Addressing climate change and security in the Security Council

The impacts of climate change affect international peace and security and need to be addressed by the UN Security Council.

Climate change is a key risk to global peace and stability and a risk multiplier in some of the most volatile regions of the world. The effects of climate change can aggravate and prolong conflicts and make it harder to reach and sustain peace. Half of the 20 countries most vulnerable to global warming are also affected by armed conflict, in particular in regions like the Sahel, the Horn of Africa and the Middle East.  

Norway, as an elected member of the Security Council for the period 2021-22, is working to ensure that the Council recognizes the link between climate change and security and addresses climate-related security risks in specific country contexts.

The UN Security Council has primary responsibility for maintaining international peace and security. Addressing climate change - one of the biggest security threats of the 21st century – should be at the core of its mandate. Climate risks cannot be considered in isolation; they cross agenda items and pillars, interlinked with inequality, human rights and gender. In order to achieve sustainable peace and development, conflict prevention and peacebuilding initiatives must be “climate proofed”.

Norway will strive to ensure that:

  • the UN system collaborates with relevant actors to jointly develop sound climate risk analyses and forecasts, including multi-hazard Early Warning and Response Systems, with clear recommendations for action, building on existing mechanisms, such as the Climate Security Mechanism. Norway has provided about USD 1 million in support to the mechanism for 2019-21.
  • our understanding and knowledge of climate risks are improved and enabling us to act quickly and effectively. Read more about Norway’s support for increasing knowledge about the risks of climate change on peace and security
  • climate risk becomes an integrated part of the conflict prevention agenda. UN Member States, the Secretariat, the Security Council, and the leadership of UN missions and operations must factor in climate risks, and their peace and security impacts, in all conflict prevention and peacebuilding activities.
  • conflict prevention and peacebuilding initiatives are climate proofed so that we can achieve lasting peace settlements and sustainable development. The advisory role of the Peacebuilding Commission on climate risks should be enhanced.
  • climate and security are included in country specific reporting and briefings to the UN General Assembly, UN Security Council, and Economic and Social Council (Ecosoc), including sharing of best practices.
  • support to, and cooperation with, regional and sub-regional organizations, such as the African Union, on climate and security are strengthened.
  • support to adaptation to climate change is increased, in particular in fragile and conflict-affected states. Women, civil society, youth and indigenous peoples are crucial agents of change in this work.
  • Norway supports the call for a biennial forward-looking report of the Secretary General on climate related security risks and the call to appoint a UN Special Representative (SRSG) on climate and security.