Canada to establish and host a new NATO Centre of Excellence on Climate and Security

Brussels, 14 June 2021

Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, participated in the NATO Summit in Brussels, Belgium on 14 June 2021. At the Summit, leaders discussed threats and challenges affecting transatlantic security and joint efforts to strengthen shared commitments to keep our people safe. Leaders also welcomed an ambitious NATO 2030 agenda that will continue NATO’s adaptation to address evolving security challenges, including the security implications of climate change.

Climate change is one of the greatest threats of our time, impacting all of our people and our global security. Prime Minister Trudeau announced Canada’s proposal to establish and host a new NATO Centre of Excellence on Climate and Security and work with Allies as the Centre’s framework nation. It would provide Allies with a central location to pool their knowledge and develop effective preparedness and responses to the security impacts of climate change.

In a press release on 14 June Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau was quoted as saying, “As a founding member of NATO, the Alliance has been a cornerstone of Canada’s defence and security for more than 70 years. The advances we made at this Summit will ensure NATO continues to adapt to meet the security challenges of today and tomorrow, including those brought on by climate change, and will build a safer and more resilient world for our people.”

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NATO Centre of Excellence on Climate and Security 

An additional press release on Strengthening Transatlantic Defence and Security provided further information concerning the new COE:“

In a rapidly changing global security environment, NATO must continue to prepare for, mitigate, and adapt to the security impacts of climate change.

The Government of Canada will engage with NATO and our Allies to complete the NATO Centre of Excellence (COE) design and negotiation process from 2021, aiming to establish the COE in 2023 or afterwards. Canada could be joined in this effort by other Allies that wish to contribute to the work of the COE. NATO COEs are international military organizations that are established, run, and funded by individual NATO Allies or groups of Allies. NATO COEs train and educate personnel from Allied and Partner nations on specialized topics of relevance to the Alliance. Canada has been a major contributor to other NATO COEs, including the Cooperative Cyber Defence COE, the Energy Security COE, and the Strategic Communications COE, among others.

Climate change is one of the defining challenges of our time, with global impacts affecting all countries. A Canada-hosted COE on Climate and Security would respond to an identified Alliance priority to better understand, adapt to and mitigate the security implications of climate change. This COE would also facilitate the exchange of expertise among Allies, build capacity to address the security implications of climate change, and help advance our ongoing efforts to reduce the climate impact of our military activities.

The response to climate change threats requires collaboration across many sectors and must consider diverse perspectives, including those of women and girls, Indigenous peoples, as well as marginalized, and vulnerable populations. The Government of Canada plans to include, consult and integrate such perspectives as we pursue the establishment of this COE.”

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