05 July 2018

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

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

On the 28th of June, The United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 2423 which further extended the MINUSMA mandate (UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali). This is in consonance with the Presidential Statement on West Africa that included climate change as a risk factor in Western Africa. The impact of climate change and related environmental stresses such as land degradation on instability and conflict risk was also recognised in the recent UNSC Resolution 2417 on Somalia and the 2017 resolution 2349 on Lake Chad. It is the first time a UN Mission is asked to include the impacts of climate change on the security situation of the country they operate in explicitly in their activities.

The mandate was extended by one year and focuses on the need to help build state authority, promote stabilization and the safeguarding of human rights. New is that this resolution also includes “the security impact of climate change and other environmental factors” in the region. Indeed, the text calls upon MINUSMA and Mali to consider these factors. It expresses the Council’s concern over the deteriorating situation of civilian protection in central Mali in those terms:

Recognizing the adverse effects of climate change, ecological changes and natural disasters, among other factors, on the stability of Mali, including through drought, desertification, land degradation and food insecurity, and emphasizing the need for adequate risk assessment and risk management strategies by the government of Mali and the United Nations relating to these factors”

Strengthening Climate Sensitive Development in Mali is one of the objectives of the Hague Declaration on Planetary Security. By recognizing the need of the Malian government and their partners on the ground to channel risk management to deal with these factors, this extended mandate of MINUSMA helps to focus attention at countering tension that emerge from natural resource scarcity. Recently the climate-security nexus was also included in the EU's Sahel Strategy.

In several PSI publication we have underlined that the path to stability in Mali is closely tied to ecological change. We have pointed to the conflicts between herders and farmers, the issue of land rights and the resulting communal tensions. We also pointed out what the EU can do to address climate-related security risks. In yet another publication we analysed the potential for landscape restoration projects supporting security and migration policy objectives as a means to bring perspective to the African countryside.

PSI closely follows the emergence of climate-security as a more structural element of the UNSC's agenda regarding most vulnerable areas (e.g in a policy brief on the perspective of small island states on this issue). The establishment of an institutional home for climate-security is another objective of the Hague Declaration on Planetary Security. On 11 July the UNSC will hold another debate on the relationship between climate change and security under the auspices of the Swedish Presidency.