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Feeding Resilience

Climate Change, Geopolitics, and Food Security: Implications for Europe, the United States, and Multilateralism

Policy Dialogue Roundtable · 12-13 November 2023, Brussels

Goal: Understand and document how the intersection of climate change and geopolitics are shaping the global food crisis by identifying actionable recommendations for the renewal and scale up of European and U.S. policies and programs to manage the food crisis, including through renewed multilateralism.

Format: Moderated roundtable discussion. The roundtable will start with brief presentations from our guest discussants, followed by a conversation with participants and Q&A sessions. Lunch will be provided to encourage further exchange and networking.

Reception: Renaissance Brussels Hotel, Rue du Parnasse 19, Brussels, Belgium, 1050
Roundtable: European Policy Centre (3rd Floor): Rue du Trône 14/16, 1000 Brussels


Virtual Attendees: Please access the roundtable by clicking here. If you wish to call in with your phone, please dial your country code (full list here), followed by the meeting ID and ‘#’. Meeting ID: 876 9955 6345  |  Passcode: 529226

Nov. 12
6:00-7:30 pm
Nov. 13
1:00-2:00 pm
Registration & Lunch
2:00-2:15Welcome Remarks
Erin Sikorsky, Director, Center for Climate and Security (CCS)
Ricardo Borges de Castro, Associate Director and Head of the Europe in the World Program (EPC)
Erin Sikorsky (Moderator)
Stefan Sipka​, ​Senior Policy Analyst and Interim Head of Sustainable Prosperity for Europe program, European Policy Center (EPC)

Ruben Diaz-Plaja, Senior Policy Adviser, Policy Planning Unit at North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)

Grazia Pacillo, Senior Scientist. Co-Lead CGIAR Climate Security FOCUS/Climate change resilience, food security and agriculture – The Alliance of Bioversity International and The International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT)

Gary Russ [v], European Command (EUCOM), Real Estate, Environmental and NSIP. Infrastructure and Engineering Branch
3:00-3:50Discussion & Q&A
Open discussion amongst panelists and attendees. Attendees are encouraged to present their own perspectives, brief background of their organizations and work related to resilience, food security and national/global security. 
3:50-4:00Concluding Remarks & Next Steps
Patricia Parera, Senior Research Fellow, Center for Climate and Security (CCS)
Ricardo Borges de Castro, Associate Director and Head of the Europe in the World Program (EPC)

Additional Readings

Report: Feeding Resilience: A Review of Policies at the Intersection of Climate Change, Food Security and National Security Policy

The Center for Climate and Security. Authored by Patricia Parera and Brigitte Hugh. Edited by Tom Ellison and Francesco Femia. August 2023.

Event Summary: Addressing the Interplay of Climate Change, Food and National Security

The Center for Climate and Security. Authored by Patricia Parera. Edited by Brigitte Hugh, Erin Sikorsky, and Francesco Femia. August 2023

Participant Biographies


Dr. Grazia Pacillo is a senior economist and evaluator with more than 15 years of experience in research on transforming food and agricultural systems in a climate crisis. She co-leads the CGIAR FOCUS Climate Security team. Her main research interest lies in evaluating the impact of climate on common drivers of conflict and fragility, such as food and nutrition insecurity, poverty, forced migration, gender, and other structural inequalities. She leads multiple projects that combine conventional and unconventional mixed-method approaches to qualify and quantify the climate security nexus in Africa, Latin America, and South-East Asia.

Ruben-Erik Diaz Plaja is a Senior Policy Adviser in the Policy Planning Unit in the Office of the Secretary General at NATO Headquarters, where he contributes to developing, negotiating and implementing strategic policy priorities for the Secretary General, as well as leading work to strengthen strategic foresight within NATO. He has contributed to developing the 2022 Strategic Concept; the NATO 2030 agenda; the 2021 Climate Change and Security Action Plan; and a comprehensive reform of NATO HQ in 2018. Between 2012 and 2018, Ruben led work on NATO’s partnerships in the Political Affairs and Security Policy Division. Ruben has more than 15 years’ experience working at the intersection of defense, security and democratic governance in the Euro-Atlantic region, including with the OSCE in Warsaw, Poland, and Kosovo (2007-2012). A Spanish/Dutch national, Ruben holds degrees in Politics (Edinburgh University, ‘04) and International Relations and Economics (Johns Hopkins University SAIS, ‘06).

