A new Outlook on the Climate and Security Nexus

The joint communication by the High Representative and the European Commission acknowledges the ever-increasing risks to peace and security from both climate change and environmental degradation. The climate and security nexus impacts migration, displacement, pandemics and political instability. The document seeks to update and enhance EU’s external actions. After a risk analysis, it makes suggestions to mitigate them, calling for a more proactive and comprehensive approach within the EU.

The Council conclusions on Climate and Energy Diplomacy of March 2023 demand the consideration of the climate and security nexus within all external policies including CSDP. The communication points out that both consequences of climate change and environmental degradation are meant when talking about the climate and security nexus. It expects effects on food security, political stability, frequency and intensity of natural disasters, public health, state of the arctic and the oceans, strategic competition over energy transitions and operational conditions of security and defence forces

In this document, the High Representative and the Commission establish a framework and put forward concrete measures to cope with these challenges. These are: 

a) Strengthen evidence-based planning, decision-making and implementation. Analysis and foresight are key. To that end, knowledge management in form of a knowledge hub is to be established. 

b) Operationalise the climate and security nexus in EU’s external action considering the differentiated impacts on women, children and vulnerable groups. The approach taken shall be human rights-based while being gender-responsive and provide protection of children. 

c) Enhance climate adaptation and mitigation measures for Member States’ civilian and military capabilities. 

d) Reinforce international partnerships in climate- and environmentally conscious ways. Dialogues with bilateral partners, regional organisations and civil society organisations need to include aspects of climate change and environmental degradation. 

The part 2.2 (pages 10-14) is dedicated to addressing climate and security nexus in conflict and crisis and suggests various action points at the EU level, including the implementation of the CSDP-Climate Package.  

Reference: European Commission, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (2023). Joint Communication to the European Parliament and the Council


PDF | 25 pages

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