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 aims to catalyse international responses to address climate change as a threat multiplier. The Call 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. It is more than likely that other foreign ministers will endorse the Call and spread the word. But what if the world doesn’t listen? It was former US Secretary of State John Kerry who highlighted during the conference the war on climate science in some parts of the world (and especially in his country). He stressed the difficulties diplomats are facing in ensuring fact-based foreign policy-making. The same holds true for the European landscape, which is on the edge after the recent European Parliament elections revealed how climate protection is the new conflict line in European societies. Accordingly, the Berlin Call is more than timely but requires substantially more engagement in the course of 2019 to be heard at the upcoming High-level Political Forum and Climate Action Summit in New York, COP25 in Santiago de Chile and elsewhere.
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.
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.