April 2019 Climate Security in the Sahel and the Mediterranean: Local and Regional Responses
Abdelhak Bassou Senior Fellow Policy Center for the New South
Aleksandra Chmielewska Project Manager IEMed - European Institute of the Mediterranean
Bouchra Benhida Director of Research, Research Valorization, Partnerships and Events Policy Center for the New South
Patricia Lisa Analyst Elcano Royal Institute
Xira Ruiz-Campillo Professor UNISCI – Research Unit on Security and Cooperation, Complutense University of Madrid

Abstract

The Mediterranean connects Europe to Africa. The Mediterranean basin is thus an area of ​​interaction between the two continents. However, there is a perception that limits the Mediterranean basin to its strictest geographical sense, that is to say the countries of southern Europe and those of North Africa, which border the Mediterranean. This traditional conception ignores the geopolitical context, which broadens the vision of the Mediterranean basin by including all the spaces that impact it.

Some human phenomena, such as migration, show that Mediterranean relations do not only concern the states bordering this sea, but a much larger area including the whole European Union, on the one hand, and North African, Sahelian and Sub-Saharan countries, on the other hand.

The present study takes into account the broader conception of the Mediterranean. In this sense, it not only deals with the effects of climate change on the countries bordering the Mediterranean, but extends its analysis to the whole European Union (EU), to the Maghreb and especially to the Sahel. Due to its geography, climate, demography, proliferation of conflicts or its precarious level of industrialization, the Sahel region is the most threatened in the world by climate change. Any deterioration of the situation in the Sahel countries undoubtedly has repercussions on Europe and its relations with Africa.

The four authors of the study examine the impact of climate change on the stability of the Sahel and the effects that the instability of this region could have on the Mediterranean space. The authors question the potential links between climate change and security. They outline the positions and frameworks of European actions as well as the different initiatives taken by EU institutions. Finally, they put forward some recommendations on how to effectively address this phenomenon.