As well as the risk landscape changing since the publication of A New Climate for Peace, governments have continued to address climate-fragility risks. This chapter provides an overview of policy developments in 2015 and 2016 that are of relevance for addressing the risks surveyed above. It is not a comprehensive assessment, concentrating instead on sketching key policies and developments, and discussing what they mean in terms of the global resilience agenda.
The report A New Climate For Peace proposed a global resilience agenda to the G7 governments. It outlined how governments and in particular foreign policy makers can improve international institutions and mechanisms to lead, coordinate or foster joint action on compound climate-fragility risks. Instead of trying to address the increasing number of crisis and conflicts by piecemeal reactions to each crisis as it surfaces or developing responses that are aimed at specific threats and sectors, the global resilience agenda is cross-sectoral and integrated in nature.
The idea of strengthening the resilience of states and societies against climate-fragility risks is at the heart of this agenda. This includes resilience against a whole range of environmental, social, economic, and political pressures and stressors. Resilient states and societies can absorb shocks and transform and channel radical change or challenges through the political process, while maintaining political and social stability as well as preventing violence. In order to strengthen resilience against climate-fragility risks, actions have to be integrated across key policy fields, at different levels in society, and between different departments of each organisation involved in the effort. With resilience serving as an overarching objective, integration is likely to yield significant synergies and co-benefits even when the specific goals, approaches and tools are different.
This chapter looks at three key policy areas: climate change, development and humanitarian aid, and peacebuilding and conflict prevention. It outlines if and what key developments in these areas, such as the adoption of the SDGs and Paris Agreement, mean in terms of fostering integration across sectors and how they contribute in moving towards a global resilience agenda.
In September 2015, the UN Sustainable Development Summit adopted the Agenda 2030 containing 17 goals and 169 targets for sustainable development. The road to it was paved with hard work for at least the previous three years. More ambitious and comprehensive than the Millennium Development Goals adopted at the beginning of the century, as well as much better prepared, the SDGs are regarded as universal goals – i.e., applying to developed and developing countries alike. The adoption of this ambitious agenda for the next 15 years of global development reflected the continued capacity of the world’s governments to come together to identify common goals and the means to achieve them. At the same time, it inevitably invites questions about how it could be possible to implement this ambitious agenda.
It is too early as yet to discuss specific progress on the SDGs. Though there are some cases of action on the national level, with new ministries cross-departmental and interagency initiatives, the possibility of global assessment and comparison depends on indicators that are still being worked out. What is clear so far is that there will be extensive and highly demanding data requirements in order to get a clear picture on how such a complex, wide-ranging and far-reaching agenda moves forward.
While waiting on the wherewithal for measuring practical SDG achievements, it may well be generally agreed that the SDGs are succeeding in offering shape to some key debates on development, development aid, and international politics and policies. Some of these are of relevance in the climate security context. Most strikingly had the Summit failed to set Agenda 2030, that sense of international failure might well have made it harder to get the Paris Agreement on Climate Change agreed at COP 21 some ten weeks later.
The SDG agenda is broad in its scope, ambitious and reflects a number of principles that will be key for achieving the goals and implementing them effectively. First, its universality provides an umbrella for sustainable development in developed and developing countries. This universality opens the possibility for real partnerships that try to overcome the limits of international cooperation of the past. Second, the agenda rests on the understanding that development, peace, security, and climate change are closely interlinked. The inter-relationship between the different SDGs – between, for example, the goals on climate, food, water, urbanisation, governance, gender, education and poverty – is encouraging a policy discourse that seeks to conquer stove-piping. The UN outcome document also stresses the integrated nature of the SDG agenda, the linkages between the goals and the need to overcome siloed approaches. It acknowledges that to implement this ambitious agenda and the commitments of other international agendas a new approach is needed. Many analysts have long insisted on this as a necessary component of approaches and policies for tackling complex issues such as fragility and the linkages between climate change and insecurity. Developing more proficiency in this mode of devising policy and practice will be key for figuring out the practicalities of handling climate related compound risks.
