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As a tool to deal with the climate crisis, defense diplomacy

As a tool to deal with the climate crisis, defense diplomacy

Authorities evacuate those affected by Typhoon Rai. The Philippine army has been deployed trying to bring food and water to islands devastated by the destructive Typhoon Rai, while humanitarian organizations call for help for the hundreds of thousands left homeless, 22 December 2021 (Handout / Latin America News Agency via Reuters Connect)

Author: S Nanthini (NTU).

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IGPCC) has published the Sixth Assessment Report. highlightedSignificant increases in extreme weather events are likely to cause food insecurity and increase migration flows. The increasing awareness of climate change is matched only by growing concern about its danger. Militaries will likely be under greater pressure to develop humanitarian assistance and disaster response (HADR), while maintaining traditional defense capabilities.

Authorities evacuate those affected by Typhoon Rai. The Philippine army has been deployed trying to bring food and water to islands devastated by the destructive Typhoon Rai, while humanitarian organizations call for help for the hundreds of thousands left homeless, 22 December 2021 (Handout / Latin America News Agency via Reuters Connect)

A state’s ability to use defense diplomacy to achieve its foreign policy goals during the current climate crisis, which is generally defined as military-tomilitary interactions and activities to build and sustain national security, could be useful.

One benefit of defense diplomacy lies in the fact that it does not have to be between countries with close ties. It can build trust between states and can also include cooperation or the execution of. Cooperative activities between military and militaryAmong rival countries. Opportunities for mutually-beneficial cooperation exist in the face of climate change. Extreme weather events are becoming more common. Rival countries could participate at least multilaterally in HADR exercises, if not bilaterally. Climate change affects everyone. Therefore, excluding rival countries from climate cooperation is a limitation to any real response.

In Southeast Asia — already one of the world’s most disaster-prone regions — climate change is set to increase the intensity and frequency of extreme weather events. As the region’s primary responders to disasters, militaries will need to scale up their capabilities through regional defence cooperation and defence diplomacy.

The Changi Regional HADR Coordination Centre is located in Singapore One example of such a situationRegional defense diplomacy. The centre shares information about regional disasters, facilitates military to-military coordination, deployment, and holds exercises. It also hosts military officers from around world, creating a network international liaison officers. The centre’s role as a regional center facilitates military engagement. After all, sustained and substantive military-to-military interactions allows states to improve their understanding of each other’s strategies and, importantly, establish lines of communication.

As the region’s key platforms for multilateral defence cooperation, the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting and Defence Ministers’ Meeting-Plus are well placed to address military responses to the climate crisis. Broadening their mandates to include climate security, either as a separate expert working group or part of the Experts’ Working Group on HADR, will allow militaries to coordinate and expand their base of mutual knowledge on climate-related disasters. As climate-induced mega-disasters like Typhoon Haiyan and Cyclone Nargis become more likely, regional militaries need to work together to develop a framework for responding to climate-induced disasters.

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But there are limitations to defense diplomacy. The military’s traditional war-fighting capabilities have always been the main focus, with non-traditional security matters a close second. For example, the Ukraine crisis has brought the spectre of war to Europe — the ‘moral centre’Climate change policies are financed by a large funder. Climate change can be overlooked when states are on a war footing. Already, greater resources are being pledged to bolster traditional military capacities — which are notoriously energy-intensive and high emission-producing — and DivertingAlready limited resources and focus on climate security.

The overall political relationship between the countries involved in defense diplomacy also affects the results of this type of diplomacy. For example, even though the United States of America and China have had a longstanding relationship, they are not in a position to recognize their differences. Participated in the pastIn military-to-military relations and in cooperation militarily to address nontraditional security threats, the recent chilling in wider political relations has been limited Collaboration in all areas between two of the world’s biggest emitters. While defense diplomacy can offer states the opportunity to work together on climate policies and build confidence, it is only one component of a larger climate strategy.

The world must take more action to combat climate change, which is a global crisis. However, militaries can play a crucial role in the response to climate changes, especially where they are the main responders. Despite the limits to its effectiveness, defence diplomacy is still a useful tool in enhancing interoperability, building confidence and strengthening relationships with other states in the region — all vital in the ongoing climate crisis.

S Nanthini, a Senior Analyst at the Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies, Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, is an analyst.

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