TWN Info Service on Climate Change (Jul11/06)
25 July 2011
Third World Network
voices concern over long-term adverse effects of climate change
Published in SUNS #7196 dated 22 July 2011
Geneva, 21 Jul (Chakravarthi Raghavan*) -- The
UN Security Council, after some prolonged consultations, issued 20 July
evening a statement by the President, expressing concern that the possible
adverse effects of climate change could, in the long-run, aggravate
certain existing threats to international peace and security and that
the loss of territory in some States due to sea-level rise, particularly
in small low-lying island States, could have possible security implications.
In a statement read out by Council President for July, Peter Wittig
of Germany, the 15-member body, following a day-long debate on "maintenance
of international peace and security: the impact of climate change",
noted that "conflict analysis and contextual information"
on, among others, the "possible security implications of climate
change" was important when climate issues drove conflict, challenged
implementation of Council mandates or endangered peace processes.
In that context, the Security Council asked the Secretary-General to
ensure that his reporting to the Council contained such contextual information.
Moreover, the Council recognized the responsibility for climate change
and other sustainable development issues conferred upon the General
Assembly and the Economic and Social Council, and it underlined the
Assembly's 2009 resolution that reaffirmed the United Nations Framework
Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) as the key instrument for addressing
Several of the key members of the Council, apart from permanent members
Russia and China, including Brazil, India and South Africa made clear
that climate change should remain within the remit of the General Assembly,
and that the Security Council, which can authorise peacekeeping missions,
or use of force and sanctions, was ill-equipped to deal with this issue.
According to a UN press release, the Presidential Statement, adopted
after a day-long debate, came after the Western-backed initial statement
asserting a link between climate change and security, was rejected by
Russia, a veto-wielding
The final statement came after Russia
had agreed, in prolonged negotiations with Germany, to a weaker text about long-term
implications and for the UN Secretary-General to keep this in mind in
drawing up his periodical reports.
While China and Russia were fundamentally opposed to the issue
being brought on the Council's agenda or for discussions there, Brazil, India
and South Africa
took a slightly nuanced position.
for example, said that while it did not have any problems discussing
the issue, the 15-member body does not have the tools to deal with the
issue. Any actions could only be taken by the UNFCCC.
Climate change, Brazil,
India and South Africa, in their interventions,
insisted needed to stay in the realm of the General Assembly and the
A large number of developing countries and groups of them also rejected
the notion that the climate change issue belonged to the Security Council
agenda, and said that it should continue to be dealt with by the UNFCCC
and the General Assembly.
also cautioned against efforts of some countries to do "a mandate
creep", and get more and more issues into the Security Council.
The Presidential Statement said:
"The Security Council reaffirms its primary responsibility under
the Charter of the United Nations for the maintenance of international
peace and security. The Council stresses the importance of establishing
strategies of conflict prevention.
"The Security Council recognizes the responsibility for sustainable
development issues, including climate change, conferred upon the General
Assembly and the Economic and Social Council.
"The Security Council underlines General Assembly resolution 63/281
of 3 June 2009, which: reaffirms that the United Nations Framework Convention
on Climate Change is the key instrument for addressing climate change;
recalls the provisions of the UNFCCC, including the acknowledgement
that the global nature of climate change calls for the widest possible
cooperation by all countries and their participation in an effective
and appropriate international response, in accordance with their common
but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities and
their social and economic conditions; and invites the relevant organs
of the United Nations, as appropriate and within their respective mandates
to intensify their efforts in considering and addressing climate change,
including its possible security implications.
"The Security Council notes General Assembly resolution 65/159
of 20 December 2010, entitled ęProtection of global climate for present
and future generations of humankind'.
"The Security Council notes that, in response to the request contained
in General Assembly resolution 63/281, the Secretary General submitted
a report to the General Assembly on ęClimate change and its possible
security implications' (A/64/350).
"The Security Council expresses its concern that possible adverse
effects of climate change may, in the long run, aggravate certain existing
threats to international peace and security.
"The Security Council expresses its concern that possible security
implications of loss of territory of some States caused by sea-level
rise may arise, in particular in small low-lying island States.
"The Security Council notes that in matters relating to the maintenance
of international peace and security under its consideration, conflict
analysis and contextual information on, inter alia, possible security
implications of climate change is important, when such issues are drivers
of conflict, represent a challenge to the implementation of Council
mandates or endanger the process of consolidation of peace. In this
regard, the Council requests the Secretary-General to ensure that his
reporting to the Council contains such contextual information."
(* Chakravarthi Raghavan is Editor Emeritus of the SUNS.) +
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