About Sustainability…

About Climate Action (SDG 13): Framing Climate Change as a Security Issue and Outcomes of UNFCCC-COP28

January 31, 2024 Institute for Global Environmental Strategies Season 1 Episode 22
About Sustainability…
About Climate Action (SDG 13): Framing Climate Change as a Security Issue and Outcomes of UNFCCC-COP28
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

On this episode of About Sustainability…, Alice and Erin were joined by Naoyuki OKANO and Nagisa SHIIBA, IGES experts working on Climate Adaptation. This episode, recorded in December 2023, offers a quick recap of what happened at COP28 in Dubai and then dives deep into the far-reaching impacts of climate change on human security. 

Hosted in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, the 28th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28) brought the world’s leaders together to discuss how to confront the climate crisis. Some of its main outcomes include the first Global Stocktake (GST), the agreement on the framework for operationalising the Global Goal on Adaptation (GGA), and the agreement on the operationalisation of the Loss and Damage Fund. 

Naoyuki and Nagisa introduce us to their new research project on Climate Security in the Asia Pacific, funded by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. We discuss how framing the climate crisis as a security issue can be a powerful approach to mobilising resources across areas and tackling global challenges.


Dr. Naoyuki OKANO is a Policy Researcher in the Adaptation and Water Unit of IGES. He works on issues related to the laws and governance of climate change adaptation, nature-based solutions, transboundary climate risks, and climate security. 

Nagisa SHIIBA is a Policy Researcher at the Adaptation and Water Unit of IGES. She is engaged in research projects on climate change adaptation and supports the negotiation process for the Japanese delegation to the Conference of Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.


Asia-Pacific Climate Security Project (APCS) Website 


00:10 - 02:10             Intro                                         

02:10 - 05:06             COP 28                                   

05:06 - 13:18             Global Goal on Adaptation     

13:18 - 17:33             Loss and Damage 

17:33 - 36:07             Climate Security 

36:07 - 51:18             Climate Migration 

51:18 - 54:22             Food Security 

54:22 - 57:00             Balancing Security Issues in Climate Adaptation Plans 

"About Sustainability..." is a podcast brought to you by the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES), an environmental policy think-tank based in Hayama, Japan. IGES experts are concerned with environmental and sustainability challenges. Everything shared on the podcast will be off-the-cuff discussion, and any viewpoints expressed are those held by the speaker at the time of recording. They are not necessarily official IGES positions.

-       Intro 00:10-02:10

Alice  00:10

Hello, and welcome to About Sustainability, a podcast brought to you by the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies or IGES for short. I'm Alice, your co-host, and today, we have an insightful discussion on climate action. Two experts in climate adaptation from IGES, Naoyuki OKANO and Nagisa SHIIBA have joined Erin and me for today's conversation. Climate Action, as we explore today, is about addressing the climate crisis and its impacts both by mitigating to climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and adapting to the changing climate and its consequences. First, we recap some key moments and decisions from the recently held COP28, short for the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. From 30th November to 13th December 2023, COP28 brought the world's leaders together in Dubai, to discuss how to limit and prepare for the climate crisis. Nagisa and Naoyuki supported the negotiation process in Dubai to address issues related to adaptation and building resilience of vulnerable populations. They will specifically tell us about the global goal on adaptation, and the loss and damage fund. Then we dove deep into the far-reaching impacts of climate change on human security. How does climate change act as a threat multiplier? How can reframing climate change as a security issue call for the mobilization of the entire society and economy? Are climate-induced migrants protected under international or national laws? And how can countries in the Asia Pacific be best prepared against these climate threats? This is precisely what Naoyuki and Nagisa are looking to understand as part of their new project on climate security in the Asia Pacific region, funded by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. They will tell us more about this interesting project after their update on what happened at COP 28. So, let's get started.

-       COP 28 02:10-05:06

Nagisa  02:10

I think the COP28 was a really crucial conference because it's marked the very first GST, global stocktake. The global stocktake is sort of the mechanism to assess the global effort, the collective effort under the Paris Agreement. And every five years, the parties look back on their climate actions of the past few years, and it's also a really important chance to update their nationally determined contributions. The COP28 had the very first outcome of the GST. There were a lot of cross-cutting discussions on mitigation, adaptation, finance and other means of implementation. I think it was a great opportunity for parties to enhance their efforts towards the next five years as well. So, I think, yeah, that's the key highlights of the COP28.