Nonetheless, it seems clear that, given the current state of knowledge and institutional awareness in most governments and international institutions, it remains too big an ask to get all departments of government, or EU Directorate-Generals, or UN departments to function as if part of one big integrated plan for climate-proof, peace-positive sustainable development. To put together such plans would be an overwhelmingly complex undertaking, especially for governments that are experiencing fragility and conflict. Here is the nub of the problem: integration is essential but difficult for all states and effectively impossible for some. This underlines the necessity to use integration to realize synergies between the different SDGs. How far reaching these synergies might be is clear from a recent analysis of climate actions planned as part of the Paris Agreement, showing that they align with at least 154 of the 169 SDG targets.
As with the UN Sustainable Development Summit, the road to the Paris Climate Summit in December (the 21st Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, COP 21) was paved with hard work. There were multiple grounds for scepticism about whether it would succeed, not least because of the dispiriting failure of COP 15 in Copenhagen in 2009, the last time that a breakthrough to a new global agreement was attempted. It was a major achievement by the UNFCCC secretariat, the French Government hosting the conference, and climate diplomacy in general to find a way through the tangle of competing and contrasting interests and avoid the problems that derailed the Copenhagen process in 2009. The achievement was based in part on the long-term work of the IPCC to establish the scientific consensus about climate change, how it was unfolding, why, and with what effects. More broadly, there had also been a striking effort to mobilize global opinion, perhaps most dramatically demonstrated by the issuance of the Papal Encyclical Laudato Si’ in May 2015. Another important driver behind the successful result was the change from top down diplomacy, which characterised the lead-up to the Copenhagen summit, to a bottom up process in the run up to Paris. Key outputs of this process were the Intended National Determined Contributions (INDCs) of nearly all countries. These not only include the contributions to mitigating climate change but also measures to adapt to the various impacts. As a result, COP 21 stands, like the Sustainable Development Summit, as an example of the global community’s continuing capacity to come together to sort out shared problems.
The following elements stand out when thinking about what the Paris Agreement on Climate Change means in terms of addressing climate-fragility risks.
First, by aiming towards a limitation of global temperature increase to 1.5°C instead of 2°C the member states followed the precautionary principle and, if achieved, this will lessen climate-fragility risks significantly. The graphic shows that in several important aspects, risk increases quite sharply between the 1.5° and 2°C thresholds.
However, at the moment the 1.5°C goal is still far from being reached. The first step to implementing what was agreed in Paris was to ratify the agreement. On 5 October 2016, the threshold of at least 55 parties and 55% of total global greenhouse emissions for entry into force of the Paris Agreement was achieved, with effect exactly one month later. At the time of the writing this report, the total number of countries that have ratified the agreement was 103 out of 197 signatories. Particularly noteworthy is that the major emitters, China, the US and the EU, ratified the agreement very quickly for an international agreement. This is encouraging even if the reason why the US has been able to ratify the agreement is because President Obama concluded it did not have to be ratified by the US Senate. It remains to be seen if this will be challenged under the new presidency. When it comes to the ratification and implementation of the commitments, the issue of whether climate change is a high enough national priority is not only relevant in the US but other countries as well; the UK, for example, recently did away with its governmental Department of Energy and Climate Change. To achieve the ambitious goal of 1.5°C, it will be necessary that all major emitters take swift and wide-ranging action to cut their emissions. If business-as-usual prevails, we will head for a temperature increase well beyond 1.5 degrees, with immense negative effects on climate-fragility risks. At COP 22 in Marrakesh in November, the Climate Vulnerability Forum (CVF), a network of 45 countries including extremely vulnerable and fragile ones such as Afghanistan, South Sudan and Yemen, sent a strong signal to the major emitters by announcing a switch to 100 percent renewable energy by 2020.
A second element in terms of climate-fragility risks becomes even more important in the face of these challenges. The Paris Agreement firmly puts adaptation at the same level as mitigation. The Global South achieved a major breakthrough by making sure that adaptation is as much at the centre of the efforts to combat climate change as mitigation. The option - especially for most vulnerable countries - to include adaptation as element in the INDCs was an important element for the overall successful negotiation of the Paris Agreement. This means that the key elements of the adaptation agenda, analysed in detail in “A New Climate for Peace” such as vulnerability assessments, the development and implementation of National Adaptation Plan processes (NAPs) will take a prominent role throughout the upcoming implementation process.
A potentially meaningful third element is the continuation of the Loss and Damage discussion. It underlined the importance of thinking about the limits of mitigation and adaptation by providing a mechanism to address unavoidable loss and damage. Here, a task force on displacement is currently being established that is intended to develop recommendations on how to assist people displaced by climate-induced events. However this task force, like the rest of the Loss and Damage discussion and the accompanying Warsaw Mechanism institutional structure, is subject to an overall review until the end of the decade so the overall relevance for strengthening a global resilience agenda remains to be seen.
