In an attempt to address the links between climate change and defence, the European External Action Service (EEAS) has submitted a Climate Change and Defence Roadmap. With this roadmap, the EEAS proposes to integrate climate change into the defence actions of the EU, including in the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) – while contributing to the wider Climate-Security Nexus.
The Roadmap entails recommendations and action points for the short-, medium- and long-term. The operational dimension of the CSDP is geared towards enhancing the military readiness in environments affected by climate change, through:
- Increasing the understanding of security implications of climate change
- Understanding how climate change affects the type of missions required in the future
- Understanding how infrastructure can be improved to effectively and sustainably carry out missions
The actions that are related to these aims are set to enhancing early warning systems, mainstreaming climate change into planning of the CSDP mandates and identifying future potential areas of engagement.
In addition, the roadmap recognises that the environmental footprint of the EU defence sector should also be reduced to increase energy resilience and ensure military readiness and sustainability.
“[Reducing energy demand] offers several operational advantages, such as reduced logistical requirements and dependence on supply convoys in areas of high insecurity as well as budgetary aspects. It also minimises resource use, environmental degradation and pollution in mission areas, thereby protecting the positive reputation of the operation where resource scarcity is often already a contributing factor to conflict.”
While a common approach by the EU member states is establishing a broader effort than attempting such activities individually, the Roadmap identifies an opportunity for the EU to strengthen global partnership and present a coherent approach of EU actors in multilateral fora. A closer cooperation on climate and defence with other security organisations such as the UN, NATO and AU can be valuable since areas of intervention often overlap.
The Roadmap has been submitted to the member states and more news on whether and how it will be implemented is expected in 2021.
Read the full text of the Climate and Defence Roadmap here.
Photocredit: European Union Naval Force Somalia Operation Atalanta / Flickr