On December 15, 2017, the UN Security Council (UNSC) hosted an “Arria” meeting titled ‘Preparing for the security implications of rising temperatures.’ Click here for a full video of the event, and here for a backgrounder. As noted in a previous post, the meeting was chaired by Italy, and co-hosted with Sweden, Morocco, the UK, the Netherlands, Peru, Japan, France, the Maldives and Germany. Briefers included 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, presented a Responsibility to Prepare agenda framework for elevating international attention to the security implications of climate change in an age of unprecedented risk and unprecedented foresight (read her prepared remarks here).
In the briefing, Werrell called for the climate-proofing of all security institutions at international, regional and national levels, citing 6 core principles to guide that process: routinizing, integrating, institutionalizing and elevating attention to climate and security issues, as well as developing rapid response mechanisms and contingencies for unintended consequences. In that context, Werrell supported the growing number of countries calling for an “institutional home” for climate and security within the UN system. See her full prepared remarks below.
Of note during the meeting were expressions of support for core elements of the Responsibility to Prepare agenda from a number of countries such as Canada (who singled out ‘mainstreaming/ integrating’), France, Italy (stating that all six principles should be considered and discussed), Japan, the Netherlands, Morocco, Norway (calling for institutionalization), Peru, Sweden, Senegal, Switzerland, the UK, Germany (explicitly supporting the routinization and institutionalization principles) and Ukraine, who made a strong plea for the UNSC to “step up to the challenge of climate change.”
Specific calls for an “institutional home” for climate and security within the UN were made by many countries, including Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the Maldives and Belgium (who both called for a Special Representative on Climate and Security).
Also of interest was a statement by the Russian ambassador declaring that the UNSC should consider climate change as it relates to specific countries already on the UNSC agenda, which seemed to signal an evolving approach to the issue.
The meeting reflected the reality that a growing number of countries want the UNSC to take concrete actions on climate and security, not simply raise awareness. An institutional home for climate and security at the UN would be a strong step in the direction of fulfilling a Responsibility to Prepare.
Watch the full Arria meeting here.
Read Caitlin Werrell’s prepared remarks here.