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Procedure : 2012/2095(INI)
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Document selected : A7-0349/2012

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PV 21/11/2012 - 13
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PV 22/11/2012 - 13.13
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Thursday, 22 November 2012 - Strasbourg
Role of the Common Security and Defence Policy in case of climate-driven crises and natural disasters

European Parliament resolution of 22 November 2012 on the role of the Common Security and Defence Policy in case of climate-driven crises and natural disasters (2012/2095(INI))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Title V of the Treaty on European Union, and in particular to Articles 42 and 43,

–  having regard to Article 196 of the Treaty of the Functioning of the European Union on civil protection and Article 214 on humanitarian aid,

–  having regard to the Council conclusions on EU Climate Diplomacy of 18 July 2011(1),

–  having regard to the EEAS-COM Joint Reflection Paper on Climate Diplomacy of 9 July 2011(2),

–  having regard to the 2008 joint report presented by the High Representative Javier Solana and the European Commission to the European Council on Climate Change and International Security and its follow-up recommendations(3),

–  having regard to the Commission’s report entitled ‘For a European civil protection force: Europe Aid’ of May 2006,

–  having regard to the Council Decision of 8 November 2007 establishing a Community Civil Protection Mechanism(4), to the Commission Communication ‘Towards a stronger European disaster response: the role of civil protection and humanitarian assistance’ of 26 October 2010 (COM(2010)0600) and to its resolution of 27 September 2011(5),

–  having regard to the Proposal for a Decision of the European Parliament and the Council on a Union Civil Protection Mechanism of 20 December 2011 (COM(2011)0934),

–  having regard to the 2008 Commission Communication on the European Union and the Arctic Region (COM(2008)0763) and to its resolution of 20 January 2011 on a sustainable EU policy for the High North(6),

–  having regard to its resolution of 14 December 2011 on the impact of the financial crisis on the defence sector in the EU Member States(7),

–  having regard to the Conclusions of the October 2011 Berlin conference entitled ‘From Climate negotiations to Climate diplomacy’ and of the March 2012 London Conference entitled ‘A 21st century dialogue on Climate and Security’,

–  having regard to the July 2011 UN Security Council presidency statement on Climate Change and International Security(8),

–  having regard to the 2011 and 2012 reports of the United Nations Environment Programme entitled ‘Livelihood security: Climate change, conflict and migration in the Sahel’(9),

–  having regard to UN documents on Human Security and on Responsibility to protect(10),

–  having regard to the UN Guidelines on the Use of Foreign Military and Civil Defence Assets in Disaster Relief (Oslo Guidelines)(11) and to the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) Guidelines on the Use of Military and Civil Defence Assets to Support United Nations Humanitarian Activities in Complex Emergencies (MCDA Guidelines),

–  having regard to the Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council (SEC(2007)0781, SEC(2007)0782, COM(2007)0317)and the joint Statement on ‘Towards a European Consensus on Humanitarian Aid’ (12),

–  having regard to Rule 48 of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Foreign Affairs (A7-0349/2012),

General considerations

1.  Notes the impact of climate change on global security, peace and stability;

2.  Regrets that, in the last four years, the issue of climate change as the biggest threat to global security has become overshadowed in the public debate by the economic and financial crisis, which also constitutes an immediate global threat;

3.  Considers that the increase in extreme weather events in recent years represents an escalating cost to the global economy, not only for developing countries but for the world at large, both as a direct cost in terms of rebuilding and aid and as an indirect cost in terms of increases in insurance and higher prices for products and services; stresses that these events also represent an aggravation of threats to international peace and human security;

4.  Points out that natural disasters, exacerbated by climate change, are highly destabilising, particularly for vulnerable states; notes, however, that so far no case of conflict can be exclusively attributed to climate change; stresses that populations with deteriorating access to freshwater and foodstuffs caused by natural catastrophes exacerbated by climate change are forced to migrate, thus overstretching the economic, social and administrative capabilities of already fragile regions or failing states, thereby creating conflict and having a negative impact on overall security; recalls that these events create competition between communities and countries for scarce resources;

