change generate instability and accelerate crisis and conflict. Yesterday, the president of Niger, in his speech at the COP26 opening meeting, was saying that the terrorism in the Sahel is not coming from nowhere, it is greatly linked with the climate change, which by reducing biodiversity, affected the pastoralist way of life. Not only the pastoralist way of life, but also the way of life of oil producers, agricultural producers, fishermen, et cetera. A large number of conflicts in the world are now considered to be linked in one way or another to the combined consequences of desertification. Increasingly unexpected and violent climate… climatic hazard and population growth, which aggravates the pressure of the… on the resources in the Sahel.

Now, the Sahel is one of the areas of the world where the effect of climate change on one side and the deterioration of the security situation of other parties can trigger unprecedented challenges for the states of the region and their partners, forcing us to a reflection on the interrelationship between these phenomena and the most effective, efficient and innovative way of addressing the two sides of the same reality. According to the UN estimates, around 80 percent of the region’s agricultural land is degraded, even though more than 50 million people depend on agriculture and the pastoral activities for their survival. And there is a growing population, among the fastest growing population in the world. Niger has been facing climate hazard and, in particular, episodes of significant drought of several decades, long before climate change became obvious for all and the security issues took centre stage.

Thus, faced with a progressive aridification, and have had to learn to integrate the situation by setting up anticipation and response mechanisms by… but also by integrating it into our development policies. Niger has also… had also set the national system for the prevention and management of food crisis, it has been gradually [inaudible] and improved since the 80s as tools for anticipation, warning and coordination to mitigate and respond to food and nutritional crises. Then enhanced and secured pastoral activities and lifestyle and integrated them into rural development strategies and the promotion of agricultural and livestock systems. Indeed, pastoral is an activity particularly suited to the fragile Sahelian environment, and it has an essential social component.

They’ve made efforts, through the rural court, or land law and Land Development Plan, but also through the development of a strategy for sustainable, and a management that are also good examples of how Niger is trying to address potential issues that generate tension and conflict. Four 10 years, since the advent of the 3N initiative - a Nigerien strategy called ‘Nigeriens Nourish Nigeriens’ - certain priority areas received massive investment among them, access to water to make productive systems less vulnerable to hazard. Then, land restoration to counter the loss of 100,000 hectares of land annually, due to degradation and aridification.

This has made it possible to record significant results in terms of increased yield and production, agricultural growth and rural poverty reduction. We can estimate that these guidelines have helped to avoid major… major food and nutritional crises over the 10 past years, but may also have contributed to countering the phenomena of destabilisation and worsening of inter-community tension that all the Sahelian countries are experiencing more acutely than Niger. My conclusion is that due to the effect of climate change, we need to work together, to face these problems. Thank you. 

Ambassador Wolfgang Ischinger: Thank you very much. Thank you. Now we go straight back to Europe. We have, for the second time, a Minister of Defence: Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence, François Bausch of Luxembourg. Monsieur le Ministre?

François Bausch [Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence, Luxemburg]: Thank you, Mr Ischinger, for giving me the floor. And thanks for all the contributions that I had chance to hear already. 

I must say that for a long time, security questions around climate change had been largely underestimated, and I’m very happy that now - on the one hand inside of the European Union, but also in NATO, but also on the international community - that everybody understands now or sees now that climate change poses major risks for security in general, in our countries, in our nations. And we started in Luxembourg to see the problematic on different levels. The first level was to see that military is widely considered as the single largest institutional contributor to greenhouse gas emissions.

So, as a first consequence, we have to see how we can reduce the carbon footprint of our own military, naturally without breaking down the efficiency of our army, for example, or our military institutions. And so we started by a deep process to see how we could reduce emissions related to heating or, for example, for our military infrastructure in general. But we are also now investing a lot of money in research to see how we could, for example, find other propulsion systems for aircrafts, for ships in our military system and then having, also, a spill-over effect that is very positive at the end of the day for the civil society.

So, the second point is we must also understand that climate change will affect largely the readiness of the military itself. It really endangers military infrastructures everywhere in the world. So that alone is a question also that we must really put a focus on now in the next years, to see how we could prevent our military infrastructure and stay… keep our military readiness in general. And then the third point is, naturally, what has been described already by many speakers before me, especially from Africa. That is: what are consequences of climate change on the security level regarding… knowing that desertification, decrease of productivity or prolonged droughts, for example, or floodings, have an enormous impact on the populations, are decreasing the productivity of the populations and the economical systems in different countries.

