Climate and security were the focus of a high-level foreign policy conference held in Berlin in early June. At the core of the conference was the “Berlin Call for Action”, which sets out three concrete action areas for tackling the threats posed by climate change to peace and security, namely risk-informed planning, enhanced capacity for action and improved operational response. But what if the world doesn’t listen?
From contentious rules on carbon trading, through efforts to raise ambition to who will host next year’s summit, negotiators have a full agenda this fortnight. Climate talks resume this week in Bonn, Germany, with negotiators working to finalise the last contentious points of the rulebook for the Paris Agreement.
In recent years, conflict between herders and farmers for access to increasingly scarce natural resources in Africa’s Sudano-Sahel has escalated. While the problems fueling these tensions are both hyper-local and transnational in nature, one important piece of the puzzle has been overlooked. The real “elephant in the room” is who owns the livestock.
The side event will address the relevance of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to foreign policy and international seucirty with the goal of better understanding how to leverage the SDGs to achieve core foreign policy objectives. Access the agenda here.
On Tuesday, 4 June, seven foreign ministers, 19 ambassadors, several ministers and more than 200 experts met in Berlin to act on climate security risks at the Berlin Climate and Security Conference. "Achieving the international climate targets is the new imperative of our foreign policy”, the German Foreign Minister, Heiko Maas, said in his opening speech. This is the aim of the Berlin Call for Action which was presented at the conference.
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.
Governments must invest new effort and money to prevent climate change from driving new conflicts, according to a diplomatic statement drafted by the German foreign office.
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.
Women are vital for effective climate policy making and implementation. In South Asia, more needs to be done on systematically integrating women into policy processes - as active stakeholders and not merely as victims of climate risks.
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.