15 October 2018

UN Security Council: Another step of integrating climate and security

In a historic vote adopted unanimously on the 24 May 2018, sponsored by Cote d’Ivoire, Kuwait, the Netherlands and Sweden, the UN Security Council (UNSC) recognized for the first time that armed conflict and violence are closely linked to food insecurity - a risk currently threatening millions of people.

Resolution 2417 aims at ending the use of starvation as a weapon of war and allowing for safe and unhindered access for humanitarian personnel to civilians in armed conflicts. Moreover, it is in line with previous resolutions such as the Resolution 2408 on Somalia or 2349 on the Sahel region that underline and add non-traditional security issues to the Council’s agenda.

Climate change related issues at the Council have always contentiously been discussed since some prominent members see them outside of the Council’s agenda. Nevertheless, several European as well as developing states aim to push the UNSC toward a more active role in addressing climate change, particularly when progress on climate action seems to slow in the international context. Of particular interest is here the statement of the Russian Federation – which is usually reluctant to discuss climate change at the Council:

“We continue to believe that the problem of food security is complex and involves many factors. Armed conflicts are only one of the issues that can have a negative effect on supplying a population with food. We also have to take into account important factors such as fluctuations in the global price of raw materials and food, imbalances in global food distribution, the consequences of natural disasters, and climate change.” 

So, while this is still far from articulating an official and inclusive position of the Council on climate security, it is another step toward integrating climate change and more hard security topics.