And if you see already what is happening at the moment, for example, in the Sahel zone, we can see that it is a real disaster in the Sahel zone because more and more population don’t have anymore access to fertile land, for example, or access to water. And that is really a large background of the conflicts that we have in the Sahel zone, for example, in Mali. And then we… I’m very happy that now, inside of NATO, for example, we have a large debate on the strategic agenda. And really, we try to include, to hold risks from climate change that we have today for the security situation in the world - and the same is inside of the European Union. And in Luxembourg we have adopted already for several years the 3D strategy, so: developing, diplomacy and also defence and these three… these three sectors are coming always together.

So we apply this 3D strategy in our common… in our daily business when we speak about defence and security. So, for example, in the Sahel zone, we largely invest also in development, besides being active in the defence sector and also using the diplomatic way. So really knowing that prevention is most important and in this… from this point of view, prevention means that we have to really give us… give us all the possibilities that are existing to really prevent from climate change, because that will be then, also, an excellent prevention in the security… in our security situation, or on our security situation.

So we are… my country is one of the most open economies in the world. So we have really an obligation, not only because we are a wealthy country, we have an obligation to really look at the peace and security wellbeing, by really seeing that climate change affects largely the security situation in most of the countries or regions in the world. So it must be, in the future, a major part of all defence and military strategy. So… and then in this case, we have really to put largely the focus on prevention. Thank you. 

Ambassador Wolfgang Ischinger: Thank you very much. We’ve heard from the United Nations at the very beginning of this discussion. We’ve heard from NATO. We’re now going to Vienna to headquarters of OSCE and Helga Schmid, the new Secretary General of OSCE, will explain to us how OSCE deals with these new and increasing climate challenges and security risks going forward. Helga, please?

Helga Maria Schmid [Secretary General, OSCE]: Thanks a lot, Wolfgang, and also thanks to all those who have made this very important side event possible. Very happy to explain what the OSCE is doing, but before I do that, I just have to come back to something Miguel Berger mentioned. And this was indeed the first Security Council debate on the link between climate change and security. And that reminds me of 2008, when I was the penholder for an EU report on climate change and security, which probably, for the first time at least for the EU, was describing climate change as a threat multiplier, not a security challenge as such, but a threat multiplier that exacerbates existing threats and challenges. And I think what we’ve been trying to do ever since back then and also in the OSCE now is to bring together the climate community with the security community.

This means we try to adapt a security lens to climate adaptation and mitigation, but we also try to introduce a climate lens to the different stages of the conflict cycle, from early warning, to crisis management, to post-conflict rehabilitation. Now, of course, the question is how do you get there? And a couple of things have been raised already. Jens Stoltenberg spoke about the need to raise awareness. Indeed, we have to deploy the foresight tools and… to assess, but also analyse the risks and generate reliable information for preparedness and early warning. Another very important issue is to… address, use women as particularly important stakeholders - this is what we’re doing in the OSCE, also with a particular focus on… on capacity-building training for women, as very important agents for change.

But I would like to underline another point, and this is that we need to, in a way, also not only see climate security as a risk, but also an opportunity - an opportunity if we promote regional cooperation, because climate change doesn’t stop at borders. So if the analysis is that it affects a region, we have to promote regional cooperation, which can be trust-building. And then maybe one point because Minister Bausch referred to research and, actually, some people ask me, ‘So why is the OSCE dealing with climate change?’ And my reply is always, ‘Look at the Helsinki Final Act back in 1975. It already recognises the impact of climate phenomena and calls upon the participating states to work together on research. I found this fascinating and maybe this is… we need a bit of this, like, Helsinki spirit also today.

And maybe last point because we don’t only do… we don’t only offer a platform for dialogue in the OSCE, we also have very concrete projects in… we have… been doing with our participating states in Central Asia, but also South Caucasus, Eastern Europe, South Eastern Europe and, in particular, to assess climate security risks at the regional level and we have mapped hotspots. Now, out of 40 hotspots we have mapped, 28 are actually cross-regional, so shared natural resources, equal common challenges and… but also opportunities that can be seized. And I think this is quite significant, because some of the countries concerned don’t maybe always enjoy the most friendly of relations.

So after the assessment stage, we are now looking into very concrete projects in terms of joint management of mountain areas, for example, in South Eastern Europe for climate adaptation. Also joint conservation, or strengthening wildfire management in the South Caucasus, for example. And by the way, Adelphi is our key partner in all that. These are just some examples, important steps, but let me say a lot more can be done and a lot more needs to be done. Thanks. 

