Southern Asia armies are being repurposed to cooperatively fight climate change

Climate change is a threat multiplier, exacerbating existing pressures as well as presenting new challenges to security in fragile societies,” explained Lt. General Tariq Waseem Ghazi at a lecture given at the Heinrich Boll Foundation in Islamabad, Pakistan two years ago on the topic of “climate change and security”.

The retired general is now working for the Global Military Advisory Council on Climate Change (GMACCC), which was set up in 2009 as a global network of serving and retired military officers to highlight the potential security implications of a changing climate and to advocate action, including by the military, to minimise the risks.

One of the key messages of the report is that military and humanitarian organisations will need forward-looking strategies to deal with the impacts of climate change, especially climate induced disasters such as floods and food shortages. South Asian armies, they say, “will need to develop effective long-term climate adaptation and mitigation strategies to ensure damage control, quick relief and effective cooperation to restore/preserve stable conditions”.

According to Lt Gen Ghazi, “South Asia is an example of a region where climate impacts are already affecting security — other countries would benefit from watching closely, and moving to integrate climate change in their security planning. If addressed jointly across borders, we can increase stability and save lives, for example by coordinating in response to natural disasters and water shortages. This report is about militaries cooperating for peace.

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