UNDP’s study and typology of climate security risks described in first round Nationally Determined Contributions with contributions from UNFCCC can help inform the Climate Promise, offer a perspective on how Member States understand climate-related security risks and possible direction for climate security mainstreaming. This discussion serves to exchange on good practices on mainstreaming and glean insights for next steps and will examine mainstreaming in both directions: the challenges of mainstreaming climate change into security and peacebuilding efforts and ensuring that climate change policy and planning is peace positive. A Webinar will share the UNDP study as well as the outcomes of this e-discussion.

  1. What examples are there of mainstreaming climate change into peace processes and agreements and peacebuilding strategies?
  2. What are good practices ensuring climate security into policy, planning and strategy?
  3. How can we ensure that climate action is peace positive? What do the metrics look like?
  4. What are good practices in fostering transboundary adaptation planning and strategy?

Comments (56)

Matti Goldberg Moderator

Welcome to the e-discussion on mainstreaming climate security into policies and practices. Your moderators this week, until 20 October, will be Francisca Aguayo and Matti Goldberg. We will facilitate your exchange, help structure the discussion, and, at the end of our "tenure", provide a summary of your contributions to serve as a snapshot of where we got, and to inform the exchange next week. There are two substantive starting points for the discussions: 1. UNDP's study and typology of climate security risks described in first NDCs, which will be available soon; 2. the four guiding questions listed above. We look forward to constructive, targeted, practical and creative views on ways to integrate climate security into policies and practices, and to ensure that climate policies are peace positive. Many thanks for joining! Francisca and Matti

Catherine Wong Moderator

Thank you Matti and Francisca, the challenges and experience of mainstreaming gender into climate change seem to be an interesting and important reference point for us in terms of climate security mainstreaming.

It would be also good perhaps to think about the policy, planning and strategy processes that we would like to influence. 

SIPRI's study of the Women, Peace and Security National Action Plans which finds that 17 of the 80 NAPs referenced climate change as an insightful read.

Francisca Aguayo Armijo Moderator

Thank you very much for sharing this insightful study, Catherine, and welcome everyone! It is indeed very interesting to see how NAPs are integrating the links among gender, climate change and security. 

Other areas to explore in this discussion could be migration and displacement. How can we mainstream climate security in migration policies? What are the challenges, obstacles and opportunities? 

More broadly, how can we incorporate climate security and climate change adaptation objectives into sectoral policies and plans? What environmental risks and threats should we consider when thinking about mainstreaming climate security into policy, planning and strategy?

Adriana Abdenur Moderator

Hi everyone.  Do you know when the UNDP study will be available? I am very curious about their typology.

Matti Goldberg Moderator

Hi Adriana, thanks for your message. I believe the full study will be out on Monday, and the intention is to publish some preliminary materials to illustrate the typology already today. This might change but that's the latest information I have. In the meantime we encourage everyone to react to the framing questions above. Regards, Matti

Adriana Abdenur Moderator

If we take a step back, what do we mean by mainstreaming here?  And can we think of examples of previous attempts--successful or not--to mainstream a policy item within the UN agenda?  The one that occurs to me is Women, Peace and Security, whose mainstreaming has been a long and has been a rather slow process, for a variety of reasons that have to do, I believe, with politics, institutional arrangements, and resources. I am wondering what useful lessons we may find in other mainstreaming efforts that might be useful for climate and security. 

Karolina Eklöw Moderator

Yes, fully agree that looking at gender mainstreaming should pave the way for lessons in the CS context. Given that UNSCR 1325 turned 20 years old the other day - which was highlighted on several ends - suggests that while it is an example of mainstreaming, it (women in the peace and security context) still has the 'add-on' status. There are a number of challenges within UN peacekeeping operations, as 1325 lacks context- and culture-driven strategies, and the resolution risks addressing gender equality on the surface and not in depth. Adding only women to a process is not always a solution to achieve gender equality, which is in line with the criticism gender mainstreaming that concepts have received. In sum, since year 2000 we've developed to think of 'gender' as broader than 'women' of course - so where will we be in 20 years considering the likely broadening of our understanding of 'climate security' and forthcoming subcategories

Pascale Ricard

Hello, thank you very much for this interesting debate! I am also wondering about the notion of "mainstreaming", and the field of reflection. Is it only about the relation between climate on the one hand and peace keeping and building, or the notion of 'security' in a strict sense on the other hand ? Or the field of this work is more general?
Moreover, what would be the place of environmental law in this debate? The climate and the environment are often separated legally, although they are closely linked in practice.

Thanks again, Best regards, Pascale

Francisca Aguayo Armijo Moderator

Hi Pascale, thank you for participating in this discussion, very interesting reflections about the role of environmental law!

I am very curious about the distinction you mentioned between climate and the environment from a legal standpoint, how is this separation reflected in legal frameworks? Do you think is there any way out, such as using soft law and policy strategies instead of legally binding frameworks to address these issues?

In order to take into account the linkages, should we go beyond the concept of climate security and talk about environmental risks? 

Pascale Ricard

Francisca Aguayo Armijo

Thank you very much for your answer. Indeed, public international law is, in my view, very fragmented and there is a relatively clear distinction between climate law and environmental law. This fragmentation leads to certain inconsistencies and is, in fact, manifested mainly at the conventional level. Thus, yes, the development of soft law or general objectives such as SDGs make it possible to overcome or get around this fragmentation.
Finally, on the notion of environmental risk more generally, this seems very interesting to me! But I'm not sure that it allows us to include climate-related risks other than environmental ones? We would have to check, but I think these are very interesting questions indeed!

Beatrice Mosello Moderator

Hi everyone!

Great to be part of this discussion, which has already raised some really interesting points, e.g. re looking at lessons learned (what went well and what went wrong) from the WPS agenda. The big elephant in the room is of course that we are still working very much in siloes - chasing funding that is (with a few exceptions) largely organised along sectoral lines.

So the question of 'mainstreaming' to me is one of changing the way we conceptualise climate change, development/humanitarian & peacebuilding strategies, and the way we implement them. It should be about understanding the context as a starting point (and the drivers of conflict, power relations/interests, other pressures/stresses, history, patterns of marginalisation and inequalities, etc.), and identifying solutions, possibly from the bottom-up, rather than coming in with the 'usual' interventions following blueprints that may be difficult to adapt to the local reality.

Sorry, long answer! Looking forward to more exchange on this! 

Best wishes to you all,


Francisca Aguayo Armijo Moderator

Hi James, thank you for sharing! Food insecurity and its interactions with climate change are indeed an extremely relevant topic. The study mentions the "lack" of governments' actions and their "impotence" in this field. Do you find that these issues and gaps are being addressed at the international level, in particular at the UN? 

Also, the examples mentioned in the study encompass Africa and Asia. How do these issues unfold in other regions, especially in Latin America and the Caribbean?

Catherine Wong Moderator

As Matti, mentioned, we wanted to share the figure from a study he and I worked on together, which looks at how climate-related security risks are outlined in the first round NDCs. This is the synthesized version for social media purposes which presents the typology of themes in a snapshot.

Full version (still being tweaked) will be available in the report to be released next week.

We think it could offer a perspective on mainstreaming. It would be great to understand other such reference points.

