Climate change and security in Swiss Foreign and Security Policy

India: Assessing the impact of Cyclone Phailin

Climate change is a global threat to security in the 21st century. Despite future emissions reductions, the physical impacts from anthropogenic climate change are already visible and will continue for decades to come. The sharpest risks emerge where institutions and governments are unable to manage the stress or absorb the shocks: climate change is the ultimate “threat multiplier” that will aggravate already fragile situations and may contribute to social upheaval and even violent conflict. This makes climate change a critical challenge for foreign policy.

What role can foreign policy play in addressing climate-fragility risks? This project addresses this question for Swiss foreign and security policy in a study for the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA). Based on an analysis of existing climate and fragility risks and Swiss policy processes touching upon this nexus, it develops ideas on where and how Swiss foreign policy could better respond to these new challenges.
The study is based on interviews with representatives of different directorates of the FDFA and other departments. Its results will be discussed at the annual Swiss ambassadors’ conference in 2016 and an expert workshop with Swiss diplomats and subsequently be published.

Publications of this project