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The United Nations System Staff College (UNSSC) hosted another successful edition of its Coffee Hours at this year’s Berlin Climate and Security Conference. Moderated by UNSSC’s Ginevra Cucinotta, the Coffee Hours saw experts discuss human mobility, food insecurity and gender perspectives in climate and conflict sensitive projects. Each session provided cutting-edge insights and dialogue between different stakeholders, and created a platform that fostered active participation.
The first Coffee Hour held on 27 September, looked into Human Mobility, Climate Change and Conflict. In his presentation, guest speaker Andrew Harper, a Special Advisor at the United Nations High Commissionner for Refugees (UNHCR) noted that 90% of the world’s refugees originate from countries that have been most impacted by climate change and are least prepared for its effects. He stressed that governments and international agencies need to collect better data to develop sustainable climate-security projects that anticipate worst case scenarios and shape long-term solutions.
"We have a responsibility to act now. We cannot just keep our head in the sands and say it is all going to be okay."
The importance of long-term solutions to climate security risks were highlighted in all three UNSSC Coffee Hours. Speakers highlighted notable initiatives that they are part of and examined a range of climate security risks.
Dr. Mosello, Senior Analyst at adelphi, explained that climate migration can cause significant security impacts, which can lead to overcrowded cities, limited access to basic services, high unemployment rates and higher crime rates. Dr. Al Naber, Specialist in integrated water resources management and water policies for the WANA institute, provided case studies of forced displacement as it relates to water scarcity and water insecurity in the Middle East.
The second Coffee Hour titled “Food Insecurity, Climate Change and Conflict Sensitivity to Identify Sustainable Pathways for Peacebuilding” was held on 28 September. Speakers explored the link between conflict and hunger as well as growing food insecurity, which affects roughly 2 billion people – nearly 26 percent of the global population.
Adam McVie, Programme Policy Officer for the World Food Programme, and Paul Opio, Livestock Officer at the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), provided insights into their ongoing projects in The Gambia and the Karamoja region. Opio stressed that “building peace takes time and needs sustained effort.”. McVie, Opio and Stephen Abura, Program Manager at Karamoja Agro-Pastoral Development Programme (KADP), also shared important lessons on how to best implement successful climate-sensitive peacebuilding projects.
The last Coffee Hour held on 4 October, examined approaches to building inclusive resilience to climate-related security risks. Molly Kellog, Gender, Climate and Security Advisor at the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) explained that gender, along with other indirect socio-economic factors, mean that men and women experience climate-security risks differently. Her session also looked into the interlinkages between insecurity and climate, and how these connections can create feedback loops that exacerbate insecurity related to climate change.
Anna Azaryeva Valente, Global Lead for Conflict Prevention, Fragility and Peacebuilding at the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), examined the impact of the climate crisis on children, while Nur Turkmani, Senior Research Associate at Economic Development Solutions, assessed the climate-security situation in Lebanon, and its effects on women and children.
The UNSSC Coffee Hour series drew attention to numerous climate-security issues, and served as a platform for people to exchange their knowledge and ideas. The webinars also demonstrated the importance of an integrated analysis for climate-sensitive programming.
The Coffee Hours can be viewed at any time on the UNSSC website. Click here to view.