30 May 2024

Updated map of climate security practices

PSI is pleased to launch a new, updated map of climate security practices around the world. Over the past two decades, climate security research has significantly advanced in understanding and addressing the security risks posed by climate change. Although practical action remains partially limited, there is considerable potential for growth. Consequently, there is increasing interest from the development, diplomacy, and defence sectors to become more involved in this area. The scope of this work has been to highlight the trends and  developments of the climate security space. Climate security practices are defined as: “tangible actions implemented by a (local or central) government, organisation, community, private actor or individual to help prevent, reduce, mitigate or adapt (to) security risks and threats related to impacts of climate change and related environmental degradation, as well as subsequent policies.” (Climate Security Practices report, 2021)

Since the launch of its first report in 2021, PSI has continued cataloguing information about initiatives organized by national governments, NGOs, universities and other institutions, that seek to address a wide range of conflict drivers. Signalling a strong growth in the number of practices around the world, the map now features 73 projects, the study of which shows the existence of some geographical, content and linguistic trends.

  1. A substantial majority of the practices are located in Sub-Saharan Africa. This region includes several areas already plagued by extreme poverty and food insecurity, and the impact of the climate crisis aggravates these issues. Because of the gravity of local conditions in areas that are either facing or might be facing future humanitarian crisis, most projects are carried out by NGOs and international organizations whose mandate is to specifically provide aid and support capacity building in these contexts.
  2. Even though the attention around the concept of climate security is growing in Western Europe (the first EU Climate Risk Assessment Report is an example of this) and North America as well, projects in these regions remain limited in number and scope. The map features five initiatives in these continents, set up by the defence sector (either ministries of defence or NATO) to combat the impacts of climate change and react swiftly in case of national emergencies.
  3. While the impact of the climate crisis is particularly strong in South-East-Asia and South America, this is still not reflected in the amount of projects developed in these areas. One potential explanation for this could be that most of the practices are still connected to the humanitarian work of NGOs and international organizations, that tend to focus their work in underdeveloped countries rather than developing and developed countries.
  4. Reconnecting to the last point, language trends also seem to support this hypothesis: most practices carried out by NGOs highlight in their descriptions the fragility of the contexts in which they operate, and often present links to environmental peacebuilding and conflict prevention. Climate security practices are especially needed in conflict-prone areas, as building resilience to climate change could significantly contribute to security.
  5. Lastly, international organizations in particular, but also NGOs and aid organizations tend to set up regional projects, that are transnational and sometimes even cross-continental to promote information sharing, inclusion of climate considerations and other sustainable practices in already existing projects.

In conclusion, while the field of climate security practices is evolving, and the security and climate communities are still learning to engage in this integrated area, there is immense potential to foster more sustainable and long-term peace and stability.

You can view the new interactive map by using the link here. If you have any climate security practices that you would like to submit yourself then please do so by contacting us at psi@clingendael.org.

Photo credit: Asian Development Bank/Flickr