“Climate change is fuelling instability and conflict,” says NATO Secretary General

“Climate change has important security implications. It is a threat multiplier. On the one hand, we have the impact of the environment on our security. On the other hand, our military activities, as any human action, have an impact on the environment,” Italian Permanent Representative Amb. Francesco Maria Talò (picture on the left) commented after a seminar at NATO Headquarters in Brussels entitled ‘NATO and Nature, a changing climate: why the environment matters to NATO, and what to do about it.’ The event discussing security and the environment was jointly organized by the delegations of Italy and the United Kingdom.

“An Alliance of democracies has to adapt to the feelings of our public opinions and it is nowadays easier to see young people marching to request more respect for nature than for any other reasons. Truth is that peace and security go hand in hand. In conflict-ravaged areas nature is often devastated and nature devastation provoked for instance by desertification can be a major cause of mass migration and instability,” he continued.

Also NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg participated in the event on 17 September highlighting the importance of cooperation between NATO and other international organisations, including the European Union, the United Nations, and the African Union.  

“NATO’s core task is to preserve peace. Climate change is fuelling instability and conflict. So to fulfil our core responsibility, NATO must play its part,” NATO Secretary General said thanking the seminar’s organisers and participants.

The Secretary General was joined via video conference by François Bausch, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence of Luxembourg, Stefano Sannino from the European External Action Service, Josefa Sacko from the African Union, and Nick Bridge, the UK Foreign Secretary’s Special Representative for Climate Change. Members of the North Atlantic Council and experts in climate security also joined the discussion.

NATO Allies agree on the need to adapt to future threats and challenges over the next decade and beyond, issues that are part of the Secretary General’s NATO 2030 reflection process.  Climate change is already addressed by the Alliance in its 2010 strategic concept, which highlights it as one of the factors that will “shape the future security environment in areas of concern to NATO and have the potential to significantly affect NATO planning and operations”.