Climate Change
Climate Diplomacy
Conflict Transformation
Environment & Migration
Stella Schaller, adelphi

The European Parliament yesterday, 3 July 2018, voted for a report on EU Climate Diplomacy and emphasized the EU’s responsibility to lead on climate action as well as conflict prevention.

The new report stresses that EU diplomatic capacities should be strengthened in order to promote climate action globally, support the implementation of the Paris agreement and prevent climate change-related conflict. It thus covers major areas of EU climate diplomacy.

Co-rapporteur for the Foreign Affairs committee Arne Lietz (S&D, DE) said: “In order to implement the goals of the Paris Agreement globally, we have to strengthen the climate diplomacy capacities of the European External Action Service with regards to personnel as well as financial means. This also means empowering the EU delegations in partner countries to integrate the issue more strongly into their agenda. This should be reflected in the new Multiannual Financial Framework through an enforced budget line for climate diplomacy and climate action.”

In the report, the MEPs ask the EU to lead by example by taking an active role during the 2018 Talanoa Dialogue and COP24 that will take place in Katowice, Poland. The outcome of both of these events is crucial for the implementation of the Paris Agreement. In this context, the report recommends that the EU Commission makes ratification and implementation of the Paris Agreement a condition for future trade agreements, and that it further works on carbon border adjustments. Such import fees (levied by carbon-taxing countries on goods manufactured in non-carbon-taxing countries) would help leverage further efforts of all nations.

On security and migration, the report is nuanced and detailed. Rapid climate action is seen as a matter of security and EU foreign policy should therefore be able to monitor climate change related risks, including crisis prevention and conflict sensitivity. That means the EU needs to invest in more capacity at the EEAS to be able address these new demands. On top of this, climate policy should be mainstreamed in EU conflict prevention policies.

In light of increased forced migration from and within vulnerable areas, the Committees on the Environment and Foreign Affairs called for the establishment of a universal definition of “climate refugees” within the UN, in order to establish a common approach for their protection. This issue is not uncontroversial: currently there is no standard definition nor category under international law, but agreeing on one is a politically sensitive question.

The report, initiated by the co-rapporteurs for the committees, Arne Lietz and Jo Leinen, gathered broad support and was passed with a clear majority (adopted with 90 votes to 19, with 2 abstentions). It was put to a vote by the full House during the plenary on 3 July 2018, gathering 488 votes to 113 and 72 abstentions.


The European Parliament hosted on 20 February 2018 a workshop to develop recommendations for the report on climate diplomacy. In this video, adelphi's Director Alexander Carius, Arne Lietz and Nick Mabey discuss the European approach to dealing with climate-related security risks.

Climate Change
Middle East & North Africa
Theodore Karasik and Jacopo Spezia Depretto, Fair Observer

Iraq is on the verge of an environmental breakdown, and climate change is not helping. The country's fragile environment and the increasing scarcity of natural resources — particularly water — are a result of poor environmental management, as well as several political and historical factors. However, as climate change impacts add to the existing pressures, the environmental collapse turns into a security issue.

Climate Change
Land & Food
Global Issues
Robert McSweeney, Carbon Brief

The severity of desertification and its mutual relationship with climate change cannot be overstated. In light of the recent launch of the Special Report on Climate Change and Land by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Robert McSweeney from Carbon Brief explains what desertification is, what role climate change plays, and what impact it has across the world.

Biodiversity & Livelihoods
Minerals & Mining
Central America & Caribbean
Adriana Erthal Abdenur, Igarapé Institute

A new form of organized crime has recently been emerging in the Amazon: illegal mining. Miners fell trees, use high-grade explosives to oblast soils and dredge riverbeds. But the impacts go beyond environmental damages, bringing with it a slew of other social problems. Peace researcher Adriana Abdenur urges policymakers to improve coordination and argues that diplomacy may help prevent further conflicts, corruption and crime.

Civil Society
Conflict Transformation
Sustainable Transformation
South America
Johanna Kleffmann, adelphi

To fight illegal coca plantations and conflict actors’ income sources, Colombia’s president wants to loosen the ban on aerial glyphosate spraying. However, considering the dynamics of organised crime, the use of toxic herbicides will not only fail to achieve its aim, it will have many adverse effects for the environment and human health, fundamentally undermining ways to reach peace in the country. International cooperation and national policy-makers need to account for this peace spoiler.