11 December 2018

#Think2030 report calls for Europe to step up its weight on climate security

The #Think2030 report, 30X30 actions for a sustainable Europe, is based on a series of papers set in motion by a platform of 100 policy experts from European think tanks, civil society, the private sector and local authorities. It cover all major environmental challenges and maps out what changes in European policies could help European citizens to live prosperous, peaceful and healthy lives by 2050. To do so, Europe needs to address its inherent dilemma of reducing poverty, unemployment and provide a steady growth on one hand, while on the other transit from  its high-carbon, resource and energy use to a more resilient and sustainable approach to economy. To do so, the European Union and its Member-States need a coherent long term strategy that is implementable and reactive.

As part of SDG 16 (Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions), this report identify pathways to seize the momentum on climate security. It calls for integrating strong preventive and reactive capabilities for inclusive and timely actions. Either internally or in its neighbourhood, Europe will be faced with the challenges linked to the convergence of rising global population and the growing competition over natural resource in a context of accelerating environmental degradation.

Five pathways are proposed for the EU to reduce security risks eliminating from climate change and related natural resource stresses:

  1. Adopt a comprehensive horizon scanning and early warning system for environmental and climate change risks for Europe’s neighbourhood and other regions of strategic interest.
    1. The European Union is already working on acknowledging this need and have embarked in such process. See for example the High-Level event held by the EEAS in  June 2018 on the need for early action & warning.
  2. Broaden the scope and increase the ambition of European climate diplomacy to include other major interrelated environmental risks, for instance by strengthening the focus on water issues.
    1. There is currently a strong emphasis either through the formal channel of diplomacy (See for example the current focus on Sahel by many member-states) or through the multilateral forum such as the UN to focus on a more integrated approach to climate risks (See for example many European-led debates at the UNSC, or the formation of a coalition of the willing).
  3. Adopt specific initiatives to improve the awareness and capacity of the EU and Member States’ military forces regarding the role of climate and environment in conflict prevention and resolution.
    1. Many initiatives, mostly via the UN, have been integrated through intervention mandates to acknowledge the risk climate change pose as a threat multiplier in context-specific situations.
  4. Use the EU’s trade policy to push for harmonized and ambitious environmental standards worldwide and cooperation agreements around low-carbon and other environmentally friendly technologies.
    1. Many discussions at the level of the Member-states are currently happening to use economic, technical and developmental tools to include more inclusive and sustainable international approach to growth especially in conflict-prone environment.
  5. Carry out an assessment of the EU’s performance and also sharpen the targeting of EU external assistance vis-à-vis delivery of SDG implementation in third countries, whilst addressing the negative spillover effects of its own economic model.
    1. Some work is currently assessing how European responsibility is critical to further a climate responsible agenda.