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Japan Continues its Leadership on Climate Change and Security

Japan Scenario_Nakane_2018_07_12

Kazuyuki Nakane, Japanese State Minister for Foreign Affairs, makes opening remarks at June 12, 2018 conference on climate change and fragility in Tokyo –  Photo by Climate Change Division of Japan’s Foreign Ministry. 

By Shiloh Fetzek, Senior Fellow for International Affairs

On July 12, the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs held the “International conference on climate change and fragility in the Asia-Pacific region — Interlinkage among science, regional studies and business from the perspective of long-term climate risks” in Tokyo, which the Center for Climate and Security contributed to and participated in. The conference built on earlier Japanese leadership on climate security, stemming from its 2016 G7 presidency and leadership of the G7 Foreign Ministers’ Climate Fragility Working Group, which also resulted in a report on climate security issues in Southeast Asia and the Pacific presented at 2017 G7 meeting in Italy and last year’s COP.

The July event was aimed at taking the climate security discussion to the Japanese corporate and finance sectors, illustrating the long tail of risk to Japanese commercial interests in the Asia-Pacific. These include the climate vulnerability of concentrated manufacturing centers in Southeast Asia, as evidenced by the November 2011 floods in Thailand that disrupted supply chains for automotive and electronic components, resulting in a global shortage of hard drives. (more…)

Climate Change Remains a Consistent Theme at Shangri-La Security Dialogue

U.S._Japan_and_Australian_Trilateral_meeting_Shangri-La 2018

U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis meets with Australian Minister of Defense, Senator Marise Payne and Japanese Minister of Defense, Itsunori Onodera, at Shangri-La Dialogue, June 2, 2018. (DoD Photo by Tech Sgt. Vernon Young Jr.)

By Steve Tebbe, Policy Associate

When Florence Parly, the French Minister of the Armed Forces, called to “disarm the climate” at this year’s IISS Shangri-La Dialogue (17th Asia Security Summit), it helped exemplify how seriously the summit’s panelists were taking the security risks of climate change. The Dialogue continued the pattern of recent Shangri-La Dialogues and other security conferences, with a range of leading defense ministers and practitioners speaking on how the changing climate has impacted their security.

Asia-Pacific defense ministers, military and civilian staff gather in Shangri-La every year to discuss the trends and threats in Indo-Pacific regional security. News outlets have covered the emphasis on ASEAN terrorism, the Korean Peninsula, and emphasized the Indo-Pacific space across the Dialogue. However, climate security was included in a number of speaker’s talks this year, including Minister Parly, Ron Mark, the Minister of Defence of New Zealand, and Philip Barton, the Director-General for Consular and Security at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the UK. In the Sixth Special Session focusing on regional security cooperation, Vice Admiral Hervé de Bonnaventure, the Acting Director-General of International Relations and Strategy at the French Ministry of the Armed Forces noted that he believes climate directly changes military operations: (more…)

Pacific Partnership Works to Strengthen Climate Security Preparedness and Cooperation

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The Seabees are working in  with crewmembers from the  hospital ship USNS Mercy in Cambodia supporting Pacific Partnership. Photo by J. Husman

By Lieutenant General Tariq Waseem Ghazi (Ret), Pakistan’s Secretary of Defense from 2005-2007 & Rachel Fleishman, Senior Fellow for Asia Pacific, the Center for Climate and Security

This month a major multinational military exercise, the Pacific Partnership, launches in South and Southeast Asia. At its center is the hospital ship USNS Mercy, with an international team of civilian and military specialists in humanitarian assistance and disaster response. Its mission is to build response capacity in one of the most disaster-prone regions of the world. South Asian nations should initiate a similar joint exercise.

