As the links between the climate crisis and risks to global peace and prosperity become ever more evident, foreign policy actors are increasingly under pressure to step up their efforts to address climate-related risks. To increase the momentum for addressing climate-related drivers of conflict, the German Federal Foreign Office in partnership with adelphi and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) hosted the Berlin Climate and Security Conference (BCSC) at the German Federal Foreign Office on 4 June 2019.
The adoption of the 2030 Agenda in 2015 marked a high point for international multilateral cooperation. With its 17 goals and 169 targets, the implementation process for the SDGs may appear an essentially technocratic exercise. Yet in view of the social transformation that it seeks to bring about across key dimensions of human civilisation, SDG implementation remains a profoundly political process. Because of the intense political implications, in-depth analysis, political foresight and strategic guidance are needed. As the consequences of SDG implementation cross and transcend borders and impact international relations, foreign policy has a critical role to play.
The SDGs set out a powerful vision for a better world, but action since 2015 is not delivering that promise. Foreign policy practitioners are in a unique position to help advocate for and assist in the implementation of the SDGs. Given that the SDGs and foreign policy want to achieve the same things – stability, peace and prosperity on a healthy planet – delivering them should be seen as a litmus test for the effectiveness of foreign policy in the twenty-first century.
There is increasing evidence that climate change is undermining livelihoods, food and water security in rural and urban areas around the world, thereby acting as a “threat multiplier” in fragile and conflict-prone situations. In light of this, the Berlin Climate and Security Conference, which took place at the German Federal Foreign Office on 4 June 2019, aimed at increasing the momentum for decisive action to address climate-related drivers of conflict.
For researchers looking into global security dynamics, it is becoming increasingly difficult to overlook climate change as a threat multiplier in conflict situations. While climate change may not directly cause conflict, it may be inextricably woven into pre-existing conflicts of power, ethnicity, and economic interest. Understading the role of climate-related impacts on security is therefore crucial for global peace.
The foreign policy community faces a choice. It can continue to allow unacceptable levels of violence and conflict to undermine individual countries and the global order. Or it can build a new consensus that violence is a preventable epidemic. This would take seriously a growing body of evidence showing what is most likely to work to steer the world back toward global peace, resilient societies, and more sustainable prosperity.
Every change, no matter how small, can cause larger changes elsewhere. The radical socio-ecological transformation envisioned under the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) requires anticipating and managing trade-offs, and the diplomatic cadre will have a significant role to play in maximising synergies, mitigating adverse knock-on consequences and developing strategies for mutual benefit.
The strategic and well-informed inclusion of the private sector in climate change adaptation planning and activities must be a key part of all countries’ efforts to adapt to the impacts of climate change; they will be key partners in the design, financing and implementation of adaptation priorities. This study aims to offer guidance to governments and their partners on how to engage the private sector in the NAP process.
The implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development can prevent conflict and safeguard global stability – and, as a new study from adelphi shows, foreign policy has a critical role to play.
The challenges facing the international community are growing while the willingness to cooperate seems to be waning and unilateral action at times gets in the way of joint solutions. Foreign policy can pave the way for transformative change by actively supporting a major achievement of multilateralism: the 2030 Agenda with its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These goals have a common aim: more peace and justice worldwide. But what exactly is the role of foreign policy in the global sustainability architecture? What are the fields of engagement and tools of a new "Diplomacy for Sustainability"?