Russia vetoed first UN Security Council resolution making climate change a threat to international peace and security
NEW YORK – Russia on Monday vetoed a UN Security Council resolution, the first of its kind, making climate change a threat to international peace and security, a vote that thwarted an effort years to put global warming at the center of decisions. make it into the most powerful organ of the UN.
Led by Ireland and Niger, the proposal called for “integrating information on the security implications of climate change” into the Council’s strategies for conflict management and in peacekeeping operations and political missions, at the same time. less sometimes. The measure also called on the UN secretary general to make climate-related security risks “a central part” of conflict prevention efforts and report on how to address those risks in specific hot spots.
“It is high time” that the main UN security body addressed the issue, Irish Ambassador Geraldine Byrne Nason said.
The council has at times discussed the security implications of climate change since 2007, and it has passed resolutions that mention the destabilizing effects of warming in specific locations, such as various African countries and Iraq. But Monday’s resolution would have been the first devoted to the climate-related security danger as a problem in its own right.
Stronger storms, rising seas, more frequent floods and droughts and other effects of global warming could escalate social tensions and conflicts, potentially “posing a major risk to global peace, security and stability”, according to the proposed resolution. Some 113 of the 193 member countries of the United Nations supported it, including 12 of the 15 members of the Council.
Their envoys said the issue should stay with broader UN groups, such as the Framework Convention on Climate Change. Adding climate change to the competence of the Security Council would only deepen the global divisions that were highlighted by last month’s climate talks in Glasgow, Scotland, opponents said. The talks ended with a deal that re-engaged a key goal to limit warming and broke new ground, but failed to meet the UN’s three big goals for the conference.
Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia complained that the resolution proposed on Monday would turn “a scientific and economic question into a politicized one”, divert the council’s attention from what he called “real” sources of conflict at various places and would give the council a pretext to intervene in virtually any country on the planet.
“This approach would be a time bomb,” he said.
India and China have questioned the idea of tying the conflict to climate, and they predicted problems for Glasgow’s engagements if the Security Council – a body that can impose sanctions and send in maintenance troops of peace – began to weigh more heavily.
“What the Security Council should do is not a political spectacle,” Chinese Ambassador Zhang Jun said.
Supporters of the measure have said it is a modest and reasonable step to take on an issue of existential importance.
“Today was an opportunity for the council to recognize, for the first time, the reality of the world we live in and that climate change increases insecurity and instability,” said Byrne Nason. “Instead, we have missed the opportunity to act and we are looking away from the realities of the world we live in.”
Supporters have vowed to keep the council’s eye on climate risks.
“The force of the veto can block the approval of a text”, declared the ambassador of Niger, Abdou Abarry, “but it cannot mask our reality”.