Ambassador Wolfgang Ischinger: Thank you very much, Helga. Great. We are rapidly running out of time in this programme, we need to conclude by 5 p.m., so what I’m now going to do is this: we have three brief statements coming up and then we will shorten the final round and simply invite our participants who are physically present here to offer their concluding remarks. And in this way, I hope that we can terminate this before 5 p.m. So the next speaker in this initial round is the Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Prime Minister Gonsalves, please? 

Ralph Gonsalves [Prime Minister, St. Vincent and the Grenadines]: Thank you very much, your excellencies. I’ve listened very carefully to what everyone has said thus far, and I believe that there is a consensus in relation to the link between climate change and issues of security. Last year, in November, when St. Vincent and the Grenadines held the presidency of the Security Council, our signature event addressed the matter of contemporary drivers of insecurity and brought this issue to the fore. And, of course, during the current presidency, of the government of Kenya, we work together on this very issue, in this very month. In fact, there was a session chaired by my friend, the President Uhuru Kenyatta. Look, we all know what are the issues.

And the question is whether the world is going to be serious and particularly the major emitters in the world are going to be serious too, for us to get the 1.5 degree Celsius target and whether we’re going to have in excess of $100 billion on an annualised basis. And the truth is this, is that those of us, the small island developing states, we are not very confident that on either of those matters, that the major emitters are as serious as they should be. But we are one Earth, one planet Earth, there is no way in which people in the developed world can hide. And it isn’t… it’s entirely a matter of selfishness and greed and a lack of consideration for the science, for us to continue in this crazy manner in which we have been going. And it’s not only a matter of conflict between countries, there’s conflict within countries between peoples of the same country as a consequence of climate change, the issues touching and concerning problems with biodiversity and certainly land degradation, desertification and drought. In St. Vincent and the Grenadines, a small island group of countries as an archipelago of 32 islands, we’re having real serious problems. I mean, over the last 10 years in excess of, cumulatively in excess of one year’s GDP gone, vanished, because of climate change and weather-related events.

And… it’s unpredictable, it’s unprecedented, it’s very urgent and very severe. And the most I can do is to make the plea for us to address the central questions, which we know need to be addressed, but we have been pussyfooting around them. And the world’s peoples are getting fed up with… with all the talk and insufficient action. And we have to be careful that we don’t become cynical. And that’s really my, essentially, my brief contribution here, because we know what all the facts are. I don’t… I don’t want to give a recitation of them. They have been well-canvassed. And every speaker has indicated that they’re aware of what is happening. Do we have the will? Leaders must lead. In the same way that teachers must teach and prophets must prophesise. Leaders must lead. And we have to work together on this. To save our planet. Simple as that. For life-living and production, for children and grandchildren, otherwise it’s going to be hell on earth. Thank you.

Ambassador Wolfgang Ischinger: Thank you very much, Prime Minister. Great. Let’s now quickly turn to our last two speakers. The first one is Mariam Almheiri, the Minister of Climate Change of the United Arab Emirates. Please?

Mariam Almheiri [Minister of Climate Change and Environment, United Arab Emirates]: Thank you, Ambassador Ischinger, excellencies, colleagues, it is an honour to join you at COP26 and co-host alongside Germany, Adelphi, the Munich Security Conference, Luxembourg and Nauru. The diversity of this group attests to how far we have come in normalising the concept of climate security. Sadly, it also evidences the extent of climate impacts on security in many different regions. As an arid, low-lying country, the UAE is acutely aware of what further temperature rises, ocean acidification and sea level rise will mean for our food and water security. Moreover, as the UAE has provided over $1.5 billion of consensual finance for renewable energy across 70 countries, we have simultaneously spent billions of dollars on humanitarian relief for climate disasters and conflicts that are unequivocally worsened by climate change.

Our partners report climate induced displacement, destruction of infrastructure, social stress and even extremism as resource scarcity begins to bite. It is accordingly time for our climate security to assume a place at the top of the international agenda, especially here at the COPs. Our decisions in the UNFCCC must be informed by the fact that many countries are experiencing climate change as a form of violence. The UAE places climate security at the heart of both our Security Council term starting in January and our offer to host COP28 in 2023. Not coincidentally, these leadership positions coincide. Our goal is to consult widely and accelerate implementation of practical steps across the international system that can help countries to preserve their security in the face of climate threats.

I would like to highlight four potential areas of focus. First, we need to look at increased adaptation investment in climate-vulnerable countries that are also fragile - especially agricultural communities. We cannot overstate the security implications of the collapse of rural economies. Interventions could range from solar powered irrigation to drought-resistant seeds to coastal management. Explicit pre-emptive action by the World Bank, UNDP and other major multilateral budgets would be an important start. Second, and related, we need to accelerate innovation for agriculture adaptation so that there are more tools for food producers to cope with climate impacts. To that end, the UAE today, with the United States and over 30 other government partners, launched Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate.