5.  Recognises that complex crises can be predicted, and should be prevented by applying a comprehensive approach including policy areas that make full use of the tools available within the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CSFP), the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) and the policies for humanitarian and development aid; notes also that NATO was at the heart of the first international answer to environmental security challenges in 2004, when the Alliance joined five other international agencies(13) to form the Environment and Security Initiative (ENVSEC) to address environmental issues that threaten security in vulnerable regions;

6.  Recognises the importance of critical infrastructure which provides support for CSDP;

7.  Recognizes that, while addressing Climate Change through a security nexus can be positive, it is but one component of EU action on climate change, which attempts to use political and economic tools to mitigate and adapt to climate change;

8.  Points out that in its external action strategies, policies and instruments the EU should take into consideration the effects of natural disasters and climate change on international security; recalls, furthermore, that, in connection with both natural and other disasters, it is important to devote special attention to women and children, who are particularly vulnerable in crises;

9.  Recalls, in this regard, the Commission’s mandate for humanitarian aid and civil protection, and emphasises the need to further develop and strengthen existing instruments;

10.  Reiterates the importance of Disaster Risk Reduction in this regard, to reduce the impact of crises on vulnerable populations;

11.  Notes that it is essential to integrate the analysis of the impact of climate-driven crises, and consequent natural disasters, into CSDP strategies and operational plans before, during and after any natural or humanitarian crises that might emerge, and to create mitigation back-up plans aimed at the regions most at risk, while respecting the humanitarian principles set out in the Lisbon Treaty; calls, also, for practical cooperation, such as cooperation exercises;

12.  Stresses that building an effective response to the security implications of climate change must not only enhance conflict prevention and crisis management but also improve analysis and early warning capabilities;

13.  Recalls that the Lisbon Treaty requires the Union to develop civilian and military capabilities for international crisis management across the entire range of tasks outlined in its Article 43, in particular conflict prevention, humanitarian and rescue tasks, military advice and assistance tasks, peace-keeping and post-conflict stabilisation; is, at the same time, of the opinion that duplication of instruments should be avoided and that a clear distinction should be made between instruments within and outside the scope of the CSDP, in accordance with Articles 196 and 214 TFEU; recalls the need to avoid any duplication with well established instruments for humanitarian aid and civil protection which are outside the remit of the CSDP;

14.  Recognises that military structures have capacities and assets in environmental intelligence, risk assessment, humanitarian assistance, disaster relief and evacuation that have a crucial role to play in early warning, climate-related crisis management and disaster response;

15.  Points out that the Lisbon Treaty has introduced new provisions (Articles 21-23, 27, 39, 41(3), 43-46 TEU), notably those related to the start-up fund in Article 41(3), and that these still need to be implemented;

16.  Points out that the EU should further engage with the UN, the African Union (AU) and the OSCE, including in the context of ENVSEC, in order to share analysis and cooperatively address the challenges of climate change;

17.  Highlights the value of civilian-military synergies in crises such as those in Haiti, Pakistan and New Orleans; takes the view that these synergies proved how military forces can provide a valuable contribution to climate-driven crises and natural disasters by providing direct and timely assistance to the stricken areas and populations;

18.  Welcomes the fact that climate change has become more and more central to the global security debate, notably since 2007 when the UN Security Council first debated on climate change and its implications for international security; applauds the efforts of the EU and its Member State governments to raise the issue within the UN Security Council in July 2011 and in the Foreign Affairs Council conclusions on Climate Diplomacy;

The need for political will and action

19.  Calls on the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (VP/HR), being responsible for the conduct of the Union’s Common Foreign and Security Policy, to:

