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Climate is also a matter of security policy

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  The struggle over natural resources is a common trigger for conflict in many places When I was in Uganda I saw the immense impact that climate change and biodiversity loss have on people s lives says Anna Merrifield director of the newly created Unit for Climate and Environment Diplomacy at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Anna Merrifield has been a diplomat for nearly two decades She has worked at the Finnish embassies in Tunisia and South Africa among other countries She served as Deputy Head of the European Union Delegation in Uganda as her last assignment The four years in Uganda confirmed Merrifield s view of the importance of climate and environmental issues for development policy and more broadly for foreign policy Developing countries need us to help them adapt to the challenges and problems created by climate change says Ella Merrifield A key learning from the years in Africa was understanding the disparity of perspectives In Europe most news coverage now focuses on household energy concerns They are important problems for people and can affect the daily lives of all of us However they are also global concerns as the Russian invasion of Ukraine is having dramatic adverse effects in Africa Asia and the Middle East In many countries first the pandemic took away jobs and then the drought wiped out crops Now the price of food has reached a level that forces people to choose between school fees and food Merrifield describes the worsening of food security in the world We must show the developing countries that we have not forgotten them now that the Europeans have had to focus on Ukraine and on counteracting the effects that Russia s aggression is having on Europe Quick action needed to adapt to climate change Drought and joblessness are driving migration flows first to big African cities and then to Europe Climate issues are also part of foreign and security policy That is why people in Finland should be interested in them For example the current water crisis in China may have greater consequences for the global economy than the COVID 19 pandemic says Merrifield Finland has invested heavily in climate action in recent years About 12 percent of Finland s development cooperation allocations go directly to climate projects Climate resilience and environmental protection are also cross cutting objectives of development cooperation Finland is ready to increase its annual share of international climate finance to around 200 million in the coming years At the COP27 climate change conference in Egypt this November we expect developing countries to demand significant increases in financing for climate change adaptation says Merrifield As the new Director of the Unit Merrifield wants to integrate international environmental and climate issues into mainstream foreign policy Climate diplomacy is already part of all our work In the future we should pay more attention to safeguarding biodiversity because it is our livelihood says Merrifield Finland has a lot to offer not only in terms of policies but also as a solution provider and promoter of sustainable climate and energy policies The new unit will focus on bringing different areas of policy and solutions to the same table By working together we can be a bigger global player than our size suggests says the new Unit Director
Climate is also a matter of security policy

1 “The struggle over natural resources is a common trigger for conflict in many places.

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2 When I was in Uganda, I saw the immense impact that climate change and biodiversity loss have on people’s lives,” says Anna Merrifield, director of the newly created Unit for Climate and Environment Diplomacy at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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3 Anna Merrifield has been a diplomat for nearly two decades.

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4 She has worked at the Finnish embassies in Tunisia and South Africa, among other countries.

5 She served as Deputy Head of the European Union Delegation in Uganda as her last assignment.

6 The four years in Uganda confirmed Merrifield’s view of the importance of climate and environmental issues for development policy and, more broadly, for foreign policy.

7 “Developing countries need us to help them adapt to the challenges and problems created by climate change,” says Ella Merrifield.

8 A key learning from the years in Africa was understanding the disparity of perspectives.

9 “In Europe, most news coverage now focuses on household energy concerns.

10 They are important problems for people and can affect the daily lives of all of us.

11 However, they are also global concerns, as the Russian invasion of Ukraine is having dramatic adverse effects in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. In many countries, first the pandemic took away jobs and then the drought wiped out crops.

12 Now the price of food has reached a level that forces people to choose between school fees and food”, Merrifield describes the worsening of food security in the world.

13 “We must show the developing countries that we have not forgotten them now that the Europeans have had to focus on Ukraine and on counteracting the effects that Russia’s aggression is having on Europe.”

14 Quick action needed to adapt to climate change Drought and joblessness are driving migration flows, first to big African cities and then to Europe.

15 “Climate issues are also part of foreign and security policy.

16 That is why people in Finland should be interested in them.

17 For example, the current water crisis in China may have greater consequences for the global economy than the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Merrifield.

18 Finland has invested heavily in climate action in recent years.

19 About 12 percent of Finland’s development cooperation allocations go directly to climate projects.

20 Climate resilience and environmental protection are also cross-cutting objectives of development cooperation.

21 Finland is ready to increase its annual share of international climate finance to around €200 million in the coming years.

22 “At the COP27 climate change conference in Egypt this November, we expect developing countries to demand significant increases in financing for climate change adaptation,” says Merrifield.

23 As the new Director of the Unit, Merrifield wants to integrate international environmental and climate issues into mainstream foreign policy.

24 “Climate diplomacy is already part of all our work.

25 In the future, we should pay more attention to safeguarding biodiversity, because it is our livelihood,” says Merrifield.

26 “Finland has a lot to offer not only in terms of policies, but also as a solution provider and promoter of sustainable climate and energy policies.

27 The new unit will focus on bringing different areas of policy and solutions to the same table.

28 By working together, we can be a bigger global player than our size suggests,” says the new Unit Director.

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