UNDP (2020). Climate security NDCs typology and analysis redacted figure

Beatrice Mosello Moderator

Thanks Catherine Wong, great figure that helps visualise the different ways in which climate-related security risks generally understood (and really looking forward to your study!) Just a quick reflection from my end: what I find especially interesting here is that the highest number of mentions comes in relation to sub-regional and cross-border impacts. This is something we're seeing across our work looking at pathways of climate-related security risks in different contexts (see a few of those here: https://climate-security-expert-network.org/library#Regional%20Risk%20B…) - that actually these manifest more evidently at sub-regional/cross-border levels. So perhaps a key take away for us is that 'mainstreaming' climate-security should not only focus on national policy-making or international programmes and interventions, but also looking at the sub-national/regional and cross-border levels. This brings up a whole new set of questions on the role of regional organisations, transboundary institutional arrangements, local governments and governance structures, etc. How do these understand climate change impacts, security risks, and their interactions? And what actions can they take to address them?

Catherine Wong Moderator

Beatrice Mosello, yes it was really interesting to see from NDCs how climate-related security risks are being perceived/described. We found that themes 1, 2 and 3 appeared most frequently. Would definitely concur that we need to think about transboundary externalities and that is something that comes across too in the scan.

Leonardo Medina

Dear Beatrice Mosello, 

You raise a crucial argument by stating “mainstreaming” climate security requires a regional approach integrating risk-informed development. I want to use the example of Southern Mexico and Central America, for which all 6 themes are relevant but, to my knowledge, not considered at all in the NDCs. Transboundary gang crime and drug-related violence has become one of the most serious problems in the region, to the level that the conventional distinction between traditional armed conflict and criminal violence has lost relevance in terms of its humanitarian consequences. Multidimensional factors increasing the threat of violence are currently, and are expected to be, exacerbated by climate change. However, very few researchers have empirically assessed strategies for climate adaptation and DRR interventions to reduce violence in “non-traditional” conflict settings. To my knowledge, adaptation efforts n the region in no way consider risks of exacerbating existing dynamics of violence through intervention, nor their potential co-benefits for preventing violence. Given the lack of policy experience and empirical evidence on this issue, adaptation programs are even reluctant to operate in violence afflicted regions, which often need them the most.  

Even within a same organization. GIZ efforts in the region include programs around climate adaptation, violence prevention, migration governance, sustainable livelihoods, among others; but, in my experience, these programs in no way coordinate to complement efforts regarding NDC compliance and violence prevention.

Beatrice Mosello Moderator

Leonardo Medina thanks a lot for sharing your experience from Central America and Mexico. Your comment came SO timely, as we're currently working with regional experts to produce a climate-security risk assessment for Central America (so watch this space!) aimed at filling the gap you talked about, i.e. not enough evidence on how climate change is exacerbating the threat of violence in the region.

There is some evidence from other regions of what can integrated programming look like (see my other comments in this forum), but of course these need to be tailored to the specific context as what works in, say, the Sahel region, may not be suitable for Central America. Interesting that even within the same organisation it is difficult to bring the different streams of work together.

What, in your opinion/experience, are key obstacles for this coordination to take place? Do others have insights to share on this?

Leonardo Medina

Beatrice Mosello 

In addition to the gap on empirical evidence and practical experience regarding the climate change-violence nexus (both in terms of causal links and effective response), I usually think of obstacles to mainstream peacebuilding into climate action, and vice versa, in terms of two major themes. On the one hand, the political will and main intervention strategies to address violence in the region have historically and to this day relied upon militarization and the capture of major crime leaders. This strategy fails to holistically address the underlying causes of violence (firmly related to those of vulnerability). High rates of poverty and unemployment do not in themselves explain the increase in crime and violence. Other factors that contribute are the higher quality-of-life expectations of the population; the lack of local opportunities and mismanaged human mobility leading to maladaptation; rapid and disorderly urban growth resulting in high population density and low-levels of public service provision; fundamental changes in traditional community and family structures that lead to their replacement by gangs and cartels as units of belonging; as well as institutional systems that fail to ensure protection and social security in the face of threats to health and livelihoods. Underlying it all is the unwillingness from decision makers to understand violence through a lens of social cohesion. All of these challenges, in my view, could be in part addressed through mitigation and adaption efforts.

The other big challenge relates to institutional arrangements failing to incentivize and facilitate cooperation amongst sectors. Again, even at organizational levels such as within GIZ, programs are, from the start, structured through very clear performance indicators allowing for very little deviation from the defined goals, which in no way intend to address the climate-violence nexus (some programs in other world regions are starting to work around the issue). The same can be said of public entities at multiple levels of government. This is exacerbated by the fact that existing institutional frameworks address the issue only superficially. The Mexican National Strategy for Climate Change (till 2040) and the country´s 5-year action plan to implement it, for example, limit the discussion to food security, without linking climate action to violence prevention even within Mexico, let alone in coordination with other countries in Central America.

Sorry for the long post!!

Beatrice Mosello Moderator

Leonardo Medina don't worry I am always doing long posts :) Great points there re:

- Lack of evidence of what works/what does not work in designing and implementing more integrated programs;

- Difficulty to understand security challenges beyond the security domain, and especially to acknowledge and invest in the 'social cohesion' component;

- Rigid institutional arrangements that allow for little deviation from original goals (to adapt to changing circumstances) and discourage cooperation across levels and sectors.

Anybody else on challenges/obstacles to effective mainstreaming? Fascinating discussion!


Francisca Aguayo Armijo Moderator

Hi Adriana AbdenurPascale Ricard and Beatrice Mosello , thank you very much for your interesting comments and reflections about the concept of "mainstreaming". I completely agree with the need to take a step back and reflect on the very concept of mainstreaming and how it impacts policy- and decision-making. And again, in this field, debates and policies on mainstreaming gender issues across different fields might be a useful starting point both within the UN and at the local level. 

When mainstreaming climate security, the conceptualization of "security" beyond traditional definitions seems essential, building on concepts such as human security, nonconventional threats and the security-development nexus. At the same time, there are some concerns, in particular from Member States at the UN, about the "securitization" of climate change. How do we address these issues in policy processes?

This SSRC literature review on climate security might be a good starting point for the conceptualization debate, providing also a brief overview of the impact of research on international policy processes: https://www.ssrc.org/publications/view/the-field-of-climate-and-securit… 

Adriana Abdenur Moderator

One lesson from WPS: that agenda has required bringing together two epistemic/policy communities that were largely separate before Resolution 1325.  Those working on gender issues had to learn to speak with, and work with, those working on security issues, and vice versa.  Bridging that gap has been an uphill battle and has required the development of anchor frameworks, especially via the relevant UNSC resolutions, but also institutional innovations like gender focal points in peace operations, and then more capillary mechanisms like the National Action Plans on WPS.  Slowly this bridge zone has yielded a set of concepts and common language, without requiring an entirely new organisation within the UN system.  And even so, there are still enormous gaps to be filled, and rollbacks to be avoided.

So bridging climate (which, in my understanding, has focused on the scientific diagnostics, the mitigation negotiations, and adaptation policies) and security (defined more broadly, as Beatrice has noted here, as human as well as hard security) will also require normative, structural and operational innovations.  An excessive focus on hard security would lead to disproportionate attention to the USNC, which raises all sorts of red flags among member states that fear securitisation, e.g. climate/security being used as a justification for self-interested military interventionism.  

Extending the name of the debate to climate, security and peacebuilding might expand the possibilities of anchoring/mainstreaming the topic. I am also in favor of dropping the term "nexus," although have been guilty of using it myself. 

Nika Saeedi

Adriana Abdenur Fully agree with you..so much to learned from WPS...in PVE we are embarking on a journey to adopt the learning we have gained through WPS practice. 

