29 June 2018

EU Council recongises need to act upon climate-security in Mali

The Council of the EU formally recognize the crucial need to act upon climate-security in Mali

On 25 June, EU foreign Ministers acknowledged the importance of the security and climate nexus for the Sahel and Mali in particular. Building on the Conference on the Sahel in Brussels on 23 February 2018 and the recent EU-G5 Sahel Ministerial Meeting in Brussels, the EU and its partners agreed to step up support to the millions of vulnerable people affected by conflicts, widespread insecurity, recurrent natural disasters and poverty in the region, and to strengthen their resilience. They will prioritize “the nexus between climate change and security in policy dialogue, conflict prevention, development and disaster risk strategies, as well as to fully ensure the linkages to humanitarian action in a region significantly affected by climate change.” Addressing the climate and security challenges, including adaptation and resilience, in Mali and the Sahel, in general, will be key to the region achieving a more prosperous and secure future.

Coordination and cooperation to thwart displacement and migration

Due to the increasing number of displacement and migration linked to resource insecurity,  effects of climate change, violence and intercommunal conflicts, the conclusions of the Council push for a greater commitment toward collective efforts with the Sahel countries to save lives, assist and protect
migrants and refugees. To address the previous causes is also to reduce the increasing flux of migration and displacement. Constructive post-conflict development cannot be achieved if people are pushed away from their lands due to insecurity. This point was also made in the recent PSI report on the potential contribution of landscape restoration to migration and security objectives.

Intercommunal peaceful relations is the road forward

Consequently, intercommunal peaceful relations among the many geographical, confessional and vocational groups in Mali and in the Sahel is key to development. The development and reinforcement of local relationships to manage conflict and to safeguard the trust between the civilian population and the state authorities are essential.

The acknowledgement of non-traditional security priorities, most notably, the nexus between climate & security is a crucial step toward sustainable peacebuilding. If military action can thwart terrorism and insurgency, a broader definition of security, outside of the traditional pillars of hard security, is needed to prevent more and more prevalent causes of unrest and conflict. The consequence of climate change being at the forefront. The EU Council Conclusions are therefore a step in the right direction. It is in line with recommendations made in a recent PSI policy brief on what the EU can do in Iraq and Mali.