We are significantly increasing investment in agricultural innovation for climate solutions by 2025, with an initial announcement of $4 billion today, and we would welcome more countries to join us. Third, we must empower multilateral agencies to undertake anticipatory action, releasing resources before credibly predicted climate disasters like droughts and floods. Field evidence indicates reaching twice as many people at half the cost, as well as reducing the post-disaster strain that amplifies insecurity.

Last but not least, we need to ensure that climate security work is gender-sensitive, given the disproportionate impacts on women and girls and their centrality to resilience. Metrics will be key to ensure equitable distribution of humanitarian assistance and recovery investment, as well as women’s roles in decision-making. I look forward to assessing and refining these and other proposals over the next two years. Climate security is an all-encompassing issue from the Security Council to the UNFCCC. It is the right investment for our economy, our safety, our future. Thank you. 

Ambassador Wolfgang Ischinger: Great, thank you very much. The last speaker in this initial series comes from the United States. Gillian Caldwell, Climate Change Coordinator of USAID. If you could please also try to limit yourself to two… a maximum of three minutes, that would be great. You have the floor, Mrs. Caldwell. 

Gillian Caldwell [Climate Change Coordinator and Deputy Assistant Administrator, USAID]: Thank you so much and I’m honoured to be here. And it’s obvious, as was already said, that we have consensus and it’s also obvious that we haven’t acted swiftly enough and that we need to change standard practice and get going here at this COP because it’s really almost too late. So rather than speak at length about the links between climate change and national security, I just want to reiterate a few recent announcements. And there are many more forthcoming from the US government because of course, we played a role, a significant role in creating the climate crisis, as did many other developing economies. And we must step up to the plate with respect to commitments on the adaptation front, on the finance front and on the mitigation front.

So as was already announced by our President Biden at the UN General Assembly, we have committed to providing at least 11.4 billion a year in climate-related finance, starting in 2024. That’s a quadrupling of the prior commitments. And then just this week, in fact, we announced PREPARE, which is the President’s Emergency Plan for Adaptation and Resilience, through which we will be providing 3 billion a year as part of that 11.4 billion a year starting in 2024, with an effort to reach a half a billion people to support them in their climate resilience needs between now and 2030. I share the frustration that has been expressed, especially by the colleague that just went before me, and I recognise that it’s been too little, but it’s not too late for all of us to step up to the plate and make a difference. Our security depends on it, our planet depends on it and our people and future generations depend on it. So thank you very much for inviting us here, and please stay tuned for many important announcements from the US government in the days to come. 

Ambassador Wolfgang Ischinger: Thank you. Thank you so much. Great. Because we are running out of time. Here’s what we’ll do. I’ll invite our three speakers present here with me in the room to offer their concluding comments, and I think what we should focus… what we should try to focus on now is, because it seems that almost everybody agrees to the diagnosis and to the urgency - but what needs to be the action now? And I’m sure you have rather different viewpoints, when I think of NATO, when I think of the UK, when I think of Kenya. And at the end, I’ll invite Miguel Berger of the German Foreign Office to offer his concluding remarks. Maybe we’ll do it in reverse order. 
So Jens, if that’s OK, why don’t you start and then then we’ll go to Ben and Raychelle would be the last speaker. 

Jens Stoltenberg: The action is we need to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. That’s as difficult and as simple as that.

Then, of course, we have different responsibilities for achieving that. My responsibility as Secretary General NATO is, of course, to make sure that the military, that they play their part, or that they contribute to reducing the emissions. 

And back in Kyoto when we had the first agreement, military missions were explicitly exempted from any obligations to reduce. And now it's actually hardly mentioned. 

And one of the problems when it comes to military missions is that we don't have good statistics, we don't have good numbers, for many reasons, but partly also for historical reasons there has been such… security and so on around military emissions. 

So one of the first things we'll do at NATO is to actually develop a methodology, a framework, an agreed mapping, a structure to count military emissions, because that's the first step to reduce military emissions. 

And that'll be one contribution to get a reduction of military emissions. 

And the big issue is the issues we are discussing here, the 1.5 degree to keep that alive, stop the use of fossil fuels, preserve the rainforest and all the other issues, but I'll leave that to the others because my responsibility is to do something with military emissions, which is one part of the big answer. 

Thank you.

Ambassador Wolfgang Ischinger: OK. Wonderful. Ben?

