Jens Stoltenberg, Secretary-General of NATO

Published on10 MAR 2021

In this episode of Talks at GS, Jens Stoltenberg, Secretary-General of NATO, discusses his career in domestic and international politics, the shifting balance of global power around the world, and the evolving role of NATO in tackling climate change as a security threat.

On the transition from Norwegian politics to NATO: “I think the most important thing I bring from Norwegian politics is the importance of compromise. To understand that when there are different views, different interests, the main task of a political leader is to find a way to reconcile the different views and to create some kind of unity so we, as a country, can move forward in Norway. But this is even more so in NATO because in national politics, the majority can always vote [for] a bill or legislation in the Parliament, in United States, in Norway and in all the democratic parliaments. While in NATO, we need consensus. We need all to agree. So the need to see the beauty and the strength of a compromise is even bigger and more important in NATO.”

On NATO’s response to climate change: “NATO is a military and political alliance, but our main responsibility is to preserve peace, to provide security and to maintain those strong commitments to defend and protect each other. So therefore some people ask us, does climate change matter for NATO? And the answer is yes, because climate change matters for security. Climate change—global warming—is what we call a crisis multiplier. It will increase the competition for scarce resources for water, for land; it will force people to move a migration, and we have already seen the analysis about the conflict in the Sahel region in Syria. It’s partly fueled by climate change. I'm not saying that climate change is the only reason for crisis and conflict, but it may exacerbate and fuel and multiply the consequences of different conflicts in many places in the world.”



This session was recorded on on March 05, 2021.





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