The UN Security Council is set to vote on a resolution calling for stepped-up international efforts to understand and respond to the implications of climate change for peace and security. Ireland and Niger, two elected members of the body, put the draft “in blue” – meaning the text is in near-final form – late on 6 December. On 9 December, Nigerien President Mohamed Bazoum will preside over a Council session on climate change and terrorism. A vote on the draft resolution could come as soon as 10 December, or early next week. The draft resolution includes a series of proposals to make the UN’s analysis of climate security more systematic. It calls on UN Secretary-General António Guterres to deliver a report on the security implications of climate change for the regions and countries on the Council’s agenda by December 2023. It also asks UN peacekeeping and political missions to pay more attention to climate-related risks in their areas of operation.
While twelve of the fifteen Security Council members – including the UK, France and the U.S. – support the resolution, three have expressed opposition to it. These include China and Russia, which could veto the text, and India, which cannot but carries weight in climate-related discussions as a major developing economy and influential player in United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) debates.
Noting the IPCC’s recent report that the 1.5 degrees centigrade warming limit set by the Paris Agreement is likely to be exceeded by 2040, it is essential that the world prepares itself for the security consequences of accelerated climate change. This resolution has the potential to both put the UN’s engagement on climate-related risks on a sounder footing and stimulate international debate about these threats to peace and security. Therefore, the states that back the resolution would be well served by throwing their weight behind its passage.
This article was adapted from the original International Crisis Group article.