The RSIS’ Centre for Non-Traditional Security (NTS Centre), in collaboration with the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), released SIPRI’s latest report Environment of Peace: Security in a New Era of Risk on 16 June 2022. Co-hosted by the Embassy of Sweden in Singapore, the launch event featured Mr Dan Smith, Director of SIPRI and lead author of the report.
The report revealed the global twin crises that the world now faces: a darkening security horizon and environmental deterioration. From a security perspective, military expenditure is reflective of how the world perceives the global outlook. In 2021, global military spending was 2.1 trillion, nearly doubling since 2000. The ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine has further exacerbated the security crisis, and nations are scrambling to bolster their defences.
From an environmental perspective, the 21st century has witnessed 19 of the 20 warmest years. Every region is progressively getting warmer. Sea level rises are harrowing due to intermittent sea level surges that used to occur once every 50 years but will occur more than once a year from 2050 onwards, posing a seismic threat to human security.
Global governance has failed in the management of natural resources and ecosystem services provided by the biosphere. Climate and conflict are so closely interlinked, that if one damages the environment, one damages peace and vice versa.
Given that each nation faces different problems, this report offers guiding principles through which problems should be approached. These include identifying risks and strategic foresight, ensuring a just and peaceful transition, and effectuating adaptation and resilience.
Although nations face differing challenges, international cooperation is imperative. There needs to be a global radical shift in mindset, to think fast, act quickly, and set a long term strategy for achieving an environment of peace.