Naoyuki  03:14

So as Nagisa mentioned, the first global stocktake took place, which was the most important decision made at COP. I would like to underline also, there are many side events and government initiatives, which is outside of negotiations. But try to explore the points where governments struggle to reach a consensus agreement, but still like-minded countries and stakeholders want to push for certain kinds of climate actions. And one important declaration that we heard and related to today's topic is the declaration called the Coalition Climate Relief, Recovery and Peace, endorsed by 80 countries. And there's a new initiative by the presidency, that was the first time to have a day dedicated for climate security, which is called day for relief, recovery and peace. So people are exploring this intersection between climate and security in this COP. So not just the negotiation itself, but what's happening outside of the negotiations are things to watch.

Alice  04:28

Thank you. And could you please tell us what your role was at COP 28?

Nagisa  04:33

So we were mainly engaged in negotiations around adaptation agendas, which included the global goal on adaptation, which is one of the most important topics in the field of adaptation. So yeah, we were fully occupied by the negotiations over the whole two weeks, so we didn't have time to see around the side events unfortunately, but yeah, we witnessed what happened  in the negotiations. 

-       Global Goal on Adaptation 05:06-13:18

Erin  05:06

I think you just mentioned the global goal on adaptation. Can you tell us a little bit more about that?

Nagisa  05:11

Sure. Um, so the global goal on adaptation is stipulated in the Paris Agreement, which is a qualitative global goal, which includes reducing vulnerability, enhancing adaptive capacity and strengthening the resilience at the global scale. So one of the major discussions under COP 28 was on how we can understand a global goal on adaptation and how to assess the progress toward achieving the global goal on adaptation. I would like to highlight the important agreement, which is the adoption of the new framework on the global goal on adaptation, which is called the UAE framework or global climate resilience. So, this is the kind of framework which can be applicable to all the stakeholders, not only the government, but also non-state actors. It aims to guide the achievement of the global goal on adaptation, and also the review of overall progress in achieving it. It encompasses the seven thematic goals, which include water, agriculture, health, infrastructure, poverty and cultural heritages. There are four targets, aligning with the four steps of the adaptation cycle, which are assessment, planning, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation. It's called for the actions by the diverse stakeholders to enhance the adaptation actions at all levels.

Erin  06:57

Okay, interesting. Um, so was it difficult to get an agreement on this? I remember listening to past negotiations about adaptation finance, and how there's never enough money for that. And I'm just wondering how countries were able to agree on such a framework?

Nagisa  07:18

Yeah, definitely, it was difficult to reach an agreement. Because behind the scenes. There's a lot of conflict between developed countries and developing countries, because the idea of global goal on adaptations comes from the recognition of lack of adaptation finance, or other supports, and the developing country wanted to, you know, identify the concrete target related to means of implementation. 

Naoyuki  07:53

The difficulty is, as Erin-san rightly mentioned, that finance is a very important part of the adaptation. But on the other hand, the global goal adaptation agenda is an agenda for more substantive matter of adaptation rather than finance itself.

Alice  08:08

So it doesn't include any adaptation finance provisions? 

Naoyuki  08:12

Well, that's a difficult point, because, you know, we understand that adaptation agenda items are separate from finance, agenda items, and finance should be discussed. And as that agenda items will finance, but in any way, when we talk about adaptation, a council global goal on adaptation, one national adaptation plan, or any other topics about adaptation, it's always crucial for developing countries to have sufficient finance in order to mobilize adaptation options. For example, if we say this is a global goal adaptation, and this is the target that we should achieve, or least developed countries or small island development states, without finance, it's almost impossible to achieve such goals. So it doesn't make sense for them to have these targets without any financial goals. But again, you know, it's a different agenda item to talk about finance. So this kind of the behind-the-scenes negotiations, what topics should be discussed, that kind of procedural element, again, complicates the discussion. But yeah, as Shiiba-san mentioned, in the end, we have a relatively strong and robust framework. And, yeah, that's a good decision that we had.

Nagisa  09:27

What I found interesting was, and agreed text mentioned the adaptation gap is widening, which means they're the kind of increasing attention on the gap between the needed adaptation, finance and what is actually flowing into the vulnerable countries.

Alice  09:49

I'm just wondering, how exactly would you measure progress on adaptation? Because I realise that most countries have different levels of vulnerability and as you mentioned before, so different levels of capacity. But you can't really have a common indicator like the level of GHG emissions for mitigation, right? I mean, a lot of small island countries, will be more subject to sea level rise. And then a lot of drought-prone countries will be facing different challenges. So how exactly would you measure that challenge and their adaptability?

