Preparing the CSDP for the New Security Environment Created by Climate Change

The analysis examines how climate change could affect the CSDP. It makes suggestions for the adaptation of CSDP missions and operations regarding early warning systems, conflict intelligence and foresight, equipment and infrastructure. The authors recommend mainstreaming climate considerations into CSDP mandates and raising awareness for a possible increase of necessary humanitarian relief and missions.

The authors note that the CSDP is not sufficiently addressing the climate and security nexus which describes the security implications of climate change. While the links between climate change and conflict as well as climate change and migration are not empirically supported, effects of climate change – growing poverty, food insecurity and economic shocks – can indirectly contribute to state fragility, conflict and cause humanitarian emergencies forcing migration. Therefore, climate factors should be mainstreamed in CSDP on a strategic level and in mission and operation planning to achieve more sustainability in EU policy as well as on the ground. 

The large range of possible effects of climate change on the social, political and economic situation in partner countries necessitates context-specific approaches. Focusing on the Sahel region and the Horn of Africa, the analysis recommends climate sensitivity especially in the following areas: 

  • Early warning systems 

  • Conflict intelligence and foresight 

  • Military planning processes 

  • Sustainable solutions for equipment and infrastructure 

To make context specific adjustments, governance processes should include local actors to gain a better understanding of drivers of instability compounded by climate change. 

New and additional kinds of CSDP deployments might become necessary. To ensure their effectiveness, a climate sensitive CSDP needs to be nested in the broader EU climate security strategies and supported by leadership commitment and sufficient financial resources. 

Reference: Meyer, C., Simon, E., Vantaggiato, F., Youngs, R. (2021). Preparing the CSDP for the new security environment created by climate change. European Parliament (Subcommittee on Security and Defence (SEDE)). 


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