Cooperation, collaboration and foresight

24 April 2018 - 13:00 - 14:30
Oli Brown, Dharmendra Kanani, Tessa Kelly, Sébastien Maire, Michael Ruehle

In the era of uncertainty and growing concerns over the impacts of climate change, this event aims to explore how national and subnational bodies can respond to growing irregular risks such as disruptions in food, water, and energy supplies or rising sea levels. As these issues can be major amplifying factors in conflict and challenge security and stability, this event will discuss how we can strengthen our resilience vis-à-vis climate change.

This event is the second of a series of debates on resilience, which aims to develop, foster and promote building resilience into systems, policies and approaches that enables states and societies to withstand, adapt, recover and respond to shocks and crises. It is part of Friends of Europe’s Peace, Security and Defence Programme, supported by the United States European Command (EUCOM). Our work is firmly anchored in our expertise in a range of fields, including energy and climate change, geopolitics, international development, migration and health. We seek a holistic approach to European, transatlantic and global security policies. Security considerations are, in turn, mainstreamed into these areas of expertise, enriching the debate by encouraging experts to think outside their comfort zones.

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Welcome lunch and registration of participants

13.00 -14.30

Building resilient states and communities is climbing up the international security and development agendas. The new European Consensus on Development as well as the EU’s Global Strategy have put resilience at the core of their policy and actions, emphasising the need for states and communities to build up their ability to withstand, recover and respond to a multiplicity of shocks and stresses. Particularly important is the need to adapt to spiralling environmental pressures, from disruptions in food, water, and energy supplies to increases in damage from extreme weather and sea level rise, issues that can be major amplifying factors in conflict and threats to security and stability. Although climate action has been a priority for many years, the international community has struggled to create a concrete, effective and large-scale blueprint for mitigating the threats and challenges posed by extreme-weather events. It is important to include a wider range of actors, including military and security organisations whose ability to analyse and deal with risks rather than certainties makes them uniquely well-equipped to tackle environment-related security challenges. Responding to climate risks will require effective prevention and risk assessment coordination between EU, national, and subnational bodies to create more space for innovation and action to build climate resilience.

  • How can public policy and risk management be better used by institutions to foster coherence and resilience in climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction?  
  • What role is there for cities, civil society and business leaders to contribute to climate resilience? How can this relationship be encouraged at the institutional level?
  • Can we successfully integrate climate action into local governance and its planning, policies and projects to respond to the challenges posed by climate change?

Speakers include:

Oli Brown, Senior Programme Coordinator for Disasters and Conflicts at the UN Environment Programme (UNEP)
Tessa Kelly, Climate Change Coordinator at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC)
Sébastien Maire, Chief Resilience Officer of Paris
Michael Ruehle, Head of Energy Security at the NATO Emerging Security Challenges Division

Moderated by
Dharmendra Kanani, Director of Strategy at Friends of Europe 

Oli Brown
Senior Programme Coordinator for Disasters and Conflicts at the UN Environment Programme (UNEP)
In his current role at UNEP in Nairobi, Oli Brown helps to plan, deliver and monitor UN Environment’s work to reduce the environmental causes and consequences of natural disasters, industrial accidents and armed conflicts. Within the programme, Brown works on providing innovative and efficient environmental solutions helping countries respond to crises, prepare for future emergencies, and minimise the negative impact of environmental degradation on human well-being. An expert on environmental security, Brown previously worked at Chatham House and the International Institute for Sustainable Development.
Dharmendra Kanani
Director of Insights at Friends of Europe
Dharmendra Kanani has been in senior leadership roles in the Public and Voluntary sectors across the UK and Europe over a period of 26 years. In 2005, he was appointed as Director of Scotland of the Big Lottery Fund. Subsequently, from 2010 to 2014, Kanani was the England Director at the Big Lottery Fund, the largest independent funder in the UK. Since 2016, he has supported Friends of Europe’s strategic development across all its policy areas with a strong focus on Climate and Energy; Peace, Security and Defence as well as Digitalisation. Prior to this role, Kanani was the European Foundation Centre’s (EFC) first Fellow in July 2014. 
Tessa Kelly
Climate Change Coordinator at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC)
In her current position, Tessa Kelly is in charge of developing a post-Paris Climate Agreement strategy on climate change and global engagement for the IFRC. Kelly previously led the IFRC’s work on law and disaster risk reduction and managed the Disaster Law Programme for the Asia Pacific region in Kuala Lumpur. Before joining IFRC, her prior country-level experiences in Vietnam and Lao PDR involved working closely with local and national governments, as well as regional organisations, in the field of disaster risk management and climate change adaptation.
Sébastien Maire
Chief Resilience Officer of Paris
An expert in local authorities management, Sébastien Maire has a strong record on sustainable development and urbanism, as well as social crisis management. Paris is facing major natural disaster challenges such as flooding and severe heat waves, and as Paris CRO, Maire has been spearheading the city’s resilience strategy with a wide panel of stakeholders. Supported by the global 100 Resilient Cities (100RC) network, his strategy focuses on both responding to terrorism and adapting urban planning to risks posed by climate change.
Michael Ruehle
Head of Energy Security at the NATO Emerging Security Challenges Division
With 30 years of experience at NATO, Michael Ruehle currently focuses on non-traditional threats, including environmental risks and energy vulnerabilities. This includes, amongst others, looking at the cross-cutting nature of new challenges, such as the risks of environmental disasters to critical infrastructure. Before joining the Emerging Security Challenges Division, Ruehle worked as Senior Political Advisor in the Secretary-General’s Policy Planning Unit. Prior to that, he was a Volkswagen-Fellow at the Konrad-Adenauer and a Visiting Fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington DC.
This event is exclusively for Friends of Europe’s members, EU institution representatives and media.

Mikaela d’Angelo, Programme Manager
Tel.: +32 2 893 98 20
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