Ben Wallace: It, it… as we know, it’s circular. If you don’t have security, you can’t deliver some of the mitigations that we’re going to have to deliver to take on both the effects of climate change and to reduce towards the 1.5 percent target. And if you don’t do that, you get more conflict and then you don’t get more security. And I think you can’t deliver security from behind your walls. You can’t sit in your country at home and invest in your armed forces, but not actually go abroad. Partnership, develop strong partners with sometimes non-traditional partners to make sure you deliver security and resilience around the world. And you can’t also ignore that there are some countries who also further conflict with the use of things like mercenaries, proliferation of weapons and actually leads to more instability. And without stability, we won’t be able to mitigate those effects. And I think it’s really important that we recognise therefore that part of the solution is defence going out and about providing resilience.

Also being an example with our money to adapt, to be the first adopters of new technology, but also to make sure that we are there as the sort of final safety net to make sure that the consequences don’t destabilise wider regions. And you know, it’s not an easy circle to square, some people will say - and we heard some of our contributors today - that what we really need to do is just stop buying weapons and the world will be much better. And it’s absolutely right about balance of investment and, you know, all our governments will have seen more money spent on climate change historically than they would have done - and that is true, and there’s definitely a direction of travel. But fundamentally, security and environmental policies actually go hand in hand and working together - both internally in government as a team to deliver that, but also internationally in strong partnerships - is the other way to deliver the other part of the bargain. 

Ambassador Wolfgang Ischinger: Perfect. Thank you very much, Raychelle?

Raychelle Omamo: It’s extremely clear to me after listening to the contributions that have been made today that climate change is increasing state vulnerability and state fragility. So one of the things that we must do as we look to the promises around adaptation being kept, that we apply these funds to increasing state capabilities. Our states need to be more agile. They need to be more responsive. They need to be more predictive. And they need to be able to target the most vulnerable in our societies. So it is essential that we understand that states are not only confronting the climate change challenge in our region, they’re also dealing with threat conflation from other threats - be they terrorism, be they the proliferation of light weapons, be they border disputes, be they resource conflicts. States in Africa are increasingly required to do 20, 30 things at the same time.

We have been confronting unprecedented climate challenges as well as COVID-19. So we need to build states that are able to manage a variety of things at the same time, to do so effectively and to ensure that they’re ahead of the curve. And that’s a big challenge that adaptation needs to look at carefully. It is not enough simply to place money or resources haphazardly. It’s essential that if promises are made and finances are made available, that we apply them where they are needed. And what COVID-19 has shown us is that the state needs to be strong, needs to be agile, it needs to work with its societies, it needs to work with communities, it needs to lead the way. If we continue to produce fragile states, then the problem of insecurity in Africa and elsewhere will only increase as the climate challenge overwhelms us. I thank you. 

Ambassador Wolfgang Ischinger: Thank you. Thank you very much. I wonder whether our technicians can bring in State Secretary Berger, for a concluding observation. Let’s see whether that works. There he is. You can have a one minute intervention, Miguel. 

Miguel Berger: Thank you very much, Ambassador Ischinger. And I think it has become very clear from today’s discussion that there is quite a lot of work still ahead of us. And let me only mention that we have at the United Nations in New York an excellent Group of Friends, now 59 countries, cross-regional, who are working on concrete proposals. And let me only highlight two of them. One is that we think that we need a UN Special Envoy for Climate Change and Security, and that we need an annual United Nations Secretary General report on climate and security risks, because we need a state of the art report, which then should be the basis, also, for directing resources where they are needed. So still a lot of work which lies ahead of us. And let me finalise by saying that what we would like to do. And we are going to start an initiative which will come out of the Group of Friends to bring together development experts, defence, foreign policy experts, and Ambassador Ischinger, we hope that for the Munich Security Conference in February, we will be able to present a new initiative on this issue. So again, thank you very much to you and to all those who participated at today’s event. 

Ambassador Wolfgang Ischinger: Thank you very much. And let me conclude by thanking our three speakers here, thank you very much, but thank you also to those who participated from abroad, from various places around the world. This is an urgent and important subject, and I’m happy to say that we at the Munich Security Conference were right in placing these issues on the agenda early, not just now, but beginning already a few years ago. And I promise that as we are now planning the 2022 edition of the Munich Security Conference next February, we will make sure that this… that these questions will have a serious place on the agenda. And it would be great, State Secretary Berger, if meaningful, concrete results - a concrete plan - could actually be presented and debated and discussed in Munich. Thank you very much. Thanks to our audience here behind the screen. Have a great day. Thank you so much. 

Jens Stoltenberg: Thank you.

Raychelle Omamo: Thank you.