© Münchner Sicherheitskonferenz

21.02.2022

Thinking ahead on security: joint action needed to tackle climate risks

Global warming threatens the security of people and nations – delegates at the Munich Security Conference also discussed opportunities for transnational solutions.

Drought, desertification and water scarcity – ongoing climate change not only affects the environment but also threatens people’s security. Extreme weather events are becoming more frequent. Rising sea levels and the growing risk of environmental disasters are increasingly undermining people’s livelihoods in the regions affected. When resources become scarce, tension rises among those affected and existing conflicts escalate. Conflicts over resources spread beyond their local origins, leading to regional tensions or even to conflicts between states.

This shows how closely climate and security are linked and poses new questions for international cooperation. How does global warming exacerbate existing conflicts? And how can international cooperation respond to this development? The reverse scenario – the impact of conflict on the climate – is also relevant. It is very difficult to implement climate mitigation measures in crisis-affected regions. For these reasons, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH is already working today in various regions on the interconnectedness of climate, security and fragility.

Munich Security Conference: the close links between climate change and security

Against the background of the Munich Security Conference (18-20 February 2022), GIZ Managing Director Ingrid-Gabriela Hoven said: ‘GIZ’s long-standing engagement in fragile countries means we have an extensive network and wide-ranging experience at our disposal. From this basis, we will now be helping to identify concrete solutions to the new challenges through political dialogue.’

On behalf of the German Federal Foreign Office (AA), GIZ is organising political dialogue in five Central Asian countries to provide a forum for debate among relevant ministries and experts. In line with a regional action plan, GIZ is working with research institutes on a regional strategy for climate change adaptation. Its partners include the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), the German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ) in Potsdam and the German-Kazakh University (DKU). Their research data help to improve forecasting of the impacts of climate change.

The connection between climate, security and fragility was also a theme at the Munich Security Conference (MSC). Represented by its Managing Director, Ms Hoven, GIZ hosted a panel discussion between leading experts on security, economic cooperation and regional cooperation in the Caucasus. The debate showed clearly that the interplay between socio-economic development, security, and climate change also offers openings for international cooperation – provided the countries concerned work together to find joint solutions to these challenges.