Strengthening Climate Diplomacy: foreign policy for ambitious climate action

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In 2015, with the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the decision of the UN climate change conference in Paris (COP21), important frameworks were set for the future global climate and foreign policy. These important summits, however, were only a starting point for further climate and foreign policy efforts at global level. The cooperation between adelphi and the Federal Foreign Office has therefore focused on further expand the innovative approaches of German and international climate diplomacy that support a successful outcome of the 2015 climate summit and help ensure long-term climate policy in the context of the Paris Agreement. This was based on various dialogue formats and exchange with a variety of actors in the field of climate policy.

Immediately following the conclusion of the Paris Agreement, adelphi co-organised a conference to discuss the tasks of EU climate diplomacy in the agreement’s implementation. The results informed the EU Global Strategy. One of the key insights was the enormous importance of coordinated diplomatic work for more ambitious climate action globally, but also in the EU. In order to strengthen preventive foreign policy, adelphi highlighted the importance of climate change for selected crisis contexts. The G7 working group on climate and fragility established under the German Presidency in 2015 was supported, among other ways, by recommendations on integrated climate risk assessment methods. During side events at the international climate conferences in 2015 and 2016, adelphi brought perspectives of climate diplomacy, in particular the issues of climate fragility and resilience in Africa, into the broader climate debate.

In the form of studies and policy papers, adelphi has also analysed the importance of global trends in selected fields and elaborated proposals for foreign policy options. adelphi further developed water diplomacy approaches, including the question of how diplomacy can promote integrated climate change adaptation in transboundary river basins by improving the linkage of climate and water policy instruments. The findings were presented at the most prominent annual platform for global water topics, the Stockholm World Water Week. In addition, adelphi has identified a specific need for action for diplomacy on the impacts of climate change on mining as another sector of global significance. The potential offered by climate diplomacy in the face of rapid urbanization and the increasing involvement of cities in international climate policy were presented in a study and highlighted at COP21 and in the context of HABITAT III in Quito.

The project focused on the range of opportunities for proactive climate policy. Here, adelphi discussed the economic and social benefits of climate action in different regions of the world. In this context, foreign policy areas for action were identified to support a transformation towards climate-friendly economic structures. These proposals were discussed with representatives of Latin American foreign affairs ministries, civil society and the private sector in Lima in order to develop recommendations for foreign policy.

To provide the project insights to diplomats as well as to the interested public, adelphi has developed innovative instruments for foreign policy communication. These include an intensified integration of climate themes into diplomatic education and training, tailor-made materials for a targeted, preventive climate diplomacy, the expansion of the interactive information platform "Climate Diplomacy", and a touring exhibition. adelphi designed multimedia communication products - videos, infographics and an online exhibition - showing different perspectives on the importance of climate action for foreign policy and supporting diplomats in their communications work. The touring exhibition was shown in eight countries over the course of the project. In Latin America, it was presented for example at the Chilean Foreign Ministry and at the PUCP University in Lima.

Publications of this project