DEPARTMENT OF THE
PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET
TE TARI O TE PIRIMIA ME TE KOMITI MATUA
9 October 2019
[FYI request #11194 email]
Dear Alex Harris
Official Information Act request relating to the Officials' Committee for Domestic and
External Security Coordination and Climate Change
Thank you for your Official Information Act 1982 (the Act) reqiuest received on 11 September
2019. You requested:
"Climate change is widely considered to be a risk to national and international security,
and many of its effects - floods, droughts, international instability - fall squarely within
ODESC's ambit. I'm wondering therefore whether ODESC has, or has had in the past,
a watch group dedicated to climate change, and if so, how many times and on what
dates it (or they) has (or have) met.
I would prefer to receive an electronic response. Queries about this request will be
automatically forwarded to me by the fyi.org.nz website."
I advise that no Watch Groups have been established for climate change. Accordingly, I am
declining your request under section 18(e) of the Act, as the document alleged to contain the
information requested does not exist.
However, it is also important to note that Watch Groups are only one aspect of the national
security architecture to identify and mitigate national security risks, and the trends impacting
on these, such as climate change.
The identification and governance of national security risk are managed within the National
Security System by two multi-agency governance boards: the Security and Intelligence
Board and the Hazard Risk Board. In recognition of climate change's influence on national
security risks, particularly those governed by Hazard Rislk Board, the Ministry for the
Environment (MfE) was invited to join Hazard Risk Board last year.
As part of the recognition of the need to join up across agencies, the Department of the
Prime Minister and Cabinet also convened a National Security Discussion Forum on 15 May
2018 on the links between climate change and its potential national security risks. These
forums are a vehicle to build networks and encouraging risk-based discussion and
information sharing across the breadth of the national security system. This particular forum
was attended by around 40 officials from a range of agencies.
Executive Wing, Parliament Buildings, Wellington, New Zealand 6011
W 64 4 817 9698 www.dpmc.govt.nz