The UN Security Council (UNSC) is hosting an “Arria” meeting today titled ‘Preparing for the security implications of rising temperatures.’ Click here for the livestream at 3pm EST, and here for the official announcement. The meeting, co-hosted by Italy, Sweden, Morocco, the UK, the Netherlands, Peru, Japan, France, the Maldives and Germany, aims to facilitate a practical discussion about the tools the UN requires to address the security implications of climate change. Briefers for the meeting include Halbe Zijlstra, Netherlands Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Caitlin Werrell, Co-founder and President of the Center for Climate and Security (CCS). Caitlin Werrell, at the invitation of the meeting’s co-hosts, will be presenting its Responsibility to Prepare agenda framework for elevating international attention to the security implications of climate change. The framework calls for the climate-proofing of all security institutions at international, regional and national levels.
BACKGROUND: The meeting marks a break from tradition. To date, the UN Security Council has largely addressed climate change as a means of raising awareness. However, this year the Council passed the first resolution, ‘Peace and Security in Africa,” recognizing a need to include climate risk assessments and risk management strategies in responses to managing security risks. Friday’s Arria meeting demonstrates a commitment from a growing number of countries to take this a step further by discussing how to institutionalize that concern within the UN system (incidentally, just as the U.S. President signed into law a defense bill declaring climate change a threat to national security).
Currently, there is no institutional structure or designated leadership within the UN system to help assess, prepare for and address the security implications of a changing climate. The Responsibility to Prepare agenda framework, which is built on the concept that we are facing unprecedented risks, but also have unprecedented foresight capabilities, offers a roadmap for climate-proofing international, regional and national security institutions. This includes a call for an institutional home for climate and security (including a Climate and Security Crisis Watch Center), as well as a senior “Climate Change and Security” position, reporting directly to the UN Secretary General and communicating regularly to the UN Security Council.
This event follows the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs-hosted Planetary Security Conference, where a declaration calling for an institutional home on climate-security in the UN system was signed by more than 70 leading experts on climate security. The Center for Climate and Security is a consortium partners for the Planetary Security Initiative that organized the conference.
For more, see our Responsibility to Prepare program.