Naoyuki  10:25

There are a couple of targets that are adopted in the global goal on adaptation framework. There are thematic targets and also process-based targets. And the idea behind it is that we need to find something common to all countries, despite their many differences, about climate impacts and socio-economic conditions and so on. So one thing we thought about was the process. So regardless of the situation, each country needs to have a risk assessment based upon the climate forecast, and national adaptation plan, or similar kinds of plans. And they need to implement it, and they have to do is monitoring, evaluation and learning. So these four steps, which is now called the iterative adaptation cycle is something shared by each country. The other idea was also when we talk about thematic issues, for example, of course, sea-level rise, is not felt to by land-locked countries, and it doesn't apply to all countries. But on the other hand, some issues can be shared by each country. For example, people suggested that food, water, ecosystems, health, and maybe infrastructure and settling can be shared by each country, arguably say so. So these five themes, for example, are suggested as a common thing. The output that we have is slightly different from that, and there are many controversies about it. But yeah, that discussion about what can be common can be a common thing to be utilised for the measurement of progress was one of the core discussions.

Nagisa  12:03

This is why the discussion on global goal adaptation was really difficult, because as you said, the situation of climate risks and vulnerabilities are very different from country to country. It's really depending on the context. So that's why it was really tough to set the global goal. Yeah, and targets or indicators are far too difficult to set. That's why the framework have a relatively qualitative targets. But the parties decided to continue this discussion. And they will establish a new work program on indicators to assess the progress of the global goal on adaptation. So yeah, let's see what's going to happen over the next two years. I would say indicators might be developed, I think it will be a completely country-driven process. So each country has to choose what will be their priority adaptation areas, and what kind of indicators will be helpful for them.

-       Loss and Damage 13:18-17:33

Alice  13:18

And I think you also mentioned that there was an agreement on loss and damage, what happened around that, and what were some of the challenges in finding this?

Naoyuki  13:27

Climate actions include mitigation and adaptation. Of course, mitigation is a transition to net zero and try to diminish the climate impact itself. Adaptation is action to try to respond to the climate risks. But even though we implement mitigation and adaptation actions there are already ongoing climate change and climate impacts getting severer and severer. So already, certain kinds of losses and other kinds of damages are felt like a huge typhoon hitting the Philippines and other areas or as hurricanes hitting, or sea-level rise is already felt and some communities are already relocated to other places. So for that kind of already failed loss or damages was something considered outside of mitigation at that session, and that is a territory loss and damage covers and price agreement has an article which is dedicated to loss and damage, which is Article 8 and talks about all the voluntary action still, but talks about the importance of loss and damage actions. So coming back to what decided at COP 28, the historical moment was actually COP 27. So the loss and damage debate was existent from the beginning of the convention itself. So at the time of negotiating the convention in 1992, there was a debate that okay, there is already sea-level rise and there needs to be some treatment to the damage caused by it. So some groups raised the point of maybe we need the insurance pole to cover that kind of damage. But that didn't go through to the convention itself, with some other countries against it. And then after 30 years, gradually, the issue of loss and damage, was felt more and more understood. And it was kind of taboo before but now it's openly discussed and considered as a very important issue. At COP 26, it was very close. But then the fund was not decided to establish so we launched the Glasgow dialogue dedicated for loss and damage, but that dialogue itself doesn't have any output considered. So it was able to nurture this shared understanding of the loss and damage. I think COP 27 was a historic moment where parties decided to establish loss and damage fund and Finance Facility or loss and damage. So with this fund, finally, the conventions can do something tangible to the loss and damage impact. And since COP 27, there was a transitional committee by the COP 27, where people discuss what kind of funding arrangement possible and appropriate for loss and damage issue. And there are four scheduled meetings but within four scheduled meetings, they could not decide on the decision text so they extended one more time and they negotiated right before the COP 28. And they finally prepared a recommended text to the COP. And on the very first day with the COP 28 The presidency decided to adopt that decision on the very first day to kickstart COP 28. And that was successful. So on the first day of plenary, the COP 28 presidency adopted this decision text prepared by the transitional committee and that launched the loss and damage fund. After that, there were many countries who pledged to this fund. According to some data, which is not very enough for the loss and damage already felt. But still there are some pledges to mobilise these funds. So now we're at the stage to really actualize this investment into their relief and treatment of loss and damage.

-       Climate Security 17:33-36:07

Alice  17:33

So maybe we can just move on to the climate security project. If you could just briefly introduce us to the climate security project that you're currently working on?