Stefan Sipka is a Senior Policy Analyst and Acting Head of the Sustainable Prosperity for Europe programme working on environmental policies and smarter use of resources. His immediate focus revolves, in particular, around the circular economy, EU common agricultural policy, and interlinkages between these and other relevant policies at the EU and global level. Stefan’s engagement in the EPC is built upon his previous academic and professional background in environment, public policy, international relations and the EU. He worked for more than five years in the Belgrade think tank Centar za evropske politike (CEP), the EU Delegation to Serbia and the Hungarian National Waste Management Agency. His professional and academic output includes numerous research publications, policy papers, advocacy events, and legislative, policy and project proposals. Stefan is dedicated to environmental protection and sustainability commitments and believes that EU policies can deliver substantial improvements in this regard.

Gary Russ is a Real Estate & Environmental Partnerships expert for EUCOM J44 in Stuttgart, Germany. He is the Climate Change Working Group Co-Chair with shared oversight for $16M in climate change projects across the European theatre. Mr. Russ retired from the Army as a COL which included service as a combat engineer squad member to his final assignment as the Commander of 2502nd Liaison Detachment in Korea. His deployments included Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm Kuwait, Iraq; Operation Iraqi Freedom, Iraq; and Operation Enduring Freedom, Afghanistan. He served as a as a regulatory compliance specialist at Dames & Moore in 1994 and as Manager of Environmental Services, Ninyo & Moore, from 2000-2003. He moved to USAREUR as an engineer project manager/environmental engineer. Subsequently, he served as J4 Director, for Engineering, Logistics & Housing supporting U.S. Military Training Mission, Saudi Arabia followed by Chief of Operations & Maintenance for the Okeechobee Waterway and Herbert Hoover Dike, Florida. Mr. Russ holds an MS from University of Kansas and BS from Kansas State University. His military education includes engineer training through the Air War College.


Antonio Albaladejo Román graduated in Law at the University of Murcia (Spain) and specialized in EU affairs at the College of Europe. He has worked as a policy advisor in Spain and Ukraine, and since 2019 in the European Parliament. In October 2022, Mr Albaladejo joined the European Parliamentary Research Service as a policy analyst working on food security and agriculture topics at the Structural Policies Unit. Mr. Albaladejo’s current research includes the potential impact of El Niño on food security and the challenges of Ukraine’s EU membership bid on the common agricultural policy (CAP).

Ricardo Borges de Castro is Associate Director and Head of the Europe in the World Programme at the European Policy Centre. Previously, he served as Adviser for Foreign Affairs and then as Adviser on Strategic Foresight to the European Political Strategy Centre, reporting directly to President Jean-Claude Juncker. Ricardo led the EPSC’s work on foresight, focusing mainly on global trends, ‘anticipatory democracy,’ and policymaking. He was also the European Commission’s project leader for the European Strategy and Policy Analysis System (ESPAS), an EU inter-institutional collaboration on global trends and strategic foresight. Before joining the EPSC, Ricardo served as Member of Cabinet and Personal Assistant to José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, spokesperson for ‘Europe and the World’ at the Commission’s Spokespersons’ Planning and Coordination Unit, and Political Adviser to the Prime Minister of Portugal. Ricardo holds a Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy from Tufts University, and a DPhil in International Relations from the University of Oxford.

Michele Cervone d’Urso was appointed Head for Financing Instruments and International Cooperation of the newly transformed European External Action Service (EEAS) in September 2021. Previously, he was in charge of the Development Cooperation division. Mr Cervone d’Urso leads a team that has the strategic oversight for EEAS over EU international cooperation with third countries managed by the European Commission and the steering of EU development cooperation policy. He has 25 years of experience in international diplomacy, development and peace building for the European Union. Michele Cervone d’Urso joined the EU in 1996 at the Directorate General for Development of the European Commission. Since then, he has served in various capacities, including as EU Ambassador for Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar from 2016 to 2020; EU Special Envoy and Ambassador for Somalia from 2012 to 2016 and for Yemen between 2008 to 2012.

Siena Cicarelli is a Research Fellow at the Center for Climate and Security (CCS), an institute of the Council on Strategic Risks (CSR). Her work supports the Nexus25 project, a joint CCS/Istituto Affari Internazionali initiative focused on sustainable multilateralism. Prior to joining CCS, she covered Women, Peace, and Security (WPS), international humanitarian law, atrocity prevention, and global partnerships as an analyst for the U.S. Department of Defense. She has previously worked on transatlantic relations and human security issues for Eurasia Group, the Center for American Progress, and the National Democratic Institute. Siena holds a MSc from the London School of Economics and Political Science and a BA in International Studies from American University. 

