By Brigitte Hugh and Erin Sikorsky
The Balkans region will experience significant climate change-related hazards, including droughts, heatwaves, tropical storms, and wildfires. Given the region’s reliance on hydropower, and its position as a highly trafficked land route for migration to the European Union, these climate impacts could result in cascading security risks.
In an interactive scenario exercise hosted by the International Military Council on Climate and Security (IMCCS) Expert Group, adelphi, and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) at the Berlin Climate Security Conference – hosted by adelphi and the German Federal Foreign Office – in October 2022, exercise participants identified two of the most important, or diagnostic, and uncertain drivers of change in the region – primary external investment sources (e.g. European Union [EU]/NATO or China) and regional cohesion.
Participants then created four future scenarios which explored how these drivers would combine with climate impacts to create security risks. Analysis of these scenarios yielded five key recommendations for NATO countries and EU leaders:
- Develop equitable climate resilience strategies to minimize regional divides
- Leverage climate security engagement for cooperation
- Adapt current interventions for climate engagement
- Engage with stakeholders at different levels of governance
- Invest in building civilian trust
The most important finding from the exercise is that the riskiest climate security scenario for the Balkans is one with no external engagement. In other words, some investment, regardless of the source, is better than none.
The exercise is based on “Climate Security Snapshot: The Balkans”, a volume of the IMCCS Expert Group’s World Climate and Security Report 2022.
Read the full findings in the summary report here.