Naoyuki  17:43

So our project is a research project funded by Ministry of Foreign Affairs. And as a research topic, at least, it's a topic where we think about how climate change and security issues are connected to each other. So we have been talking about climate risks. When we speak about adaptation loss and damage, we are talking generally about climate risk. The climate risk is related to the security risk as well. So security risk, I speak about the conflict, or social instability or state’s fragility. So that kind of severe situation can be exacerbated by climate change. So people speak about climate change as a threat multiplier, where we say there's already threat issues such as COVID-19, or granting war, or defined issues. And risks caused by such security threat are multiplied by climate change. And that is the basic concept or idea that we think about climate security. So for example, in the Ukraine war, due to that maybe food price was stricken in certain places. And in some places, access to food became really difficult. But food price volatility is also affected by climate change, because climate change makes some agricultural crops difficult to grow and they need to transition to the Smart Agriculture, but it's not nearly rapidly happening. It doesn't, you know, the shift is not very easy. So the Ukraine war itself caused food price volatility and difficulty to access food, but climate change strengthens that kind of impact. So this nexus between climate change and security, and complicates the security issue itself, is a topic that we try to explore in this fund.

Erin  19:45

You just mentioned that climate change is a threat multiplier, but in kind of the causal chain of things there will be say like already some kind of existing threat, and then climate change comes in to make that worse. Right. That's kind of what I'm picturing at the moment. But is it also possible that climate change is directly creating the threat that we're speaking about? Are you covering those types of climate security issues as well?

Naoyuki  20:16

Yeah, that is something we talk about mainly in a field called attribution study, where how we can connect the certain impacts of climate change with their, you know, the temperature difference, or, you know, whether actually climate change causes this flood, or that sea-level rise or that kind of thing. But there are certain difficulties regarding this attribution science. So, for example, if we take a huge typhoon, or huge flood, that kind of sudden climate impacts, but it's very difficult to say whether in without climate change sample does certain flood or this certain typhoon happened or not. So it's really difficult to claim the direct causal relationship between climate change and certain threats. Actually, this concept of threat multipliers was not suggested as an academic concept, but rather it's suggested as a policy concept. It's a policy concepts coined in order to influence the diplomatic and security policies in the United States mainly, say that okay, security department person or development department person should think about climate change more, and when trying to say that to coin this type of threat multiplier and say that climate change has this and that impacts and makes lasting threats worse, was very influential in the policy field, and changed the policy direction in the United States and that spread afterwards to other countries, especially in Europe. So that was a policy term to speak about not really the direct connection between climate change and threats, but rather to emphasize the diverse impacts of climate change.

Nagisa  22:08

I think um, there are of course, some direct and indirect impacts of climate change on security issues. Yes, as Naoyuki mentioned, there are like indirect kind of threat multipliers, effect of climate change, like human mobilities, or the conflict, food insecurities or increase of natural disaster risks. On the other hand, the direct impact might be, they are not clearly delineated, but direct impact might be including the sea-level rising, which impacts the territories of countries and also due to the ice melting there is the discussion going on the north Arctic Sea, which might be affecting the trade, transportations, and also there is a change in the fishery resource distributions. So that kind of direct impact also exist. So we need to consider the kind of climate impact which can be affecting the resources or territories. It might be immediate threats of for us to deal with. So yeah, I think the climate change can be considered as a natural phenomenon. But also, it could be seen as a political issue as Naoyuki highlighted. So we also have to think about the kind of another channels of the climate impact, because a lot of countries tries to deal with the climate impact. And they also try to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. So these all kinds of activities or climate action might affect the international security environment, or even geopolitical situations. So country try to have a collaborative partnership, but other countries might have conflicts.

Alice  24:12

So when you talk about climate security, is it about framing climate change as a security issue, at the national level, or at the global level, or maybe a human level in general?

Naoyuki  24:24

Thank you. That's actually one important point of our project. So for simplicity today I’ll introduce three characteristics of our project. One is exactly what I what you said right now. So there are many approaches to security. People can easily imagine about national security and classic security. But security is not limited to that. We have idea of human security as well. And international security is also important, and very recently the ecological security is also important to consider. So when we think about climate security in our project, we consider all these multiple approaches of security as a point of intervention. So as an output of this project, we put forward the policy recommendations to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Japan, and beyond the Asia Pacific region, how to secure the security environment in terms of climate security. And doing so, we consider all the idea of security approaches. So we, of course, provide a policy recommendation to the national security, but also for the human security aspect. We talk about development policy, and what kind of humanitarian actions are needed, and so on. We also talk about the ecological security where we try to protect the environment of the Earth itself. And that really comes close to the environmental policy itself. So this is where we try to connect environmental policy and security policies and try to connect those people who are now working in silos to come together to work on it. So that's one characteristic of our project. 