Luca Cinciripini is a researcher in the IAI’s EU, Politics and Institutions programme. He is currently a PhD student at the Catholic University of Milan and an Associate Fellow at ITSTIME. Previously he was a Visiting Researcher at the University College London (UCL) and the University of Edinburgh. He graduated in International Law at LUISS Guido Carli and then obtained a 1st level Master in International Relations at ASERI (Alta Scuola di Economia e Relazioni Internazionali) of the Catholic University. During his studies, he specialized in EU Foreign and Security Policy, inter-organizational relations in the field of Euro-Atlantic defense and international terrorism.

Tobias Gras is the Senior Policy Advisor to the Danish Agriculture and Food Council (DAFC) in Brussels, which represents Danish farmers and some of the EU’s major globally oriented cooperatives in the dairy, pork, seeds and grain sectors. He helped shape the 2019 Climate Neutrality 2050 vision for the Danish food cluster, which was amongst the first of its kinds in the agricultural world, and preceded subsequent EU Green Deal legislation, such as the Climate Law. Tobias has advocated for enhancing the role of farmers’ and farmers’ owned cooperatives in global climate action on both mitigation and sequestration, and served as an observer to the UNFCCC Standing Committee on Finance (SCF). Prior to joining the DAFC in 2012, he served as Climate Attaché at the Danish EU Representation, and as Information Officer in the European Commission, working on the Copernicus Earth observation monitoring system.

Annika Hedberg is a Senior Adviser for the European Policy Centre (EPC) on climate and sustainability, and currently located in Washington D.C. She is an expert on green transition, and an advocate for system change and sustainable prosperity. Over the years, she has worked on a wide range of relevant topics and EU policy areas, including on climate, energy, environment, circular economy, food, health, and industrial transformation.  She worked previously at the EPC as a Head of Sustainable Prosperity for Europe Programme and a Policy Analyst, in which roles she developed and led the organization’s activities on achieving a more sustainable and competitive European economy. Prior to joining the EPC, she worked at the Finnish Business and Policy Forum EVA, a policy think tank in Helsinki, and at the Finnish Foreign Ministry.

Alan Matthews is Professor Emeritus of European Agricultural Policy at the University of Dublin Trinity College, Ireland and a former President of the European Association of Agricultural Economists. His research focuses on EU agricultural policy, originally with an interest in agricultural trade policy and agricultural trade and development issues. More recently, he has been a member of Ireland’s Climate Change Advisory Council and has taken a special interest in the potential role of market-based instruments to accelerate emissions mitigation in the agricultural and land use sectors. He is a regular contributor to the blog on issues relating to the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy.

Eleonora Milazzo is Joint Research Fellow at the European Policy Centre and the Egmont Institute in Brussels. Her current work focuses on the policy nexus between migration, development, climate change, and security. Eleonora holds a PhD in Political Science from the European University Institute and is the author of “Refugee Protection and Solidarity. The Duties of EU Member States” (Oxford University Press, 2023). She has held research positions at the Migration Policy Centre in Fiesole, the Refugee Studies Centre in Oxford, and Carnegie Europe in Brussels. Before turning to migration and asylum in the EU, she gained expertise in the area of climate change governance and EU-Russia relations at the Ecologic Institute in Berlin and the Russian International Affairs Council in Moscow.

Cassandra Morton O’Connor is a public engagement specialist focused on outreach to marginalized and youth audiences. Her work spans from developing training opportunities, facilitating public diplomacy engagements, coordinating cultural diplomacy opportunities, to integrating diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility initiatives into all aspects of programmatic work.  Cassandra works with the Mission’s contact point embassy to NATO and handles public affairs priorities that focus on Women, Peace, and Security, Human Security, and Climate Security.  In addition, Cassandra serves as the Grants Officer Representative for grants issued by the U.S. Mission to NATO.  Prior to joining the USNATO Public Diplomacy team, Cassandra worked for the Patent and Trademark Office at the U.S. Mission to the European Union. She is a graduate of the University of Victoria in British Columbia and the American University in Paris. 

Apostolos Nikolaidis is a Peace & Resilience Thematic Expert in the European Commission’s Directorate-General for International Partnerships (DG INTPA), where he provides expertise, analytical and strategic advice on fragility, conflict, and crises in the EU development cooperation. Previously, as an EU official, he served as Civil-Military Relations Officer in the area of Civil Protection & Humanitarian Aid Operations (DG ECHO); on International Cooperation in DG Research; on the fight against corruption, organized crime and judiciary reform in the Secretariat General; on external relations aspects in DG Communication; and as Iraq Desk in DG RELEX. Earlier in his career, he has worked as an international consultant for CARE International in Kosovo; for Nonviolent Peaceforce in Brussels; and as an intern in the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Apostolos holds a BA in international relations & diplomacy, three MAs in: a) conflict prevention & crisis management, b) development & good governance and c) European politics & policies. 

