Video interviews

The only solution to climate change is multilateral

John Kerry, former US Secretary of State

As a cross-border and cross-sectoral issue, climate change blurs the line between foreign and domestic policy. John Kerry, former US Secretary of State, sees multilateralism as the only way to ensure a fighting chance against climate change and maintains that international cooperation on climate translates into good security, economic and social policies at home.

Foreign affairs and national security as crucial entry-points for climate policy

Ottmar Edenhofer, Director and Chief Economist of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research

Linking climate change and security is about recognising a real threat, but also serves to strategically focus the attention of states on the climate issue. Prof. Ottmar Edenhofer, Director and Chief Economist of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, emphasizes the need for foreign policy to support the UNFCCC process and remarks that safeguarding our common future leaves no space for making only one nation great.

“Our nation is dependent on the elements of nature”

Abdulla Shahid, Foreign Minister of the Maldives

Small island states may be the first to feel the impacts of climate change, but they will certainly not be the last. Abdulla Shahid, Minister for Foreign Affairs for the Republic of Maldives, speaks of the existential threat that climate change poses to small islands and reminds the international community that, should it fail to unite in this fight, the impacts of climate change will reach bigger, more developed countries.

Climate change affects the very foundations of economic growth

Elliot Harris, UN Chief Economist

Beyond its tangible effects on the natural world, climate change also sets limits on economic growth and social development. Elliot Harris, Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development and Chief Economist at the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), warns that the UN can identify risks and provide frameworks, but action must come from member-states.

Moving from agenda-setting to climate action

Carola Van Rijnsoever, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands

One of the key tasks for foreign policy is maintaining stability in an unstable world. Today, few challenges are more threatening to stability than climate change. Carola Van Rijnsoever, Director of Inclusive Green Growth and Ambassador for Sustainable Development at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, talks about the country’s engagement in bringing the climate issue to the international agenda and highlights the moves being made to implement more concrete projects, particularly in the water sector.

Ethiopia’s recurring climate shocks leave no time for recovery

Sophia Gebreyes, Lutheran World Federation (LWF)

While the world speaks of an upcoming climate crisis, some countries are already living it. Sophia Gebreyes, Ethiopia Country Director of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF), explains that the country has over 3 million internally displaced people, most of which are either displaced by climate impacts or by conflict. With these conflicts mostly down to competition over resources, the prospect of a warming climate presents a challenge too big to bear.

Security is about much more than just armed conflicts

Didier Reynders, Foreign Minister of Belgium

Security is often equated to conflict and violence; however, these are only effects of other underlying issues. Didier Reynders, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Defence of Belgium, explains the importance of supporting vulnerable countries in preventing conflict by dealing with the root causes that undermine security, particularly climate change.

The multiple threats posed by climate change require holistic approaches

Miroslav Jenca, UN DPPA

As a risk multiplier, climate change demands a coordinated approach to mitigate compound crises. Miroslav Jenca, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs at the UN, explains how different UN bodies are working together to address climate change, taking into account the varying needs of different regions, as well as their social, economic and political conditions.

Why small states must sit at the negotiation table

Faustina Rehuher-Marugg, Foreign Minister of Palau

Foreign ministers from small and big countries can learn a lot from one another by exchanging knowledge and experience. Palau’s Foreign Minister Faustina Rehuher-Marugg calls for more attention to be paid to the needs of small countries, and for the UN Security Council to pay greater attention to nature-based threats to security.

The link between climate and security is clear; now is the time for action

Benedetta Berti, NATO

For security organizations, building societal resilience is crucial to ensure peace. Benedetta Berti, Head of Policy Planning at NATO, explains how NATO is preparing to respond to climate-related threats and looking to reduce its own energy consumption.

The UN must play a bigger role on climate action

Shahriar Alam, State Minister for Foreign Affairs of Bangladesh

Much of the financing promised in Paris by the world’s top emitters has yet to be allocated. Shahriar Alam, State Minister for Foreign Affairs of Bangladesh, believes the UN must play a much bigger role in “unlocking” funding for affected states.

“We know what we need to do” 

Carmelo Abela, Maltese Foreign Minister

Developing the reactive tools at the security community’s disposal also depends on progress being made in complementary climate processes. Carmelo Abela, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Malta, understands this is a complex task, but believes strong and comprehensive partnerships can make it possible.

Policymakers should treat the climate issue as the emergency it is

Jennifer Morgan, Greenpeace

For Jennifer Morgan, Executive Director at Greenpeace, there is a need for the climate community and foreign policymakers to treat climate change as a crisis and announce it as the emergency that it is. She adds that what affected nations say should hold greater sway than what oil-producing nations say.

Sovereign states determine if and how we tackle global climate change

Gary Lewis, UNEP

The world’s political borders do no justice to the climate crisis. As remarked by Gary Lewis, Director at the Programme and Policy Division at UNEP, the classical concept of state sovereignty must make way to approaches that are as cross-border as climate change itself.