G7 Foreign Ministers Identify Climate Change, Fragility as Priority
UN Photo/Martine Perret
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The G7 Foreign Ministers Meeting convened within the framework of Germany's G7 Presidency to address pressing international issues that impact global peace and security.

The meeting resulted in the G7 Foreign Ministers' Meeting Communiqué, in which the Ministers describe climate change as one of the most serious challenges the world faces, threatening the environment, global security and economic prosperity, and potentially reversing progress made in tackling poverty.

G7 Germany15 April 2015: The G7 Foreign Ministers Meeting convened within the framework of Germany’s G7 Presidency to address pressing international issues that impact global peace and security. The meeting resulted in the G7 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting Communiqué, in which the Ministers describe climate change as one of the most serious challenges the world faces, threatening the environment, global security and economic prosperity, and potentially reversing progress made in tackling poverty.

The Communiqué states that mitigation and adaptation efforts are necessary to reduce the risk of instability and conflict due to the impacts of rising temperatures and changing precipitation patterns. It: reaffirms the G7 commitment to support efforts to reach, in Paris in December 2015, a protocol, another legal instrument or an agreed outcome with legal force under the UNFCCC; looks forward to submissions by countries of intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs); and reiterates the goal of limiting global average temperature increase to below 2°C above preindustrial levels, noting that all countries should take urgent action to meet that goal.

Ministers from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the US, as well as the EU High Representative, also welcomed the G7-commissioned study, titled ‘A New Climate for Peace: Taking Action on Climate and Fragility Risks,’ which: analyses the risks of climate change on fragile States and regions; identifies critical pathways through which climate change is likely to interact with the stability and fragility of States; and recommends that G7 governments align efforts toward increasing resilience and reducing fragility in the face of climate change. Ministers agreed on the need to integrate climate-fragility considerations across foreign policy portfolios, and to set up a working group to: evaluate the study’s recommendations; and consider the need to, inter alia, facilitate the exchange of information to improve cooperation with those affected by fragility, and work with existing institutions to conduct integrated climate and fragility-risk assessments.

The report describes seven compound climate-fragility risks that pose serious threats to the stability of states and societies: local resource competition; livelihood insecurity and migration; extreme weather events and disasters; volatile foods prices and provision; transboundary water management; sea-level rise and coastal degradation; and unintended effects of climate policies.

The report’s authors describe climate change as the ultimate risk multiplier, which increases the fragility of States and societies and leads to social unrest and even violent conflict when climate change interacts with other stressors and pressures, such as inequality, population growth and rapid urbanization. They contend that weak States with governments that lack legitimacy face the biggest threats, but acknowledge that “if too many stressors and pressures converge, even more stable States can be pushed towards fragility.”

The G7 Foreign Ministers Meeting convened in Lübeck, Germany, on 14-15 April 2015. [G7 Foreign Ministers Meeting Website] [G7 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting Communiqué] [A New Climate for Peace Website] [A New Climate for Peace: Taking Action on Climate and Fragility Risks: Executive Summary]

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