Integrating Climate Security into NATO’s Plans and Operations: Lessons learned and ways forward

Type: Article

Abstract: NATO must be able to assess and understand the short- and long-term implications of changing climate regimes upon each country and upon the Alliance as a whole. To that effect, the forthcoming NATO Centre of Excellence.for Climate and Security will facilitate not onlymore civil-military cooperation, but also more engagement with the scientific community. Such partnerships will yield more effectivescience-based decision-making capabilities forits members and partners.

NATO must incorporate the security implications of climate change into its plans, operations, exercises, and strategy. NATO should also operationalize climate security in each Alliance member’s National Defence Planning Process (NDPP) cycle. Achieving both acts will help ensure NATO’s operational readiness to the security implications of changing climate regimes.

In sum, NATO has been notably successful with its environmental peacebuilding activities andhas started to develop climate security-based policy. In 2021, it even released a Climate Changeand Security Action Plan and is updating its strategic concept in 2022. But if NATO is to “setthe gold standard on understanding, adapting to, and mitigating the security impacts of climatechange,” as stipulated by its own Secretary General, the organization must move beyondpolicy and operationalize climate security into strategy, plans, engagements, exercises,and operations. ix Until then, NATO will not be adequately prepared, equipped, trained, orsupported to achieve its own mission.

Author(s): Swathi Veeravalli (USAFRICOM) and Annica Waleij (Swedish Defence Research Agency, FOI)

Published In: A White Paper on the Future of Environmental Peacebuilding: Nurturing an Ecosystem for Peace, pp. 126-127

Publisher: Ecosystem for Peace

Publication Date: 2022

Number of Pages: 2

Publication Page:

Related Organisation(s): Geneva Peacebuilding Platform

Related Action(s): Community of Practice

Related Event(s): Second International Conference on Environmental Peacebuilding, 1-4 February 2022

TOPICS /Subjects:

  • Adaptation
  • Mitigation
  • Civil Unrest / Conflict
  • Civil-Military Cooperation
  • Environmental Security
  • National Security
  • International Security

Other Key Words: ENVSEC, CMDR COE, NATO, Afghanistan