Why? Because climate change is a litmus test.  With today’s divisive politics, nations struggle to predict, prevent and prepare for disasters. Collaboration increases the likelihood of success – and strengthens the foundation for peace in the region.   (more…)

Takeaways from Sri Lanka Event: Climate Security in South Asia

Colombo Daily News 2 Dec 2017

Colombo Daily News, December 2

By Rachel Fleishman, Senior Fellow for Asia-Pacific, The Center for Climate and Security

On November 30 in Colombo, Sri Lanka, I participated in an event titledClimate Change and Resources Security: Challenges for Security and the Security Sector in South Asia” – convened just as Cyclone Ockhi hit Sri Lanka’s southeastern coast.* The storm provided a somber backdrop for the discussions. In his opening remarks, Sri Lanka’s Secretary to the Ministry of Defense Kapila Waidyaratne reported 7 killed and hundreds displaced. By the end of the session the confirmed death toll was 11, with more than 3000 having been evacuated. (more…)

Event: Security & Climate Change in the Pacific

Members_of_the_Papua_New_Guinea_Defense_Force_prepare_to_embark_aboard_the_Royal_Australian_Navy_landing_ship_heavy_HMAS_Tobruk_(L50)What: Security & Climate Change in the Pacific: From Asia to the United States,” panel discussion followed by audience Q&A
Who:
IISS-Americas and the Center for Climate and Security
When: November 28, 10:00-11:30am ET
Where: 2121 K Street NW, Suite 801, Washington, DC
RSVP: Click here.

Summary: Since the George H.W. Bush administration, the US security community has recognized the national security threats of climate change. These high-probability, high-impact threats have remained a priority area for action within Congress and the Department of Defense. The Asia-Pacific region is acutely vulnerable to the security impacts of climate change. A range of underlying security fragilities and geostrategic tensions will be shaped by increasingly frequent and severe disasters, impacts to coastal infrastructure and populations, sea level rise altering maritime boundary delimitations, greater food insecurity, and irregular migration flows. This discussion, featuring high-level experts from the Center for Climate and Security, will explore these risks, how US military installations, operations, and strategies in the region may be shaped by them, and their influence on US bilateral and multilateral relationships.

(more…)

RELEASE: Bipartisan Military, Political and City Leaders Talk Climate and Security in Seattle

USS Nebraska_at_Naval_Base_Kitsap

USS NEBRASKA at Naval Base Kitsap Bangor, Washington (WA).

RELEASE:  Bipartisan Group of Military, Political and City Leaders Gather in Seattle to Talk Climate Change and Security

Event brings US and Asia-Pacific perspective on building U.S. military and community resilience to climate change

Seattle, WA – Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee Congressman Adam Smith, military experts who served in both Republican and Democratic administrations, and community leaders from the Seattle area are gathering to discuss existing and future national security risks from climate change, and outline opportunities for Asia-Pacific cooperation on the issue at a roundtable on Monday, October 30 from 1-5pm PDT (livestreamed here). The Center for Climate and Security, in partnership with the Henry M. Jackson Foundation, are hosting the forum to inform policy responses to climate risks that will benefit both military and civilian communities, at home and in the broader Asia-Pacific region.

(more…)

Japan, G7 and Climate Change and Fragility in the Asia-Pacific Region

Joint disaster drill

Commander Fleet Activities Yokosuka port operations department sailors onboard USS Puyallup, simulate delivering food, clothing, first aid kits to Japanese disaster workers during 33rd annual Bosai Kunren. US Navy Photo By Joseph Schmitt

By Shiloh Fetzek and Heather Messera

The Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) released a regional study in September on climate-related disaster vulnerability and socioeconomic and fragility risks in Asia-Pacific, articulating their view of climate change as one of the greatest threats to global security and economic prosperity.

The report, ‘Analysis and Proposal of Foreign Policies Regarding the Impact of Climate Change on Fragility in the Asia-Pacific Region – With focus on natural disasters in the Region’, is the product of a roundtable seminar, that included participation by the Center for Climate and Security’s (CCS) Shiloh Fetzek, and follow-up meetings hosted by Japan in connection with the G7 Working Group on Climate Change and Fragility. (more…)