Stephan Wolters, adelphi

This summer, the EU High Representative Federica Mogherini revealed the long-awaited Global Strategy “Shared Vision, Common Action: A Stronger Europe”. As part of the Strategy, the EU broadens its climate diplomacy approach and integrates it into its overall foreign and security policy thinking. Its predecessor, the European Security Strategy, released in 2003, contained no mention of the climate, whereas now it is cited 26 times. Indeed, this is an important step to help ensure that external climate action is more effective and coherent. Policymakers and diplomats of the European External Action Service (EEAS) and foreign services of the Member States are now tasked with putting this shared vision into practice.

The Global Strategy “sets out the EU's core interests and principles for engaging in the world” and aims very much at providing a holistic (“global”) approach. A comprehensive outreach and consultation process provided input, conducted by the EU Institute for Security Studies (EU ISS) in cooperation with the EEAS. For climate diplomacy, this drew most notably on a conference which took place earlier this year to discuss strategic needs in light of the Paris Agreement.

EU climate diplomacy has made significant progress in recent years, built on three strategic strands, one of these strands explicitly centered on the security impacts of climate change. EU climate diplomacy has facilitated the break-through needed to secure agreement in Paris and has also improved the way it involves and coordinates with delegations and Member States’ foreign services, not least through the Green Diplomacy Network.

It is now timely that the EU broadens its climate diplomacy approach, integrating it into its overall foreign and security policy thinking. It could have even gone a step further, dedicating a section specifically to climate-related challenges and emerging threats, as it did for energy security, for example.

Nevertheless, the new document recognizes the strategic importance of climate change as a root cause of conflict and a “threat multiplier that catalyses water and food scarcity, pandemics and displacement”, and calls for pre-emptive peacebuilding and diplomacy, and for enhancing energy and environmental resilience. For the latter, it also highlights the transition risks that could fuel social tensions and need to be addressed – e.g. in fossil fuel reliant economies.

It is also encouraging to see that the Strategy includes aims to “increase climate financing, drive climate mainstreaming in multilateral fora, raise the ambition for review foreseen in the Paris agreement, and work for clean energy cost reductions” (for the latter, one step was joining Mission Innovation). Each of these goals requires the continued work of diplomats.

Last but not least, the Strategy reconfirms, but broadens the EU’s approach with respect to ‘effective multilateralism’. To a certain extent, with the success of the Paris Agreement, climate diplomacy exemplifies that multilateralism can still be effective, but in the face of evolving geopolitical realities, bilateral partnerships with key countries will gain increasing importance. This was already an instrumental element of building support in advance of the Agreement, but it will be important to systematically scrutinize and evaluate opportunities arising for climate diplomacy.

Policy-makers and diplomats of the EEAS and foreign services of the Member States’ are now tasked with putting this shared vision into practice, and, furthermore, mainstreaming climate diplomacy into concrete action. A potential first step could be joint discussions and briefings with diplomats working, for instance, on energy, economic cooperation, and security policy, and the relevance of these sectoral areas for climate diplomacy.

Adaptation & Resilience
Sub-Saharan Africa
Planetary Security Initiative

Extreme weather events such as droughts and floods are expected to become more severe under future climate conditions. This implies a concern for policymakers in national and international security.

Héctor Morales Muñoz (ZALF)

A major challenge in the field of environmental peacebuilding is showing the impact of its initiatives. Questions emerge, such as "Which dimensions of post-conflict peacebuilding  are more likely to be affected by natural resource management projects?". Although quantitative studies assess the relation between natural resource management programmes and conflict risks, there is less research on what the specific mechanisms involved in implementing projects designed for environmental peacebuilding are.

Conflict Transformation
Global Issues
Tobias Ide (University of Brunswick), Carl Bruch (EnPAx), Alexander Carius (adelphi), Ken Conca (American University), Geoffrey Dabelko (Ohio University), Richard Matthew (UC Irvine) and Erika Weinthal (Duke University)

Chatham House's International Affairs Journal has just released a special issue focused on environmental peacebuilding. adelphi Managing Director Alexander Carius, alongside Tobias Ide, Carl Bruch, Ken Conca, Geoffrey Dabelko, Richard Matthew and Erika Weinthal, introduces the special issue giving particular emphasis on environmental opportunities for building and sustaining peace.

Environment & Migration
Dhanasree Jayaram, MAHE

A lack of targeted policies to manage climate migration in South Asia is aggravating the vulnerabilities of various communities in the region. International and regional cooperation and strategy on climate action (broadly) and climate migration (specifically) is the need of the hour.