The Hague, The Netherlands, 11 Feb 2016

The Hague Roundtable on Climate and Security

In 2015 two roundtables entitled ‘’The Hague Roundtable on Climate and Security’’ were held highlighting climate change risks to human security and potential actions to alleviate present and emerging dangers. Senior Dutch government officials, foreign ambassadors to The Hague and representatives of international stakeholder organizations attended. Professor of Climate Change Impacts & Coastal Risk, Rosh Ranasinghe, represented UNESCO-IHE.

Potential climate impacts on security

Ranasinghe: ‘’Many people, are still unaware of the impact that climate change can have on human security. Climate change can result in impacts such as permanent inundation, food shortage, and frequent natural disasters leading to mass migration of people. This could worsen the already severe refugee crisis by adding millions of a new type of refugees: environmental refugees (or climate refugees), and in worst case scenarios, might lead to border conflicts between neighbouring nations I found it very interesting to learn more about that aspect of climate change at these roundtable discussions.’’

Seeing the bigger picture of climate change

‘’Being a scientist, my day-to-day work focuses on  detailed and scientific questions on the subject of climate change impacts on coastlines, which seems far removed from human security issues such as wars due to climate change . Attending the Roundtable meetings reiterated to me the bigger societal issues the world may face in the 21st century. It was very interesting to hear senior military officials talking about how climate change could affect their work-domains in extremely tangible ways.’’

Providing policy groups with quantitative information on future hazards

“The wide expertise of UNESCO-IHE could be very useful to help those attempting negate climate change driven security issues. We can assist these groups by providing quantitative information on future hazards such as permanent and episodic flooding (river and coastal), drought frequency, groundwater depletion/contamination, sea water intrusion, coastal erosion and recession which would help them to take necessary steps to minimize these effects or better prepare for it.”

The next roundtable, an initiative of the Institute for Environmental Security (IES), will be held in the spring of 2016. The focus continues on climate adaption policy and preparedness. 

For more information, contact Matt Luna, IES Communication: mluna@envirosecurity.org