Environmental Security as Policy: What Are the Options Forward?

invitation only · Auditorium of Annex Building of the Parliament, Arkadiankatu 3, Helsinki · 19.06.2019 09:00 - 11:00

invitation only

In recent years, the security impacts of environmental change have increasingly been noted in policy discussion. In particular, the threat that climate change poses to the society, or its role in conflicts and their prevention, has featured in the speeches of politicians and military officers alike. Yet this acknowledgement has not widely been channelled into concrete actions to address environmental threats through foreign and security policy. In addition, the variety of geopolitical implications of environmental change and the measures to mitigate it have yet to befully understood.

This seminar, which marks the end of a series of workshops held at FIIA, explores the role of environmental security as a part of foreign and security policy. How could the diverse impacts of environmental change be taken into account in policy-making, and is there a need for a comprehensive approach? What should be the main points of focus for a European country like Finland? Has research succeeded at adequately supporting decision-making with relevant knowledge?

The seminar is co-organised by the Finnish Institute of International Affairs (FIIA), BIOS Research
Unit, University of Helsinki and the Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI).


Opening remarks

Emma Hakala

Senior Research Fellow, Finnish Institute of International Affairs

Emma Hakala is a Senior Research Fellow at the Finnish Institute of International
Affairs. She defended her doctoral dissertation in political history in 2018 under
the title “International Organisations and the Securitisation of the Environment
in post-Conflict Western Balkans”. Hakala’s broader research interest is on
environmental and climate security. She has also done research and published
on sustainable energy issues, environmental citizenship in the Balkans and local
water sustainability cooperation in Nepal. Hakala’s current research explores new
practices to respond and adapt to environmental security threats in the context of
Finland. She is a member of the BIOS Research Unit and the WISE project (Creative
adaptation to wicked socio-environmental disruptions).

Keynote speaker

Jan Selby

Professor, University of Sussex

Jan Selby is Professor of International Relations at the University of Sussex, UK. His research focuses principally on political ecology and environmental security, but also addresses issues of conflict, peace-building and development, International Relations theory, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He is the author of a 2003 monograph, Water, Power and Politics in the Middle East, of edited volumes on global governance, militarism and International Relations theory, and of various articles on water politics and climate security including recent work examining the role of climate change in the Syrian civil war. Professor Selby studied at the universities of Durham and Lancaster, and received his PhD in Sociology from Lancaster in 2000. He subsequently taught in the Department of Politics and International Relations at Lancaster, and the Department of International Politics, Aberystwyth, before joining Sussex in 2005. He was Head of Department at Sussex from 2007-2009, and is currently the Department’s Research Director.


Laura Lindgren

Laura Lindgren

Counsellor, Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs

Laura Lindgren is Counsellor at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland. She
has several years of work experience at the Ministry, and has previously worked,
among others, at the Embassy of Finland in Sweden and the Finnish Permanent
Representation to the European Union. In her current role, she is the Mediation
Coordinator and teamleader for the mediation team at the Political Department of
the Ministry.

Niina Tenhio

Niina Tenhio

Adviser, Development Policy, Fingo

Niina Tenhio is an Adviser on Development Policy at Fingo, a Finnish NGO platform
on global development. She specializes on development finance and the area
of development and security. She has previously worked on a variety of issues
linked to peace and development at the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs and
UN Women in Afghanistan and UNDP in Kosovo, among others.

Atte Harjanne

Atte Harjanne

Member of Parliament

Atte Harjanne is a member of parliament and Helsinki city council, representing
the Green party. Previously he worked as a researcher at the Finnish Meteorological
Institute, where he focused on studying climate risk management and socioeconomic
impacts of climate change.

Jussi T. Eronen

Jussi T. Eronen

Associate Professor , University of Helsinki

Jussi T. Eronen is Associate Professor of Sustainability Science, Ecosystems and
Environment Research Programme and Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science
(HELSUS) at the University of Helsinki. His research focuses on understanding the
ecological and climate related interlinkages with human activities in the present
and in the long-term historic past. Eronen is also a founding member of the BIOS
Research Unit and in the core team of the Scientific Consensus on Maintaining
Humanity’s Life Support Systems in the 21st Century.


Emma Hakala

Leading Researcher

Climate security, environmental security, Western Balkan, post-conflict cooperation