A high-level ministerial conference in Berlin is looking at the impact of climate change on regional security in Central Asia. The aim is to foster stronger regional cooperation, improve the exchange of information and form connections with academia and civil society.
Climate change has manifold effects on foreign and security policy. Rising sea levels, desertification and the destruction of ecosystems are increasingly threatening to deprive people of their livelihoods, thus jeopardising the stability of states and societies. In Central Asia and Afghanistan, climate change has had a particularly severe impact on water, land and soils, among other things due to the melting of mountain glaciers.
With its Green Central Asia initiative, the Federal Foreign Office intends to support regional integration between the six Central Asian countries concerned with a view to fostering the dialogue on the consequences of climate change and the risks associated with it. Germany is pursuing a preventive and stabilising foreign policy in the region and, to this end, is supporting the European Union’s strategy for Central Asia, which was adopted in June 2019.
A high-level conference is taking place at the Federal Foreign Office in Berlin on 28 January 2020 with the aim of strengthening cooperation in the region as well as the exchange between policy-makers, academia and civil society. In addition to Foreign Minister Maas, who is hosting the event, colleagues from Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan are taking part in the conference. A joint declaration on cooperation in the field of climate and security is to be signed.
This includes the spheres of water and glacier protection in particular, energy, biodiversity, land management and agriculture and is to be implemented at national and regional level. The aim of the Green Central Asia initiative is to create better access to information and promote academic cooperation in the Central Asian states and Afghanistan during the next four years. The concrete implementation of the declaration is to be underpinned by a high-level political dialogue format.
In addition to the high-level Minister segment, the Green Central Asia conference will also include an exchange with academia and civil society. The cooperation between the different players in Germany and on the ground is one of the explicit goals of the project. Its overarching approach is intended to create synergies and bring together expertise from many different areas. For more information on the conference and project please click here.
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.