And the other two characteristics is that one thing is we have a geographic focus of the Asia Pacific. So so far, the climate security study was very strong, and well discussing the United States and Europe. And as a regional focus that Africa was arguably the main area for consideration. And relatively, Asia Pacific was a missing area, even though in Asia Pacific most disasters are felt and many Pacific islands are out there for feeling the real impacts of sea level rise. So there are plenty of cases to be explored through our project. So in our project, we pick up some themes, such as food security, or human displacement in this region. So we pick up some countries to explore the concrete issues of climate security, and try to provide a policy recommendations for that country, as well as for Japanese assistance for what Japan can do to the security situation. 

And the last aspect is we have a strong policy focus on it. There are many projects about climate security, where, as we discussed a while ago, we can talk about their kind of causal relationship is a direct or indirect between climate change and security threat. We can look at many cases of security in the world to explore what are the current situations of climate security and so on. But in our project, not just academic results of a study, but rather we try to provide a strong policy package to tackle this climate security. And the current Japanese policy, the climate security idea is not well situated, and climate change is still considered as one part of the international cooperation, and what Japan can do to this global challenge of climate change. But we want to change the framing of the debate, to say that climate change is already changing this security environment very deeply, so that we need to consider this impact at every corner of the security policy. So that strong policy focus is the last characteristic of our project.

Nagisa  28:28

In my impression, the discussion around the climate security is so to say, chaotic, so because different people have different definitions, and it covers energy, food security, and also the peace buildings perspective. So it's really difficult to cover every single aspect, but I will say there the two ways to think about the climate security one is thinking about climate change from a security perspective. Yeah, it might be related to energy, food, or disaster risk management. But on the other hand, we also think about the security from the climate change perspective. And I think it includes the integration between the climate change, impact and peacebuilding peacekeeping. So yeah, we in this, in our project, we will try to cover a lot of different aspects of the climate securities. But in the end, we will try to look at the kind of theoretical framework of climate security so that we can discuss climate security on the same page or on the same ground.

Alice  29:50

Can you tell us more about how Japan's approach to climate security has evolved over the years and how it compares to other countries?

Nagisa  30:00

Although the climate security discourse has been mainly taken place in Europe or in the US, Japan is one of the countries which considers the impact of climate change on its security at the earliest stage, back in 2007. After that, the discussion took a pause for around 10 years. But recently the momentum just came back. And I think the Ministry of Defense established the Task Force on climate change. And last year, they adopted the climate change coping strategy to indicate how the Ministry of Defense and Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF) respond to climate change impact. And also Japan's new security national security strategy also mentioned climate change a lot in the context of energy security, or international cooperation in the Asian Pacific region. So I will say Japan is now really serious about the climate and security nexus. 

I think behind that, G7 countries is also really proactive on this discussion. And last year, the G7 foreign Ministers declared a statement on climate environment peace and security, which also led to the establishment, of the climate for peace initiative. So I will say, over the last few years, the discourse on climate security is getting a momentum. So, it's really the right time to start the new project on climate security in Asia.

Alice  31:48

Is climate security, an issue that is recognized by the UN Security Council, that is responsible for international peace and security, they take binding decisions whenever global security is threatened. So have they made any statements regarding climate change, and has that been included as a major policy area within the UN Security Council?

Nagisa  32:10

The UN Security Council has been discussing climate change as part of their discourse, since I will say 2013. So it's been a while. But still, member countries failed to adopt the concrete resolution on climate change, impact on the security issues, but still there are ongoing lively discussions on climate change and security and peace nexus. Some countries created a new group, which is called friendship group on climate and security, which is led by Germany and Republic of Nauru. There are some countries who are really eager to push climate change into the security discussion under the United Nations. So I think the main point is how they can integrate the climate change perspective into the UN, peace building and peacekeeping operations. I also wanted to highlight the UAE’s initiative. In recent years, I think the UAE was the cop 28 Presidency, and also the presidency of the Security Council. And they convened the ministerial open debates on climate change peace and security early this year. So that kind of a platform where the country can discuss the nexus between climate change and peace and security are already there. So I hope the UN Security Council and other UN agencies will just advance their discussion on this issue. 

