Climate Change
Climate Diplomacy
Global Issues
Martin Wall and Stella Schaller, adelphi
AMISON Kismayo
Soldiers of the Somali National Army. Photo credits: AMISON Public Information/ Price. Link:

An environmentally unsustainable system produces instability, which inevitably leads to insecurity. This is the hypothesis of a substantial new report by WWF France, titled “Sustainability, Stability, Security”. The report argues that only integrated responses can work, and looks into the role of climate diplomacy for promoting action on climate, security and development issues…

By drawing on several regional examples such as droughts in Darfur, El Nino in Latin America and flooding in Thailand, the report illustrates how climate change and environmental events influence and destabilise ecosystems and consequently human organisations. As certain territories, particularly in Africa and Asia, are more vulnerable given their geographic location and limited capacity to react to weather events, the report argues, the international community should act accordingly, take heed of the threat and rethink security in times of climate change.

According to the report, joint efforts such adelphi’s Climate Diplomacy initiative and the Planetary Security Initiative (PSI) are valuable fora for fostering relationships between various military, ecological, diplomatic and economic communities. It recommends that such initiatives be strengthened to encourage communities to meet and review current issues and to take joint measures with the aim of ensuring security by tackling climate change. On top of this, the report stressed the importance of the research work of public policy think tanks for ensuring that the problems of climate, security and development are given a central role in national and international agendas. It found that independent analysis is critical to achieve intelligent and integrated policy in order to prevent risk and insecurity. Moreover, this type of research enables decision makers to prepare appropriate responses to ongoing situations.

Validation of the importance of climate diplomacy

This report is validation of the importance of climate diplomacy as an evolving foreign policy discipline. It reinforces the message that climate change and security concerns are interlinked and require an appropriate policy response and frameworks. As the report makes clear, the issue is a global problem that not only impacts the environment but also the economy, institutions and society as a whole.

WWF France maintains that it is now up to states and international organisations to develop appropriate responses, beginning with compliance with the Paris Climate Change Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals. Achieving this will considerably diminish the risk of insecurity and conflict worldwide, but an integrated response is key. International organisations, states and supranational institutions need to integrate climate/security thinking into diplomatic strategies and promote adaptation and resilience.


With this report, WWF France has set out a doctrine – one that adelphi and the German Federal Foreign Office have been engaging with and supporting over the last number of years – that climate issues should be examined as a potential part of the underlying sources of conflict alongside political, ethnic, religious and economic issues.

Consequently, WWF France has eight recommendations:

  1. Implement the Paris Agreement and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
  2. Produce a robust and independent expertise
  3. Strengthen international cooperation through initiatives that promote climate diplomacy
  4. Transform analyses and initiatives into concrete action for local populations, especially youth
  5. Provide training in Sustainability-Stability-Security to military and diplomatic staff on a national level
  6. Add sustainability experts to the crisis management departments of diplomatic missions and defence ministries
  7. To prevent risk, anticipate crises and improve operational responses, defence and foreign ministries should join forces to reproduce the IPCC scenarios and stress tests them against the potential consequences of unchecked global warming
  8. Increase financing for resilience and adaptation to climate change by considering it an investment in local and global security.

According to WWF France, the investment in sustainability is a way of actively promoting a safer, more stable world and it is an investment in world peace.


Edited by Raquel Munayer, adelphi.

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