Environmental Security: New Challenges for Comprehensive Security Strategies

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Nov 8, 2013 (3 years and 11 months ago)

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Environmental Security: New Challenges
for Comprehensive Security Strategies

Dr. Barbara Haering, Switzerland


Chair of the Committee on Security Policies of the National Council

e c o

n c e p t Inc. Zurich, Switzerland

Conference on Climate Change and Security

Singapore, October 11/12, 2007

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Outline


Growing awareness


Major concerns with regard to environmental security


Environmental threats and environmental vulnerability


Energy security


Preventing and/or repairing military damages


Gendering environmental security


Examples


Recommendations



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Growing awareness


Since years scientific research has been done on the relation between
the environment and the security of human beings.


Today, citizens, politicians and the media get more and more aware of
environmental threats and their consequences for national and
international security and stability.



1999 the EU Parliament discussed a report as well as a resolution on
Environment, Security and Foreign Affairs. The UNSC held its first
debate on security implications of climate change on April 17, 2007.


However, environmental security is more than climate change or
energy security!

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Environmental security: Four major concerns


Protecting the environment due to its inherent moral value:

Concerns about the adverse impact of human activities on the
environment.


Preventing or responding to environmentally caused conflicts:

Concerns about direct and indirect effects of environmental change
on national, regional or trans
-
regional security.


Overlapping threats:

Responding to situations where environmental
threats and conflicts overlap..


Preventing or repairing military damage to the environment:
Concerns about the adverse impact of violent conflicts and military
actions on the environment.

Based on: Millennium Project of the WFUNA (2007)

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Environmental threats

Many issues related to the environment can threaten security:


Environmental changes due to global warming:

Climate change
causes falling water tables, desertification, sea level rise, intense
storms and floods, deadly heat waves.


Environmental scarcity:

Environmental scarcity has three aspects:


Depletion of environmental resources


Population growth


Unequal distribution of resources


Management of natural resource assets:

Natural resources play an
important role in fuelling and sustaining conflicts, particularly in Africa.

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Ecological footprint


Today, the global Ecological Footprint is 23% larger than what the
planet can regenerate. While some countries do not use the full
ecological capacity they are able to produce, others use twice as much.

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Environmental vulnerability

Environmental vulnerability is a complex phenomenon too. It combines:


Exposure:

The effects of climate change will vary in different regions
of the world.


Sensitivity:

Regions can be more or less sensitive to the effects of
climate change or to consequences of other forms of environmental
degradation.


Adaptive capacities:

The adaptive capacities of regions can vary


not only but also due to the given wealth of a country.

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Pathways of conflicts over natural resources

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Statements


Projected climate changes can not only have serious environ
-
mental, social, and economic implications, but implications for
peace and security, as well.


Ban Ki
-
moon, Secretary
-
General of the UN, 2007


Climate change is a security issue, but it is not a matter of narrow
national security


it is about our collective security in a fragile and
increasingly interdependent world.


Margaret Beckett, British Foreign Secretary, 2007


Environmental degradation has the potential to destabilize already
conflict
-
prone regions, especially when compounded by inequitable
access or politicization of access to scarce resources.


Kofi Annan, former UNSG

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Environmental management is improving


Multilateral Environmental Agreements:

Increasing ratification of
multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) can be reported.
Moreover, improving the effectiveness of existing agreements is getting
greater attention. The ISO 14001 standards got adopted.


Impact of scientific findings:

Unfortunately, research could not yet
identify any evidence of an impact of climate change on the policies of
national delegations in international negotiations.


Conflicts:

Moreover, MEAs often conflict with national interests; e.g.
despite the Basel Convention, industrialized countries export their
hazardous waste, causing accidents like the one in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire
in 2006.

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Energy
security


Global energy demand:

The global energy demand will be doubled
by 2030 and will then still rely on fossil energy to more than 50%.


Limited resources:

These resources are limited. Oil and gas: 40 to
50 years, uranium: 40 years, coal: 120 years. Moreover, these
resources are unevenly distributed geographically.


Conflict potential:

Exploitation of resources, energy production as
well as trading of resources and energy can lead to conflicts. Power
over resources can be misused and can lead to political dependen
-
cies. We don‘t want wars on resources nor conflicts fought with
resources.