Other than the Security Council, the role of UN agencies are also important to promote the climate and peace security nexus. There are so-called climate security mechanism under the United Nations, which is the inter-agency partnership, which promotes concrete actions on climate security across the different fields covered by the UN agencies. So the Security Council just focus on the discussion on how climate change could be integrated in peace-building and peacekeeping. We can also look at the other initiatives or activities under the United Nations Framework.

Alice  34:42

I'm curious about what you mentioned regarding how climate change can be integrated into peacekeeping or peacebuilding activities. Do you have any concrete examples of how can that be implemented and where that has been successful?

Nagisa  34:57

In this regard, I would like to draw on one of the concrete examples, which is the massive flooding in Libya, it happened in September this year (2023), which caused a lot of deaths, I think more than 8000 deaths, that kind of conflict-sensitive situation are more fragile to the climate change impact because that disaster was not only caused by climate change but also affected by the conflict situation on in the countries, because the conflict between the government and the military groups prevented the international assistance, including infrastructure development. Given the fact that most of the conflict-sensitive countries are also sensitive to climate change, integrating between the climate impact and risk management and the peace buildings are really crucial to ensure the most vulnerable population are really protected by the climate actions.

-       Climate Migration 36:07-51:18

Erin  36:07

So you just mentioned vulnerable populations. And when I think about one of the most extreme impacts of climate change, you know, assuming that, of course, you survive the natural disaster, you know, that could involve displacement. And I'm wondering, of course, you know, a few years ago, there have been a lot of discussions about the refugee crisis, globally. There, there was also a term that was thrown around climate, migrants, climate refugees, and I'm wondering if there has been any progress on protecting them under international law, because I remember in the past that they have not been.

Nagisa  36:45

Alright, um, so climate migration is actually one of our core themes of the project, and the human mobility might be classified by migration, relocation and displacement. And of course, displacement is the consequence of the climate impact or other disasters. So it's the negative one, but maybe human mobility, such as migration, or relocation are sometimes considered a proactive action, like climate change adaptation measures. So yeah, we should be a little bit careful about that. And when it comes to the progress, I want to leave the legal discussion to Naoyuki, but I will say there are lots of ongoing discussions on human mobility and at COP 28 I saw, the climate mobility pavilion, where there are lots of events on this issue happened. So I think, a lot of countries recognize the impact of climate change on the human mobilities and according to the IOM report, most of the countries’ national adaptation plans mentioned the possible impact on human mobilities. But they did not mention concrete actions. This is a really difficult part of dealing with this problem. So we really need to concrete actions, so it might include the social protections after the relocations or including the financial support, and any other support for life after the relocations. Yeah, I think is still a long way to go.

Naoyuki  39:00

The legal protection of climate refugees, it's a very difficult topic. And as you might know, the Refugee Convention, it's a very old convention that comes in 1950. It doesn't protect climate refugees at all. So at that time, of course, we don't even know the climate change. So the only refugees protected are political refugees. So those people who are escaping from one country due to political instability, those people who can't return to their country. So until now climate refugees are not recognized under international law. So current international protection is mostly delivered through a soft measure and policy instrument and some good practice which is bilaterally implemented. So first speak about policy and soft measures. UNHCR, United Nations High Commission for Refugees and IOM, International Organization for Migration. So these two organizations, one is taking care of refugees, and one is taking care of migrants have both prepared, something called Global Compact on migration and Global Compact on refugees in 2018. And this is not a legally binding convention. But rather, it's a framework to recognise the importance of this issue, as a climate refugees are climate migrants, and try to call upon the policy actions at the international, regional, and national level, even local level maybe. So this kind of framework tries to say to this direction policy should call and there is a legal gap to protect this kind of people, even though the legal agreement amongst countries difficult these kinds of soft initiatives out there and try to push for the policy responses to it. 

The other is there are some bilateral initiatives, it's a very new one. Australia had a treaty with Tuvalu where climate sea-level rise is felt, and they're already at least called climate refugees to accept a certain number of migrations from Tuvalu to Australia. So there there isn't criteria to come to Australia and settle there due to the climate change impact. And the important point to underline is that this is not merely a bilateral agreement between Australia and Tuvalu in terms of climate displacement and mobility, but rather it’s a kind of package of security agreement. So Australia and Tuvalu are trying to build a security network between the two countries, so that not just climate mobility, but in terms of security environment itself. Tuvalu and Australia need to have a prior agreement before making other security agreements with other third countries. So based upon this climate mobility issue, it is kind of reframing the security environment of Pacific area, which is a very tricky and important aspect of this new initiative. So in essence, that kind of soft measures at the international level and some bilateral initiatives are out there to protect those climate migrants. 

