UN SECURITY COUNCIL HOLDS FIRST-EVER DEBATE ON IMPACT OF CLIMATE CHANGE
VIA UN Press and Media
Photo by: UN Photo/Evan Schneider
With scientists predicting that land and water resources will gradually become more scarce in the coming years, and that global warming may irreversibly alter the face of the planet, the United Nations Security Council today held its first-ever debate on the impact of climate change on security, as some delegates raised doubts over whether the Council was the proper forum to discuss the issue.
The day-long meeting, called by the United Kingdom, aimed to examine the relationship between energy, security and climate, and featured interventions from more than 50 delegations, representing imperilled island nations and industrialized greenhouse gas emitters alike. While some speakers praised the initiative, there were reservations from developing countries, which saw climate change as a socio-economic development issue to be dealt with by the more widely representative General Assembly. Many delegations also called for the United Nations to urgently consider convening a global summit on the issue.
The session was chaired by British Foreign Secretary, Margaret Beckett, whose country holds the presidency of the 15-nation Council for April. She said that recent scientific evidence reinforced, or even exceeded, the worst fears about climate change, as she warned of migration on an unprecedented scale because of flooding, disease and famine. She also said that drought and crop failure could cause intensified competition for food, water and energy.
She said that climate change was a security issue, but it was not a matter of narrow national security -- it was about “our collective security in a fragile and increasingly interdependent world”. By holding today’s debate, the Council was not seeking to pre-empt the authority of other bodies, including the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council. The decisions that they came to, and action taken, in all those bodies required the fullest possible understanding of the issues involved. “[So] climate change can bring us together, if we have the wisdom to prevent it from driving us apart,” she declared.
Calling for a “long-term global response” to deal with climate change, along with unified efforts involving the Security Council, Member States and other international bodies, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that projected climate changes could not only have serious environmental, social and economic implications, but implications for peace and security, as well.