Climate and security: detecting risks early

Women and children in a refugee camp near the city of Beledweyne in Somalia.

Women and children in a refugee camp near the city of Beledweyne in Somalia., © AMISOM/Tobin Jones

18.09.2019 - Article

Only by working together will the international community be able to deal with climate change. Germany is supporting the United Nations in analysing security risks related to climate change in the Horn of Africa.

Risks to peace and security

Climate change is an increasing threat to peace and security in many regions of the world. Hurricanes, storms and floods are growing more frequent; sea levels are rising. The effects on supplies of food and safe drinking water can destabilise whole regions.

What is the best way to confront this challenge? Germany is convinced that it is only by working together, by pooling their knowledge and their capabilities, that countries will be able to find the answer. Climate change respects no time limits and no borders. It requires all countries to cooperate to, ultimately, their mutual benefit. That is why the German Government has made climate and security one of the priorities of its membership of the United Nations Security Council.

The Sahel: detecting security risks early

The effects of climate change are already jeopardising stability and security in such regions as the Sahel. It is not climate-related issues alone that foster conflict; often, they are exacerbating factors in trouble spots already beset by ethnic tensions or social unrest. Amid such complexities, it is particularly important not to lose sight of the individual factors and to counteract them as early as possible so that conflict can be prevented.

 This is why Germany is working with the United Nations on an initial pilot project to develop an analysis of climate-related security risks in the Horn of Africa. The objective is twofold: to better understand the risks to peace and security which climate change poses, and to find out where climate-related issues could contribute to conflict, in the interests of taking timely action to avert it. Germany is collaborating closely on this project with partners like Sweden.

Somalia: an on-site climate and security expert

#MultilateralismMatters© AA

Germany is also keen to institutionalise expertise on climate and security within the United Nations. This is one of a range of initiatives Germany will be launching during its term on the United Nations Security Council to prevent and tackle security risks posed by climate change.

Part of this means enhancing the UN’s on-site capabilities in the affected regions. To that end, Germany is funding the UN’s first climate and security expert based in Somalia in the context of a UN peace Mission.


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