Climate change is one of the defining challenges of our times, and NATO has been actively engaging experts, civil society, and other groups to discuss the nexus between climate change and security. On Monday (30 January), the NATO-Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (ICI) Regional Centre in Kuwait hosted the first ever discussion with Allied and Partner experts on emerging climate challenges and how to tackle them together.
The event, held in hybrid format, brought together approximately sixty civilian and military personnel from NATO, Allied countries and partner nations, as well as representatives from international organizations.
In her opening address, Nora-Elise Beck, Head of the NATO Office at the NATO-ICI Regional Centre in Kuwait, stressed that “climate change is a threat multiplier that impacts allied security, our infrastructure, our equipment, and the conditions in which our personnel operate. NATO Allies can embrace opportunities such as this event to work jointly with partners to address these challenges.”
Discussions focused on emerging climate change challenges in the Gulf region and their consequences – including on water security – and how NATO and its partners, particularly to the South, can tackle them. Participants also addressed opportunities resulting from sustainable development.
As highlighted by Dr Alanoud Al Sabah, the Acting NATO-ICI Regional Centre Director, “our region is facing increasing temperatures, dust and floods. We can feel the direct impact of climate change; specifically on human security, but also related to logistics, transportation, food security and water scarcity. We at NATO-ICI Regional Centre value and support both regional and NATO efforts to raise awareness, with the aim to build a regional stakeholders’ network interested in climate change and security for future collaboration.”
The Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (ICI) was established in 2004 as a partnership forum between NATO and non-NATO countries. Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates currently participate in the Initiative.
As set out in NATO’s new Strategic Concept, NATO aims to become a the leading international organization when it comes to understanding and adapting to the impact of climate change on security.