An environmentally unsustainable system produces instability, which inevitably leads to insecurity. This is the hypothesis of a substantial new report by WWF France, titled “Sustainability, Stability, Security”. The report argues that only integrated responses can work, and looks into the role of climate diplomacy for promoting action on climate, security and development issues…
By drawing on several regional examples such as droughts in Darfur, El Nino in Latin America and flooding in Thailand, the report illustrates how climate change and environmental events influence and destabilise ecosystems and consequently human organisations. As certain territories, particularly in Africa and Asia, are more vulnerable given their geographic location and limited capacity to react to weather events, the report argues, the international community should act accordingly, take heed of the threat and rethink security in times of climate change.
According to the report, joint efforts such adelphi’s Climate Diplomacy initiative and the Planetary Security Initiative (PSI) are valuable fora for fostering relationships between various military, ecological, diplomatic and economic communities. It recommends that such initiatives be strengthened to encourage communities to meet and review current issues and to take joint measures with the aim of ensuring security by tackling climate change. On top of this, the report stressed the importance of the research work of public policy think tanks for ensuring that the problems of climate, security and development are given a central role in national and international agendas. It found that independent analysis is critical to achieve intelligent and integrated policy in order to prevent risk and insecurity. Moreover, this type of research enables decision makers to prepare appropriate responses to ongoing situations.
This report is validation of the importance of climate diplomacy as an evolving foreign policy discipline. It reinforces the message that climate change and security concerns are interlinked and require an appropriate policy response and frameworks. As the report makes clear, the issue is a global problem that not only impacts the environment but also the economy, institutions and society as a whole.
WWF France maintains that it is now up to states and international organisations to develop appropriate responses, beginning with compliance with the Paris Climate Change Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals. Achieving this will considerably diminish the risk of insecurity and conflict worldwide, but an integrated response is key. International organisations, states and supranational institutions need to integrate climate/security thinking into diplomatic strategies and promote adaptation and resilience.
With this report, WWF France has set out a doctrine – one that adelphi and the German Federal Foreign Office have been engaging with and supporting over the last number of years – that climate issues should be examined as a potential part of the underlying sources of conflict alongside political, ethnic, religious and economic issues.
Consequently, WWF France has eight recommendations:
According to WWF France, the investment in sustainability is a way of actively promoting a safer, more stable world and it is an investment in world peace.
Edited by Raquel Munayer, adelphi.