21 June 2023

Climate security in Dutch international climate policy – From ambition to implementation

Climate security risks are becoming increasingly noticeable. Extreme heat and drought aggravate water and food insecurity in the world’s already most fragile countries. Extreme weather events lead to more calls for military assistance at home and abroad, unbearable living conditions force people to migrate, and melting ice in the Arctic heightens existing tensions between world powers. Climate interventions can contribute to peace and stability, but can also exacerbate inequalities or lead to concerns over a new form of (climate) imperialism.

Up until now, climate security was referred to in Dutch foreign, defence and climate policies, but only in a minimal way. The international climate strategy of the Netherlands, its resources strategy, the government-wide security strategy and the recent Africa strategy recognise the relationship between climate change and (inter)national security. But the proof of the pudding is in the eating, in this case in policy implementation. Implementation would mean including security and conflict risk assessments in climate and resource interventions (including in the food and water sector), considering climate interventions that enhance living conditions in areas of potential mass migration, expanding military capacity for Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response (HADR), reducing the carbon and resources footprint of humanitarian and military activities and missions, preparing better to undertake such missions in harsher climatic conditions


Read the full policy brief here.

This policy brief is authored by Saskia Hollander and Louise van Schaik

Photo credit: Flickr/UNICEF Ethiopia