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EU to Focus on Climate Diplomacy, Security, Stability and Migration Links

800px-European_Flags_EU

European flags in front of the Council of Europe, Strasbourg, Photo by Elwood J Blues

The EU Council recently issued “Conclusions on European climate diplomacy after COP21.” A significant portion of these conclusions focused specifically on the intersection of climate change, security, stability and migration. In the context of an unstable Middle East and North Africa, this is not surprising. However, it does suggest that all EU member states appreciate the intersection of climate change and state stability in a significant way.

The EU Council’s conclusions included a goal of producing a climate diplomacy action plan that would involve three main areas of focus, with the third very explicitly addressing concerns over “stability and migration”:  (more…)

EU Foreign Affairs Council Releases Conclusion on Climate Diplomacy

European flags in front of the Council of Europe, Strasbourg, Photo by Elwood j blues

European flags in front of the Council of Europe, Strasbourg, Photo by Elwood j blues

The European Union Council just released a new “conclusion” on climate diplomacy. It follows on the heels of prior conclusions in July of 2011 and June of 2013, as well as recent discussions held around the report commissioned by the G7 on climate fragility, and an “Arria-formula” discussion at the UN Security Council on the same topic. (more…)

Cascading Disasters in the Mediterranean: Storm in Lampedusa

800px-Boat_People_at_Sicily_in_the_Mediterranean_SeaLast Friday the Mediterranean areas around Southern Italy experienced a rare “Medicane” event of tropical storm-like conditions. Jeff Master’s explains the science behind these rare weather events, and the likelihood of seeing more of them under a changing climate.

Storms of this nature are just one more stress to the small Italian island that is also a main point of entry to the European Union for migrants and refugees from places like Syria and Eritrea. The voyage from point of origin to the shores of Europe and Italy is no cruise (more…)

New Book: Climate Change and European Security

EU High Representative Ashton Speaks at the UN in Geneva, Switzerland , photo by US Dept of State

EU High Representative Ashton Speaks at the UN in Geneva, Switzerland

Routledge has just released a new book, Climate Change and European Security, by Richard Youngs, a senior associate with the democracy and rule of law program at Carnegie Europe. This book provides an important synthesis of how the European Union has set about integrating climate change concerns into its foreign and security policy. The top line summary of the book notes that despite some advances in this space, there is still ample progress to be made: (more…)

EU Commissioner: The Dutch Experience and Disaster Risk Management

Kristalina_Georgieva_(6)Kristalina Georgieva, the EU Commissioner for international cooperation, humanitarian aid and crisis response, gave a speech on Feb. 10 in Rotterdam on disaster risk management. The full speech is worth a read.  In her remarks, Georgieva relates how the Dutch experience managing disasters can provide an important foundation for understanding and responding to the increasing trend in disasters. (more…)

EU on conflicts, crises and climate change

Secretary_Kerry_Meets_With_EU_High_Representative_AshtonThe European Commission and the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton, released a joint communication yesterday (which represents a “common understanding” between the two entities), detailing a “comprehensive approach to external conflicts and crises,” which aims to promote a more integrated look at trans-boundary security issues, including climate change. For example, the communication calls for: (more…)

Purgatory in Paradise: What Lampedusa Tells Us About Our Climate Future

Lampedusa_mapThe tiny island of Lampedusa sits 70 miles off the coast of the North African nation of Tunisia, its nearest neighbor. But politically, it belongs to Europe – more specifically, to the government of Italy and the European Union. It is, in many ways, a quintessential borderland. For many African and Middle Eastern migrants and refugees, it is the closest path to survival and hopefully, prosperity in the European Union. It is seen by some as a paradise on the horizon. But that paradise is also a purgatory. The island houses a “holding facility” that takes in tens of thousands of migrants and refugees a year, dwarfing the local population. The relationship between these migrants, the holding facility, and the local inhabitants of Lampedusa, is very tense. On top of this, a changing climate, and its effects on water and food security in vulnerable states in North Africa, the Horn of Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and Lampedusa itself, may exacerbate an already tense situation. Extended droughts, increased freshwater scarcity, changes in fisheries and other stresses, will put additional strains on populations in both the places of departure, and the destination. (more…)