Addressing the impact of climate change and environmental degradation on peace, security and defence

EESC opinion: Addressing the impact of climate change and environmental degradation on peace, security and defence

Key points

The EESC:

  • believes that the effects of climate change are exacerbating the risks and threats to peace and European and international security; 
  • supports the European Commission's intention to take account of the climate and security nexus, but notes nonetheless that its geographical, political and military parameters must be better defined;
  • stresses the urgent need to invest in setting up resilient responses, including by preparing European decision-making processes for these types of future stresses;
  • recommends that the European institutions consider factoring the rapidly changing biophysical realities (on which people's lives and well-being depend) and political cohesion (both of Member States and of the EU's neighbours and partners) into EU policy-making.
  • highlights the fundamental mission of the European project, namely to promote and preserve peace, and reiterates that this is of paramount importance. In order to promote and preserve peace, Europe needs to step up its peace-building efforts. Promoting peace is inextricably linked to the preservation and promotion of fundamental rights and democracy. The move to take into account the climate and security nexus aims to preserve these rights, as the aim of this approach is to safeguard and promote fundamental rights in the face of the challenges posed to both individuals and societies by the insecurities caused by climate change;
  • recommends further integrating the climate and security nexus by creating proactive interfaces between the institutions responsible for external relations, for internal EU cohesion, and for the Member States' security and defence services, and by incorporating permanent dialogue with the scientific community. These strengthening efforts should incorporate the contributions from research and innovation on resilience, thus improving both the foresight and the effectiveness of EU action.