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Climate change poses a threat to international security

Außenminister Maas beim Treffen der Freundesgruppe 'Klima und Sicherheit' am Rande der UN-Generalversammlung

Außenminister Maas beim  Treffen der Freundesgruppe 'Klima und Sicherheit' am Rande der UN-Generalversammlung, © Florian Gaertner/photothek.net

27.09.2018 - Article

The consequences of climate change threaten to deprive people of their livelihoods and thus become a threat to international security. Germany is committed to finding solutions.

Vital resources such as water and fertile soil will be dramatically diminished in many regions due to global warming. As a result, existing conflicts could be exacerbated and new disputes could break out. It is high time that the world community develops measures to address these security risks. The global nature of climate change also shows that we can only face up to its challenges and consequences through international cooperation.

In August, Germany set up a Group of Friends together with the island nation of Nauru. On September 26th, it convened its first high-level meeting with many heads of state and foreign ministers on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York.

Foreign Minister Maas: “We want to enable the United Nations Security Council to better understand in concrete situations how the consequences of climate change are fueling conflicts. Where climate change threatens people's livelihoods, the international community must act before conflicts break out. Our common goal must therefore be to support our partners in dealing with the consequences of climate change in order to prevent destabilization, migration and displacement.”

Climate and Security: What is Germany doing?

For the next two years, Germany will be a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. A special focus will be the relationship between climate change and international conflicts because this is connection is all too often overlooked. Germany wants to put the topic on the agenda wherever it plays a role. However, solutions should be developed above all else. This will necessitate the development of better early warning systems and prevention mechanisms, for example.

Außenminister Maas vor dem UN-Gebäude in New York
Außenminister Maas vor dem UN-Gebäude in New York© Florian Gaertner/photothek.net

Addressing the link between climate and security issues is well-placed in the UN Security Council; as an international threat, climate change also needs an international response. That is why Germany will continue to campaign for the implementation of the Paris Climate Agreement, including in the Security Council.

Group of Friends as discussion forum and idea generator

Together with Nauru, Germany launched the UN Group on Friends Climate and Security on 1 August (read more here). A total of 30 states have come together to jointly develop solutions for the security policy consequences of climate change, to communicate the issue to the outside world and to involve the United Nations more closely than before. 

The Group of Friends will have an important supporting role during Germany’s membership in the Security Council. In this forum, policy approaches can be discussed and recommendations can be made to increase the resilience of states to climate-related security risks.

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