Beatrice Mosello Moderator

I could not agree more! The way we conceptualise security is key. In our experience, it is common for especially governments to understand security in its 'hard' sense and this can a) raise concerns for the securitisation of climate change (as you say) but also b) reduce the scope of potential interventions to the military realm or peacekeeping/peacebuilding - also pushing away other stakeholders (e.g. CSOs, NGOs with a more climate change adaptation/development focus) to intervene. I think the language/framing we use should be adapted to the specific context we consider/operate in. In some instances, security may be well understood and provide a useful way to frame problems and then think of solutions. In others, adding the specification 'human' will be essential; in others, it may be more effective (and acceptable) to talk about conflict risks; or fragility. 

Matti Goldberg Moderator

Good morning everyone, many thanks to all for the rich contributions! I thought perhaps it might be a good moment to recap how the discussion is evolving. Here's my attempt to synthesize the main questions, possible answers, as well as sources of answers expressed in the contributions. This is a "snapshot" not meant to constrain the discussion, but feel free to build on this if you think it captures things well.

What is mainstreaming? Is it about 1. incorporating climate-related security risks into sectoral efforts and plans, 2. linking climate change and e.g. peacekeeping efforts, 3. considering security in a broader sense, or all of the above?

What lessons are available on mainstreaming?

  • Possible sources of lessons:
    • SIPRI’s study Women, Peace and Security National Action Plans: need to integrate separate policy communities and learn a “shared language”, define institutional anchors and planning instruments (such as National Action Plans);
    • UNDP’s typology of climate-security linkages in NDCs: overview of how countries express climate- security links;
    • Reports and risk briefs by Climate Security Expert Network;
  • Successful integration seems to imply normative, structural and operational innovations;
  • Important to consider various levels of governance, transboundary aspects, and diverse conflict drivers;
  • Solutions should always be compatible with local circumstances.

How to conceptualize security?

  • ‘Hard’ security, “human security”, or context-specific and adaptable framings? Too much attention to ‘hard’ security comes with concerns of interventionism and marginalization of stakeholders.
  • Two sources identified to help conceptualization: SSRC’s literature review and case studies on food conflicts; UNDP typology also illustrates the heterogeneity of framings in NDCs;

Other relevant linkages mentioned were gender, climate and security; food security; migration and displacement; security and development.


Hello to all. Thank you for this interesting topic and discussion. I was wondering how policy processes could developp a response to environmentally induced dispacement. From what I know of the subject, States often see internal or international environmentally displaced persons both as a human rights challenge  and as a security risk. For now, the later consideration has been an obstacle to the development of a legal regime to protect environmentally displaced perons. How can best practices (and other soft laws) contribute to fill that legal void and succeed where hard law cannot exist ? How can one avoid that the threat of massive environmentally displacement in future years create a security based reaction from States ? 

Adriana Abdenur Moderator

Hi Colin, I think that is a great question and am guessing that, for many parts of the world, there still isn't enough research on the scope, variable interaction, and patterns of climate-induced migration. Here in LAC, most states don't even recognise internally displaced persons as an official category, which means that data is not collected.  And empirical analyses are few and far between, maybe with the exception of the Northern Triangle in Central America--and even there, there has been a strong bias, pushed but the US in particular, on cross-border migration, where we know most of the displacement occurs within those specific countries. So the first step requires tracking the phenomenon, so that responses can be developed not only at the point of origin of migratory processes, but also along the pathways and in the destination locations.  Which is why, as you hinted, we also need to get those global pacts off the ground... one legal solution would be to rally a regional commitment, but I don't see that happening in the near future here in LAC, where regional organisations are severely paralysed by political disputes and lack of will.


As for the threat of massive environmental displacement: I have a hunch it already happens, just doesn't get recognised as such.   We are studying this in the Amazon and Cerrado regions and we are estimating hundreds of thousands of people over the past decade alone-- probably in the millions if we use a broader definition of climate migration.

Leonardo Medina

Adriana Abdenur I couldn’t agree more. A human mobility dimension is still inadequately incorporated in LAC countries´ institutional frameworks for adaptation and disaster risk reduction. Governance systems fail to account for complex interconnections between climate change impacts and the loss of livelihood and are therefore slow in responding towards the need to manage climate induced migration throughout its lifecycle. Governance systems barely capitalize on the role of local institutions in strengthening coping capacities of climate migrants, and the potential of facilitated migration to strengthen adaptive capacities -under certain conditions- is not sufficiently recognized and mainstreamed. Complicating the issue, research assessments on current and future climate change induced migration do not yet allow for evidence-based policy making to manage uncertainty and complexity; and research partaken to date is not effectively integrated into decision-making processes, nor transdisciplinary forms of knowledge, such as indigenous knowledge, sufficiently recognized in research or policy making.

LAC countries actually have several institutions and policy frameworks capable of already addressing the nexus between climate change and human mobility (at least at national levels). However, very few governance efforts for better coordination appear to incentivise multi-sectorial and multi-level cooperation, or integrate local institutions and communities into decision making structures. To address this issue, I tend to argue for the deployment of adaptive governance systems, which strengthen the capacity to learn and adapt to change for the effective and sustainable functioning of governance systems, and have been discussed before as a tool to implement the Sendai Framework.

Adriana Abdenur Moderator

Leonardo Medina that's a great description of the situation around the Venezuelan refugee crisis.  

Regional cooperation among South American states on this issue has been ad-hoc and somewhat fragmented, but also flexible and on some issues, surprisingly agile given some of the governments in place.  To my knowledge, however, they deal with issues of migration protection and integration without delving into the climate dimension, which certainly plays a role--not only in Venezuela itself but also in Brazil, Colombia, and the other countries receiving the bulk of the migrants.  

The optimistic take on this is that it may present an opportunity to formulate, sometime in the future, regional responses that are more climate sensitive, even if just by focusing on specific issues, such as water management or disaster risk reduction. 

Regional organisations seem like important loci for mainstreaming climate and security; it's a shame that the ones in this region are currently so paralysed by politics and the discourse of national sovereignty. 


Leonardo Medina

Adriana Abdenur Good point! It´s the same case for Mexico and CA´s Northern Triangle. There is very little political will to cooperate amongst national governments, although from what I understand regional organizations have managed to stay relevant, mostly through CEPAL. There is also huge opportunity gaps regarding cooperation between international agencies; e.g. there is very little communication between GIZ offices in the region, although this is also a reflection on trends regarding national sovereignity and international cooperation coping to it. 

I actually recently began working with the migration component of the East Africa, Peru, India Climate Capacities (EPICC) project, managed by PIK in Peru. We´ll be assessing governance systems in a series of case studies on internal migration induced by slow-onset climate impacts in the country´s highlands through an adaptive governance framework, accounting for polycentrism, participation/collaboration, network governance and social learning. We are just in the planning phase, but it would be great for you to consider participating as a regional expert interviewee whenever we begin gathering data. 

Adriana Abdenur Moderator

Leonardo Medina sounds like a great comparison.  Sure, please keep me posted and thanks for raising that example within the context of this debate. 

Shiloh Fetzek Moderator

Leonardo Medina and @Adriana Abdenur thanks for this great discussion highlighting the governance circumstances and institutional configurations in parts of Mexico/Central & South America, and how these have limited the mainstreaming of security considerations into climate-related work.

This clearly illustrates some of the key challenges – around institutional limitations and barriers, esp. not using what you have, and the limited existence or influence of research, particularly on human mobility, as well as the importance of this issue to LAC’s climate change and security dynamics.

