• Carina Lykke Svindborg
As climate change has become an increasing concern in terms of security risks, it has also become increasingly relevant to examine the patterns of securitisation and adaptation capacities of the world, in order to understand likely reactions to climate-security issues, as well as the effectiveness of mitigation strategies. Two interesting regions to examine, in the case of response to climate change, are Europe, with a response shaped by the EU goal for Europe to become the first climate neutral continent, and Southeast Asia, which according to the International Panel on Climate Change is expected to be the region most affected by climate change. According to theory on the security risks of climate change, the expected response to future climate change issues is best understood through responses to previous trigger events for security response.
As a comparative case study based on document analysis, this thesis examines previous, recent trigger events of migration crises and natural disasters in Europe (the Syrian civil war refugee crisis and the 2003 European heatwave) and Southeast Asia (Rohingya refugee crisis and the 2011 Southeast Asian floods) in order to discuss whether the security approaches of these specific events would also be suitable to mitigate and limit the security risks of climate change. The analysed datasets consist of documents, strategies and press releases from official sources such as the EU, ASEAN, IPCC and UN organisations, as well as news articles from renowned media in order to provide multiple angles on the cases. The theoretical angle of the analysis is based on Barry Buzan and Ole Wæver’s theory on Regional Security Complexes, and Robert O. Keohane’s theory on Neoliberal Institutionalism.
The analysis unveils that regional cooperation and the Regional Security Complexes in Europe and Southeast Asia have a great impact on how security issues are tackled, due to which the same factors also cause significant differences in approaches between the two regions. In Europe, security approaches, as well as other points of cooperation, are mainly focused on coordinated efforts, common laws, strategies, and initiatives by the EU. Southeast Asia, on the other hand, is more focused on national autonomy with individual approaches, based on the agenda set by the regional powers; Indonesia, Singapore, and Viet Nam. The regional intergovernmental organisation ASEAN has the main task of coordination and facilitation of cooperation. The difference in approaches to migration crises and natural disasters is caused by the level of agreement on what the actual security threat entails, who should be protected, who should be the securitising actor, and of course the willingness to cooperate regionally. Concludingly, it is argued that in the situation of climate change, beliefs in an actual security risk are challenged, as the security risks are rather abstract and uncertain, and thus also the willingness to spend resources on limiting climate change. What could possibly strengthen understandings and efforts on the matter is an inter-regional cooperation between the European and the Southeast Asian regional security complexes with shared expectations, understandings of the threat and best practises, joint technological development, and financial support systems.
Publication date29 May 2020
ID: 333163231