EU Event Addresses Linkages Between Climate Change and Security
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The high-level event included panels on countries’ shared responsibility to prepare for climate security risks, and on ways for countries to integrate climate, security and development initiatives.

Federica Mogherini, EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, and Vice-president of the European Commission, underscored that fighting climate change is an investment in “our own security”.

Participants highlighted the need for increased international cooperation to prepare for and take action on climate risks.

22 June 2018: An EU high-level event titled, ‘Climate, Peace and Security: The Time for Action,’ brought together ministers, UN officials and subject experts to discuss security threats brought on by climate change. The meeting focused on countries’ shared responsibility to prepare for climate risks and to take action in mitigating them.

Federica Mogherini, EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, and Vice-president of the European Commission, opened the event. She emphasized the benefits of collective action, noting that “when we invest in the fight against climate change, we invest in our own security.” Mogherini cited examples of both slow onset events such as desertification and more acutely-felt disasters such as 2017 floods in the Horn of Africa as impacting peoples’ safety. Around the world, she stated, “climate impacts have displaced more people than war.”

The event included two panels. The first focused on the theme of countries’ shared responsibility to prepare for climate security risks, while the second delved into how countries can integrate climate, security and development initiatives, moving from “early warning to early action.”

Climate impacts have displaced more people than war.

Erik Solheim, Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP, or UN Environment), called for better water management, greater investment in solar energy, and providing assistance to African countries such that they are better equipped to handle urbanization trends. A UN Environment press release on the event notes that the combination of environmental degradation and political, economic and social instability has been a major driver of migration and refugee movements, the subject of a recent SDG Knowledge Weekly briefing.

Margot Wallström, Foreign Minister of Sweden, identified climate change as a threat multiplier, especially in fragile states. She and others called for increased multilateral cooperation on the issue, highlighting the importance of “preventative diplomacy” to address the root causes of instability.

The event comes ten years after the landmark joint report on climate change and international security by High Representative Javier Solana and the European Commission. More recently, in 2017 and 2018, the UN Security Council adopted two resolutions, acknowledging the negative impacts of climate change on security in the Chad Basin region and in Somalia, respectively.

The event was one of the final meetings of European Climate Diplomacy week. [Meeting Programme] [EU Press Release] [UN Environment Press Release] [UNISDR Press Release] [Opening Remarks by EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, and Vice-president of the European Commission Mogherini] [European Climate Diplomacy Week 2018]

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