   (a) whenever deemed appropriate, take into account of climate change and natural disasters and their security and defence ramifications when analysing crises and threats to conflicts;
   (b) assess which countries and/or regions are potentially at greatest risk of conflict and instability as a result of climate change and natural disasters; make a list of such countries/regions; provide, as part of the annual CFSP reports, information on the implementation of EU policies and instruments that aim at addressing these challenges in the listed countries/regions;
   (c) enhance the EU’s practical ability to ensure conflict prevention, crisis management and post-crisis reconstruction; closely coordinate efforts with the Commission and EU development policy regarding the need to assist partner countries when it comes to resilience against climate change and other dimensions of adapting to climate change;
   (d) adapt, in close cooperation with the Commission, the EU’s long-term planning of civilian and military capacities and capabilities accordingly;

20.  Considers that the EU has to present a list of the challenges it faces in areas such as the Arctic, Africa, the Arab World, and the Himalayas and the Tibetan Plateau (‘the Third Pole’), notably the potential for conflicts over water supplies;

21.  Stresses the importance of continuing and enhancing the EU’s development and humanitarian aid that aims at adaptation, mitigation, response, resilience, relief and post-crisis development in relation to climate-driven crises and natural disasters; notes the importance of initiatives such as disaster risk reduction, and the linking of relief, reconstruction and development, and calls on the Commission to mainstream these programmes and actions into its humanitarian aid and, in particular, its development aid; welcomes the proposed greater role of the EU’s Civil Protection Mechanism, especially outside of the European Union;

22.  Welcomes the UNDP, UNEP, OSCE, NATO, UNECE and REC(14) Environment and Security Initiative (ENVSEC), which aims at addressing the challenges linked to human security and the natural environment by offering countries in Central Asia, Caucasus and South-East Europe their combined pool of expertise and resources; notes that the overall performance of ENVSEC is still limited but that it has so far served as an important tool for institutional coordination and as an entry point for facilitating mainstreaming processes;

23.  Underlines that the EU should work with key regions at risk, and with the most vulnerable states, to strengthen their capacity to cope; highlights that the EU could further integrate adaptation and resilience to climate change into EU regional strategies (for example the EU-Africa Strategy, the Barcelona Process, the Black Sea Synergy, the EU-Central Asia Strategy and the Middle East action plan);

24.  Calls on the VP/HR and the Commission to mainstream the potential effects of climate change on security into the most important strategies, policy documents and financial instruments for external action and CSDP;

25.  Draws attention to the fact that energy security is closely related to climate change; considers that energy security must be improved by reducing the EU’s dependence on fossil fuels such as those imported from Russia via pipelines; recalls that these pipelines will become vulnerable to disruption by the melting of the permafrost, and highlights that the transformation of the Arctic represents one major effect of climate change on EU security; stresses the need to address this risk multiplier through a reinforced EU strategy for the Arctic, and through an enhanced policy of EU-generated renewable energies and energy efficiency that significantly reduces the Union’s reliance on external sources and thereby improves its security position;

26.  Calls on the European Defence Agency (EDA) and the Member States’ armed forces to develop green and energy-conscious technologies, exploiting fully the potential offered by renewable energy sources;

27.  Welcomes the recent attempts to strengthen coordination between NATO and EU in the field of capability development; recognises the strong need to identify the mutual advantages of cooperation while respecting the specific responsibilities of both organisations; stresses the need to find and create synergies when it comes to ‘pooling and sharing’ projects and ’smart defence’ projects (NATO) that could be implemented in response to natural disasters and climate-driven crises;

28.  Calls on the VP/HR, as a matter of utmost urgency, to use the full potential of the Lisbon Treaty to put forward proposals for the implementation of the start-up fund (Article 41(3) TEU) with regard to possible future pooling and sharing projects, joint capabilities and a joint, permanent, pool of equipment for civilian crisis operations;

The need for a new spirit: strategic and conceptual challenges

29.  Notes that the negative impact of climate change and natural disasters on peace, security and stability could be integrated in all strategic CFSP/CSDP documents that serve as guidelines for the planning and conduct of individual policies and missions;

30.  Notes that early-assessment and fact-finding capabilities should ensure that the EU responds to crises using the most appropriate means available, deploying multidisciplinary teams at the earliest time possible, which would be composed of civilian, military and civil-military experts;