When speaking about the recent developments in terms of legal and regulatory landscape, we can't miss the regional actions. And actually, I think this year in the Pacific islands, there's an organization called Pacific Islands Forum, trying to make political decisions among these countries in the Pacific. And this year, in this year's forum, they have adopted something called Pacific Regional framework on climate mobility. And this is so far one of the most comprehensive policy framework in a region. Africa has a similar thing. But this is one of the most comprehensive one in the sense that, as Shiiba-san mentioned, it also pays attention to what kind of demands are needed after the relocation and what kind of policy packages are needed to climate mobility issue itself, or whether the climate mobility this term covers both climate, refugees and climate migration. So it's a more neutral term to talk about people moving around due to climate change in general.

Alice  43:30

What exactly is the difference between climate refugees and climate migrants?

Naoyuki  43:42

Climate migrants is people who are moving from one country to the other with legal rights to live in the recipient country. And climate refugees is not a proper legal term. Actually, it's more political, or it's more time used by some politicians or media to say that those people who cannot find a place to live in after the climate change relocation and try to respect those people's rights to live somewhere in the world at least. We coined the term climate refugee to say that these people also need to have refugee status, like the political refugees that they have a special status as a refugee So yeah, that's two different terms.

Nagisa  44:30

The political leaders of the Pacific island country do not want to be called a refugee. Yeah, I think, um, maybe a few years ago there is a term migration with dignity was really attracting attention by the public. So yeah, of course, the migration happens due to disasters or other shocks. But even if they migrate to other countries, they have to, they really want to retain their identity or culture. That kind of aspect was also considered, should be considered in thinking about the policy package for the migrants.

I carried out research on climate migration in the Pacific and I visited Fiji, and the Marshall Islands, and just tried to identify their real motivation to emigrate to other countries. And the climate change is not the main reason at this moment. So they just migrate for their better education or better employment. And interestingly, the Marshall Islander has a relationship with the US, and they can migrate to the mainland of the US without a visa, thanks to the special agreement between these countries. But the thing is, they already face difficulties after their migration. So they cannot adjust their status to the new life in the different countries. So there are a lot of the points that the international community can support. Given the fact that the number of the migration might be increasing due to the climate change. And one of the people from Kiribati who are now based in Fiji, they said, they migrated because they wanted to give a better education to their kids. They also considered the climate change as well. Because if they think about the future of their country, climate change might be affecting the environment and life on the islands. So in that sense climate change is part of the motivation to migrate. So if we assume that climate migrants will increase over the next decades, we have to start thinking over what kind of support we can provide. Though I think, some mentioned Japan also have to think about how we can support the migrants because I think there are already a lot of people from the Pacific Islands who are engaged in the fishery industry in Japan.

Erin  47:25

Wondering wanted to know actually is you know, we talked about the Pacific Islands a lot and I guess this is like a, you know, become the poster child of climate security or climate migration concerns maybe in this region, but I'm wondering if you know, you see any similar or maybe not even similar but other examples in the South Asia region or Southeast Asia or even, you know, north or east Asian.

Naoyuki  47:51

Yeah, actually, we implement field research in Bangladesh, which is the southwest area of Bangladesh called Karuna region. This area of Bangladesh is somewhere with the biggest number of climate change migration, I think the entire most of most of them are internal migrants rather than climate refugees. But internal migration is expected to happen in the coming decades. So of course, the human mobility issue is highlighted, due to the sea-level rise and Pacific Islands is a kind of representative or typical case to talk about it. But yeah, in coastal regions, the impact of sea-level rise is felt everywhere. And the people mobilised not just a slow onset impacts such as sea-level rise, but floods happening seasonally is also causing people to mobilise in our in those regions. So yeah, Bangladesh is one of the case studies that we do. And the national and local policy framework are not ready yet. So we really need her urgent actions to treat those cases. Well, yeah. And it's not limited to Bangladesh. Of course, it's many of the coastal regions in this area of feeling this risk. 

Alice  49:18

Does Japan have any considerations to sort of enlarging their definition of asylum seekers or refugees?

