Exploring the nexus of Climate, Peace, and Security

March 19, 2024

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A post-workshop briefing


A wicked problem defies easy solutions because of its complex and interconnected relationships with a host of factors. Climate change is often viewed as a wicked problem; when climate impacts on peace and security are brought into the discussion, the challenge to find solutions may seem insurmountable. Arriving at this conclusion should not produce despair but rather lead to “a dynamic approach” that promotes novel thought and encourages the crafting of new tools and mechanisms.

In this spirit, on November 23, 2023, in a seminar room at the Balsillie School of International Affairs in Waterloo, Ontario, the staff of Project Ploughshares met with invited experts from academia, the military, and civil society to explore, in an open and safe forum, the many points at which climate, peace, and security (CPS) intersect and how to respond to the effects of this nexus.

The workshop was intended to provide advice and guidance for Project Ploughshares as it crafts the parameters of a new research program that brings its peace-focused work to the current climate crisis. Like nuclear weapons, war in outer space, and autonomous weapons, the climate crisis poses an existential threat to the achievement of sustainable world peace. Also up for exploration: How can Project Ploughshares, a Canadian organization with extensive international linkages, best contribute to the conversation and the creation of solutions.

With viewpoints ranging from local to national to global, participants presented a variety of options about the role that Project Ploughshares could most effectively and usefully play. While the path ahead is not certain, clearly the climate crisis must inform Ploughshares research and analysis going forward.

The discussion served as a jumping-off point for devising a research program and a planned workshop with an expanded range of participants in Ottawa in June 2024.

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