The first World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) was held in Istanbul on May 23 and 24, 2016. Convened by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, it was heralded as a once in a generation opportunity to reset the conversation and put into practice the newfound understanding that if conflict, disasters and climate are interlinked, so too must be our processes for dealing with them.
The WHS was a necessary acknowledgement that the context of humanitarian operations has changed, far exceeding the coping capacity of the existing humanitarian systems. Background documents to the summit acknowledged that crises are becoming more complex, more conflictual and more protracted. Increasingly climate change driven extremes such as droughts, floods and typhoons are converging with other pressures such as widening inequality, rapid urbanisation, and political instability. As a result, more countries are slipping into fragility and outright conflict.
Whilst the outcomes of the Summit did not meet the ambition of reform of the humanitarian system to be able to address complex risks, four particular outcomes can be seen to offer new opportunities for better engagement on climate-fragility risks. First, and the most concrete outcome of the summit, the top 30 donors and aid agencies signed a so-called “Grand Bargain” to make aid more efficient. This included harmonising donor proposals and reporting, reducing overhead costs, introducing collective needs assessments, and earmarking less funding to specific projects. In principle, the Grand Bargain offers greater scope for flexible, cross-sectoral, multi-risk focused interventions.
The second important outcome was to promote localisation in preference to top-down humanitarian interventions. This could allow greater opportunity for understanding the knock-on consequences of climate fragility and conflict risks, local power dynamics and the trade-offs between different risk and resilience factors affected by a possible intervention, and for this understanding to feed into the design of an intervention.
Third, whereas the critical issue of investing in prevention and risk mitigation made little progress at other global processes such as Sendai in March 2016, in Istanbul it was inched forward. Several new initiatives reflect a greater consensus around the need to shift focus. The finance ministers of the Vulnerable 20 Group launched, alongside the World Bank and the UN, a new partnership to help their countries better prepare for shocks, including better access to risk analysis, contingency plans and social protection schemes. However, in the current political climate, the appetite across the major donors to invest in the inherent uncertainty of preventative action does not seem likely to meet the rhetoric from the Summit.
Lastly, the global risk platform was initiated at the WHS to map and bring together existing risk, vulnerability and threat analysis initiatives into one global community of practice. The platform aims to promote collaboration, transparency and accountability by developing common policies and standards and by enabling open-source data. It is also intended to help establish risk thresholds that are specific to different national and sub-national contexts and that reflect each one’s social and political realities as well as environmental issues. The tool is in development. It remains to be seen how effectively any risk analysis emerging from this platform can be translated into preventive action, given the absence of any inter-agency coordination or institutional reform to enable joint action.
In spite of emphasis placed by the WHS on complex risks, there is a need to be more systematic about capitalising on this opportunity. While humanitarian actors cannot prevent or end violent conflict, they can contribute to a reduction of the risk of violence and fragility. Humanitarian assistance can affect conflict dynamics negatively, whether through targeting of beneficiaries, procurement and the distribution of resources. Conversely, they can help build resilience, develop capacities and enhance social cohesion – not necessarily by changing what aid is provided but by changing how it is done. The process will consolidate and reinforce humanitarian principles. There is, however, a long way to go to ensure that the outcomes agreed by humanitarian agencies and aid donors are translated into practice. What the summit also showed is that most efforts concentrated on overcoming the divide between humanitarian aid and development cooperation, while the links to peacebuilding, disaster risk reduction and climate change were much weaker.
In 2016 cities and urbanisation gained renewed international recognition: most notably through a stand-alone Sustainable Development Goal (11) to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable and at the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III) that was held in Quito, Ecuador on 17-20 October 2016. These conferences take place every 20 years and there has been a significant paradigm change between the first conference in 1976 and Habitat III. While urbanization was initially seen as a problem – associated with poverty, uncontrolled growth of slums, and pollution – a shift has occurred towards recognizing that well planned, built and managed cities can be drivers of sustainable development, economic growth and inclusiveness.
