Despite the increased recognition of climate-related fragility risks in EU policies and the funding committed to climate and international development, implementation of concrete measures to address these risks are lagging behind. Compounding these challenges is the COVID-19 pandemic, whose unprecedented nature could ultimately delay action on climate-fragility risks.
Against this background, this report examines how the COVID-19 pandemic affects the ability of the European Union to address climate-fragility risks in its partner countries. The paper explores the implications of COVID-19 on relevant EU policies and strategies that address the climate security nexus. Focusing on three case study regions – the Sahel, North Africa, and Western Balkans – the paper illustrates how COVID-19 exacerbates climate-fragility risks and thus undermines current EU efforts to address the climate-fragility nexus in these regions.
The policy paper is structured as follows: First, it outlines, in general terms, the impacts of the pandemic on political priorities and ability of the EU to address climate-fragility risks. Then, for each focus region, it examines how the pandemic affects key objectives of EU policies aiming at reducing climate-fragility risks in that region. Finally, several recommendations are provided on how the EU can better address the interlinking risks associated with climate-fragility and COVID-19. In conclusion, the health crisis also provides a momentum for improved responses and action.