NATO urges members to address security risks posed by climate change

The NATO Parliamentary Assembly on Monday (Oct. 12) adopted a resolution on climate change and international security, urging members of the North Atlantic Alliance to reach an “ambitious” climate agreement in Paris this year and to “fully recognize climate change-related risks as significant threat multipliers in their foreign and security policies”.

The resolution 427 [pdf: Resolution 427 on Climate Change and International Security, Oct. 12, 2015] was adopted at the annual session of NATO Parliamentary Assembly in Stavanger, Norway, together with other 7 resolutions addressing NATO’s stance towards terrorism threats, the Ukraine-Russia conflict and the current crises in the Middle East and North Africa.

The assembly was created in 1955 to discuss and influence decisions on key issues affecting the security of the Euro-Atlantic area. Although non-binding on Alliance governments and NATO itself, the Assembly’s resolutions are influential in shaping policy.

NATO’s lawmakers call upon governments of the 28 Alliance members to improve strategic awareness of the security threats increasingly posed by climate change in the form of natural disasters; increased competition for natural resources such as food and water supplies; heightened migration pressures; and growing impacts on public health.

The resolution states that “climate-change related risks are significant threat multipliers that will shape the security environment in areas of concern to the Alliance” and urges member governments to enhance planning for climate risks; make a greater commitment to green defence policies; and intensify co-operation with partners in the Arctic, Middle East, North Africa, Central Asia and other regions particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

According to the official release, climate change has been rising on the NATO agenda given “the potential to significantly affect NATO planning and operations.” Building on this momentum, the lawmakers are now calling on NATO to take the next step and “increase the frequency of military and political consultations on climate change within NATO.”

“If the world wants to stop irreversible damage to the planet, all governments must agree in Paris to clear, fair, and ambitious targets to reduce emissions,” said French Parliamentarian Philippe Vitel, who drafted the resolution as the NATO PA’s Special Rapporteur of the Science and Technology Committee.


(Image: NATO Parliamentary Assembly 2015 Annual session, Oct. 12, 2015, Stavanger, Norway. Photo credit: NATO Parliamentary Assembly/Flickr)