UN Photo/Manuel Elias>
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.
UN Photo/Rick Bajornas>
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.
UN Photo/Jean Marc Ferré>
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.
Albert González Farran, UNAMID>
‘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.
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.
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.
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.
This online short course will provide participants with an introduction to substantive human rights law.
This online short course focuses on the role of public international law in international relations and on international legal persons.
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.
Olivier Chamard / Geneva Academy
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.