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Deepening UN Action on Climate Security

US President Joe Biden Addresses the UN General Assembly, 21 Sept 2021. Photo Credit UN Photo/Ariana Lindquist.

As the high-level meetings of the 76th UN General Assembly kick off this week, climate change is front and center. Secretary-General Guterres led with a strong call to action, saying “The world must wake up,” to the, “the greatest cascade of crises in our lifetimes.” On Thursday, the UN Security Council (UNSC) prepares to debate climate security again. Ahead of the meeting, it’s useful to examine how the UN can drive action to match the ambition of past verbal commitments. How can it implement climate security practices to address the increasing risks to peace posed by rising temperatures? The 2021 World Climate and Security Report, released in June of this year, has some answers to this question, which we have excerpted below: 

The UN system has long led the global effort on negotiated reductions in national emissions. With key nations and other multilateral institutions unable or unwilling to act, the UN process has persevered in keeping negotiated climate action on the global agenda. With political will now building within its most powerful members, the UN-led international system must seize the initiative to address all aspects of climate change drawing on the core tenets of its founding principles: peace, security, sovereignty, and human rights. It must adapt and update treaties and protocols that govern the global commons and shared environmental resources. 

There are important steps all UN member states can take within their regional blocks and in the General Assembly to advocate for climate security integration into UN institutions and processes. These longer-term actions will require sustained commitment and coalition-building to enact. Broad-based support will be especially critical in the UN General Assembly’s Fifth Committee which has authority over budget and management issues. These steps include: 

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EVENT: Ticking Clock-The Intersection of Climate & Security

The French Institute for International and Strategic Affairs (IRIS) and the Center for Climate and Security (CCS) with the support of the US Embassy in France, are pleased to invite you to the webconference Ticking Clock: The Intersection of Climate and Security, on 14 September 2021, 6:30 PM CEST/12:30 PM ET.

Please click here to RSVP.

Introductory Remarks: Elizabeth Martin-Shukrun, Cultural Advisor at the US Embassy in France

Speakers:

Adrien Esteve, Postdoctoral Researcher at Sciences Po, Center for International Studies (CERI)

Kate Guy, Senior Research Fellow at CCS & Deputy Director of the International Military Council on Climate and Security

Erin Sikorsky, Director of CCS & International Military Council on Climate and Security

Julia Tasse, Head of the Climate and Energy Program at IRIS

Chair: Sofia Kabbej, Research Fellow on Climate, Security & Geoengineering at IRIS

Secretary of Defense Carter: the “growing strategic impact of climate change”

ash_carter_dod_secretary_portraitU.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter made a recent statement at the Shangri-la Dialogue in Singapore, calling for a “principled security network” for the Asia-Pacific region – one that could collectively address the region’s myriad security challenges – including “the growing strategic impact of climate change.” Rather than ranking threats against each other, which tends to miss the integrated nature of the security landscape, Secretary Carter places climate change within the broader context of a range of pressing security threats and opportunities facing the region, that will be best addressed through a cooperative approach: (more…)

Rear Admiral Jonathan White, USN (Ret) Joins the Center for Climate and Security Advisory Board

JWW - Bio Pic - 3The Center for Climate and Security is honored to welcome Rear Admiral Jonathan White, United States Navy (Retired), as the newest member of its distinguished Advisory Board.

Jon White joined the Consortium for Ocean Leadership in Sep 2015 as the Vice President for Ocean Science and Strategy.  Prior to this he had a distinguished 32-year career in the U.S. Navy and retired at the rank of Rear Admiral.

White’s passion for the ocean and science began at a very early age as he grew up near Florida’s Gulf coast.  He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Oceanographic Technology from the Florida Institute of Technology in 1981 and holds a master’s degree in Meteorology and Oceanography from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School.  After working at sea as a civilian oceanographer on board a seismic survey vessel, he was commissioned through Navy Officer Candidate School in 1983, and served for as a surface warfare officer for four years. (more…)

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