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International Security in a Changing Environment

Tuesday October 13th 2020 | 19:45 – 21:30 | Instituto Cervantes Utrecht |Domplein 3, 3512 Utrecht |

While climate change is becoming increasingly tangible all over the world, with unprecedented heatwaves and wildfires, annually increasing storms and rising sea levels, more and more attention is given to these direct effects of climate change, and how to reduce their impacts. However, to truly understand the scope of climate change’s impact on human systems, to raise ambitions and to take the right measures regarding adaptation, it is crucial to also look at its important indirect effect: social instability and international insecurity. Whether we are talking about Syria or Bangladesh, civil wars or climate refugees, there are strong linkages to climate induced effects on food and water supply and protection from extreme weather events and sea level rise. In the future, changing climate will amplify these and other social issues and instabilities. In turn, this will come with important, cross-boundary social risks; not only for nations that are directly hit, but also for nations such as the Netherlands that will experience the indirect consequences., i.e. via migration. And, as we all know, social instability is the main driver of conflict.

What exactly are these security risks, on the national, regional, and global scale? How can we best mitigate them, and is this even possible? What role can our government play?

We will discuss this with Tom Middendorp, former Chief of Defence of the Netherlands, Chairman of the International Military Committee on Climate and Security, and senior associate fellow at Clingendael Institute.