Climate diplomacy

According to Foreign Minister Westerwelle, climate change is one of the “really big global challenges” and should not be seen in terms of ecology alone. It clearly also had growing implications for international security, he noted at a meeting he had with representatives of non-governmental organizations active in climate protection held at the Federal Foreign Office on 16 January 2012.

During its Presidency of the UN Security Council in July 2011, Germany had helped raise awareness that climate change is also a security issue, Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle pointed out to the NGO representatives. As well as posing a direct threat to small island states, climate change could trigger conflicts over resources as well as wars and large-scale migration.

With the open debate on climate and security held on 20 July 2011 during its Security Council Presidency, Germany put this important issue squarely onto the Council’s agenda. The Security Council unanimously endorsed a so-called presidential statement in this connection. The statement recognizes that in the interest of fulfilling its mandate, the Security Council should be informed about possible implications when climate change drives conflict, challenges the implementation of Council mandates or endangers the process of the consolidation of peace.

For some time now the Federal Foreign Office has been giving considerable attention to this issue. The aim is to gear security policy more strongly towards prevention. Giving security policy a climate dimension meant a real qualitative step-change, Westerwelle noted.

The economic factor

Westerwelle emphasized also the importance of the “economic factor” in protecting the climate. Countries needed to understand more clearly what economic benefits they stood to gain from developing renewable energies, for example.

Particularly in the case of countries with immense economic and social problems, it was crucial to point out that climate protection was not only “a matter of idealism but in their national economic interest”. Self-interest had to be built into climate protection, Westerwelle emphasized, that was what was meant by “economics-based climate policy”.

Last updated 16.01.2012

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