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Addressing climate-related security risks to international peace and security through mitigation and resilience building

23 February 2021

This UNSC open debate is expected to consider conflict risks, peacebuilding approaches and ways to support adaptation and resilience in climate-vulnerable contexts.

In recent years, the Security Council has begun to focus increasingly on the negative security effects of climate change on various country- and region-specific files on its agenda. In 2020 alone, language on climate change was integrated into Council outcomes on the Central African Republic, Darfur, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali, Somalia, and West Africa. Frequently, this language has emphasised the need for adequate risk assessments and risk management strategies to cope with the adverse security effects of climate change and other environmental factors in particular situations.  

The awareness of the connection between climate change and security was also reflected in the signature events pursued by various Council presidents in the second half of 2020. The UK is continuing this trend with its February open debate. 

Council members and other member states might explore several key issues during the open debate. These include:    

  • the importance of developing the analytical capacities of the UN system to assess climate change-related security threats in fragile states and regions, provide the Security Council with useful information about these threats, and support states and regional organisations in developing and implementing actionable strategies to address them;  
  • the importance of developing synergies among states, regional and sub-regional organisations, and the UN system in managing and mitigating climate change-related security risks; and  
  • the need to determine how the Security Council, the peace operations it mandates, UN Country Teams, and the UN Secretariat can best collaborate to address such risks. 

[Event description excerpted from UNSC.]