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Preventing or/and repairing military damage


Military risks for the environment:

“Military activities and facilities
often present risks for the environment and human health. Restructu
-
ring or decommissioning such activities or facilities may reduce or
increase such risks depending on whether proper consideration is
given to environmental factors.”


The Environment and Security Initiative


Post conflict situation:

In post
-
conflict areas countries face
dangerous leftovers and environmental depredation.


Military assistance:

On national level, the military is already assisting
disaster management. On international level, protocols are in force
and initiatives are in discussions.


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Gendering environmental security


4 to 1:

In the Tsunami 2004, by 1 dead man 4 women died.


Women in conflicts:

As conflict patterns change from traditional wars
to internal conflicts women get more and more involved in conflicts


as victims, but also as actors.


Migration:

The majority of migrants and shelter residents are women.


Violence against women:

Numerous studies show an increase of
domestic and sexual violence following violent conflicts but also
following natural disasters.


Gender neutral is gender blind:

Women are differently affected by
environmental security issues than man. However, most vulnerability
studies do not attend to women and men specifically nor to the social
relations between them.

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Vulnerability of women

For many reasons women are specifically vulnerable:


Less access to resources:

Women have less access to resources
essential in disaster preparedness, mitigation and rehabilitation.


Overrepresented in vulnerable sectors:

Women are overrepresen
-
ted in agriculture, self
-
employment, and the informal economy.


Less possibilities of migration:

Women are primarily responsible for
domestic duties and do not have the liberty of migration.


Cultural reasons:

In many regions women are not taught to swim
and dress differently than men. Moreover, they tend to overexpose
themselves to save others


their children, their parents.

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A challenge and a chance


“Working together on solving environmental problems is often the
simplest way to longer
-
term, systematic and fundamental cooperation.
Where conflicts occur environmental cooperation may pave the way to
broader solutions.”


The Environment and Security Initiative


Managing natural disasters can contribute to conflict resolution


if the
stake
-
holders are willing to take the chance.


Research indicates that over the long run environmental issues lead
to more co
-
operative than to conflicting events. The trans
-
boundary
management of natural resources can make political cooperation
necessary.

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Tsunami 2004 in Sri Lanka


The Tsunami hit Sri Lanka on the south and east coast, more than
30’000 people died and one million people became homeless.


Former President Kumaratunga and Thamilselvan, leader of the
political wing of LTTE, both stated the disaster would positively
influence the freedom process.


However, reconstruction was slow because of the struggles
between the government and LTTE.


Following the former air force chief Gunatillake, the disaster has
nevertheless prevented the comeback of war.

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Tsunami 2004 in Aceh


In Aceh
the tsunami killed more than 170’000 people.


Because of the ongoing violent conflict between the Indonesian
government and GAM, the Indonesian army had to facilitate
international disaster management support.


It was the international presence that finally lead to a peace
agreement between the Indonesian government and GAM.


The peace agreement was signed on August 14, 2005


only 8
months after the Tsunami.

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Dem Salween


The river Dem Salween forms a part of the boarder between Thai
-
wan and Myanmar. There are plans to build several dams in this
region for the production of electricity.


However
, t
he potential flood area is a very sensitive area:


National park under protection


Militant ethnic minorities in conflict with the government, e.g.
Mon, Karen, and 80’000 Burmese refugees in camps in Thailand
that are tolerated tacitly


Despite this potential conflict, the bilateral joint venture was signed
in December 2005 to build the first dam.

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Bangladesh


The last IPCC report states that Bangladesh will increasingly suffer
from the consequences of climate change.


Already now, people are forced to leave the countryside. However,
Dhaka itself is also threatened by floods. Leaving for neighboring
states is not possible because of potential conflicts.


Therefore, a cooperation with other countries in the region seems
necessary.


Moreover, ‘climate refugees’ need an international status.

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Arctic


The opening up of the Northeast Passage due to global warming will
change the economic dimension of the Arctic and the North Atlantic:
Exploitation of natural resources will increase and so will shipping.


This perspective is actually already changing the strategic dimen
-
sion of the region and will increase maritime security demands.


Shall these increasing security demands be answered by the
military or by civilian capacities? Is the militarization of the Arctic
inevitable? A multilateral coast guard approach is needed.


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Recommendations: Strategies


UNO:

Following the UNSC debate of April 17, 2007, the UNO should
continue its discussions while emphasizing on developing strategic
concepts for Environmental Security as well as binding regulations.
Moreover, climate refugees will need an international status.


