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Signals from the Arctic: security concerns beyond historic experience

Understanding the implications of and responding to the signals of a changing climate, as shown by a thawing Arctic, is likely to be one of the major security challenges of this century, says Annika E. Nilsson.

Annika E. Nilsson / Published on 28 September 2016


“Ensuring security in relation to Arctic change therefore requires an approach that focuses on capacity building in its broadest sense, and with efforts that go far beyond national and military security concerns. Ensuring security becomes a matter of safeguarding the capacity to handle change and surprises, in the Arctic and beyond.”

Pack ice off northern Baffin Island
 Pack ice off northern Baffin Island. Photo: Paul Gierszewski / Wikimedia Commons.

“It is about ensuring that people have the education opportunities, the social networks, the cultural context, the breadth of knowledge, access to healthy ecosystems, the institutions, the infrastructure, and the finances to be able to assess the challenges at hand and the options available when new concerns surface. These are the resources that we need to muster and in many places enhance to safeguard security. It would make sense to give them as much attention as we do to the tracking of sea-ice extent, military presence, and hydrocarbon reserves in the region.”

“However, to map and monitor the bundle of resources that are needed to safeguard society’s capacity to adapt to change, journalists, researchers, and policy analysts need to move out of their silos and comfort zones with the aim of building a more integrated understanding of what security might mean in a world of rapid climate change.”

Source: German Marshall Fund of the United States

Topics and subtopics
Climate : Adaptation

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