With climate change increasingly being seen as a security issue, we ask what role the United Nations Security Council could and should play. To answer this question, we are joined on the Climate Diplomacy Podcast by UN expert and Chatham House Associate Fellow Oli Brown. In this podcast, Oli explains some of the challenges that the UN Security Council has had in tackling climate change and outlines the prospects for action in the future.
“I want you to panic”. This was the message that 16 year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg gave to the World Economic Forum in Davos on 25 January, and in it she struck right to the intergenerational justice issue at the heart of the sustainability project.
A recent report by the UNEP focuses on addressing trade in wildlife and forest products across the three sectors of crime prevention and criminal justice, trade regulation and natural resource management. It finds that there is less focus on the legislative means for preventing offenses related to trade in wildlife and forest products and more attention on the means for detecting and punishing such offenses.
Climate change has been identified and recognized as a security issue and a threat multiplier by the international community, and climate security is now an integral part of security agendas in key international fora from New York to The Hague and Munich. As 2019 kicks off, action and implementation on climate security take centre stage.
Initiated in 2015, the French Ministry for the Armed Forces organized the first international conference “Defence and climate: what are the stakes?”. Since then, the Ministry has been constantly adapting and developing its capacity of anticipation.
On 25 January 2019, the UN Security Council held an open debate to discuss the security implications of climate-related disaster events. The meeting, initiated by the Dominican Republic, underscored the global nature of climate-related disasters. Most speakers highlighted the need for better climate risk management as an important contribution to safeguarding international peace and security. The debate marks the beginning of a year in which climate security ranks high on the UN’s agenda.
The report, requested by the US Congress in 2017, drew sharp criticism for being too thin on details and failing to show which bases are most at risk across the military.
The challenge of peacebuilding missions is not only to stop violence and prevent a rekindling of conflict, but also to help societies and governments reset their internal relations on a peaceful path towards sustaining peace. In the short run, it might be tempting to dismiss environmental issues when considering the insurmountable task of building peace after armed conflict. Yet, it is increasingly clear that the interaction between social, political, and ecological processes decisively shapes the post-conflict landscape.
Although water is an essential input for agriculture and industrial production, it is also scarce in many regions. When it crosses international borders via shared rivers, lakes and aquifers, it can become a source of conflict and contention. Yet while water can be a source of instability, especially in the face of climate change, it can also be a source or catalyst for cooperation and even peace.
The Global Climate Action Summit has created a subtle, yet resonating effect on international climate diplomacy. Arguably, its biggest contribution lies in reaffirming the active role of the US in climate action – a refreshing sign of political maturity and environmental responsibility in Trumpian times.
Linking the Atlantic and Pacific oceans across the Latin American landmass has often been presented as one of the holy grails of development for the region. While China’s idea of a ‘Nicaraguan Canal’ has made headlines globally, another major infrastructure project is in the works further south: the Bi-Oceanic Railway. The idea has already spurred transboundary environmental cooperation, but the public is still in the dark.
As opposed to China’s Belt and Road Initiative, India could lead a campaign for climate-responsible international development cooperation, shifting from coal to renewables domestically and promoting the values of the International Solar Alliance globally.
Using a progressive environmental security concept can help to tackle a range of environmental issues related to armed conflict, such as deforestation, loss of biodiversity, tensions over natural resources, conflict pollution, and damage to ecosystems. The environment can actually play a role in peacebuilding. This article briefly outlines why such an inclusive and environmental protection approach is needed and how it could be implemented.
A recently published paper by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) has focused on the under-researched topic of how climate change impacts may affect violence in South and Southeast Asia. Titled “Climate change and violent conflict: Sparse evidence from South Asia and South East Asia”, the report highlights how little work has been done in looking at climate change and its possible impact on security in the most densely populated regions on the planet.
Members of the European Parliament voted on Wednesday (10 October) in favour of increasing the EU’s Paris Agreement emissions pledge by 2020. They also urged the European Commission to make sure its long-term climate strategy models net-zero emissions for 2050 “at the latest”.