There is a broadly held consensus that climate change is a risk multiplier. Yet this consensus is not matched by a common understanding or agreement on what to do about this situation. In order to help fill the knowledge gap and move climate-related security risks higher up the United Nations’ political agenda, adelphi and the German Federal Foreign Office brought together stakeholders from across the world to launch the Climate Security Expert Network (CSEN).
How does the Climate Security Expert Network work?
The Climate Security Expert Network supports policy-makers within and beyond the UN by synthesising knowledge on climate-fragility risks and making this knowledge easily accessible for policy-makers. It comprises some 30 experts from backgrounds such as academia, foreign and security policy, and non-governmental organisations. They will synthesise scientific knowledge and expertise, advise on entry points for building resilience to climate-security risks, and help to strengthen a shared understanding of the challenges and opportunities of addressing climate-related security risks. To this end, the network produces thematic and geographic analyses. Geographic analyses come in the shape of two-page factsheets summarising risks and entry points, whereas longer risk briefs provide context and further analysis.
Risk Briefs on Afghanistan, Ethiopia, the Pacific, and South Asia
The first four risk briefs – on Afghanistan, Ethiopia, the Pacific, and South Asia – are already available on the CSEN website. These reports detail how climate change can worsen poverty, weaken governance, and contribute to instability: for example, more frequent droughts in Afghanistan will boost the drug economy in the country by encouraging farmers to plant poppies, a drought-resistant crop.
Climate change and security: Advancing the debate
Interested readers can also find a section with frequently asked questions about why climate change is a threat to security and thus a matter of concern for the UN Security Council (UNSC), as well as a short history of UNSC engagement on the issue.
The UNSC is an essential actor when it comes to advancing the debate and encouraging effective action. The Berlin Call to Action, published in the framework of the inaugural 2019 Berlin Climate Security Conference, recognised the importance of the body and called for 1) risk-informed planning 2) enhanced capacity for action and 3) improved operational responses.
adelphi runs the Secretariat for the network, which was made possible by a grant from the German Federal Foreign Office. The network will continue its work in the coming months and years, adding new regional risk briefs and holding consultation processes.