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Is it Time to “Climatize” the UN Security Council?
By Mark Nevitt
Earlier this week, the UN Security Council failed to pass a draft resolution that would have defined climate change as a “threat to peace” within Article 39 of the UN Charter. Under international law, this critical threat to peace determination acts as a key that opens the door to supplemental legal authorities. But this resolution, co-sponsored by Ireland and Niger, was vetoed by Russia, one of the Council’s five permanent members (“P5”). By defining climate change as a threat to the peace, the Council could have sent an important signal that climate change is squarely within its ambit while setting the stage for follow-on action.(more…)
From Analysis to Action: Two Events on Climate Security Next Steps
In the wake of the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of Parties (COP26) and the Biden Administration’s release of a suite of climate security documents, the Center for Climate and Security is hosting two virtual events to put the latest developments in context. Both sessions will tackle how the US government can move from analysis to action on climate security. We hope you can join us for these important discussions.
12 November – Climate Security After the COP: Next Steps for the United States
This joint event held by the Center for Climate and Security with the Wilson Center will feature senior US government officials from the Department of Defense, National Security Council and USAID responsible for implementing the Biden Administration’s “whole of government” response to climate security.
12 November 2021
9:30-11:00 AM EST
RSVP and speaker details here.
17 November — From Analysis to Action: Integrating Climate Security into the National Security and National Defense Strategies
This discussion will feature experts from the Council on Strategic Risks’s Center for Climate and Security and Converging Risks Lab, and the US Institute of Peace discussing the integration of climate security considerations into the U.S. National Security Strategy and National Defense Strategy.
Questions for discussion include: Why is mainstreaming climate change analysis across security and peacebuilding strategies so important? What opportunities are afforded by bringing a “climate lens” to national security? How can the findings of the newest reports released by the Biden Administration help move this important work forward?
17 November 2021
1:30-3:00 PM EST
RSVP and speaker details here.
Deepening UN Action on Climate Security
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:(more…)
New report on the UN Security Council’s work on climate security published
This is a cross-post from the Planetary Security Initiative
In the past 18 months, the emergence of climate security as a mainstreamed and core risk for national governments and IGOs has accelerated. In particular, the UN Security Council (UNSC) is becoming more cognizant of climate change being a core security risk that should be under the remit of the organ and subsequently integrated into peacekeeping considerations and mission deployments.
A new report just published by “Security Council Report” is a first comprehensive analysis on the centrality and action of the UNSC, commissioned by the member states of the ‘Group of Friends on Climate and Security’. It seems to fill the void of no official UNSC report existing yet on the topic. The overarching message is that the issue is becoming increasingly talked about and embedded within the UN, but that disagreements over climate change’s impacts on security and whether it should be dealt with by a security organ persist. The Security Council itself has seen 2 debates hosted on climate security in 2020 and 2021 respectively and the establishment of an Informal Expert Group to push for greater focus on the UNSC attention on climate security.(more…)