20 June 2018

What can the EU do? Climate related security risks in Iraq & Mali

On 22 June 2018, HR/VP Federica Mogherini hosts the high-level event ‘climate, peace and security: the time for action’. It addresses the risks and destabilising effects of climate change and demonstrates the commitment of the EU and its partners to turning awareness on this issue into ambitious action.

This policy brief gives a succinct overview of how the climate-security nexus arrived on the EU's political agenda, its relevance in the two cases of political priority, Iraq and Mali, and how EU external action policies and instruments could help in reducing this risk.

Read it here.

For over a decade the EU has shown interest in mitigating climate-related security risks, but this has hardly translated into effective policies. The cases of Iraq and Mali illustrate how EU missions, policies and related financial instruments could be adjusted to take due account of the climate-security nexus. There is ample opportunity to include this nexus into ongoing programmes, which also strengthens other EU foreign policy objectives in the field of security, migration, development and climate adaptation. Since several countries in the EU’s close vicinity are highly vulnerable to climate-related insecurity, a more explicit approach to address this issue, as well as more dedicated funding programmes, are crucial.

Consequently, this brief discusses the EU’s external action policies on Iraq and Mali and how they are already paying attention to the climate-security nexus or could do so. So far, the relationship between climate and security has been recognised, but more could be done to adjust relevant policy processes and policies.

More specifically the following actions could be considered:

  • Funding climate-security risks analyses and projects through the ICSP in order to increase awareness of climate-related security risks.
  • Raising awareness on climate-security as part of the RAP and include it permanently on the agenda of meetings between the EU and G5 Sahel.
  • Investing in policy actions that contribute to food security, better water management and use of land resources.
  • Expand the EU Strategy on Iraq with a focus on water scarcity and building resilience to prevent or reduce climate impacts hitting hard.
  • Stressing more explicitly the climate-security nexus in the EU Regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syrian Crisis and the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa.  
  • Integrating actionable climate security plans further into EU humanitarian policies and operations.
  • Paying more attention to climate impacts in military risk analysis and efforts geared towards peacebuilding, especially in fragile contexts like Iraq and Mali.

Read it here.