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Impact of climate change on state fragility

15.04.2015 - Article

On 14 April, before the start of the G7 Foreign Ministers Meeting in Lübeck, Foreign Minister Steinmeier was presented with a study investigating the impact of climate change on state fragility.

Presentation of the study to Federal Foreign Minister Steinmeier
Presentation of the study to Federal Foreign Minister Steinmeier© Photothek/Trutschel

On 14 April, before the start of the G7 Foreign Ministers Meeting in Lübeck, Federal Foreign Minister Frank‑Walter Steinmeier was presented with a study investigating the impact of climate change on state fragility. The report was compiled by think tanks from Germany, Britain, France and the United States. The conclusions and recommendations of the study will feature on the agenda of the G7 Foreign Ministers Meeting.

Climate change is one of the greatest threats to security in the 21st century. In future it will have an increasingly severe impact not only on ecosystems, flora and fauna, but also on the stability of states and societies. Climate‑related stress factors such as water scarcity, natural disasters and rising sea levels present a challenge even to stable states. Yet states which cannot absorb the additional impact of global climate change and overcome it by peaceful means face the greatest risk of fragility.

The climate report was compiled by think tanks from four countries
The climate report was compiled by think tanks from four countries© Photothek/Trutschel

Resilience as a leitmotif of foreign policy

The Foreign Ministries of the G7 states therefore commissioned a study to investigate the impact of climate change on state fragility. On 14 April the study was presented to Foreign Minister Steinmeier in his role as chair of the G7 Foreign Ministers – just a few hours before he himself made his way to Lübeck to attend the Foreign Ministers Meeting. The report is entitled “A New Climate for Peace – Taking Action on Climate and Fragility Risks”.

Following the presentation Steinmeier stated:

The impact of climate change is posing a growing challenge to peace and stability. That is why we need a new culture of international cooperation: affected states need to be involved at an early stage, and state resilience needs to become a leitmotif of foreign policy. The G7 is an appropriate forum for cooperation on this approach.

Steinmeier added that he was pleased that the G7 states would now be able to develop joint initiatives and generate ideas for international processes on the basis of the study. He said that this was particularly important in view of the upcoming climate conference in Paris.

Further information

Climate change: a challenge for foreign policy

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