Building climate resilience: Cooperation, collaboration and foresight

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Peace, Security & Defence
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Building climate resilience: Cooperation, collaboration and foresight

Summary

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.

Building climate resilience

Building climate resilience: Cooperation, collaboration and foresight

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Building climate resilience: Cooperation, collaboration and foresight

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About

About

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.


IMAGE CREDIT: encrier/Bigstock

Schedule

Schedule

Welcome lunch and registration of participants
Debate
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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

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

Moderator

Dharmendra Kanani

Chief Operating Officer and Chief Spokesperson of Friends of Europe

Speakers

Speakers

Oli Brown
Oli Brown

Senior Programme Coordinator for Disasters and Conflicts at the UN Environment Programme (UNEP)

Show more information on Oli Brown

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.

Tessa Kelly
Tessa Kelly

Climate Change Coordinator at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC)

Show more information on Tessa Kelly

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
Sébastien Maire

Chief Resilience Officer of Paris

Show more information on Sébastien Maire

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
Michael Ruehle

Head of Energy Security at the NATO Emerging Security Challenges Division

Show more information on Michael Ruehle

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.

Dharmendra Kanani
Dharmendra Kanani

Chief Operating Officer and Chief Spokesperson of Friends of Europe

Show more information on Dharmendra Kanani

Prior to joining Friends of Europe, Dharmendra Kanani was director of policy at the European Foundation Centre (EFC). He was the England director at the Big Lottery Fund, the largest independent funder in the UK and fourth largest in the world. Dharmendra has held senior positions in the public and voluntary sector and advisor to numerous ministerial policy initiatives across the UK.

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