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Climate change and security: vote on a resolution – World

On Monday morning (December 13), the Security Council is expected to vote on a draft resolution on climate change and security which was co-authored by Ireland and Niger, the co-holders of the climate dossier. He says that the adverse effects of climate change can “lead … to social tensions …, exacerbating, prolonging or contributing to the risk of future conflicts and instability and posing a major risk to global peace, security and stability”. Negotiations on the draft text have been difficult and at the time of writing, the outcome of the vote is uncertain. If adopted, the draft resolution will be the first stand-alone thematic resolution linking climate change and the maintenance of international peace and security. The draft text is open to co-sponsorship by all UN members.

Draft resolution

The draft resolution in blue underlines the need for “a comprehensive and comprehensive United Nations approach to combat climate change and its effects”. It recognizes that several factors, including floods and drought, depleted freshwater resources, desertification, land degradation and sea level rise, can lead to water scarcity, food insecurity and large-scale displacement, increasing the risk of conflict and instability. These factors, notes the draft text, particularly affect women, children, ethnic minorities and the most vulnerable.

Several reporting requirements are contained in the draft resolution. It requests the Secretary-General to submit to the Council within two years a report “on the security implications of the adverse effects of climate change in specific country or region-specific contexts on the Council’s agenda. as well as recommendations on how climate-related security risks can be addressed ”. In addition, it requests the Secretary-General to include information on the security implications of climate change and recommendations to address them in his regular mission and thematic reports to the Security Council.

The draft text in blue also calls on the Secretary General “to integrate climate-related security risks as a central element in overall conflict prevention strategies”. It also encourages relevant United Nations peacekeeping operations and special political missions to deploy dedicated climate security capabilities and suggests that United Nations peacekeeping missions and United Nations country teams incorporate the implications of climate change. climate change on security in their assessments, analyzes and activities to avoid a resumption of conflict. Finally, he asks the Secretary-General to ensure that the personnel of the UN peace operations concerned have “appropriate training within the limits of existing resources on climate-related security risks”.


The dynamics of the Council on Climate and Security are difficult, as some Council members, including China and Russia, are skeptical about the Council’s engagement on this issue, especially at the thematic level. While the Security Council has held numerous thematic debates on climate and security issues since 2007, it has so far been unable to agree on a resolution addressing the issue. Negotiations on the draft blue text which is due to be voted on on Monday have also been difficult and lengthy.

Ireland and Niger circulated a draft resolution following a high-level meeting on September 23 open debate on climate and security organized by Ireland. The feather co-holders apparently based their text on a draft resolution that was proposed in 2020 by then-Council member Germany in cooperation with nine other Council members. A vote on this draft text was not taken due to strong resistance from China, Russia and the United States.

The co-holders convened a reading of the preliminary draft with all Council members on September 30, then held a round of negotiations on October 11. It appears that during the October 11 meeting, deep divisions in the Council on the issue became evident: 12 members — Estonia, France, Ireland, Kenya, Mexico, Niger, Norway, Tunisia, St. the Grenadines, UK, US and Viet Nam — expressed support for a more systematic integration of climate-related security risks into Council work, requiring only minor adjustments to the draft. China, India and Russia, however, have apparently expressed deep skepticism about the need for Council engagement on this issue. China appears to have expressed “strong reservations” about the need for such a resolution and Russia has said it will no longer commit to the text.

India and Russia have also apparently underscored their concerns over a “safe” approach to the issue, expressing concern that the Council may take coercive action to address the challenges posed by climate change. This position was made more explicit during a press briefing on November 30 with the deputy permanent representative of Russia, Dmitri Polyanskiy, who said that “bring climate issues to the Security Council and try to put in place a mechanism such as Chapter VII could be very dangerous ”.

The co-holders then placed a draft text under the silence procedure on November 29. China, India and Russia subsequently broke the silence, issuing almost identical letters to Council members opposing the draft resolution, arguing that there was “no clear scientific basis for it. equate climate change with security issues “. The letters expressed the view that the process led by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) – which includes annual meetings of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to this convention of the 197 member states – should be the discussion forum on climate change. .

The letters also argue that, unlike the broad membership of the UNFCCC and the inclusive process, the “limited participation and specific mandate” of the Security Council meant that it would be unfair for “a group of member states … Additional “dimensions” of climate change. and then impose their position on the rest of the members ”. A Security Council resolution on the issue would create, according to the three members, a separate process that “would only serve to sow the seeds of discord among the membership of the United Nations”.

It appears that after China, India and Russia broke the silence, the pen co-holders held a series of bilateral meetings with Russia between November 30 and December 3. An additional meeting – apparently between the co-holders of the pen and China, India and Russia – took place on December 6. It appears that the purpose of these meetings was to persuade the three members to support the draft resolution rather than to renegotiate the text. After the pen co-holders deleted language calling on the Secretary-General to consider appointing a special representative for climate-related security risks, a draft resolution was highlighted in blue on December 6, to be voted on on December 6. December 13.

On December 9, Russia circulated a draft presidential statement on the Sahel region as an apparent alternative to the co-thinkers’ draft resolution. It appears that Russia has indicated to some members of the Council that it may accept a product hinting at climate change that focuses on the Sahel region. The draft presidential statement is largely based on agreed language from previous Council products, including resolution 2349 of March 31, 2017 on the Lake Chad basin. The draft presidential statement refers to the “adverse effects of environmental deterioration, including climate change, on the stability of the [Sahel]”. At the time of writing, it appears that most Council members are unwilling to commit to the draft text as an alternative to the draft resolution in blue. It appears that some members may agree to discuss this as a separate product of the Council.

The positions of Council members and all UN members were again underlined at the high-level Council meeting on 9 December open debate on “security in the context of terrorism and climate change” organized by Niger. The majority of the 60 speakers present at the meeting expressed support for the proposed resolution. Nigerien President Mohamed Bazoum, who chaired the meeting, said it was “high time” for the Council to adopt the resolution to strengthen its understanding of the effects of climate change on peace and security.