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Shifting Bases, Shifting Perils
Security Implications of Climate Change in
the OSCE Region
Achim Maas, Adelphi Research (Berlin)
Environment and Economic Officers Annual Staff Meeting
3 February 2010, Vienna
Structure of Presentation and Scoping Study
The Scoping Study was implemented by Adelphi
Research in cooperation with Chatham House and
 Climate Change and Security
 Mapping Security Implications of Climate Change
 An Emerging Response
 Recommendations
1. Climate Change and Security:
Interlinkages, Concepts and
Environment & Conflict: Known interlinkages
That environment is a
factor in contributing to
outbreak, duration and
termination of violent
conflict is not new.
Climate change will
intensify and multiply
environmental drivers
of conflict, but will also
add new qualities to
environmental conflict.
World Map of Environmental Conflicts 1980-2005
Source: Carius et al. 2006
Climate change: Transformer of Constants…
Infrastructure: Grafted on a
stable environment, thawing of
permafrost and related impacts
will challenge planning.
Environmental Patterns:
Economies and institutions are
adapted to certain patterns – such as
river flows and monsoons – which will
change due to climate variability.
Territory: Sea-level rise will
reshape borderlines of countries
and thus their territory.
… and Multiplier of Threats
Resources: Competition over
resources (land, water, energy,
food, labour, income, …) may
Climate-fuelled migration:
States may vanish and
economies contract – and
population forced to leave.
Fragility: Changing distribution of
resources and inadequate
management of climate impacts may
erode the social contract – and may
destabilise states.
© UNHCR/H.Caux/December 2005
Security Implications Plausible – But certain?
Security consequences from climate change are plausible, but questions
remaining are: When, where and what to expect and hopefully predict?
Migration: Number ranges are huge,
with few serious estimates. How will
climate change drive migration and
where will it be a sui generis cause of it?
Psycho-Cultural Aspects:
How do individuals and societies
adapt to climate change – and where
may it trigger what type of violence?
Institutions and governance: How
climate change is managed by
institutions will greatly affect if
conflicts turn violent.
Scenarios on Climate Change and Security
Scenarios: Coherent,
systematically developed
statement of a likely future.
Reducing Uncertainties: Identifying
key risks and where additional
research is needed – providing a
framework for action.
Policy Pathways: Developing
responses and indicators to assess
progress – foundations for a early
warning mechanism.
2. Mapping Potential Security
Implications of Climate Change
Mapping Potential Security Implications
Providing a first overview to potential security
implications of climate change in four regions of interest
for the OSCE
Desk-based scoping study based on available literature
Focus on security implications
Focus on climate change
The OSCE Dimensions
The Arctic
Environment and Economic Dimension
Livelihood Challenges
Environmental Degradation
Resource Claims
Transportation Routes
Politico-Military Dimension
Territorial Claims
Militarisation of the Arctic
Human Dimension
Impacts on Indigenous Communities
Southern Mediterranean
Environment and Economic Dimension
Decreasing Food and Water Security
Displacement of Large Populations
Economic Stagnation
Politico-Military Dimension
Militarisation of Water Disputes
Weakening of Civil Authorities
Intensifying Extremism
Human Dimension
Violation of Human Rights
Impacts on Civil Liberties
South East and Eastern Europe
Environment and Economic Dimension
Energy Insecurity
Food Insecurity
Economic Deteroriation
Population Movements
Politico-Military Dimension
Ethno-Political Tensions
Human Dimension
Social Tensions
Authoritarian Governance
South Caucasus and Central Asia
Environment and Economic Dimension
Decrease in Food and Water Availability
Disasters and Health Impacts
Aral Sea Deterioration
Politico-Military Dimension
Escalating Water Tensions
Increase in Extremism
Disputes over the Caspian Sea
Human Dimension
Impacts on Human Rights and Minorities
Potential Impacts of Climate Change on Security
Climate Change
1st Order
2nd Order
3rd Order
Economic and
Adverse Impacts on
Societal Foundations
Impacts on Territory
and Borders
Human Dimension
Conflict Risk
Impacts on
Human Rights,
Rule of Law, etc.
3. An Emerging Response
The UN Process
Political Level
• Debate at UN Security Council in 2007
• Debate at UN General Assembly in 2009, GA Resolution
63/281 adopted
• Debate at other bodies, such as UN Human Rights
Council in 2008
Technical Level
• Report by UN Secretary-General
• Studies, guidance notes and assessments by
specialised agencies
• First projects commencing, e.g. in the Pacific
The EU Process
Commenced during German EU Council Presidency in
Joint Paper by High-Representative Solana and
European Commission in 2008
Roadmap on Climate Change and International Security
for 2008 and 2009
General Affairs Council welcomed results of the
Roadmap in December 2009
The Added Value of OSCE
Inclusive body
Comprehensive mandate and approach
Established forum for dialogue
Field presences
4. Recommendations
Recommendations – Political Level
Climate change survey
Joint sessions of key bodies
International partnering
Approaching non-OSCE stakeholders
Follow-up on Bucharest
Recommendations – Technical Level
Coordination and cooperation
Disseminating information
Improving networking and communication
Conducting regional consultation and assessments
Building capacity
Improving research and analysis
Thank you for your attention!
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