Climate Security Scenarios in the Balkans

The new summary report on ‘Climate Security Scenarios in the Balkans’ examines climate security futures for the Western Balkans region and identifies entry points for anticipatory action on climate resilience for NATO and the EU. The findings of the paper are based on an interactive scenario exercise held at the Berlin Climate and Security Conference 2022.
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The Balkans is becoming increasingly affected by the impacts of climate change and natural disasters. Climate-related hazards such as droughts, heatwaves, tropical storms and wildfires are predicted to proliferate in the coming decades, leading to reduced agricultural production, severe water shortages and undermine critical development gains in the region. Given the Balkans’s reliance on hydropower, and its position as a highly trafficked land route for migration to the European Union, these climate impacts could result in cascading security risks and exacerbate vulnerability in the region.

Faced with such threats to internal cohesion and regional stability, forward-looking scenario analysis is integral to help policymakers in the Balkans weather the risks of tomorrow. The latest report on Climate Security Scenarios in the Balkans  contributes to meeting this need.

The scenario report outlines climate security futures for the Balkans region and identifies entry points for anticipatory action for NATO and the EU, thereby supporting much-needed long-term climate resilience planning.  By examining the most diagnostic and uncertain drivers of change in the region, investigating multiple possible futures and checking analytic assumptions about the trajectory of the Balkans,  the scenarios underline the importance of leveraging climate security engagement across defence, diplomacy and development sectors. Making investments in adaptation capacity building, and integrating climate considerations into existing peace-building and conflict-prevention programming can promote resilience in the Balkans region.

As such, the scenarios help to promote early action on issues of climate resilience in ways that strengthen regional stability, foster cooperation, build civilian trust in institutions and governing bodies, and blunt the cascading and compounding impacts from climate risks in the Balkans.

The findings of the summary report were developed during an interactive scenario exercise hosted by the International Military Council on Climate and Security (IMCCS) Expert Group, adelphi and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) at the Berlin Climate Security Conference hosted by adelphi and the German Federal Foreign Office in October 2022.

The Balkans refers to Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Romania, Serbia, and Slovenia