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Climate change is the ultimate threat multiplier, say MEPs

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In a report adopted on Tuesday, the Foreign Affairs Committee identifies climate change as a new security challenge requiring adequate resources, together with hybrid and cyber threats.

In its report on the EEAS’s Climate Change and Defence Roadmap, Foreign Affairs Committee MEPs warn that climate change needs to be put at the heart of the peace and security agenda as the ultimate ‘threat multiplier’. Climate change heightens existing social, economic and environmental risks that can fuel unrest and potentially result in violent conflict or even inter-state war, they say.

It is crucial to address the links between climate change, security and defence in the forthcoming , MEPs say. They underline that clear goals and concrete measures need to be identified for member states to make the armed forces more energy efficient and adapt to the impact that climate change can have on security in the medium to longer term.

Welcoming the roadmap, MEP call for the timeframe for reviewing it to be reconsidered and, in particular, for the overall objectives to be reviewed much earlier than 2030.

Climate security as element of conflict prevention

They say that climate security should become fully integrated into the European Union’s conflict prevention and crisis management toolbox in order to make fragile states and affected populations more resilient. The EU should boost its strategic foresight, early-warning, situational awareness and conflict-analysis capacities using qualitative and quantitative data and innovative methods from various sources. Such knowledge would be used to design future missions, operations and actions taking into account parameters ranging from changing weather conditions to the local political context, states the report. In addition, relevant EU actors should be tasked with closely monitoring the situation in regions that are heavily affected by climate change and environmental degradation, such as the Sahel, the Horn of Africa and the Pacific.

MEPs also call for the climate-security nexus to be included as a new priority area for the UN-EU Strategic Partnership on Peace Operations and Crisis Management.


The rapporteur Thomas Waitz (Greens/EFA, AT) said:

“Our security and defence policies have to adapt to the crises created by climate change and biodiversity loss. EU Missions need to adjust their strategies to the local and regional climate challenges. The EU has to use the European Defence Fund and other programmes to boost investments in energy efficiency and independent military technology. The defence sector and the military must acknowledge their responsibility in reaching the EU’s climate targets.”

The report was adopted by 37 votes in favour, 16 against and 20 abstentions.

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