Defence Minister to discuss climate change, regional security at South Pacific Defence Ministers Meeting

The security implications of climate change will be firmly on the agenda at this week’s South Pacific Defence Ministers Meeting (SPDMM), taking place in Fiji.

The meeting is an opportunity for Ministers to discuss the security issues facing their nations and find collaborative ways to overcome them. Defence Minister Ron Mark and host Fiji will also host a climate change discussion at the gather.

“With the Coalition Government’s Pacific Reset, and the release of the Strategic Defence Policy Statement 2018, active engagement between New Zealand and South Pacific nations across all areas of cooperation has become more important than ever,” says Defence Minister Ron Mark.

“Last year I released a Defence Assessment into the security implications of climate change.

The Climate Crisis: Defence Readiness and Responsibilities was the first comprehensive study of its kind conducted in New Zealand, and was warmly received by nations in the Pacific, who are already being impacted by the effects of climate change.

“Our region is experiencing intense environmental impacts from climate change, all of which have flow-on economic, cultural and social consequences, and have the potential to heighten security concerns in our region and further afield.

“The risk of concurrent and more extreme weather events is increasing, and over time there will be an increased requirement for regional defence forces to respond with humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, more search and rescue missions, and potentially stability operations.  

“I will be discussing these factors with my colleagues, alongside exchanges on regional security, operational commitments, counter-terrorism, military exercise coordination, and enhanced cooperation across our defence forces,” says Ron Mark.