Asli Selin Okyay is a senior fellow at the Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI). Before joining the IAI in 2017, she was a post-doctoral research associate at the ERC-funded “Borderlands” project hosted by the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies, European University Institute. She obtained her Ph.D. (2015) in Political and Social Sciences from the European University Institute, Florence, and her M.Phil in Migration Studies from the University of Oxford (2009). Her expertise is on migration and border management, and her research particularly focuses on the EU’s external migration policies towards third countries in the Southern Mediterranean, including Turkey. Her publications include “Contentious Borders: The Middle East and North Africa post-2011”, special issue of International Affairs Vol. 93, No. (2017), co-edited with Raffaella A. del Sarto and Louise Fawcett.

Jan Ondrus is the Advocacy Lead at the United Nations World Food Programme Office to the European Union. Since joining WFP in 2016, he manages the political engagement and partnerships with European institutions as well as non-state actors based in Brussels. Previously, Jan worked in different roles for the European Union in Belgium, Eritrea and Azerbaijan. He also worked for Transparency International, and the International Centre for Migration Policy Development. Jan holds a master’s degree in Law from the Comenius University in Bratislava, and a master’s degree in International Relations and European Studies from the Central European University in Budapest.

Zitouni Ould-Dada is currently Deputy Director in the Climate and Environment Division at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Rome. Before joining FAO, he worked as Head of the Technology Unit at UNEP in Paris for 5 years. Prior to that, he worked for the British Government for 15 years holding several senior positions at the Department of Energy and Climate Change; the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs; the Food Standards Agency; Environment Agency; and the Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries and Food. He also worked for the French government on international climate change during France’s Presidency of the European Union in 2008. His 22 years of international work experience covers a wide range of fields including environmental policy; climate change; energy policy; technology and innovation; agriculture and food security; radiation protection; and the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development. 

Isabel Paliotta is Policy Officer for Sustainable Food Systems at the European Environmental Bureau (EEB). Her main areas of work are governance, systemic change, consumption-side policy, animal welfare and agroecology. She holds a BA in Economic Development, International Cooperation and Conflict Management from the University of Florence and an MA in International and Diplomatic Affairs from Bologna University. After specializing on the history of the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy, she expanded her focus on food while at the EU Delegation to the UN Organisations in Rome and Slow Food Europe, before joining the EEB.

Patricia Parera is Senior Research Fellow with the Center for Climate and Security (CCS) where she leads on the nexus of climate change, ecological security, and food security. Previously, she served as Associate Director for Partnerships and Global Initiatives at Virginia Tech where she also was a lecturer on sustainable development. Parera was previously a senior operations officer and social safeguards specialist with the World Bank’s Sustainable Development Division for Latin America where she managed and supervised agricultural technology projects and operations to improve seed production systems to increase food security and nutrition in Nicaragua. Before the World Bank, Ms. Parera was a policy officer for the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). She holds a Master of Science in Foreign Service from Georgetown University, and a BA in Linguistics from the National University of Cordoba, Argentina. She is also a graduate of the Harvard Block School of Education Certificate Program.

Sophie Pornschlegel is Director of Studies of Europe Jacques Delors, the sister think tank of the Jacques Delors Institute in Paris and the Jacques Delors Centre in Berlin, where she works on sustainability issues, EU institutions and Franco-German relations. She teaches at Sciences Po and is author of the non-fiction book “At the end of the known order: Why we need to rethink power.” (Am Ende der gewohnten Ordnung: Warum wir Macht neu denken müssen).

Paul Rushton is senior Officer for Climate Change and Security in NATO’s Emerging Security Challenges (ESC) Division. Prior to joining ESC in 2023, he was team leader for Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defence in NATO’s Arms Control, Disarmament, and Non-Proliferation Centre, and First Secretary for arms control and nuclear planning at the Joint Delegation of Canada to NATO. He has previously served in various capacities related to international security policy, crisis management, and environmental security with Global Affairs Canada. Before joining GAC, he worked with the UN and diverse NGOs on environment, climate change and food security in fragile and conflict-affected contexts, including Darfur, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Myanmar and Nepal. He holds an MSc in Sustainable Development from the University of London, an MA in International Peace and Conflict Studies from the UN University for Peace in Costa Rica, and a BA in Political Science and Economic from Simon Fraser University in Canada.