It’s worth amplifying the point on the knowledge systems side, around the need to mainstream indigenous knowledge systems into understanding and responding to climate-related risks.

It would be interesting to know how the PIK project might approach these issues across the EPICC study region, including Tanzania and India, as part of its goals around capacity-building and knowledge transfer.

Leonardo mentions adaptive governance systems as a tool to address some of these challenges. Do others have examples of tools of this kind that have been useful to deal with the particular challenges of different governance/institutional contexts?

And to pick up on another theme from elsewhere in this discussion, are there examples or approaches for improving mainstreaming at the provincial/city level? 

Adriana Abdenur Moderator

Thanks for sharing, James.  Most of the discussion about mainstreaming climate and security has focused on UN structures, especially at the Secretariat level, but it's useful to also think about the relevance of this issue for subnational government and more local responses.  Based on your experience with migration and cities, as well as arrangements like the C40, what initiatives could be undertaken to mainstream C&S across cities and provinces?  

Francisca Aguayo Armijo Moderator

Hi Collin and James Blake , thank you for raising important issues around the interlinkages between climate change, security and migration, including internally displaced people from rural to urban areas and the need for adaptation planning in large cities.

When it comes to displacement, it's very interesting to see how the security component is playing a major role in stopping the development of a legal regime to protect environmentally displaced people. This can lead us back to our previous discussions summarized by Matti Goldberg on the risks related to the securitization of climate change and the importance of the concept of security we retain when mainstreaming climate security in policy processes.

Building on Collin 's and Pascale Ricard 's comments, it seems also that international law could play a larger role in the debate about mainstreaming climate security when it comes to both the substance and the tools available to impact policy processes. When reflecting on the tools, as mentioned in the discussion, we could explore the potential role of what is known in the legal field as "soft" law (instruments that are not legally binding, such as GA resolutions), as opposed to "hard" law (treaties, customary law). Because they lack a legally binding force, soft law instruments can prove to be more flexible and effective in setting frameworks on emerging issues on which agreements among states are more difficult to reach.

Francisca Aguayo Armijo Moderator

Hello everyone, many thanks for the rich contributions during our first week of discussion! As our moderation is coming to an end, we would like to jump into the second week by summarizing the key messages, building on Matti’s post above.  

1.    Conceptualization of mainstreaming  

There is a need to take a step back and reflect about the concept of mainstreaming and the way in which we frame the discussion. Different concepts were explored that could also complement each other:

  • Incorporating climate-related security risks into sectoral efforts and plans
  • Linking climate change and e.g. peacekeeping efforts
  • Considering security in a broader sense
  • Incorporating security risks into climate change policy and planning

2.    Conceptualization of security when mainstreaming climate security 

  • The discussion highlighted the role that plays the concept of security not only in academic debates but also in policy processes, stressing the diversity of conceptualizations based on the notions of ‘hard’ security, “human security”, or context-specific and adaptable framings.  
  • This framing impacts UN policy processes. Too much attention to ‘hard’ security might raise questions about the “securitization” of climate change, and concerns among member states of interventionism and marginalization of stakeholders resulting from a disproportionate attention to the Security Council. The concept of “peacebuilding” could potentially help to bridge the gap, framing the discussion as climate, security and peacebuilding. Is there a role for the Peacebuilding Commission in mainstreaming climate security? 

3.    Lessons learned for mainstreaming climate security 

  • Sources of lessons learned: the Women, Peace, and Security Agenda illustrates the challenges and lessons learned based on 20 years of experience in mainstreaming gender issues into the security field. Lessons learned from WPS include the need to integrate separate policy communities and learn a “shared language”, define institutional anchors and planning instruments (such as National Action Plans).   
  • Successful integration seems to imply normative, structural and operational innovations; there is a need to better understand the role of the normative field in mainstreaming climate security and the potential of international environmental law to address some issues through flexible frameworks (soft law)  
  • Important to consider various levels of governance, transboundary aspects, and diverse conflict drivers, bringing in other actors such as regional organizations 
  • Solutions should always be compatible with local circumstances. 

4.    Some areas to look at when mainstreaming climate security 

  • Gender, climate and security 
  • Migration and displacement, including internally displaced people from rural areas to large cities. 
  • Food security 
  • Security and development
Adriana Abdenur Moderator

Hi everyone,

In light of the thoughtful discussion this past week, it would be useful to learn about and analyze concrete examples of climate-peace mainstreaming from the field.  Taking up the first guiding question, which peace processes and agreements have incorporated climate change, and how? 

The peace processes I am most familiar with, here in Latin America and the Caribbean, have tended not to address climate issues head-on, but rather open up, through more general language and negotiation terms, windows of opportunity to integrate climate action through priorities such as land restoration, rural development, and promoting women's rights.  In the case of the agreement between the Colombian government and the FARC, it was not so much the dedicated terms of the agreement text itself as the interpretation of the broad agreement and the transition towards peacebuilding that began establishing climate action as an important component of consolidating peace in the country. My impression is that this element then acquired greater visibility not only due to the conflict having affected very resource-rich areas and environmentally-sensitive areas, including in the Colombian Amazon, but also as a result of the discussions around the Paris Agreement.  As with the issue of gender, the issue was raised and a mainstreaming push was led by civil society rather than the negotiating parties.  But of course, economic interests aligned with older models often create tensions around climate action initiatives.  

There are earlier examples of peace processes in South America--including inter-state agreements--that embedded innovations for climate mainstreaming, although they weren't called that at the time. For instance, the 1998 agreement between Ecuador and Peru included the creation of a bi-national nature reserve in and around the previously disputed stretch of border.  This ensured that environmental considerations were at the forefront of the peacebuilding process, which has been remarkably successful given the bitter history of rivalry.  

What are examples from other contexts?  What helped to mainstream climate in the processes and agreement texts, and who drove this effort? 



Catherine Wong Moderator

@Adriana, it's great that you mention this.

In the study we did with UNFCCC, reviewing all 186 first round submissions (https://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/librarypage/climate-and-disaster-resilience-/A-typology-and-analysis-of-climate-related-security-risks-in-the-first-round-Nationally-Determined-Contributions.html), these points that you mention on the including climate and environmental dimensions in the peace process are also reflected in Colombia's first NDC submission, i.e. that peacebuilding is important to climate action. Interesting to see the consistent front being built here, with similiar language in both the climate and peacebullding tracks, i.e. mainstreaming in both directions.

Beatrice Mosello Moderator

This is such a fascinating question Adriana! And thanks also for sharing your insights on the peace process in Colombia and other peace processes in South America. Really interesting to hear that they did address climate factors, although not explicitly. 

I think there is a big gap in our understanding of how to incorporate environmental (and climate-related) considerations into peace processes/negotiations and agreements. This despite the fact that many global conflicts relate to the use, distribution, illegal exploitation and looting of natural resources, soil erosion, water scarcity, overfishing, deforestation, pollution, resource depletion, and population displacement... 

It would be great to hear if any of you has any experience or resources to share on this, indeed. Overall, I would flag this as an area where more evidence and research are needed!

