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a picture of participants attending the SPP Workshop in an office building

Jun 27, 2023


By Dr. Vino Roy

DSCU’s Institute for Security Governance (ISG), in coordination with the National Guard Bureau - International Affairs (NGB-IA) and U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), conducted a symposium focused on “African Security and Climate Change” from 31 May-1 June 2023 for State Partnership Programs (SPP) partnered with African countries. 

The workshop brought together stakeholders from the SPP teams, the NGB-IA, AFRICOM J5, the Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA), the Office of the Secretary of Defense for Policy (OSD-P), the National Security Council (NSC), the Department of State (DOS), the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Africa Center for Strategic Studies (ACSS), the United States Institute of Peace (USIP), and other experts to dialogue on the nexus between climate change and Security Cooperation; to promote whole of government-regional approaches, and to develop recommendations for better integrating climate security into broader Security Cooperation and SPP activities.  

U.S. government stakeholders reviewed their climate security related initiatives and considered opportunities for betting integrating efforts with SPPs in supporting partner nations to combat climate change and to build climate resiliency.   

Policy makers engaged SPP participants on funding and planning challenges related to integrating climate security into SPP planning and aligned with country and AFRICOM’s campaign plans. 

Participants and panelists reiterated the importance of developing country-context specific efforts, sensitive to the needs of each community, especially in cases where there may be distrust between communities and security forces. 

State Partnership Programs have a comparative advantage, utilizing their extensive, long-term partnerships and regional knowledge to support partner nations in effectively addressing climate security concerns. However, the successful implementation of SPP initiatives necessitates adequate support and resourcing. 

SPP participants outlined the challenges and complexity of pairing appropriate authorities to leverage state civilian expertise in support of climate informed initiatives. SPPs also highlighted the need for better lines of communication and integrating mechanisms to facilitate coordination with other US government agencies with the support of the country team. 

The DoD and Combatant Commands are currently assessing their roles and responsibilities in supporting climate security efforts.  SPPs, in turn, are assessing the expertise of their state to better foster civil-military cooperation with partner nations in support of climate security.  

ISG State Partnership Program Education Lead, Dr. Vino Roy, noted that “the interagency dialogues at the workshops will inform our collective efforts to incorporate climate security considerations and thinking into future Security Cooperation.”