The consequences of climate change are typically treated as a local affair or as a specific challenge for developing countries lacking the resources to respond adequately. However, climate change impacts in other parts of the world may also affect a country like the Netherlands, since it may lead to local physical, economic and political instability with consequences inter alia for international development, trade and investment.
This study analyses whether Dutch foreign policies in the fields of development cooperation, foreign economic relations and security are climate-proof. The analysis reveals a greater degree of awareness of climate change in the realm of development and – to a lesser extent – in the realm of security. The possible effects of climate change on trade policies have not received much consideration yet, whereas a true integration of climate change into security policies is still very much work in progress if compared to development, where there has been much more integration. Because food and water are two of the four spearheads of Dutch development cooperation, and the link with climate adaptation needs in these two sectors is frequently obvious, climate change is often implicitly taken into account in development projects. However, more could be done to make climate impacts more explicit and to increase the level of funding for achieving climate adaptation objectives. This would enable the Netherlands to highlight its contribution to the global adaptation challenge, as well as in relation to the international climate negotiations, which are accelerating towards the crucial summit in Paris at the end of 2015. It could also bring into sharper relief the opportunities for the Dutch food and water sectors to deal with the climate adaptation challenge.
The research was conducted by the Netherlands Institute of International Relations ‘Clingendael’, with support from the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL) in the context of its study Global Climate Impacts - Risks and opportunities for the Netherlands (the English version can be found here, a Dutch synthesis of the reports can be read here) as commissioned by the Netherlands Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment in light of the planned 2017 update of the National Adaptation Strategy.
Read the full Clingendael report here.