Naoyuki  49:28

That's very difficult question to answer. And in the case of Japan, the first thing we need to consider is not really policy instruments, or a policy approach, but rather a political situation, there is a debate about how many foreigners we can accommodate in Japan. And this kind of political debate should go through before we can think about the policy packages. And, of course, from our project, we might have some policy recommendations about  this kind of amount of climate refugees, or climate migrants are expected in the Asia Pacific region. And this can be where Japan can contribute to the international society to protect such people and protect the human rights of those people. Then, you know, the kind of policy landscape out of Japan and the international context, should negotiate with the Japanese political context domestically to come up with a policy package. So that's a very difficult point. And I'm not sure whether we can engage with that domestic debate as a part of our project. But that is a key issue, indeed.

Alice  53:04

So as part of your project, you will be more looking into the risks around increasing climate refugees.

Naoyuki  53:11

Yeah, in my view, the first point is to raise awareness about how much climate migrants are expected to come out in this region, and what possibility Japan has in responding to it as a region. That can be debated scientifically. And that is somewhere we can contribute to the current very difficult debate in our Japanese political condition.

-       Food Security 51:18-54:22

Alice  51:18

What about the food area? You mentioned that you were also looking into the impacts from climate change into food security? Can you explain more how you're gathering information in Southeast Asia and what you've observed in the region?


Naoyuki  51:33

Yeah, thank you. So for food security aspects, we are looking into the case of Pakistan and the Philippines and Thailand. These are three potential case studies. We haven't implemented the field research yet in this regard. So in terms of food security, it's another complex issue. And it's really difficult to discuss how climate change and food security are related to each other. People can easily imagine that okay, climate change impacts agricultural crops, and certain crops get raised in the same place after the climate change. But the food security is not just about agricultural production, but we should take the lens of food system. So from the production to the consumption there is the chain of food that we need to secure and if you look at it, there are many aspects that we need to cover. So for now, we are looking into two aspects. One is agricultural production, definitely an important aspect, and we talk about what climate impacts are out there. And we talk about how small-scale farmers rights should be respected and so on. And on the other hand, we also look into the food value chain, where food is delivered from one country to another. But those value chains can also be hampered by the climate change impacts. And we need to secure for example, Japan needs to secure its own food value chain so that even when the, you know, certain parts of the world are hit by the hurricane or typhoon, enough amount of food security in a domestic market, and so on.

Erin  55:40

Yeah, I think it's interesting that you raised that. Because I think when we talk about climate security, sometimes it feels like a faraway problem for people living in the Global North. But, you know, when you mentioned food, and the fact that Japan has a very low self-sufficiency rate, if I understand correctly, it's all the more important for us to even deal with it as a local issue as well.

Naoyuki  56:06

The impact of climate change on food production is not simply just a climate risk or climate impacts. But actions to respond to climate change also have certain effects on food production. So for example, if we installed a large, renewables area in one place, that can cause conflict with agricultural areas as well. And depending on the policymaking in those countries, food production also changes a lot. And it causes food price volatility in the international market. So yeah, not just climate change, but climate actions as well, we need to consider and try to secure food security in that context.

-       Balancing Security Issues in Climate Adaptation Plans 54:22-57:00

Alice  54:22

So when you develop adaptation plans, how do you make sure that all areas are sort of addressed at the same time, for example, energy security, food security, as well as security against disasters? I feel like that must be a huge challenge. And is there a sort of guidance on how to map your adaptation so that you are addressing each of those different threats?

Nagisa  54:50

So, I think, um, yeah, as I said, it's really difficult to think about all the aspects of the resilience. But yeah, that's why there’s the ongoing debate on mainstreaming adaptation into the different policy instruments. So the National Adaptation policy itself is just a kind of overarching policy, which covers different sectors. But typically, the national adaptation plan is developed by the Ministry of Environment in many countries. Discussions happens in the different ministries, like infrastructure economy, or the food or other kinds of sectors might have to consider the actual actions for building resilience in each sector. So that's why mainstreaming is a key on to spread the ideas of the resilience development pathway to all aspects of society. So yeah, that's why the mainstreaming of adaptation is highlighted in COP.

Naoyuki  56:06

We can maybe remember the global goal adaptation framework. So we have these thematic targets now, we have this water target food targets and existing targets and so on. That will assists or facilitate each country to select priority areas, and to make the adaptation plans more comprehensive. But we need to remember that this global goal adaptation framework is a voluntary one, and it's just a suggested list of targets. So each country can of course pick up their own priority areas looking at this global goal, or adaptation framework. But yeah, though, we'll facilitate to make each country's national adaptation plan and adaptation policies more comprehensive that will help each country to try to make integrated policy approach.

Bob  57:00

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COP 28
Global Goal on Adaptation
Loss and Damage
Climate Security
Climate Migration
Food Security
Balancing Security Issues in Climate Adaptation Plans