The impact of climate change on peace and conflict is a critical foreign policy challenge. Climate change compounds existing security risks, creating new and stronger pressures on communities and governments, making peace harder to maintain, achieve and sustain. The traditional perception that climate change falls under the exclusive responsibility of UN organs charged with matters of sustainable development is no longer tenable, as its impacts on and risks for international peace and security have become increasingly evident. Adequate responses to these challenges will involve the entire UN system and incorporate action from multiple organs throughout the conflict cycle – long before the outbreak of open violence, in reconstruction efforts as well as peacebuilding.
While UN organs shape large parts of the UN system’s response, other bodies also have a role to play. They can implement many of the tools discussed below and significantly contribute to improved responses. The inclusion of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change reflects its critical role in mitigating climate change and thereby climate-secrutiy risks. The graphic links these actions to the different phases of a conflict cycle and identifies those phases during which the interventions are most likely to achieve their desired outcomes. This briefer outlines the different sets of tools available to the organs in more detail and offers the rationale for implementing these actions in the future.