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Global Climate Security after COVID 19 Roundtable - 31 March 2021

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Chair: Dr Nicholas Michelsen, King's College London


  • Dr Suzette Haughton, University of the West Indies
  • Dr Hugh Sealy,University of the West Indies
  • Dr Simon Chin Yee, King’s College London
  • Dr Hillary Briffa, King’s College London


Pandemic COVID19 has set in stark relief the global security implications of climate change, underscoring the interconnectedness between human and planetary health. A striking feature of climate change is the globally differential exposure to its impacts, and the ways in which knowledge and expertise on how to respond effectively may be centered on states where the security implications of climate have long been apparent.

This inaugural roundtable brings together leading scholars from the University of the West Indies, and King’s College London’s School of Security to discuss some of the critical implications of the pandemic for international security and climate change, looking forward to the upcoming UN COP taking place in the UK later this year.



Dr Suzette A Haughton is Head of Department of Government, and a Senior Lecturer in International Relations and Security Studies at the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus, Jamaica. She holds a PhD in Security Studies from the Department of War Studies, King’s College, University of London and MSc and BSc degrees in International Relations from the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus.

Dr Hugh Sealy is a Lecturer on climate change in the Centre for Resource Management and Environmental Studies (CERMES) at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Cave Hill, Barbados. He is a Research Fellow in the Windward Islands Research and Education Foundation, and a Director of the UNFCCC Regional Collaboration Centre, established at St. George’s University in 2013. As a consultant with over 25 years of experience as a project manager, a professional engineer and an environmental scientist, he has managed numerous development projects, particularly in relation to energy, integrated solid waste management, water supply and wastewater treatment. He has conducted numerous environmental impact assessments (EIAs) and environmental studies throughout the Caribbean region.

Dr Simon Chin-Yee has over 14 years of experience in international cooperation and policy as a consultant for the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as well as within several research roles within Academia. Dr Simon Chin-Yee’s research focus is on climate change, conflict and vulnerable populations – with an emphasis on human security and climate justice on the African Continent. Policy makers no longer speak of climate change solely in terms of environmental issues, but as a multiplying factor that has made its way into a broad spectrum of global political discourse, including narratives around conflict, peace and (in)security. Simon’s research links climate change to concepts of security within vulnerable populations. He achieves this by looking at diverse national and local experiences threatened by climate change. Additionally, Simon’s research focuses on the global climate negotiations, examining how the norms, ideas and rules constructed within the global climate regime have an influence on national policies.

Dr Hillary Briffa received her doctorate in War Studies from King’s College London, asking whether small states can have a Grand Strategy. Previously, she served as Youth Ambassador for Malta to the OSCE for three years, and worked at the Malta High Commission to the UK throughout Malta’s tenure as Commonwealth Chair-in-Office. In 2015 she was appointed an Associate Fellow of the Royal Commonwealth Society, and in 2016 became a recipient of the U.S. State Department’s inaugural Emerging Young Leaders award. From August 2020, she has been an inaugural Hans J. Morgenthau Fellows, remotely based at The Notre Dame International Security Center (NDISC), studying grand strategy in its larger conceptual and historical context. Her research focuses on small states and postcolonial actors in the international system, and the ways they seek to preserve their autonomy and project influence. She is currently involved in a project funded by the Government of New Zealand, led by researchers at the World Bank, on rethinking multilateralism for the post-COVID-19 era.


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