Didier Reynders opens seminar on the security implications of climate change

Today, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Didier Reynders opened an international seminar at the Royal Military School in Brussels on the "Security Implications of Emerging Climate Altering Technologies". The event was organised in the framework of the Belgian mandate 2019-2020 in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). It reflects the importance that Belgium attaches to the link between security and climate.

Academic research has identified numerous links between climate change and conflict in certain countries. Rising temperatures can exacerbate existing vulnerabilities and increase tensions when it is no longer possible to meet the basic needs of the population, such as food and water security. "Taking this into account in the work of the Security Council was a challenge", stressed Didier Reynders, "but that has not diminished Belgium's commitment to progress". Belgium has successfully integrated climate and security-related actions in the UNSC mandates for peacekeeping operations in various countries. In addition, our country advocates a "clearing house" mechanism in the field of "Climate and Security", which would play an advisory role for the UNSC.

The seminar focused on a less well-known topic: climate altering technologies or geo-engineering. During the event, speakers from both scientific and political backgrounds took stock of research and the potential impact of these technologies on the environment. The experts discussed the possible geopolitical consequences of geo-engineering and the best ways for these geo-engineering techniques to be legally anchored. Several speakers stressed the precautionary principle in European environmental legislation and all advocated a rules-based, multilateral approach.

The seminar is organized in cooperation with the Environment & Development Resource Centre.