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Berlin, 19th July 2008

Sustainability & Security: Human security within climate change regime Nidhi Srivastava, Resources and Global Security Division The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) New Delhi, India

“Reconciling Human Existence and Ecological Integrity� Global Ecological Integrity Group Electronic copy available at:

Presentation outline 

Security: Conceptual framework Territorial to human  Defensive to integrative 

Climate change and security

Climate change, security and the UN Security Council

Climate change, security and the climate change regime

Electronic copy available at:


Definition – the state of being safe, protected 

Protected from what? External violent threat, non violent threats,

Freedom from fear and freedom from want

Most people instinctively understand what security means [Human


Development Report 1994]

From territorial security to human security Global



Human security and freedom are not only the primary ends of national and international peace and security, they are also among its principal means. [Boyle and Simonsen (2004)]

Human Security and National Security are mutually reinforcing. But secure states do not necessarily mean secure people [Human Security Report, 2005]

Human Security: Defensive to integrative security  Narrow


emphasis on protection from violent threats

Draws from the using of military for territorial integrity



Holistic, human centred approach; includes safety from the above plus hunger, disease, repression, natural disasters; threat to dignity, threat to freedom of making choices

safety from continuing threats and ‘sudden and hurtful disruptions in the patterns of daily life’

Seven Categories of human security (HDR) 

Economic security, Food security, Health security, Environmental security, personal security, Community security, Political security

Climate Change and Security 

Characteristics of human security (HDR) & Climate change  Universal

concern  Easier to ensure through early prevention  Interdependent components  People-centered 

2 kinds of security threat? Difficult to make the distinction‌  State security 

mass forced migration, terrorism, political violence, intercommunal violence, interstate warfare, conflict over resources



All of these, direct influences in terms of loss of access, harmful effects on health, food, disruption in routine practices

• Interstate warfare & conflict

Climate Change

• Migration • Wars

• Internal violence • Migration • Disasters & Epidemics • Terrorism

• Energy (in) security

Loss of Security

• Denial or inaccess to basic rights

Climate change, security & UN Security Council “While the physical effects of climate change and what can be done about them are important issues, it is their potential impact on security that is the proposed focus of this Security Council debate”. UK Concept paper  while accepting that the ‘immediate drivers’ of conflict would continue to be ‘national and regional power struggles; ideology; ethnic, religious and national tensions; and severe economic, social or political inequality’, it argued that climate change could aggravate these drivers  It is about “our collective security in a fragile and increasingly interdependent world”  Ban Ki-Moon “Environmental degradation has the potential to destabilize already conflict-prone regions, especially when compounded by inequitable access or politicization of access to scarce resources.

CC at Security Council: Some concerns 

Climate change not a security issue  Sustainable

development issue, Socio- economic and environmental issue

Climate change is a security issue but Security Council not the right forum  Climate

change is not a security issue alone  Developed countries, largely responsible for CC are permanent members  LDCs, SIDS and developing countries concerns might not get addressed  Lacks capacity and legitimacy

Climate change, security & climate change regime 

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change 

to address climate change, 

by providing for reporting of climate change, scientific and technological research, and annual meetings of the conference of the parties

Common but differential responsibility principles

Kyoto Protocol

Commitment by developed countries to bring down their emissions by 2012

To agree on post 2012 commitments by December 2008

Bali Action Plan 

Focus on vulnerable and adaptation and adaptation financing

Climate change, security & climate change regime

Climate change as a public good (or bad)

Need for a multilateral forum

Security is just one dimension of a much larger problem

The two way relationship between climate and human security 

Adaptation is not all

Has to be complemented by mitigation

Problem of enforcement / compliance

Multilateral nature of UNFCCC & binding power of UNSC: Can we strike a balance?

Thank you

Sustainability & Security:Human security within climate change regime  

Presentation given in Brlin by Nidhi Srivastava,Resources and Global Security DivisionThe Energy and Resources Institute (TERI)New Delhi, In...