Members of Climate Change Programme meet top officials in Mexico

A new interim RUSI report has been launched focusing on the effects of climate change in Mexico. Members of the Climate Change and Security Programme have met top officials in the Mexican capital to discuss their findings.

A new RUSI report, 'Climate Change, Migration and Security: Best Practice Policy and Operations Options for Mexico', has been launched in Mexico's capital, Mexico City. To mark the release, research fellows from the Climate Change and Security Programme have met prominent government officials to discuss the report's conclusions.

Dr. Tobias Feakin, the Director of National Security and Resilience at RUSI, held a meeting with Jose Luis Luege Tamargo, the Director of the National Water Commission (Conagua) in Mexico. Jose Luege Tamargo higlighted the significance of water provision in Mexico especially for local economies and the overall welfare of society, echoing the findings of the report.

In a unique opportunity for RUSI in the region, members of the Climate Change Programme were able to work closely with regional organisations and leading academics. These included Conagua as well as   GLOBE International (specifically Carolina Hernandez) and the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC/CEPAL). The findings of the report were presented in a press conference on the 17 November in front of assembled guests and media.

The report itself considers the relationship between the impacts of climate change on human migration and the possible effects this may have on the general security landscape of Mexico. The author, Elizabeth Deheza, says that the report 'expands the traditional definition of security beyond the military sphere' by looking at the vital aspects of social, political and economic circumstances. This expansion sees a wider-analysis of the effect of climate change, especially on Mexico's high rate of drug-related cartel violence.

As well as identifying key problems that exist for Mexico, it is also considers what Mexico can do in terms of adaption and mitigation in dealing with these problems. Importantly, the report recommends that governments should 'provide clear and comprehensive strategies' that can adapt to new challenges before they are overwhelmed by the pressures of climate change. In particular, the report says;

'It is critical that government gets this right from the beginning so as not to find itself rapidly overstretched and unable to respond. If the impact of climate change on people is consistently too sudden and too severe then there will follow a substantial erosion of confidence in the government, increasing the likelihood of civil unrest and instability.'

The report launched in Mexico City is a preliminary paper and part of the Climate Change Programme's ongoing project that will run until November 2012. Three components of future work are highlighted in the released report; data aggregation, data dissemination and analysis and the development of robust conclusions and policy recommendations. The project will continue existing collaboration with the UN Economic Commission as well as other regional and national organisations and academics.

The report's author, Elizabeth Deheza, is a Research Fellow on the Climate Change and Security Programme. Currently, she is leading the project: Climate change, migration and security: Best practice policy and operational options for Mexico.

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