The Habitat III process was marked by extensive negotiations among member states, and inclusive consultations with a wide range of stakeholders. The outcome of this process was enshrined in the New Urban Agenda, a text that elucidates a coherent vision for sustainable cities, and links sustainable urban development to the achievement of the SDGs. This new agenda is built on the recognition that cities are not only important sites of sustainable development, but also as key actors for sustainable development. Local authorities organized in interest groups such as the Global Taskforce of Local and Regional governments increasingly spoke with one voice to call for a “seat at the table”. While this demand was ultimately denied, the Habitat III process nonetheless stands out as the first time that direct consultations between local authorities and member states took place in a UN context.
As a cross-cutting theme of the Agenda, “building urban resilience” is one of its guiding principles. Accordingly, the Agenda emphasizes that changes in the way cities are planned, financed, designed, built, governed and managed can foster resilience. However, despite this rather encompassing vision, resilience was primarily discussed in the context of climate change and disaster resilience and emphasis placed on transforming urban infrastructure, housing, planning and design as tools to achieve resilience. This is a rather narrow conception that misses a broader range of environmental, social, economic and political pressures and stressors that may contribute to fragility and undermine resilience. For example, the concept of “fragile cities” has in recent years been used to refer to the destabilizing effect that can emerge in cities where various global pressures – such as climate impacts, rapid and unplanned urbanization, social inequalities, criminality and unemployment – converge, but does not play a role in the New Urban Agenda. Moreover, despite the general recognition of the relevance of urban resilience in the New Urban Agenda, there is a long way to go to translate this into concrete actions. In general, initial commitments for initiatives that support the implementation of the New Urban Agenda are lagging behind expectations, as member states appear to be focusing their efforts on the SDGs and the Paris Agreement.
The G7 foreign ministries continued their efforts to address climate-fragility risks in 2016. In 2015 under the German presidency, the G7 foreign ministers had welcomed the report A New Climate for Peace (commissioned by the G7) and decided to set up and task a high-level working group to evaluate the recommendations of the report. Under the Japanese presidency, the G7 foreign ministers reaffirmed their commitment to address climate-fragility risks collectively and repeated this stance in the final Joint Communiqué. They endorsed a quick entry into force of the Paris Agreement by all parties and emphasized the role of the G7 in managing climate fragility risks, including them in both foreign and domestic policies. In this context, they welcomed an internal evaluation of the G7 report and renewed the mandate of the high-level working group on climate-change and fragility for another two years. Following up, the German Foreign Office organised a G7 expert workshop on joint risk assessment in October 2016.
At the same time, G7 members also took action on the national level, most notably Canada and the US. On 21 September 2016, President Obama announced a new Presidential Memorandum on climate change and national security. The memo continued the president’s efforts to embed responses to climate change into the mechanics of the federal government. It directed 20 federal agencies to consider the national security implications of climate change and establish a working group that will develop a Climate Change and National Security Action Plan and Implementation Plan for the federal government. Within 90 days of the Memorandum announcement, the group will identify priorities, develop ways that climate science and intelligence can inform national security planning, and ultimately produce a Climate Change and National Security Action Plan. While this was a very encouraging sign, it remains to be seen if and how it will continue under the new presidency.
Canada has also shown increased interest and engagement on climate-fragility issues. Upon entering office in November 2015, Canada’s new government indicated that climate change would be a new focal point with the appointment of a Minister for Environment and Climate Change. Prime Minister Trudeau rallied provincial premiers and political party leaders to engage in COP 21 in Paris, and within his government, he has asked his ministers to work together on the issue across defence, development, foreign affairs and public safety minister. In March 2016, the Canadian Government’s Global Affairs Canada (a department that includes the country’s foreign affairs, trade and development ministers) held a conference on “Climate Change and Security: Fragile States.” The conference speech by the Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Stéphane Dion, drew directly on the G7 report, A New Climate for Peace, and explicitly focused on the links between climate change and state fragility. The conference followed on the heels of the bi-lateral agreement between the United States and Canada to expand cooperation on matters of climate and security. Practical action on this in Canada has so far been limited. However, climate security impacts are increasingly evident in four key areas of relevance: demands on Canada’s military in responding to climate related humanitarian disasters; the spill-over from foreign climate-related conflict; challenges to Arctic sovereignty; and domestic natural disasters. These could act as a catalyst for more practical action beyond the policy rhetoric.
