EU Climate Diplomacy to Focus on Implementation of Paris Agreement

Logo COP21 Paris Climat 2015EU Foreign Affairs Ministers have adopted conclusions on European climate diplomacy, emphasizing three strands of action for 2016 related to: prioritizing climate change advocacy in diplomatic relations; implementing the Paris Agreement and intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs); and addressing the nexus among climate change, natural resources, prosperity, stability and migration.

In its conclusions, the Foreign Affairs Council also mentions other diplomatic fora where the EU will focus on addressing emissions, including the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the International Maritime Organization (IMO), and the Montreal Protocol negotiations on the hydrofluorocarbons (HFC) amendment.

On the interconnection between climate diplomacy and international development cooperation with third countries, the Council notes the importance of taking into account synergies between climate objectives, such as those adopted by Parties to the UNFCCC in the Paris Agreement in December 2015, and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted in September 2015 by the UN General Assembly (UNGA) as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The Council’s conclusions further identify risks and threats exacerbated by climate change that impact the EU’s security and human rights work, such as resource scarcity, forced migration, food security, spread of epidemic disease, social and economic instability and gender inequality.

Ministers identified specific actions for each of the three strands of climate diplomacy agreed to by the Council. In terms of climate change advocacy in diplomatic dialogues, public diplomacy and external policy instruments, the EU will work to, inter alia: prevent backsliding in fora such as the Group of Seven (G7), the Group of Twenty (G20) and the UN; agree on a global market based mechanism to govern future international aviation greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions; approve a global data collection system for fuel consumption and GHG emissions from international shipping; and enhance collective public diplomacy through, for example, a ‘Climate Diplomacy Action Day’ and targeted outreach coinciding with the signing ceremony of the Paris Agreement on 22 April 2016, and the Olympic Games.

On Paris Agreement implementation, the ministers agreed to, inter alia: support partners in developing INDC implementation plans, linking them to financial and technical support where appropriate; mainstream climate diplomacy in such areas as development cooperation, neighborhood and enlargement policies, civil protection and humanitarian policy, and trade; and explore innovative mechanisms for mobilizing additional private climate finance.

With relation to the nexus of climate change, natural resources, prosperity, stability and migration, elements identified include: increasing the EU’s and member States’ involvement in the climate and security policy debate in international forums such as the UN Security Council and the G7; enhancing the inclusion of climate vulnerability analysis into fragility/security and disaster risk assessments; and continuing work on addressing the destabilizing effects of climate change in fragile States.

The Foreign Affairs Council met on 15 February 2016 in Brussels, Belgium. The Foreign Affairs Council is one configuration in which the EU Council meets. The EU Council is the institution representing member States’ governments, with national ministers convening in the ten different configurations to adopt laws and coordinate policies.

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