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Climate, environment, peace: Priorities for EU external action in the decade ahead

The European Green Deal has made the environment and climate change the focus of EU action and policy-making. It sets the EU on course to achieve climate-neutrality and has a number of other important environmental goals such as biodiversity protection and curbing pollution. Beyond Europe – though with different levels of ambition – the majority of countries are implementing measures to decarbonise their economies and to adapt to the impacts of climate change.

The long-term transition to a more sustainable, low-carbon economy will require deep, structural changes and will go hand in hand with significant shifts in policy, politics and society at the national level. Against the backdrop of populism and increasing political polarisation, questions of inequality, social justice, democracy, openness, and human rights will continue to gain in salience and urgency. At the same time, environmental degradation and climate change impacts such as drought, extreme weather events and disasters are increasing the pressure on states and societies. Together with other pressures such as inequality, poverty, population growth and urbanisation, they can overwhelm the coping capacity of states and societies and contribute to crisis, fragility and conflict, particularly in countries with weak governance and in fragile and conflict-affected contexts.

The European Green Deal recognises that

global climate and environmental challenges are a significant threat multiplier and a source of instability [and that] the ecological transition will reshape geopolitics, including global economic, trade and security interests”.

To address these risks and to manage the transformation processes in a peaceful manner, concerted action across policy areas, including foreign policy, security and defence policy, humanitarian action, development policy and climate change adaptation and mitigation, is necessary. As we enter 2020 and the new Commission starts to put the Green Deal into practice, there are a number of topics and questions that remain open:

  • What exactly is the EU’s role in climate foreign policy and environmental peacemaking?
  • How is the evidence regarding the linkages between climate change, environmental degradation and violent conflict already shaping European policies?
  • How should we (re-)design peace processes, EU tools and instruments to better support conflict prevention and resolution?
  • How can the EU foster integrated climate change adaptation and peacebuilding action?
  • How can the European Green Deal support countries still dependent on fossil fuels or carbon-intensive assets?

To explore these questions further, to facilitate discussions between policy makers and experts, and to build capacity amongst EU stakeholders in Brussels and beyond, adelphi seeks to organise and support a roundtable series on “Climate, environment, peace: Priorities for EU external action in the decade aheadwith four key actors: EPLO, EIP, IES and ZIF.

Bringing together a broad range of expertise and matching it with the specific needs of the policy community, the objective is to move from awareness-raising to risk-informed decision-making, ranging from timely preventive action to improved humanitarian response, peacebuilding and development programming.

The target audience are EU stakeholders working on EU foreign and security policy, humanitarian action, development cooperation, climate change policy, and other related policy areas.

  1. Dialogue series on “Climate change, environmental peace-making and security in the EU”

24/25 March 2020, Brussels | Partner: European Institute of Peace (EIP)


  1. Dialogue series on “Climate change, peacebuilding and security in the EU”

May/June 2020, Brussels | Partner: European Peacebuilding Liaison Office (EPLO)


  1. Event on the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP), peacekeeping and climate change

May/June 2020, Brussels | Partner: Zentrum für Internationale Friedenseinsätze (ZIF)


  1. Launch event of the report “The geopolitics of decarbonisation”

March 2020, Brussels | Partner: The Institute for European Studies (IES)


adelphi will provide input and expertise on environment, climate security and peacebuilding policies during the workshops.

Registration upon invitation. Please contact Ms. Katarina Schulz ( for further information. 

The round table series is supported by a grant from the German Federal Foreign Office.