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Louise van Schaik, Senior Research Fellow at the Clingendael Institute, speaks of the importance of the Planetary Security Initiative for international climate diplomacy. She highlights its role in setting climate issues on the international agenda, as well as strengthening the link between climate and other policy areas, such as peace and security.

This interview was conducted at the Planetary Security Conference in The Hague, 5-6 December 2016.


"My name is Louise van Schaik, I work at the Netherlands Institute of International Relations Clingendael and we were very pleased that we were able to lead the consortium implementing this project.

We were also very pleased that the Ministry is so much interested in this topic and to find out in this conference that we also managed to get the Chief of the Armed Forces, General Middendorp, to be present here – that he is now really on top of the issue, the relationship between climate and security, that he really sees that it is an important threat multiplier. I am also really, really pleased to see that some of the debate is more nuanced, that there is a lot of action going on in the Middle East and water insecurity issues, that there is also talk about solution, building resilience, building adaptation activities, how to pitch this in the UN system, in the UN Security Council. I really hope that we also manage to bring certain aspects of this relationship between environmental stresses and security a step forward and that there is not only call for action but that there will also be real policy solutions and action coming out of this conference.

It is likely to continue for the coming two years, at least, and of course also beyond. I think the concept is very valuable and also I think we have now firmly established it with the website, with the series of publications, amongst others the adelphi SIPRI publication is really one of the best things I have read in the past period. So I really hope that we have firmly established this, that this is really the place where the community of practice comes together, convenes and brings this topic further and that it is not only an annual conference but that there will be also a lot of activities in between and online and so on and so forth. This is what I hope we will achieve."