New Research Brief Offers a Roadmap for Security Council Members to Engage on Climate-Driven Security Risks

2 June 2023

Our new Research Brief Climate Change in the Security Council: Obstacles, Opportunities, and Options identifies entry points for engaging on environmental and climate security issues at the UN Security Council.

Authored by our Head of Research and Policy Studies Dr Erica Harper and Dr Adam Day, Head of the UN University Centre for Policy Research Geneva Office, this new paper provides policymakers in the environmental, human rights and security sectors and UN member states with a clear and realistic roadmap for the 2023–2024 period.

‘Placing climate change on the Council’s agenda is a complex and risky process, where several recent attempts to reach consensus have failed. These difficulties should, however, be set against a growing evidence based of the causal links between environmental change and security risks – with climate change acting as a threat multiplier – and the recent recognition of the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment’ explains Dr Harper.

Strategies to Overcome Challenges to Policy Uptake

The 13-page brief outlines a series of interim strategies – from pushing for an expanded Peacebuilding Commission mandate to leveraging the human right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment – to advance a climate priority in the Council.

‘Our approach and recommendations take into account existing challenges and geopolitical hurdles at the Council: we are very much aware that any approach to climate security will need to account for the risk that attempting ambitious action today could have the unintended consequences of setting issues backward’ explains Dr Day.

To contextualize its recommendations, the paper also provides an overview of the main causal pathways between climate change and insecurity, as well as a short history of how the Council has addressed climate change in the past, including a list of all its relevant climate-security events.

Beyond the Security Council

The paper will also be of interest to Geneva-based diplomats working at the UN Human Rights Council (HRC), UN Special Procedures mandate holders and HRC-mandated investigative bodies, including fact-finding missions and commissions of inquiry.

‘We need to better understand how issues of climate security are becoming increasingly relevant to the work of UN Special Procedures and investigative bodies, but also to reflect on the potential role that the HRC could play as a generator of information on environmental rights abuse and how this might feed conflict risk assessments and mitigation activities’ underlines Dr Harper.

Part of our Research on the Relationship between Conflict, Security and the Human Right to a Clean, Healthy and Sustainable Environment

This brief is the first output of our new research aimed at understanding the relationship between conflict, security and the human right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment.

‘Protection against climate change, environmental good governance and the promotion of the right to a healthy environment should thus be seen both as a tool of conflict prevention and key to conflict resolution and non-recidivism. To date, these causal relationships have not been sufficiently integrated into multilateral policy debates and decision-making processes. In response, this project will develop guidance to inform security, human rights and environmental debates on the linkages between environmental rights and conflict, and how their better management could be a tool in conflict prevention, resilience and early warning’ explains Dr Harper.

MORE ON THIS THEMATIC AREA

View of participants in the training course on UN human rights system News

Geneva Human Rights Platform Expands Training Hub with New Courses in 2023

18 September 2023

The GHRP introduced two innovative courses to enhance its Training Hub offerings, which delved into the realm of international human rights standards and system and into business and human rights.

Read more

Portrait of Vance Culbert News

Our New Visiting Fellow: Vance Culbert

27 July 2023

Vance Culbert is a senior development and humanitarian professional who has managed operations for NGOs and UN agencies over the past twenty years. He just started as a Visiting Fellow at the Geneva Academy and will stay with us until the end of October.

Read more

New York City Manhattan with view of Un Headquarters Event

2023 Annual Conference: Connecting Geneva and New York for Enhanced Human Rights Protection

21-24 October 2023

The Annual Conference of the Geneva Human Rights Platform will take place in New York to explore the links between Geneva and New York, the relevance of Geneva's outputs in New York debates, and the implications for human rights.

Read more

Greece, ylakio, pre-removal center. Short Course

Introduction to International Human Rights Law

5 October - 16 November 2023

This online short course will provide participants with an introduction to substantive human rights law.

Read more

The UN Security Council Short Course

Introduction to Public International Law and Subjects of the International Legal Order

27 September - 18 October 2023

This online short course focuses on the role of public international law in international relations and on international legal persons.

Read more

A destroyed camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Khor Abeche, South Darfur, Project

Understanding the Relationship between Conflict, Security and the Human Right to a Clean, Healthy and Sustainable Environment

Started in May 2023

This project will develop guidance to inform security, human rights and environmental debates on the linkages between environmental rights and conflict, and how their better management can serve as a tool in conflict prevention, resilience and early warning.

Read more

Panel Discussion: Project

Treaty Body Members’ Platform

Started in January 2014

The Treaty Body Members’ Platform connects experts in UN treaty bodies with each other as well as with Geneva-based practitioners, academics and diplomats to share expertise, exchange views on topical questions and develop synergies.

Read more

Cover page of the research brief Publication

Youth Associated with Non-State Armed Groups: Building an Evidence Base on Disengagement Pathways and Reintegration Challenges

published on September 2023

Erica Harper, Yosuke Nagai

Read more