European Union External Action

ESDC: Climate Change and the impact on security

17/05/2018 - 09:43
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'The climate changes NOW, and affects us all NOW, as we speak about how the climate change will impact the world in 100 years. This requires action from each of one of us if our individual security is to be safeguarded'. This was the message sent out by Anna Brach from the Geneva Centre for Security Policy in her lecture opening the course in Sofia.

Course participants discussed how climate change in conjunction with other factors, in particular in areas prone to conflict or already weakened by conflict, may affect our individual or collective security. In this context, the EU Member States' position on the links between climate change and security was reiterated, recognising that climate change acts as a threat multiplier with direct and indirect implications for international security and stability (Council Conclusions of 26 February 2018).

The course gave the students opportunities to exchange their own experiences on climate change.

The climate change context has its own diplomacy and actors with not only different perceptions of the need to take action, but with diverging interests as well. In a simulation game, led by ADELPHI (a leading independent think tank and public policy consultancy on climate, environment and development), course participants playing the roles of the countries that are members of the UN Security Council adopted a resolution 'underlying the role of climate change as threat multiplier and its disastrous socio-economic effects such as food crisis and water scarcity which may provoke or exacerbate social unrest, as well as regional and international conflict…'. Beyond the formal declaration and the consensual language of the resolution, a real debate ensued in the context of the training to analyse some of the assumptions with regard to the climate change-security nexus that are difficult to validate.

The Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP) supported the ESDC event in Sofia.

The organisation of this Pilot course was triggered by the EU Climate Diplomacy Action Plan, which identified the need to raise awareness of the defence and security consequences of climate change.

The course was organised in Sofia, from 24 to 27 April 2018, by the Crisis Management and Disaster Response Centre of Excellence of Bulgaria, in cooperation with the Bulgarian Diplomatic Institute, Rakovski National Defence College, the German Foreign Office and ADELPHI.

Family picture of the ESDC course on climate change and the impact on security