Nikolaus Schultze leads EGA’s climate policy and sustainability regulatory and advisory initiatives. Under his leadership, the Climate Policy and Sustainability team works with clients to anticipate policy trends that will impact their business by helping clients shape the debate and better understand their roles related to climate and sustainability issues. Nikolaus has more than 30 years experience at the intersection of sustainability and climate in leadership capacities in intergovernmental organizations and the private sector. His experience includes developing strategic methods to help corporations achieve climate goals, and fostering successful relationships between international regulatory bodies. He held senior advisory positions on the development of climate policies and financial instruments to foster investment in green technologies. As Assistant Director-General for the Global Green Growth Institute, he was instrumental in transition planning for major emerging economies. A Swiss national, Nikolaus has lived and worked in Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Republic of Korea, Peru, Sweden, Switzerland and Venezuela. 

Erin Sikorsky is Director of the Center for Climate and Security (CCS), and the International Military Council on Climate and Security (IMCCS). She is an expert in geopolitical risk, strategic forecasting, and the national security implications of climate change, particularly the nexus of geopolitical competition and climate change. Previously, Erin served as Deputy Director of the Strategic Futures Group on the National Intelligence Council (NIC) in the United States, where she co-authored the quadrennial Global Trends report and led the US intelligence community’s environmental and climate security analysis. She was the founding chair of the Climate Security Advisory Council, a Congressionally mandated group designed to facilitate coordination between the intelligence community and US government scientific agencies. Prior to her position on the NIC, she worked as a senior analyst in the US intelligence community for over a decade. Erin earned a Master of International Affairs at Columbia University, and a BA in government from Smith College.

Claus Haugaard Sorensen is a senior advisor on humanitarian and development policy. He has significant experience in EU affairs from a number of assignments spanning the introduction of the EURO, EU enlargement, climate, enlargement, agriculture, justice and home affairs. He was senior advisor to European Commission President Juncker on Crisis Management and Humanitarian Response, notably for refugees from Syria and related support to Greece and Italy. Claus served as Director General for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection, where he was involved in major crises around the globe. He assisted UN OCHA and the WHO in improving their disaster response. Previously, he also influenced EU policy as Director for Climate and International Environmental issues, Head of Cabinet for Agriculture and for Development working respectively on reform of the Common Agricultural Policy and Aid efficiency. Mr Sørensen holds a Master in Economics from Aarhus University.

Dr. Jessica Stoll is a USNATO Political Officer and has a PhD in Political Science from the University of Rochester. Before becoming a Foreign Service Officer, she worked as an analyst and defense contractor in Washington, DC. She currently covers energy security, climate security, and the Balkans for the US Mission to NATO.

Raúl Villegas is a Programme Assistant for the “Europe in the World Programme,” working on EU-Asia relations, EU foreign policy, and international trade. Before joining the EPC, Raúl was a Schuman trainee at the European Parliament and worked at the European Commission. He also worked as an academic assistant and junior lecturer at Universidad Complutense de Madrid, and as a research assistant at the University of Chicago. Raúl holds a B.A. in Linguistics and English Literature from Universidad Complutense de Madrid and Cambridge University. He is currently finishing an M.A. in International Relations at the University of Chicago, where he was a Fulbright scholar.

Michael Werz is a senior fellow at American Progress and a senior adviser for North America and multilateral affairs to the Munich Security Conference. His work is focused on the nexus of climate change, migration, and security and emerging countries, especially Turkey, Mexico, and Brazil. He is the co-director of Nexus25. Previously, he was a senior transatlantic fellow at the German Marshall Fund working on transatlantic foreign policy and the European Union. He has held appointments as a public policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, DC, and as a John F. Kennedy Memorial Fellow at Harvard’s Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies. Werz has published numerous articles and several books dealing with a wide range of scholarly and policy issues, including race and ethnicity in the 20th century; Western social and intellectual history; minorities in Europe and the United States; ethnic conflicts, politics in Europe, and anti-Americanism. He is a graduate of Frankfurt University’s Institute for Philosophy, a former professor at Hannover University in Germany, and a former and adjunct professor at Georgetown University’s BMW Center for German and European Studies.

Ethan Wong is a Research Fellow at the Center for Climate and Security (CCS), an institute of the Council on Strategic Risks (CSR). Prior to joining CCS, he researched and worked on a range of environmental, climate, and security issues at The Arctic Institute – Center for Circumpolar Security Studies (TAI) and the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. He continues to contribute to TAI, where he monitors recent developments in the Arctic for the Institute’s weekly news analysis publication. Ethan graduated from American University with a major in International Studies and a minor in Data Science. While at American University, he was involved in the Sine Institute of Policy and Politics and the Transatlantic Policy Center, where he focused on sustainability, governance, international security, and British and European politics. He also studied Politics and International Relations as a visiting student at the University of Oxford.

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