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To the UN Security Council: Connect Food Security with Climate Security
By Steve Brock and Deborah Loomis
The United States has made food security a key theme of its UN Security Council Presidency for the month of March, and today will chair a UNSC open debate on the links between conflict and food security. In many ways, the Council’s focus on food security is a closely-related continuation of the UK’s emphasis on climate security during its presidency last month. The World Climate and Security Report 2020 identified the deep linkages between climate change consequences and food insecurity across all regions of the globe.
According to the Global Report on Food Crises for 2020, over 135 million people faced acute food insecurity in 2019. The report characterized what it considered significant drivers of acute food insecurity as: conflict (affecting 77 million people in 22 countries), weather extremes (affecting some 34 million people in 25 countries), and economic shocks (affecting 24 million people in eight countries).(more…)
Climate Security at the UNSC: Opportunities for US Action in March
By Erin Sikorsky, Steve Brock, Francesco Femia, Rachel Fleishman, and Caitlin Werrell
“No one country can solve the climate crisis on its own. It’s exactly the kind of challenge the United Nations was created to solve.” – U.S. Special Envoy John Kerry, UNSC High Level Meeting on Climate Security
On February 23, the UK capped off its February Presidency of the UN Security Council (UNSC) by hosting a high-level meeting on climate security, chaired by Prime Minister Boris Johnson. At the meeting, Johnson noted, “it is absolutely clear that climate change is a threat to our collective security and the security of our nations….climate change is a geopolitical issue every bit as much as it is an environmental one. And if this Council is going to succeed in maintaining peace and security worldwide then it’s got to galvanise the whole range of UN agencies and organisations into a swift and effective response.”
What might such a swift and effective response look like? As the United States assumes the UNSC Presidency in March, it has an opportunity to turn the speeches at the UK-led meeting into lasting action. The Presidency will be Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield’s first chance to advance President Biden’s repeated pledges to put climate change at the center of U.S. foreign policy. Possible activities the US could consider, in support of its broader whole-of-government strategy as outlined in the Executive Order on the climate crisis, are the following:(more…)
UN Security Council on Climate and Security from 2017-2019
On January 25, 2019 the Dominican Republic, during its month-long presidency of the UN Security Council (UNSC), hosted an “open debate” on climate change and security, which featured a number of important moments. The World Meteorological Organization publicly addressed the UNSC for the first time in its history, and a number of countries (among them France, the UK, Germany, Peru, Poland and Belgium) called for the UNSC to establish increased analytical capacities for addressing climate risks to international security, such as a “clearing house” for data and information, including an early warning system and an annual report on climate and security to be delivered by the UN secretary general to the UNSC. These calls were consistent with the Center for Climate and Security’s “Responsibility to Prepare” recommendations delivered to the UNSC in December 2017, especially those on “institutionalization” and “rapid response” which recommended that the UN develop “Climate Security Crisis Watch Centers” to keep the UNSC informed. (more…)
Two Days of Climate and Security Action in the UN Security Council and Japan
By Shiloh Fetzek, Sherri Goodman and John Conger
Within 24 hours of each other, three significant security events will take place in New York, Brussels and Tokyo. On July 11/12, Sweden leads a debate in the UN Security Council on climate and security, the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs convenes a major conference on the same subject, and the NATO Summit begins in Brussels.
Climate change will be front and center at the first two of these, but likely not as front and center at the third.
The UN Security Council debate on July 11 is the culmination of two years of effort by Sweden to mainstream climate change into the work of the UN Security Council, making it fit for purpose in a climate-shaped security environment. Sweden managed to catalyze action and create significant momentum during their two-year term as a nonpermanent member of the Council, momentum which is likely to bridge the transition to new non-permanent members in 2019 – particularly Germany and Belgium. This follows on the Arria Formula Dialogue last December and almost a decade worth of work to address climate security risks at the UN Security Council. (more…)