31.  Underlines that EU access to accurate and timely analysis will be crucial to efforts to respond to and predict climate change insecurity, with CSDP capacities being a good source of information in this regard; the EU should take steps to further develop capacities for data collection and information analysis through structures such as EU Delegations, the EU Satellite Centre and the EU Situation Room;

32.  Considers that early warning and early preventive action with regard to the negative consequences of climate change and natural disasters depend on adequate human resources and methodology with regard to data collection and analysis; notes that the relevant EEAS units which deal with security, and the relevant Commission’s services and geographical desks, should integrate analysis of the impact of natural disasters on international security and political stability in their work; recommends training of EEAS and Commission staff in monitoring the impact of natural disasters on crisis development and political stability and security; calls for the development of common criteria for analysis, risk assessment and the setting-up of a joint alert system;

33.  Encourages the relevant EEAS and Commission bodies to enhance the coordination of situation analysis and policy planning with regard to – and the systematic exchange of information on – issues related to climate change and natural disasters; urges the relevant EEAS bodies to use available channels of communication and information exchange with the relevant Commission bodies, notably ECHO, but also with UN agencies and programmes as well as with NATO; points out that the civilian and military structures tasked with responding to climate change-driven crisis and natural disasters should cooperate closely with all civil society, humanitarian and non-governmental organisations;

34.  Urges the Commission to develop contingency plans for the EU’s response to the effects of natural disasters and climate-driven crises occurring outside the Union that have direct or indirect security implications on the Union (e.g. climate-driven migration);

35.  Strongly welcomes the steps taken in 2011 at the level of the EU Foreign Ministers under the Polish Presidency, and at the UN Security Council under the German Presidency, to elaborate the interaction between climate change and its security implications;

36.  Considers that adaptions and modifications addressing the implications of climate change and natural disasters could be made to the main CSDP policy documents, including the EU Concept for Military Planning at the Political and Strategic level(15) , the EU Concept for Military Command and Control(16) , the EU Concept for Force Generation(17) and the EU Military Rapid Response Concept(18), as well as to documents that are relevant for civilian CSDP missions, such as the EU Concept for Comprehensive Planning, the EU Concept for Police Planning and the Guidelines for Command and Control Structure for EU Civilian Operations in Crisis Management(19);

37.  Is of the opinion that civilian and military capabilities should be developed in such a way as to allow their deployment in response to natural disasters and climate-driven crises; believes that special attention should be paid to the development of military capabilities and, in particular, to the process of pooling and sharing; calls for a greater role of the EDA in this matter;

The need for institutional creativity: instruments and capabilities

38.  Reiterates that effective responses to crises such as natural disasters often need to be able to draw on both civilian and military capabilities, and require closer cooperation between these two assets; recalls that it is vital to define the niche-specific capabilities and gaps where military capacity could provide added value;

39.  Stresses the need to elaborate a specific list of military and civilian CSDP capabilities that have special relevance both in responses to climate change and natural disasters and in CSDP missions; stresses that, when elaborating this list, particular attention should be given to the work of the Consultative Group on the Use of Military and Civil Defence Assets; notes that such assets include, inter alia, engineering capacities such as the ad hoc construction and operation of port/airport infrastructure, air and sea operational management and transport, mobile hospitals including intensive care, communication infrastructure, water purification and fuel management; invites the Council and the EDA, as part of the 2013 review of the capabilities development programme, to reconcile the current catalogues of civilian and military capabilities with those required in order to meet the challenges of climate change, and to put forward the necessary proposals to remedy any existing deficiencies in those catalogues;

40.  Stresses the need to explore, on the basis of already existing capacities such as the EU Battle Groups and the European Air Transport Command, the possibility of creating further joint capabilities that are relevant for operations which respond to the impact of climate change or natural disasters;