Diane Sheinberg

Just wanted to share here an interesting example and illustration of climate-related risks in a peace agreement with the 2019 Peace agreement signed between the Central African Republic and 14 armed groups with a  dedicated component on pastoral migration and reflecting on farmers-herders conflicts https://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/S_2019_145_E…   

"Seasonal pastoral migration Article 14: The Parties agree to establish a system of effective and equitable management of seasonal pastoral migration in order to make it a secure and peaceful activity, essential to the harmonious economic development of herders and farmers, based on a guiding national framework and local frameworks which shall be developed in consultation with the affected communities. Article 15: The Parties also agree to encourage the Government to reactivate joint bilateral commissions with the States of the region to deal with transnational concerns, including the good management of seasonal pastoral migration, in order to make it a secure and peaceful activities" 

The SG's Peacebuilding has invested in a cross-border Chad-CAR project focusing on this issue and then a dedicated project in Ouham et de l’Ouham-Pendé to strengthen dialogue and peace at the community level for the prevention and management of conflicts between communities of farmers and pastoralists here referred to as agro-pastoral. The proposed intervention seeks to contribute to stabilization efforts through: Strengthening national institutions and local organizations, including the national security, livestock, agriculture and protection sectors through increased information and services; Improved positive perception of marginalized groups in transhumance dynamics through increased inter-community dialogue; The adoption of gender-friendly socio-cultural attitudes and norms by communities and the sustainable reduction of gender-based violence (VBG) related to transhumance, through increased awareness campaigns for the active engagement of community leaders and women's organizations, prevention among transhumant populations and host communities, and comprehensive care (medical) (psychosocial, legal and socio-economic) of VBG victims.


Beatrice Mosello Moderator

A very good morning/ afternoon/ evening everyone! I'll moderating our conversation together with Shiloh Fetzek during the coming week. I very much look forward to it!

So much interesting content has already been shared by all of you, many thanks for your great insights and thought-provoking comments. Some of my key take-aways of the discussion so far have been:

  • We know that climate change is interacting with other stresses (e.g. poverty, direct violence, migration, etc.) to exacerbate insecurity and conflict. It is especially important that we pay attention to how we conceptualise security: context-specific and adaptable framings rather than too much attention to 'hard security'.
  • Therefore, mainstreaming is needed in terms of incorporating climate-related security risks into sectoral efforts and plans, and linking climate change and peacebuilding and development efforts.
  • However, in practical terms, mainstreaming is difficult to achieve. Partly, this is because it is hard to communicate these complexities and linkages in a way that is understood at the policy level. But it is also because policies and programmes continue to operate in a siloed way.
  • Lessons learned on mainstreaming (derived from the Women, Peace and Security Agenda) are that: it requires normative, structural and operational innovations; it is important to consider various levels of governance, including transboundary aspects, and diverse conflict drivers; solutions must be compatible with local circumstances.
  • More generally, we need to understand these linkages better. One of the areas we identified where further research would be needed is on the scope, variables and patterns of climate-induced migration - data may be missing, and/or narratives may be skewed towards cross-border migration, or linked to political agendas. We also do not have enough information around massive environmental displacement, which is happening, but does not get recognised as such.
  • Responses are needed at all levels, including regional organisations and subnational governments (e.g. cities).
  • We also discussed the role of international law in mainstreaming climate security; especially soft law instruments, can be helpful to set frameworks on emerging issues on which agreements may be more difficult to reach.

Now let's keep the conversation going!

A reminder of our guiding questions:

  1. What examples are there of mainstreaming climate change into peace processes and agreements and peacebuilding strategies?
  2. What are good practices ensuring climate security into policy, planning and strategy?
  3. How can we ensure that climate action is peace positive? What do the metrics look like?
  4. What are good practices in fostering transboundary adaptation planning and strategy?

I would be especially interested in hearing your views on questions 3 and 4.

Any examples to share on metrics we can use to assess whether climate action is peace positive (and I would argue also the opposite: any metrics to assess whether peace processes are climate-sensitive? See also Adriana's question on pace processes and peace agreements).

And any examples of 'mainstreaming' of climate and security risks at a transboundary level?

Diane Sheinberg

Let me share here a couple of cross-border examples from the SG's Peacebuilding Fund (PBF) in terms of mainstreaming climate and security risks at a transboundary level- The PBF has invested in several cross-border initiatives to address the root causes of conflicts related to climate change 

The fragile border area between Mali and Niger is affected by multifaceted crises with low legitimacy of governance institutions, increased insecurity and extremism and a historic development gap driving grievances of excluded populations. Communities living on both sides of this border face similar realities with economies relying on natural resources exploitation. Climate change is making those resources scarce and raising levels of violence. PBF is empowering women to contribute to
local and cross-border conflict prevention efforts by enhancing their participation and leadership in local decision-making with a focus on the management of natural resources. With PBF resources, the UNCTs diversify livelihood opportunities including land ownership and the organization of women’s led cooperatives to reduce the impact of climate change and related tensions on local communities across the border and support inclusive mechanisms to manage natural resources.

As part of the ongoing Chad-Central African Republic cross-border initiative, the institutional dialogue between the two countries on transhumance has resumed in 2019 for the first time since 2012. In addition, a detailed map of pastoral infrastructure and cross-border transhumance activities was finalized as an important step towards consultative mechanisms and social contracts at local levels to build and strengthen community-based management systems of agro-pastoral resources and transhumance movements.

The Chad-Niger cross-border project on resilient pastoralism developed a mapping of pastoral resources, typology of conflicts and actors engaged in preventing and managing conflicts for the Diffa-Kanem region. A social pact was signed by the community for the joint management of a pastoral water point, which has reduced conflict over its use. As observed by the head of the provincial livestock delegation in Chad: "Since the PBF project was implemented in Kanem province, the communities of pastoralists and agro-pastoralists have accepted each other and there are no more violent conflicts in this province compared to other provinces of Chad. The herders on the Kanem and Diffa side accept each other and promise to facilitate their displacement and vice versa and this will improve exchanges and links between the two communities.” To accelerate the achievement of equality and the empowerment of women within communities, the project initiated advocacy days for women leaders and members of consultation frameworks for the effective involvement of women in decision-making bodies.

It is also important to note how COVID-19 is further exacerbating risks often linked with inequalities and vulnerabilities , especially in countries already vulnerable to violent conflict. For example, in the Sahel, market closures, border closures and movement restrictions to stop the spread of COVID-19 have disrupted the
structurally weak pastoral sector, already made vulnerable by conflict.


Beatrice Mosello Moderator

Thanks so much Diane Sheinberg for sharing these examples of cross-border peace and stabilisation initiatives by the PBF. Really interesting - and reflect well the findings of some recent research we've done looking at existing peacebuilding and climate change adaptation programs to highlight best practices and learnings on 'integrating programming' (i.e. programming that seeks to build resilience to both climate impacts and insecurity and conflict simultaneously). 

We found that, although interventions and strategies need to be designed in a context-specific way, there are some general entry points for integrated peacebuilding and climate resilience programming that seem to be working across programs. These include: 

  • focusing on improving access, restoration and management of natural resources – these can help achieve livelihood security, adaptation, but can also be used as entry points to bring together communities, groups that were previously in conflict;
  • supporting climate-resilient and sustainable and diversified livelihoods – as we know that if livelihoods and food security are threatened, the risk of violence and conflict can be amplified - especially in those contexts where these are heavily dependent on natural resources and hence vulnerable to climate change impacts; 
  • focusing on strengthening social cohesion between and within groups;
  • working towards more legitimate, inclusive and efficient governance systems; and
  • addressing exclusion and marginalisation.

We also found that in addition to what you do, it is important to consider HOW you do it. Best practice here points to the importance of conducting integrated analyses (context-specificity!!!), adopting a participatory and conflict-sensitive approach, and measuring the results and being flexible to learn and adapt.

