18 February 2021
  • climate security
  • UK
  • UNSC

British Prime Minister to lead UNSC debate on climate security

If anything, the coronavirus pandemic and the start to 2021 have highlighted how climate change is worsening security situations across the planet. On the 23rd February British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will chair a specially convened debate of the United Nations Security Council on the topic, in accordance with Britain’s presidency this month of the council. We will be live-tweeting the event. Stay tuned and follow us on Twitter @PlanSec

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In particular, this debate will focus on identifying and understanding the linkages between Covid-19, conflict and climate, in the words of British Ambassador to the UN, Barbara Woodward. The nexus of climate and security is of enhanced importance, especially in the run-up to November’s UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, United Kingdom (COP 26). UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is expected to be a briefer, amongst others.


For more information on the UN Security Council’s engagement with climate security, please see below for the PSI’s previous coverage:

Will climate change security risk be a topic for the UN Security Council?

Held on 24 July 2020: Germany, as a non-permanent member, attempted to set-up a system of monitoring for climate change-related conflicts. Despite not getting the motion passed, the election of Biden as president could mean more traction on this topic in the future (This article was published prior to the actual debate).

Climate as slow motion version of Corona? UN Security Council debate on climate-security

Held on 22 April 2020: The purpose of this UNSC debate was to forge an understanding of climate-related security risks; no consensus on concrete steps forward was approved due to contrasting positions from China, Russia and the rest of the UNSC.

Momentum builds for UN Security Council action on “multitude” of climate-related threats

Held on 25 January 2019: The Dominican Republic’s presidency organised a special session where over 80 member states joined, in particular SIDS (Small Island Developing States), who are disproportionately impacted by climate change. Among the calls from members were climate-sensitive risk assessments, conflict analysis and early warning capacity, and better coordination with other UN bodies addressing climate change.

Climate Security takes centre stage at UNSC

Held on 11 July 2018. The purpose of this UNSC debate was to forge an understanding of climate-related security risks with a view to advance strategies on prevention and management of conflict. 

UNSC extends MINUSMA Mandate to include climate security aspects for the first time

Held on 28 June 2018. The UNSC unanimously adopted Resolution 2423, which further extended the MINUSMA mandate (UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali). This aligns with the Presidential Statement on West Africa that included climate change as a risk factor in Western Africa

UNSC reaffirms climate change as a driver of fragility and conflict

Held on 31 March 2018. The UNSC voted unanimously the Resolution 2408, reaffirming climate change as one of the factors that destabilize the region and induce conflict in Somalia. The resolution is in line with the recent statements on the alarming shrinking of the Lake Chad and its consequences on the stability of the Sahel region.


To read the PSI's last report on climate security and the UNSC, please click here


Photo Credits: Mat Reding/Unsplash.com