Over the last decade, a growing number of militaries and national security communities have become increasingly concerned about a changing climate – including about the very real risks it poses to global stability, conflict and their own military missions – and have started to organise themselves within their respective countries.
Climate change is a threat multiplier, making existing threats to security worse (image: The Vagabond / 123rf)
This February, a meeting of a meeting of hundreds of security and foreign policy experts and practitioners took place at the Planetary Security Conference and announced that the Center for Climate and Security (CCS) and its partners the Netherlands Institute of International Relations (Clingendael)/ the Planetary Security Initiative, the French Institute for International and Strategic Affairs (IRIS), and the Hague Centre for Strategic Studies (HCSS) announced the creation of a new International Military Council on Climate and Security, or IMCCS.
“Climate change is a threat multiplier, making existing threats to security worse, and that means militaries are going to be on the front lines of combating climate risks and building resilience. Many of the world’s military leaders recognize that climate change is a core security concern, not only an environmental matter, and a fundamental strategic consideration of our time. This network will bring military voices to the international security and climate discussion in a meaningful way, and advance action commensurate to the threat,” noted the Honourable Sherri Goodman, Secretary General of the IMCCS, Senior Strategist at the Centre for Climate and Security, and former US Deputy Undersecretary of Defence.
The IMCCS will be an international institution devoted to addressing the very real and urgent concerns militaries have about a changing climate. It is envisioned that the IMCCS will be an umbrella network of senior military leaders from across the globe that will meet regularly, produce an annual World Climate and Security Report, and drive communications and policy in support of actions on the security implications of a changing climate – at national, regional and international levels.
As it expands, the IMCCS will welcome new members and institutional affiliates from across the globe. The Centre for Climate and Security, a policy institute of the Council on Strategic Risks with a team and advisory board of senior military and security experts, will serve as the Secretariat of the IMCCS.
“Climate change fuels the roots of conflict around the globe and poses a direct threat to populations and installations in coastal areas and small islands. It should therefore be taken very seriously as a major security issue that needs to be addressed. The military can and should be part of the solution when dealing with climate change. The IMCCS can help create synergy in the international military community by exchanging best practices, co-ordinating efforts and cooperating on new initiatives,” according to General Tom Middendorp, Chair of the IMCCS and former Chief of Defence of the Netherlands
The core functions of the IMCCS will be:
- Analysis and Policy Development: The IMCCS will publish annual reports on the global security implications of climate change, including its implications for militaries. This will include an annual World Climate and Security Report;
- Communication: IMCCS members will communicate during and after key global events, including meetings of important regional and international security institutions; and
- Co-ordination: The IMCCS will co-ordinate and super-charge existing climate and security networks to help maximise the effectiveness and reach of the climate-military community.
“There is a need for better awareness and understanding of the threats and required strategic capabilities for climate security. Interaction between stakeholders should be supported and coordination is required,” – Michel Rademaker, Senior Member of the IMCCS Executive Committee and Deputy Director of the Hague Centre for Strategic Studies
What’s New: The IMCCS will represent a major scaling-up of the international climate and military community. Building from the successes of climate and security networks such as the Climate and Security Advisory Group, the CNA Military Advisory Board, the Global Military Advisory Council on Climate Change, the Planetary Security Initiative, the CCS Advisory Board and the Climate and Security Working Group-International, the IMCCS will represent the largest, most diverse, and most active international military network on climate change.
The IMCCS will hold a formal launch event later this year. More details available here.