You can find the report here

Beatrice Mosello Moderator

And sorry one more from me - absolutely agree on the importance of understanding how COVID-19 is exacerbating risks linked to inequalities and vulnerabilities. We've just published a paper looking at this; we identified four key pathways through which COVID-19 can exacerbate climate-related security risks:

  1. Increased pressure on livelihoods and resources.
  2. Reduced effectiveness of migration as an adaptation strategy.
  3. Weakened conflict responses and increased opportunities for non-state armed groups.
  4. Increased risks in urban environments and violent protests.

The first and second 'pathways' illustrate precisely the dynamics that Diane Sheinberg describes above. We found that:

  • The COVID-19 pandemic adds to climate pressures, making legal livelihood opportunities sparser and less lucrative both in the short-term due to restrictions to contain the virus, and in the long-term due to the long-lasting economic and social effects; just like climate change, this might push individuals to take up illicit livelihoods or criminal activity.
  • Moreover, the pandemic could divert resources and efforts from ongoing climate change adaptation and environmental protection initiatives, especially for those countries that already face poverty and economic crises. This might contribute to increased conflict around land and water access.
  • Restrictions to contain the pandemic are also making migration a less effective adaptation and coping strategy for many. In many cases, they are contributing to 'trapping' vulnerable populations (that were already unable to escape the sudden and direct physical impacts of disasters, as well as the conditions of poverty, famine and conflict exacerbated by climate change) even further. They are also affecting migrant workers’ incomes and, by consequence, remittances to their families in their home communities and countries, which can undermine their resilience to climate impacts, for example, by reducing financial resources that could have been used in times of disasters.

See the paper here.

Adriana Abdenur Moderator

Thank you for those fascinating examples, Diane. Are there any typologies  out there of how to incorporate climate into peace agreements?   Thinking out loud there -- based on the examples we've raised I can think of at least five main ways to mainstream climate into agreements: 

a)  "Peace parks," in which transboundary protected areas are established that entail cooperation among the parties around specific territories, in some cases jointly managed; the Ecuador-Peru peace agreement might qualify as one. Maritime peace parks may be a subtype -- there are several examples here: http://ciesm.org/online/monographs/41/WM_41_27_32.pdf)

b) Climate as an Area on the Agenda, in which a peace agreement incorporates explicit language on the general theme--for instance, formally recognizing the environmental impact of the conflict and the need to address the damage or boost adaptation--and identifies counterparts (for instance, Ministries of the Environment) to cooperate on an agreed-upon list of priorities;

c) Driver-Focused, in which a major environmental driver of conflict is identified and cooperation between the parties is then built around that particular phenomenon (as in the case of transhumance or water availability; I'm thinking of the Wadi Araba Accords and the joint water committee); 

d) Preventive, in which forecasts-- for instance, of extreme weather events that may affect all parties--are dealt with through a programme for cooperation, as in the case of disaster risk reduction and response, or perhaps (one day) on climate-induced migration. 

e) Sustainability of Implementation, in which climate footprint of agreement execution is foreseen and impact mitigation is provided for-- and "boomerang policies" avoided. 

These are not (and shouldn't be) mutually exclusive. What are some other ways to mainstream climate into peace agreements?  Will we one day see a peace agreement in which climate is truly center stage, combining most or even all of these dimensions?  





Beatrice Mosello Moderator

Great way of framing this Adriana Abdenur! Does anyone have have any examples of categories d) and e)? 

Catherine Wong Moderator

In the case of early warning systems, UNDP does a lot of this kind of work. I would invite Thomas Pitaud to weigh in on this. 

I know WFP makes use of weather-based systems to put in place cash-based systems ahead of extreme weather incidents to bolster coping capacity, support disaster preparedness, etc. It would great to hear from our WFP moderators @Rebecca Richards and @Johanna Green on this.     

Johanna Green

Thanks Catherine Wong - Indeed, in the HDP discussion room mentioned WFP’s forecast-based financing programmes, which use crisis alerts and forecasts to help people prepare for shocks before a disaster materializes.  I would also recommend you have a look at WFP's R4 Rural Resilience Initiative Annual Report 2019 . It describes some innovative approaches, which you may find interesting.  For example the hybrid index insurance WFP is distributing in Malawi, which brings together Weather Index Insurance with Area Yield Index Insurance (AYII). The idea is to allow quick payouts in case of rainfall shortages through the weather index product, while at the same time ensuring coverage against a broader range of risks that damage yields, such as pests or excess rains and floods, through AYII. Another example is the ‘Satellite Index Insurance for Pastoralists in Ethiopia’ (SIIPE) project integrated with the government’s Productive Safety Net Programme (PSNP). The index is built to trigger payouts early enough to keep the core breeding animals alive during a drought, instead of providing payouts at the end of the season when the animals might have already perished.


Shiloh Fetzek Moderator

Johanna Green These are great examples of preventive action that support climate resilience at the local level, and frameworks for incorporating data into risk management. 

Have there been any assessments of their impact on supporting cohesion or preventing fragility? 

Do others have good practices to highlight, that similarly work with existing institutional practices (in this case insurance), and are incorporating climate information to tilt them toward proactively supporting resilience and security? 


Shiloh Fetzek Moderator

This is a really useful discussion, thanks to all for your contributions! It’s great to see examples of programming on the ground integrating climate security and peacebuilding, and to review recent analysis on these themes. 

With reference to guiding question #2, on good practices ensuring climate security into policy, planning and strategy, another thread of this discussion may be interesting to surface. 

Migration and “hard security” have been identified as areas where it’s important to tread delicately, when mainstreaming climate security risk management (or climate, security and peacebuilding) into all of the issues it will affect. 

Since climate change touches everything, including these areas (@Tobias von Lossow and others at Clingendael published a brief on this today), perhaps we could elaborate some of the practical ways to be sensitive to potential dangers and drawbacks as climate security is mainstreamed, particularly as it seems to be reaching a tipping point in terms of more widespread recognition of the risks. 

It would also be interesting to share more about how the security dimensions of climate-related migration are stopping the development of a legal regime to protect environmentally displaced people, as @Francisca Aguayo Armijo mentioned, particularly in light of how little-understood and oft-misrepresented this issue is, as @Adriana Abdenur and others have noted in this discussion. 

Are there any lessons this might offer, on missteps to avoid when integrating security dimensions of climate change into policy, planning and strategy? 

Beatrice Mosello Moderator

Thanks Shiloh Fetzek for drawing our attention to the brief by Clingendael - a really valid contribution to the debate, discussing the dangers of 'securitising' climate change, but also reminding us of the role that security does play in addressing climate change.

From the brief: "Climate-related security risks are, and could more often be, recognised in the mandates of UN and EU missions, for instance with regard to including this aspect in on-the-ground risk assessments – although they are unlikely to be the overarching reason for military intervention. Holding the military to account and not allowing military organisations to misuse extreme weather or droughts to justify intervention needs to be part of the broader debate on how to hold military interventions subject to democratic checks and balances."

I think there are 2 important points we can take away from this for our discussion:

1. Mainstreaming needs to happen in a context-specific way - hence the importance of on-the-ground risk assessments, to inform responses (of whatever nature, depending on the challenges to address). 

2. Checks and balances are needed - I would say whether they involve the military or not. It is important to constantly monitor and understand how our interventions are impacting the context, as well as how the context impacts our interventions, and remain flexible to adapt/change course of action when needed. 

