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South Pacific Defence Ministers: Defence Organizations Must Be Ready for Climate Change

Members_of_the_Papua_New_Guinea_Defense_Force_prepare_to_embark_aboard_the_Royal_Australian_Navy_landing_ship_heavy_HMAS_Tobruk_(L50)

Members of the Papua New Guinea Defense Force prepare to embark aboard the Royal Australian Navy_ anding ship heavy HMAS_Tobruk

In case you missed it: The South Pacific Defense Ministers’ Meeting (SPDMM) issued two important products in May demonstrating heightened concern about the defense implications of climate change among regional militaries, including important U.S. allies and partners. This includes:

  1. A Joint Communiqué from the SPDMM, as represented by Australia, Chile, Fiji, France, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and Tonga
  2. A report commissioned by the 2017 SPDMM, titled “Implications of Climate Change on Defence and Security in the South Pacific by 2030,” coordinated by the Observatory on Defence and Climate at the French Institute for International and Strategic Affairs (IRIS) – a consortium partner of the Center for Climate and Security in the IMCCS.

The communiqué is an admirably robust one, with point number 9, for example, stating:

We acknowledge the 2018 Boe Declaration’s affirmation that “climate change presents the single greatest threat to the livelihood, security and wellbeing of Pacific peoples” and recognised climate change as a challenge for which regional defence organisations must be ready.

The Executive Summary of the commissioned report notes, among other key findings:

There is no doubt that climate change will remain a significant security challenge to
the Pacific region in the coming decades. While some see climate change as a
security concern in its own right, it can be viewed as a risk multiplier in the Pacific— climate change exacerbates and complicates state fragility, conflict dynamics,
economic vulnerability and threatens many aspects of human security (McPherson,
2017).

Both are worth a full read.


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