States and communities around the world are increasingly being confronted with a variety of climate change and security related challenges. How to build resilience in the emerging and evident nexus between climate and security was a key discussion point throughout the Friends of Europe Policy Insight “Building climate resilience: cooperation, collaboration and foresight” on 24 April. The panel of speakers agreed that absorbing and adapting to these threats, while in parallel mitigating them, will require better and improved governance. But the type of governance required would need to adapt significantly to the range of actors that are implicated and are at the frontline when shocks and crises happen, from local authorities, military and army, to NGOs and international security organisations.
Cities are at the forefront of the consequences of climate change and security threats. If resilience at a local level is to work, we need to break silos in budgeting and mandates. Multi-agency working and practice should be the new order of the day focused on ensuring that communities can bounce back from crises, whether related to climate or security. A “holistic approach and a systemic vision of local development” is needed said Sébastien Maire, Chief Resilience Officer of Paris.
However, a lack of foresight and prevention by policymakers exacerbates the efficient implementation of solutions. “Now we need to think about how the world is going to be,” said Oli Brown, Senior Programme Coordinator for Disasters and Conflicts at the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). “Sixty percent of the buildings that going to exist in 2050 haven’t yet been built.”
On the human level, climate change is a huge security threat as it intersects with poor environment management and broader institutional or socioeconomic fragility such as racial discrimination. “The answer cannot be more response,” said Tessa Kelly, Climate Change Coordinator at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). “It has to be fewer people in need. So, we are working with communities to better understand the risks they face.” Taking a community view would improve the capacity and capability of agencies to build resilience.
The impact of climate change and security related issues amplify resource competition and increase the risk of instability and violent conflict. Military forces are increasingly preparing for and involved in the consequences. New modes of governance, greater agility in working across sectors and agencies and making better use of foresight will be key to learning from past experience and mistakes.
Should you not be able to view the gallery, click here.