The changing availability of water resources is near the center of most every conversation on climate adaptation. Decreasing fresh water supplies in some regions can also be a catalyst for cooperation – or for conflict.
Within this context, Matt Luna, Communication Officer for MIDES, represented the project at side events of the COP 25 UN climate conference in Madrid from 9 – 12 December. The event, “Climate and Security: Emerging Trends and Adaptive Strategies,” was held on the morning of 11 Dec. at the European Union COP pavilion. Mr. Luna was the moderator for this event that was produced by the European External Action Service (EEAS), the EU Global Climate Change Alliance Plus Initiative (GCCA+), and the Institute for Environmental Security (IES).
This meeting of some 60 participants addressed topics including droughts in the Middle East/Sahel that have contributed to conflict; climate change aggravating water deficits in the “Dry Corridor” that are influencing migration from Central America to the U.S.; and water scarcity scenarios in South Asia.
“Water lies at the core of human survival. It’s scarcity as well as deluge can cause untold suffering. In South Asia, we see both these dimensions dangerously intertwined with the politics of the region. I see its nations hurtling towards catastrophic conflict unless checked now. The world must intervene urgently,” said Lt. Gen. Tariq Ghazi Waseem Ghazi (ret.) of Pakistan, who spoke as a panelist at the event. General Ghazi is a member of the Global Military Advisory Council on Climate Change (GMACCC), an organization aimed at “highlighting the potential security implications of a changing climate and advocating action, including by the military, to minimize the risks.”
Matt Luna (right in photo) presented MIDES at the introduction of the session as an example of a nature-based solution that could help bring fresh water resources – with lower power used in production – to more dry regions. He mentioned how some areas, especially in developing countries, may have access to salt or brackish water, but not sufficient electricity grids to power conventional desalination. Of course, the launch of the first MIDES demonstration site last month in Denia, Spain, was highlighted as a big step forward in the application of such technologies.
That same afternoon, Mr. Luna attended the event at the German COP pavilion, “A Call for Action: Prospects of New Alliances around Climate and Security,” and discussed MIDES with some of the participants there. This event “took stock of progress made at the international level on climate, peace and security. Participants discussed potential pathways for action how to deal with climate-security risks in Latin America and beyond – this includes the UN Security Council as one forum among others.”
Throughout the week, the MIDES banner was displayed at COP 25 next to the EU pavilion. The project was presented to conference participants and officials as a solution in which water adaptation also benefits climate mitigation efforts, through producing more water resources with lower energy used.
For more information on MIDES in climate, get in touch with Matt Luna through the contact page on our website.