On 27 February 2018, as reported in Council conclusions 6125/18, the EU Foreign Affairs Council adopted conclusions on climate diplomacy. It marks the formal signaling of EU’s Foreign Ministers to make climate security a priority.
The conclusions recognise that climate change has direct and indirect implications for international security and stability. Climate projects in developing countries need to become more conflict sensitive while security approaches more climate sensitive. The document calls for further mainstreaming the nexus between climate change and security in policy dialogue, conflict prevention, development and humanitarian action and disaster risk strategies.
The EU promotes here the ongoing work in the framework of the G7 and in the UN system and encourage the UNSC to increase its focus on the climate and security nexus. The Council calls for effective responses to climate security risks across policy areas; and underlines the importance of translating climate and security analysis into possible action, referring to the 2017 Hague Declaration as part of the Planetary Security Conference series as an example.
A high-level event on climate and security at the initiative of HR/VP Federica Mogherini will be held in Brussels in June 2018, underlining the EU’s commitment to address the destabilising effects and risks of climate change. In addition, Members of the European Parliament (Arne Lietz and Jo Leinen) plan an own initiative report on the topic, which is also due for June 2018.
The mission of the Munich Security Conference is to “address the world’s most pressing security concerns”. These days, that means climate security: climate change is the ultimate threat multiplier, and anyone discussing food security, political instability, migration, or competition over resources should be aware of the climate change pressures that are so often at the root of security problems.
The European Green Deal has made the environment and climate change the focus of EU action. Indeed, climate change impacts are already increasing the pressure on states and societies; however, it is not yet clear how the EU can engage on climate security and environmental peacemaking. In this light, and in the run-up to the German EU Council Presidency, adelphi and its partners are organising a roundtable series on “Climate, environment, peace: Priorities for EU external action in the decade ahead”.
In January 2020, the German Federal Foreign Office launched Green Central Asia, a regional initiative on climate and security in Central Asia and Afghanistan. The aim of the initiative is to support a dialogue in the region on climate change and associated risks in order to foster regional integration between the six countries involved.
Climate change will shift key coordinates of foreign policy in the coming years and decades. Even now, climate policy is more than just environment policy; it has long since arrived at the centre of foreign policy. The German Foreign Office recently released a report on climate diplomacy recognizing the biggest challenges to security posed by climate change and highlighting fields of action for strengthening international climate diplomacy.