What can the UN Security Council do on Climate and Security?

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  • Behind the Scene

    UN Photo/Loey Felipe

    Expected end date:
    2020•07•22
    Project Status:
    Completed
    UNU-CPR RESEARCHERS: Adam Day

    EXTERNAL RESEARCHERS: Janani Vivekananda, adelphi (lead)


    The United Nations Security Council, the only body of the UN that can adopt binding coercive measures, has so far been reluctant to tackle climate change. But as the impacts of climate change on peace and security become ever more apparent, questions of whether the Security Council should and will address the security implications of climate change more directly in the future become increasingly pertinent.

    Today’s Security Council dynamics, however, are characterized by deepening divisions and a narrowing scope of collective activity. In this context, the steps that the Security Council can or should take to address the peace and security implications of climate change need careful examination and justification. While recognizing the limits of Council action, this backgrounder examines how climate change and security risks trigger the Security Council’s mandate for action, and what action the Council could and should be expected to take in response.

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