Climate Change Discussions at the UN

Open Debate on Addressing the Impacts of climate-related disasters on international peace and Security

By Lawrence Khoo

Under the leadership of the Dominican Republic, the UN Security Council convened an important debate on the nexus between security and climate change.

Rosemary Di Carlo – Under-Secretary-General of the Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs

Rosemary Di Carlo opened the debate by briefing the council on the existing effects of climate change on international peace and security. Di Carlo also commented on the effects of the Lake Chad Basin on its local communities and urged the international community to act now by strengthening partnership with primary actors and adopt necessary measures

Achim Steiner - UNDP Administrator

Achim Steiner shared his experiences with working with World Bank and states the possibility of the displacement of 140 million migrants from climate change. Steiner further added the necessary measures to take in response to the report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2018 and the Paris Agreement in 2015 by placing significance of a collective response from the international community.

Pavel Kabat – Chief Scientist of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO)

Mr. Kabat warned the council on the effects of climate change from its WMO report in 2017. Examples include: the flooding in Kerala in 2018, which reported the loss of $5.4 million and the new internal displacement issue in Somalia. He added that WMO would continue to offer its commitment in providing cutting-edge technology to help alleviate issues linked to climate change

Lindsey Getchel – Research Assistant at the Stimson Center’s Environment Security Program

Madame Getchel delivered a powerful testament in which she offered 3 concrete steps: the urgency of an effective resolution on climate change effects international peace and security from the U.N.; the deployment of U.N. missions to assess local youths in relevance to climate change; and the need of U.N. missions to reduce their reliance on fossil fuel. Getchel ended by stressing the importance of achieving a self-sufficient community and the necessity for young people to be included in discussions related to climate change.

Statements from Permanent Members


China called upon the international community to step up its efforts. In this regard, it offered three solutions, which are: upholding multilateralism on climate change in fulfilling international obligations; exploring pathways to handle the issue and acknowledging and respecting differences of other countries.


France expressed its support for the mobilization of youth as well and agreed on the necessity for the international community to abide to the Paris Agreement. France also offered two proposals: a collective analysis tool and drafting a resolution that reduces international conflict. In closing, France states that its country will take a strong initiative to lead the movement in combating climate change.


Russia raised questions on the UN Security Council’s role in assuming discussion on climate-related issues. Russia further underscored that there is a tendency to overgeneralize the connection between climate change and international security.

United Kingdom

The U.K. pledged to offer $7 billion to fund campaigns, which are fighting climate change. The Prime Minister of the UK, H.E. Ms. May was underscored the developed countries’ obligations in helping their counterparts with addressing climate change. The U.K also stressed the importance of info sharing and investing in resilience.

United States

The U.S shared its experiences in facing climate disasters; hurricane, forest fire, floods and etc., and professes its initiative to handle humanitarian crisis. The United States will establish partnerships with other organizations in handling the issue

Statements from Other Members

European States

Spain underscored its innovative initiative, which included the adoption of its Carbon Neutrality Elimination law. Additionally, Switzerland urged member states to participate in the Global Platform on Risk Reduction in Geneva. Poland further emphasized the importance of adopting the Katowice Handbook and the provisions from the COP24 Katowice 2018. Germany discussed its latest expedition research to Antarctica as a project to help the environment. Finally, thee European Union warned about climate change as a “major threat multiplier”

Latin America

Peru urged all states to implement the Sendai Framework in 2015 into national laws to allow sustainable transitioning. The Dominican Republic urged the UN Security Council to assume more responsibility and expand its focus on climate-related issues. Columbia stated its objective to make adaptations of a sustainable framework as its priority. Chile professed its implementation of a cooperative mechanism to combat risk management caused by climate disasters such as its Kizuna project with Japan.


South East Asia

Indonesia recommended steps towards resolving crisis linked to climate change. These steps included alleviating regional security problems linked to climate change; adopt new approaches to peacekeeping, amongst other steps. The Philippines expressed grave concerns about the erosion of their islands. It further articulated for the ASEAN approach in which a collective response would be implemented to address climate change.

African States

Cote d’Ivoire expressed its achievement in achieving a reduction of 28% greenhouse emission. South Africa underscored the important role of youth. It further cautioned the UNSC not to assume the responsibilities undertaken by other UN bodies. Haiti commended the concept note suggested the need for political resolve from all states and the need to appropriate resources necessarily to address climate change. Kenya is currently undergoing disaster risk management policy to address climate issues.

Middle East

Kuwait shared its concerns about rising global temperature. In this vein, it called for the international community to provide the necessary political will to address the issue. Iran stressed the need for capacity building to address and resolve the issue of climate change. Iraq commended the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Statements from Other Parties

International Committee of the Red Cross

The Red Cross provided examples from its experiences about the effects of climate disasters in security. For instance, it discussed its latest visit to the Sahel region, where representatives of the Red Cross witnessed the devastating impact of climate change onto the region. The Red Cross further mentioned that it intends to build a climate center, which will enable it to incorporate climate change into its mission. Finally, the ICRC mentioned that it will revise its 1994 guidelines.

Permanent Observer of the Holy See

Holy See stated the high probability that poorer countries will be displaced by climate. Additionally, the Holy See underscored that it is commitments toward both combating global warming and securing international peace.

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