Shiloh Fetzek Moderator

@Beatrice Mosello and I hand off moderating, with thanks for all of your contributions this week. Our (mainly her!:) summary of the discussion and teeing up for our final week of this SparkBlue conversation: 

This week, the conversation focused on examples of mainstreaming climate and security considerations in peace agreements and at the transboundary level. In this context, participants highlighted some of the challenges of mainstreaming, and the additional risks posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mainstreaming climate change in peace processes and agreements

  • There is a gap in our understanding of how to incorporate environmental (and climate-related) considerations into peace processes/negotiations and agreements. This, despite the fact that many global conflicts relate to the use, distribution, illegal exploitation and looting of natural resources, soil erosion, water scarcity, overfishing, deforestation, pollution, resource depletion, and population displacement. When climate issues have been addressed, this has happened through more general language, e.g. when talking about land restoration, rural development, and promoting women's rights.
  • A typology of ways in which climate considerations can be incorporated into peace agreement can be identified (the categories are not mutually exclusive):
    • Dedicated language: peace negotiations and agreement incorporate explicit language on climate change and environment. For example, the peace agreement between the Colombian government and the FARC did not have dedicated terms within the agreement itself, but the transition to peacebuilding began establishing climate action as an important component of consolidating peace in the country.
    • Driver-focused: climate and environmental issues are recognized as key conflict drivers, triggering the identification and incorporation into the peace agreement of measures to build cooperation between the parties to address them. For example, the peace agreement between the government of the Central African Republic and 14 armed groups had a dedicated component on pastoral migration and conflict resolution.
    • Peace parks: the establishment of protected environmental areas that entail cooperation among the parties including at the transboundary level, and are in some case jointly managed, e.g. as in the case of the Ecuador-Peru peace agreement.
    • Preventive: a programme for cooperation is set up to deal with prospected climate impacts, based on data and information from modelling and forecasts. (No examples were presented to illustrate this typology).
    • Sustainability of implementation: the parties foresee the climate footprint of the implementation of a peace agreement, and adequate mitigation measures are  provided for. (No examples were presented to illustrate this typology).

Mainstreaming climate and security risks at the transboundary level

  • Climate and security risks often manifest beyond national borders; transboundary and local responses are therefore needed. It is also important to retain that it is both about mainstreaming climate action into peacebuilding, but also peacebuilding into climate action (as reflected in Colombia's first NDC submission).
  • The Peacebuilding Fund has invested in several cross-border peacebuilding processes and stabilisation efforts that address climate and environmental considerations, e.g. cross-border Chad-CAR project to strengthen dialogue and peace at the community level; a project at the border between Mali and Niger, aiming to empowering women by enhancing their participation in decision-making with a focus on natural resource management; and a Chad-Niger cross-border project on resilient pastoralism.
  • There are also some examples of preventive action that support climate resilience at the local level, and frameworks for incorporating data into risk management, in the framework of the WFP’s  R4 Rural Resilience Initiative:
    • The WFP has used weather-based systems to put in place cash-based systems ahead of extreme weather incidents to bolster coping capacity, support disaster preparedness, etc.
    • WFP is also distributing a ‘hybrid index insurance’ in Malawi, which brings together Weather Index Insurance with Area Yield Index Insurance (AYII). The idea is to allow quick payouts in case of rainfall shortages through the weather index product, while at the same time ensuring coverage against a broader range of risks that damage yields, such as pests or excess rains and floods, through AYII.
    • WFP’s ‘Satellite Index Insurance for Pastoralists in Ethiopia’ (SIIPE) project integrated with the government’s Productive Safety Net Programme (PSNP). The index is built to trigger payouts early enough to keep the core breeding animals alive during a drought, instead of providing payouts at the end of the season when the animals might have already perished.

Challenges of climate and security mainstreaming

  • Lack of sufficient evidence on how climate change strategies can address security risks: Experiences from Southern Mexico and Central America show that even when the links between climate change impacts and security challenges are evident, the evidence of whether and how 'more traditional' strategies for climate adaptation and DRR can work to address violence remains limited. In many instances, climate change adaptation programs are even reluctant to operate in insecure contexts.
  • Translating research into policy action: Policy-makers still broadly understand and respond to security challenges with security measures, without acknowledging the importance of social cohesion - to which actually climate change adaptation and mitigation interventions could contribute.
  • Institutional arrangements fail to incentivize and facilitate cooperation amongst sectors. Both development and humanitarian organisations and governments continue to structure their interventions along very clear performance indicators, allowing for very little deviation and hence flexibility to address interconnected challenges, and/or to coordinate with other entities at national and regional levels. For example, the LAC region, there are still few efforts to promote multi-sectorial and multi-level cooperation, especially between national and local levels, and between states in the region, to incorporate a human mobility dimension in institutional frameworks for climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction.
  • To address these challenges, we need:
    • More adaptive governance systems, with the capacity to learn and adapt, are needed - similar to what has been discussed for the implementation of the Sendai framework.
    • A stronger role for regional organisations, which are important loci for mainstreaming climate and security, e.g. responses to the Venezuelan refugee crisis may offer an opportunity to formulate regional responses that are more climate sensitive, even if just by focusing on specific issues, such as water management or disaster risk reduction. 

Further challenges: COVID-19

  • COVID-19 is further exacerbating climate and security risks by:
    • Adding to climate pressures, making legal livelihood opportunities sparser and less lucrative both in the short-term due to restrictions to contain the virus, and in the long-term due to the long-lasting economic and social effects; just like climate change, this might push individuals to take up illicit livelihoods or criminal activity.
    • Potentially diverting resources and efforts from ongoing climate change adaptation and environmental protection initiatives, especially for those countries that already face poverty and economic crises. This might contribute to increased conflict around land and water access.
    • Making migration a less effective adaptation and coping strategy for many. For example, they are affecting migrant workers’ incomes and, by consequence, remittances to their families in their home communities and countries, which can undermine their resilience to climate impacts, for example, by reducing financial resources that could have been used in times of disasters.
  • This can pose potential dangers and drawbacks to climate and security mainstreaming, particularly as it seems to be reaching a tipping point in terms of more widespread recognition of the risks. 


Of the four guiding questions for this discussion, #3 has received relatively less attention so far, and may be worth focusing on in the week ahead: How can we ensure that climate action is peace positive? What do the metrics look like?

Francisca Aguayo Armijo Moderator

Hello everyone, thank you very much for the fascinating discussion over the last few days! And many thanks to Shiloh Fetzek and Beatrice Mosello for the extremely useful summary.

Although it's not directly related to question #3, I would like to jump in regarding the discussion on multi-sector and multi-level cooperation to mainstream climate security into policy processes and highlight some opportunities to increase the role of the UN by leveraging the reform launched in 2017.  

As underlined throughout the discussion, multidimensional and transboundary challenges posed by climate security require holistic thinking regarding planning and strategies at the national/sub-national, regional and global levels. Taking action at the global level seems crucial to impact global policy processes and debates that can allow and encourage action at the national level, as well as identify lessons learned across countries and regions, and at the same time, focusing on the local level is critical to elaborate context-specific, bottom-up strategies. I think the UN has a role to play in both, as has been illustrated by the funding provided by the PBF to local projects and the broader policy efforts carried by the Climate Security Mechanism at the global level. The UN reform provides opportunities regarding all these efforts and at all levels, as it aims to bring more coherence and enhance coordination within the UN system both thematically and geographically.

The reform provides opportunities for mainstreaming climate security by enhancing multi-sector coordination between the UN Development System, which deals with climate change, and the UN peace and security pillar (DPPA/DPO), which deals with security issues. In this context, there is room to leverage the UN reform to make climate action more peace positive, on one hand, and peace processes more climate sensitive, on the other hand.