In the beginning of 2017, Japan will hand over the G7 working group to the Italian presidency. While concrete results of the working group, for example in the form of joint G7 projects, are still missing, it is encouraging that the G7 has remained committed. This was not inevitable since the G7 is very much driven by its presidencies and lacks an institutional structure of its own. In fact, the creation of the G7 working group on climate change and fragility was itself an institutional innovation. Leadership by the presidency and the G7 members will be needed to identify the next steps and fill the process with life. True success will be registered if and when joint G7 action is taken beyond the working group process.
The UN High Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change, reporting in 2004, argued that there was ‘a key institutional gap: there is no place in the United Nations system explicitly designed to avoid State collapse and the slide to war or to assist countries in their transition from war to peace.’ To fill the gap, the Panel proposed (and in 2005 the UN as a whole agreed) to establish a Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) together with two other bodies – the Peacebuilding Support Office (PBSO) and the Peacebuilding Fund (PBF). Together these became known as the UN’s ‘peacebuilding architecture’.
The architecture has been subject to various reviews in the decade-plus since being established. After a slow start the PBF has generally received positive reviews but the PBC hasn’t fared quite as well. Most notably, a review by member states in 2010 pulled no punches in expressing disappointments that were widely felt among diplomats in New York at the limited role and effectiveness of the PBC. Criticisms were explicit and even harsh, in the hope that they would function as a wake-up call. In 2015 a further review by an Advisory Group of Experts (AGE) commented that hopes for the effectiveness of the PBC are now even weaker than in 2010 and argued the case for moving forward with a broader concept of what constitutes the ‘peacebuilding architecture’.
The report’s recommendations build on the concept of ‘sustaining peace’ – a function and a goal that is relevant before, during and after violent conflict. This contrasts with the concept of peacebuilding when it first emerged in An Agenda for Peace in 1992 as a purely post-conflict activity. In fact, as the report points out, the UN Security Council in 2001 declared that peacebuilding aims at ‘preventing the outbreak, the recurrence or the continuation of armed conflict’. Many have since followed that approach, removing the concept of peacebuilding from the limits of being purely post-conflict. But as the AGE report also points out, the UN Security Council still refers to ‘post-conflict peacebuilding’ and argues that the new term is required because it puts more emphasis on prevention and on the link between peacebuilding and development. This new terminology and emphasis also offers – at least in theory – more entry points for linking peacebuilding with efforts to reduce climate-fragility risks. However, it has to be noted that the links between climate change and conflict were largely missing from the report and the discussions.
Whether the terminological shift will have the effect intended by the AGE report is arguable. The report’s core output is not so much the seven recommendations for how the PBC should improve its work but rather the ten that aim to strengthen the peacebuilding capacity of the UN system taken as a whole. All are aimed at threading peacebuilding (or sustaining peace) as a core function of the United Nations as a whole through all of its relevant activities and departments.
Important though the AGE report is as an overview of how peacebuilding is handled within the UN and how it could in principle be strengthened, the practical import of these recommendations is not clear one year after the report was delivered. It is more than likely that most of the UN system will be little touched by this ambitious agenda, whose greatest effects will be in the PBC and PBSO themselves. Beyond that, the question is whether there will be change in those sections of the UN that are deeply engaged with that area of activity – such as the Department of Peacekeeping Operation, the Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, and relevant parts of the Department of Political Affairs and the UN Development Programme. The work of each is affected by climate fragility issues and each can have an influence on how member states respond to the challenges.
Climate change as a security concern has been discussed on a regular basis in the UN Security Council since the first open debate held in 2007, chaired by the UK. This debate was followed by a report by the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, in 2009, and a General Assembly Resolution on climate change was adopted the same year (UN 2009; UN A/RES/63/281). In 2011 a second open debate was held in the UN Security Council initiated by Germany, which resulted in a request from the Security Council to the Secretary General to start providing ‘contextual information’ on possible security implications of climate change in the reports the Secretary General presents to the council (UN S/PV.6587, 2011). Although both these two first debates were somewhat contentious, the Security Council continued to discuss the security implications of climate change in the more informal Arria-Formula meetings (in 2013 and 2015).
In July 2015 the Security Council held an open debate on the “Maintenance of international peace and security: peace and security challenges facing small island developing states”. This debate was held at the initiative of New Zealand. One key issue was sea-level rise and other adverse impacts of climate change which pose serious threats to many small island developing states’ survival and viability. Another issue highlighted was the urgent need to enhance international cooperation and action to address the unique vulnerabilities of small island states. Besides these meetings there was also a briefing in May 2016 on the impact of climate change and desertification on peace and security in the Sahel.