41.  Stresses the need to explore ways of improving energy efficiency and environmental management within the armed forces at home and abroad by exploiting, among others, the potential offered by renewable energy sources; recalls that the armed forces of a single EU Member State consume the energy of a large European city and that military structures, therefore, should be equally innovative in reducing their ecological footprint; welcomes the report ‘Greening the Blue Helmets: Environment, Natural Resources and UN Peacekeeping Operations’, released in May 2012 by UNEP, the United Nations Department for Peacekeeping Operations (UNDPKO) and the United Nation Department of Field Support (UNDFS); points to the fact that, for several years, the US(20) armed forces have been actively seeking to increase energy independence by using sustainable energy sources and increasing energy efficiency in all army operations and infrastructure; welcomes, in this respect, the recent EDA project GO GREEN, which aims at significantly improving energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy sources; underlines the need also to develop guidelines for best practises in the field of resource efficiency and the monitoring of environmental management for CSDP missions;

42.  Stresses the need also to bring the broader developments in the field of the European defence industrial base into line with the specific requirements of climate-driven crises and natural disasters; calls for an enhanced role for the EDA, in close cooperation with the EU Military Committee in this process; calls on both CSDP bodies to make sure that procurement programmes and capability development programmes devote adequate financial means and other resources to the specific needs of responding to climate change and natural disasters;

43.  Calls on the military to shoulder its responsibilities in the domain of environmental sustainability and on technical experts to find ways for green action, from reducing emissions to improving recyclability;

44.  Underlines the need for maintaining and further strengthening a comprehensive approach within the context of the next multiannual financial perspective 2014-2020 in order to mitigate and respond to natural disasters and climate-driven crises through the use of all relevant instruments at the Union’s disposal; welcomes the Commission proposal for a renewed Instrument for Stability, which already takes into account the negative impact of climate change and natural disasters on security, peace and political stability;

45.  Requests that the financial implications of such proposals be identified and also be considered in the EU’s budget review;

46.  Calls on the VP/HR to send experts on climate security to the EU Delegations of the most affected countries and regions in order to strengthen the capacity of the Union when it comes to early warning and information about possible upcoming conflicts;

47.  Calls on the EEAS to strengthen the coordination between the Union and its neighbouring states in the field of climate-driven crisis response capability development;

48.  Calls on the EEAS to advocate consideration of climate change and environment protection aspects in the planning and implementation of military, civil-military and civilian operations worldwide;

49.  Welcomes the idea of creating a post for a UN special envoy for climate security;

50.  Calls for coordination mechanisms to be established between the EU as a whole and those Member States which may in the future act in accordance with the provisions of permanent structured cooperation to ensure the consistency of their actions with the EU’s comprehensive approach in this field;

51.  Is of the opinion that studies on the impact of natural disasters and climate-driven crises on international and European security should be included in the curriculum of the European Security and Defence College;

52.  Calls for the EU to examine the security implications of climate change in dialogue with third countries, especially with key partners such as India, China and Russia; stresses that a truly effective response will require a multilateral approach and joint investment with third countries, and that the EU could build cooperation with third country militaries with joint development and training missions;

o   o

53.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Council, the Commission, the parliaments of the EU Member States, the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, the Secretary-General of NATO, the UN General Assembly and the UN Secretary-General.

(4) OJ L 314, 1.12.2007, p. 9.
(5) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2011)0404.
(6) OJ C 136 E, 11.5.2012, p. 71.
(7) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2011)0574.
(10) Paragraphs 138 and 139 of the 2005 UN World Summit Outcome Document, the UN Security Council resolution of April 2006 (S/RES/1674), the report by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon on ‘Implementing the Responsibility to Protect’ of 15 September 2009 and the Resolution adopted by the UN General Assembly on the responsibility to protect (A/RES/63/308) of 7 October 2009
(12) Joint Statement by the Council and the Representatives of the Governments of the Member States meeting within the Council, the European Parliament and the European Commission (2008/C 25/01)
(13) The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and the Regional Environment Centre for Central and Eastern Europe (REC).
(14) The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and the Regional Environment Centre for Central and Eastern Europe (REC).
(16) 10688/08 - classified.
(19) doc 13983/05- doc. 6923/1/02 - doc. 9919/07.
(20) Powering America’s Defence: Energy and the Risks to National Security, May 2009.

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