I fully agree on the critical yet insufficient/absent role of regional organizations on these issues, as illustrated in LAC regarding the migration crisis. ECLAC/CEPAL was mentioned as an active organization nonetheless, and I agree that ECLAC might be the more functional regional body in LAC at this point, and maybe even the only space for dialogue among governments over the last few years. It's worth noting, for instance, that governments have still managed to adopt by consensus the annual conclusions of the Forum of the Countries of Latin America and the Caribbean on Sustainable Development, which reviews the implementation of the 2030 Agenda in the region and is held under the auspices of ECLAC. There is opportunity to think about mainstreaming climate security in this process as well as other ECLAC activities, although the framing here will be critical to accommodate strong political sensitivities on these issues in the region.

Still, the reform has brought about some political will to increase coordination, and based on the renewed multi-level and multi-sector mechanisms, there is room for the UN to engage more actively in mainstreaming climate security both within the UN system at the regional level and with external partners/regional organizations.

Thank you again for the very rich discussion!

Leonardo Medina

Dear Francisca Aguayo Armijo 

Thank you for your remarkable assessment on the role of the UN in supporting multi-sector and multi-level action for the mainstreaming of climate security at all governance levels. In fact, I consider the role of national governments to be similar in regard to the development of “network” or “collaborative” governance systems capable of collective learning and institutional adaptation.

The Mexican government intends to not only implement a National Committee for the Agenda2030, but it´s currently planning an additional committee focused on SDG16 (Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions), given its great relevance for the national development agenda. This Committee will support coordination in national, state and local level congresses to strengthen policy coherence, along with developing the collaborative capacity of local governments for the involvement of civil society. The committee has identified key multi-sectorial links for which action is considered as multiplier for enhancing human security, such as SDG5 on gender equality, SDG8 on decent work and SDG13 on climate action. In coordination with civil society, it is intended for local governments to define appropriate strategies for human security based on local values, priorities and successful practices; while focusing on identifying specific SDG targets deemed multipliers of human security (e.g. Target 13.1). In this sense, it would be worthwhile for this process to consider not only particular targets in the Agenda2030 as multipliers of security, but also the Sendai Framework priorities.

Unfortunately, activities by the SDG16 Committee have just begun, hence we can´t yet evaluate results. But this sort of governance arrangement allows for the development of locally tailored strategies under a standard -and comparable- institutional framework, while potentially identifying multi-sectorial indicators. They also encourage deliberative approaches allowing for the conceptualization of security (as has been mentioned here), the reflection of underlying values, and the evaluation of mismatches between desired goals and achieved results; all required for collective learning.

Mario Duarte-Villarello

¡Saludos a todos! Me da gusto tener la oportunidad de participar en el foro y quiero agradecer a Martín Cadena, PNUD, por la invitación.

Sobre el vínculo seguridad y ambiente, quisiera compartir unas reflexiones desde la perspectiva de las Relaciones Internacionales que es el campo al que yo pertenezco.

Como saben, en la actualidad el mundo entero está inmerso en la búsqueda de una solución eficaz contra la pandemia de la COVID-19, que lo ha puesto contra las cuerdas. Esto nos recuerda que las amenazas provienen de lugares insospechados y pueden modificar las nociones de seguridad internacional.

Por décadas, la visión “tradicional” de seguridad internacional abarcó la amenaza que provenía de un Estado a otro en términos militares, por lo tanto la respuesta natural era la escalada armamentista. Así funcionó durante gran parte de la Guerra Fría. Cuando ésta terminó, y ya no hubo justificación del costo de una carrera belicista, surgieron “nuevos temas” que fueron incluidos bajo una visión de seguridad internacional “no tradicional” o más amplia. Me refiero en particular a la Agenda para el Desarrollo, impulsada por el UNDP en la década de los noventa del siglo pasado, que demandaba redirigir los flujos financieros que antes de destinaban al armamentismo, a las carteras de combate a la pobreza, salud, género, alimentación y ambiente, entre otros, bajo el supuesto de que la seguridad internacional mejoraría de ese modo, erigiendo el binomio desarrollo-seguridad.

Tras los atentados del 11 de septiembre de 2001, la visión tradicional pareció recobrar fuerza, colocando ahora al terrorismo como el enemigo que justificaba nuevamente una escalada militar, soslayando con ello a la iniciativa del UNDP. La diferencia radica en que la fuerza inherente de los “nuevos temas” ya era tal que era imposible minimizarlos, como el cambio climático, la pérdida de la biodiversidad, el agujero en la capa de ozono, desertificación, entre otros, por centrarme únicamente en la agenda ambiental. Todos ellos entraron en los cálculos de la seguridad internacional por el potencial que tienen para generar inseguridad y conflictos. Merece aclarar que los así llamados “nuevos temas” no eran para nada nuevos, sino que estuvieron eclipsados durante décadas por la visión tradicional, es decir, la militarista. Las aportaciones teóricas de la Escuela de Copenhague son un ejemplo de que la academia proponía, ya desde inicios de los años ochenta, una revisión de los aspectos no militares de la seguridad.

Al abrir la gama de elementos que podrían constituir amenazas a la seguridad, los temas ambientales ganaron terreno en esferas no usuales a su ámbito de estudio, sino también en las áreas clásicas de la seguridad, que reconocían por fin que los efectos del cambio climático, la pérdida de la biodiversidad, entre otros fenómenos, representaban una amenaza directa a la seguridad, todo esto a partir del inicio de la segunda década del presente siglo.

Sin embargo, este avance no ha sido suficiente. Si bien es reconocida la correlación entre los problemas ambientales y la inseguridad internacional, la voluntad política no ha estado a la altura: los magros avances en cambio climático a pesar del acierto que representa el Acuerdo de París y las extenuantes negociaciones del Marco Global para la Biodiversidad post-2020 constituyen ejemplos de victorias pírricas frente a las aún altas emisiones de gases de efecto invernadero o el ritmo de extinción de especies. Recordemos que, por ejemplo, el incremento del nivel promedio del mar por el derretimiento de los casquetes polares provoca la pérdida de territorios y puede forzar la migración masiva e incontrolada de personas; o bien, la desaparición de especies pone en peligro la producción alimentaria o el acceso a componentes necesarios para la industria farmacéutica.

Los problemas ambientales son quizás el mayor reto al que se han enfrentado las ciencias políticas, en particular las Relaciones Internacionales, por su carácter intrínsecamente vinculado con la configuración de la estructura mundial, en la cual la base del sistema económico es el ambiente que, paradójicamente, es afectado de manera directa por el propio sistema. Debemos, pues, apelar a la generación de escenarios futuros en los que el panorama no es nada alentador, para que pueda ocurrir la acción política. Al fin y al cabo, estos meses de confinamiento por la pandemia nos han demostrado que las amenazas no tradicionales a la seguridad internacional están presentes y el sistema mundial parece no contar con la mejor preparación para enfrentarlas.

Hoy es un virus el que nos tiene de cabeza. Mañana puede ser el cambio climático o la extinción de especies necesarias para nuestra supervivencia. Pensémoslo bien y actuemos mejor.

Estas líneas, por cierto, las publiqué hace unos días (http://www.siempre.mx/2020/10/ambiente-y-seguridad-internacional/) y también les comparto otro artículo (que dio pie a un libro posterior sobre el tema) que les adjunto, que escribí en 2011-2012 y que, sin embargo, parece un texto que podría ser actual pues, tristemente, ha habido pocos avances.

Me encantaría recibir sus comentarios.

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