Thus the discussion of climate change as a security issue in the Security Council continued and grew in 2015 and 2016. It is no longer constrained to be an issue of its own, but receives greater attention also with respect to how climate-related security risks interacts with other issues. This is a first step in shaping integrated policy responses and thus corresponding to a movement towards a global resilience agenda. Looking to the future, this momentum could be used to try to push the Security Council to go beyond a no-regret strategy and do-no-harm approach and instead take a more pro-active role. Under the new Secretary General and with new members of the Security Council such as Sweden and the Netherlands, which have identified climate security as a priority, there might be an opportunity to push this pro-active and preventive agenda forward.
The African Union’s Peace and Security Council held its first open session on climate change under the title “Climate Change: State fragility, peace and security in Africa” at its 585th meeting on March 30 2016. The debate reflected the collective acknowledgement that climate change, peace and security in Africa are inextricably linked. It stressed the need for all Member States to strengthen their national resilience capacities. The Council also acknowledged that climate change in Africa, especially in pastoral communities, is a potential trigger of inter-communal violence; it therefore called on Member States to share international expertise and coordinate international efforts in mitigating the impacts of climate change. Particularly with regard to early warning and conflict prevention efforts, the Council stressed the importance of mainstreaming climate change into all of the AU Commission’s activities. It requested the AU Continental Early Warning System (CEWS) to intensify its cooperation with early warning centres of the Regional Economic Communities and Regional Mechanisms for Conflict Prevention, Management and Resolution (RECs/RMs) in order to build capacity of Member States in this regard. Concluding the debate, the Council agreed to hold an annual open session on climate change.
As with developments in the UN Security Council, this reflects the fact that climate change is increasingly affecting the security of African states. It represents a significant step for the African Union to acknowledging climate change as more than a development issue. The concrete actions outlined by the Peace and Security Council are encouraging, but issues arise over the implementation capacity of the African Union Commission. This is a window of opportunity for countries and donors to proactively offer partnerships and external assistance.
The European Union has been one of the most active international actors in the field of climate security. As far back as 2008, in a paper titled “Climate Change and International Security”, the then High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy, Javier Solana, and the European Commission recognized climate change as a threat multiplier and concluded it had to be part of its foreign and security policy. Over the years, the European Union, and in particular the Foreign Affairs Council and the European External Action Service, developed a strategy for its climate diplomacy efforts. As part of this strategy development process, the nexus between climate change, natural resources, fragility and conflict became one of three central pillars for the EU’s climate diplomacy.
In summer 2016, the EU launched its new Global Strategy, Shared Vision, Common Action: A Stronger Europe. It “sets out the EU’s core interests and principles for engaging in the world” and aims at a broad and integrated approach for the EU’s foreign policy. As part of the Strategy, the EU is intending to broaden its climate diplomacy approach and integrate it into its overall foreign and security policy thinking. For example, the new document recognizes the strategic importance of climate change as a root cause of conflict and a “threat multiplier that catalyses water and food scarcity, pandemics and displacement”. It calls for pre-emptive peacebuilding and diplomacy and emphasises the need to increase resilience, in particular regarding energy and the environment. For the latter, it also highlights the risks linked to the transition to a more sustainable and green economic model, for example the impacts these transition processes might have on fossil fuel producing countries. This is remarkable as its predecessor, the European Security Strategy released in 2003, contained virtually no mention of climate security; it therefore illustrates that climate change has firmly established itself as a security and foreign policy issue on the European level. The next step will be to translate this strategy into concrete action, for example looking at how this topic will be taken up by the EU’s delegations and as part of its strategic bilateral partnerships. Priority areas for these efforts will most likely be the energy sector and its development cooperation.
In the field of development cooperation, the EU is also starting to work on addressing climate-fragility risks directly. Financed by the Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace, the EU awarded a project to UNEP in 2016 to develop a methodology to assess climate-fragility risks on the national and local level. Based on pilot assessments, the project will test interventions that combine climate change adaptation and peacebuilding in fragile and conflict-affected countries. This is an encouraging development but the key question remains the capacity to integrate and cooperate within as well as between different governments and inter-governmental organisations. If this is not enhanced, obstacles will persist for the global resilience agenda.