Speech by Minister of State Niels Annen at the MSC Digital Conversation Great Expectations – “Climate-Proofing” Europe’s Foreign and Security Policy

22.09.2020 - Speech

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First of all I would like to thank the Munich Security Conference for hosting today’s exchange as part of the Berlin Climate and Security Conference.

As you all know, climate and security is high on Germany’s and the EU’s agenda. It is at the heart of Germany’s membership of the UN Security Council.

Our strategic goal is to enable the Security Council to address climate-related security risks as part of its daily work and to develop operational responses.

In order to achieve this, we have come a long way in the past two years, building on the progress that has been made together with like-minded partners.

The topic has gained such momentum that it will remain on the Council’s agenda – despite the reluctance of some of the P5.

We have jointly succeeded in strengthening the institutional capacity of the UN to deal with climate-related security risks, by supporting the UN Climate Security Mechanism which was initiated by our Swedish friends.

We launched an Informal Expert Group of the Security Council on Climate and Security and by financing the first UN climate and security advisor in Somalia.

We have increased our knowledge on the links between climate change and peace and security by “climate-proofing” our risk assessments for various climate and security hotspots.

In support of UN activities, Germany launched the Global Climate and Security Risk and Foresight Assessment, a state-of-the-art report on climate and security, which seeks to address the existing gaps in climate and security foresight.

The report will be elaborated by an international consortium. I invite you all to contribute to this endeavor.

As we are amongst friends here I can share with you that we had support from 10 out of the 15 members of the Security Council for an ambitious thematic resolution on climate and security.

It contained proposals that were aimed at strengthening the Council’s operational readiness on climate and security.

Among these were:

  • better cooperation between the UN and regional organizations;
  • mainstreaming climate and security into UN operations and
  • preparing specialized mediation support.

As a member of the Group of Friends on Climate and Security in New York, the EU is actively contributing to the UN debate.

The EU is a true leader on the issue of climate and security – in close cooperation with EU member states.

In the future, I see an even stronger role of the EU, based on a proper EU strategy on climate and security. We may even consider giving climate and security a face by appointing a special envoy.

Before coming to a close, let me briefly touch upon climate and security and the Paris Agreement. I think we have so far not managed to better integrate the security dimension into climate adaptation.

Adaptation projects could generate a peace dividend; at the very least, they should do no harm.

Climate diplomacy is a top priority for Germany and for Europe. It is a whole-of-government effort.

As we see glaciers melting in Greenland, forest fires in California and record temperatures in Siberia, the topic is steadily rising up the political agenda.

Focusing merely on the security dimension of climate will not meet the challenge. The EU Foreign and Security Policy must also contribute to accelerated implementation of the Paris Agreement. Thank you very much.


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