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Stella Schaller, adelphi
© Kevin Gong/Flickr [CC BY 2.0]

Understanding climate risks is crucial to ensuring effective and sustainable conflict prevention. On 11 July, Sweden will hold the first meeting in the UN Security Council since 2011 on climate-related security risks, to better understand how climate change impacts security, and enhance UN responses across the conflict cycle.

The relevance of climate change for peace and security has been a topic at the highest level within the UN on numerous occasions. The UN Security Council first considered climate change in April 2007 at the request of the United Kingdom. Two years later, in June 2009, the UN General Assembly passed resolution A/RES/63/281, proposed by several small island states, which asked the UN Secretary-General to produce a comprehensive report on climate change and its possible security implications. Published in September 2009, the report (A/64/350) highlighted climate change as a ‘threat multiplier’ with the potential to exacerbate existing threats to international peace and security.

In recognition of the growing security concerns posed by climate change, the German Presidency of the Security Council took the initiative to consolidate the topic within the United Nations framework by calling an Open Debate on the impact of climate change on the maintenance of international peace and security in July 2011.

During the last 18 months, the Council has also recognized the adverse effects of climate change and ecological changes on stability in several country-specific and regional contexts, such as the Lake Chad region (S/RES/2349), Somalia (S/RES/2408), and West Africa and the Sahel (S/PRST/2018/3).

Throughout these months, Sweden has been at the forefront of efforts to recognize that climate change and its negative impacts are no longer abstract but a present-day existential threat, with clear implications for peace and security. The meeting on 11 July will be chaired by Sweden’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Ms. Margot Wallström, with briefings from:

  • The UN Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed;
  • Minister of Water Resources of the Republic of Iraq, H.E. Hassan Janabi; and,
  • Civil society representative Ms. Hindou Ibrahim, Coordinator of the Indigenous Women and Peoples’ Association of Chad.

Adaptation & Resilience
Sustainable Transformation
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UN Environment

More than 4,700 delegates, including environment ministers, scientists, academics, business leaders and civil society representatives, met in Nairobi for the UN Environment Assembly, the world’s top environmental body whose decisions will set the global agenda, notably ahead of the UN Climate Action Summit in September.

Climate Change
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Europe
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European Commission

Mid february, the EU's foreign affairs ministers welcomed the Commission’s strategic long-term vision for a climate neutral Europe. Ministers also called for urgent and decisive action to strengthen the global response on climate change and restated the EU’s determination to lead the way on accelerated climate action on all fronts.

Adaptation & Resilience
Cities
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Daria Ivleva, adelphi

In an increasingly urbanised world, global resilience cannot be achieved without cities. Separating a local from a national or international sustainability issue is increasingly difficult – be it climate change, migration, or economic development.

Adaptation & Resilience
Climate Change
Climate Diplomacy
Development
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Dr. Dhanasree Jayaram

Climate diplomacy needs to release itself from the shackles of ‘systemic’ politics in order to achieve a climate agenda that is driven by human security interests, including equity and justice, and strengthen climate change initiatives at local, national and regional levels, in order to bridge the gap caused by the slow pace of progress at the international level.