Environment security strategies:
In order to address environmental
security threats an international cooperation is required. Therefore,
countries as well as international organizations should elaborate and
implement environment security strategies. These strategies will have
to acknowledge women’s specific living conditions as well as their
potential to contribute to disaster management and peace building
processes.


Environment mainstreaming:

Mainstreaming environmental factors
into foreign and security policies becomes indispensable.


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Recommendations: Risk management

A comprehensive environmental security management has to strengthen:


Prediction of instabilities:

A comprehensive assessment of environ
-
mental security risks has to be cross
-
cutting issues, multi stakeholder
based and trans
-
boundary.


Prevention:

Effective and efficient environmental policies as well as a
comprehensive human security approach are needed.


Capacity building:

National and international institutions have to be
able to cope with


or to adapt to


possible risks.


Awareness raising:

Public information and education with regard to
potential environmental security risks should be enhanced.

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Recommendations: Energy security


Reducing energy demands:

Reducing energy demands mainly by
increasing energy efficiency as well as the use of renewable energies.


Reliable markets:

Energy markets ought to be transparent and
reliable.


Do no harm policies:

Moreover,

extractive industries should comply
with corporate social and environmental responsibility.


Labeling:

Labeling should add transparency and declare if natural
resources are exploited or goods produced according to corporate
social and environmental responsibility.



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Recommendations: Military aspects /1


Military/civil co
-
operation:

With regard to environmental security
challenges military/civil co
-
operation should be enhanced on both
strategic and operational level, and this at all stages of the crisis
management cycle.


Military training:

Military training and testing should be made less
harmful to the environment. The use of battle simulators contributes to
this objective.


Codes of conduct for military personnel
:

Codes of

conduct for

military personnel should include rules and regulations with regard to
environmental security challenges.

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Recommendations: Military aspects /2


Military private companies (MPC):

International regulations relating
to mercenary and private military companies should also include
provisions with regard to the environment. Moreover, these regula
-
tions should be ratified by all states (up to now only 13% have).


Damages of wars:

Those responsible for war fighting should be
made responsible for repairing environmental damages. Thereby, new
technologies for detection and clean
-
up should be fostered.

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Recommendations: CP and CIP


Increasing international awareness:

Civil protection (CP) as well as
critical infrastructure protection (CIP) are first and foremost national
responsibilities. Adaptive strategies will have to be developed.
However, as risks increase, international assistance and cooperation
demands will increase as well.


Improving co
-
operation:

CP and CIP ask for enhanced co
-
operation:


Civil/military co
-
operation.


Intra
-

and inter
-
governmental co
-
operation.


Public/privat partnerships since important critical infrastructures are
privately run.

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Recommendations: Research


Prediction:

Improving the prediction modeling is important in order to
improve early warning systems.


Gendering vulnerability studies:

The need for a gendered approach
to risk assessment studies including sex
-
disaggregated data has to be
highlighted.


Foresight:

Scientific foresight should focus on new technologies that
could trigger new forms of arms races.


Bridging the gap:

Bridging the gap between scientific knowledge and
policy making is a prerequisite for successfully coping with the
environment security challenges we face.

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Recommendations: Policy making


Transinstitutions:

Environment security challenges transnational and
cross
-
cutting with regard to traditional policy issues. What we need,
are “transinstitutions” bringing together state actors, the economy,
science, humanities as well as NGOs as partner for a sustainable
collaboration.


Civil society:

Strengthening the stakeholders and thus organizations
of civil society can add to conflict prevention and is indispensable for
rehabilitation and reconciliation after conflicts and natural disasters.


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For

our common future:



“It becomes increasingly clear that humanity has the
resources to address its global challenges. What is less
clear is how much wisdom, good will and intelligence will be
focused on theses challenges."


WFUNA/ACUNU Millennium Project, 2004 State of the Future Report


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My
thanks go to:


Jerome Clayton Glenn,
Executive Director of the Millennium Project,
WFUNA, Washington DC, USA


Jelena Beronja, ENVSEC, UNEP Vienna ISCC, Austria


Marie Toloue Tehrani, Uster, Switzerland


Anik Kohli,
eco
ncept AG, Zurich, Switzerland


Michèle Baettig,
eco
ncept AG, Zurich, Switzerland