Timeline Stories Archive - IIEA

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Mark Dempsey13th April 20211min

In February 2021, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney, addressed the Security Council on behalf of Ireland in a briefing on climate and security, for the first time as an elected member, during the UK Presidency. The debate focused on conflict risks, peacebuilding approaches and ways to support adaptation and resilience in climate-vulnerable contexts. UNSC members were briefed by UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, and British naturalist, Sir David Attenborough. Notably, this meeting marked the return of a more engaged United States, which was represented by the new US climate envoy, John Kerry.

Minister Coveney highlighted how the impacts of climate change can undermine international peace and security and the importance of Security Council engagement on the matter to achieve a more peaceful world. Moreover, he outlined the importance of the climate and security agenda to Ireland’s tenure on the Security Council:

We are chairing the Informal Expert Group of Member States on this topic, together with Niger. This group provides a vital platform for sharing information on the why and how of climate action in the context of building and sustaining peace.”

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Mark Dempsey13th April 20211min

In July 2020, the German Presidency of the Security Council held the fifth high-level open debate on climate and security. The debate largely highlighted that climate change is a threat-multiplier, with most statements focusing on adherence to the Paris Agreement and other international commitments, as well as the need for a climate-sensitive response in peacekeeping. The geographical focus on the security implications of climate change was on the Sahel region and the Small Island Developing States (SIDS).

Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney, delivered a speech on behalf of Ireland as an incoming elected member of the UNSC. He emphasised that the link between climate change and security is already being factored into the planning of the Irish defence forces. In his speech, he echoed calls for the Secretary-General to appoint a Special Representative on Climate and Security and provide contextual reporting, and for the UNSC to enhance the inclusion of climate-related security risks into its peacekeeping mandates.

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Mark Dempsey13th April 20211min

In January 2019, the Dominican Republic Presidency of the Security Council held the fourth high-level open debate on the impacts of climate-related disasters on international peace and security, which saw an unprecedented number of member states take the floor, many at ministerial level. At this meeting, UN Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, Rosemary DiCarlo, insisted on the need to focus on three key areas:

  • Developing stronger analytical capacity with integrated risk assessment frameworks.
  • Collecting a stronger evidence base, so that good practices on climate risk prevention and management can be replicated in the field.
  • Building and reinforcing partnerships to leverage existing capacities within and outside the UN system.
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Mark Dempsey13th April 20211min

In July 2018, the Swedish Presidency of the Security Council held the third high-level open debate on addressing climate-related security risks. The debate emphasised the need for the international community to step up its overall efforts to tackle climate change and sent a clear message to the Security Council, and the rest of the United Nations system, to intensify efforts to establish the capacities and practices to address climate-related security risks.

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Mark Dempsey13th April 20211min

In December 2017, a wide range of UNSC members and incoming members, including France, Italy, Japan, Sweden, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Peru, Germany, the Maldives and Morocco co-organised an Arria formula meeting on the topic of “Preparing for security implications of rising temperatures”. The former Foreign Minister of the Netherlands and the President of the Center for Climate and Security, a Washington D.C. think tank, were among the briefers.

  • Arria-formula meetings are informal meetings convened at the initiative of a member or members of the Security Council in order to hear the views of individuals, organisations or institutions on matters within the competence of the Security Council. While the purpose for holding Arria-formula meetings has evolved over the years, they are frequently used to hear from civil-society briefers where there is no UNSC agreement to include civil-society briefers in a formal meeting.
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Mark Dempsey13th April 20211min

In June 2015, Spain and Malaysia co-chaired an Arria formula meeting on the “role of climate change as a threat multiplier for global security”. Former President of Kiribati, Anote Tong, was the keynote speaker representing the Small Island Developing States (SIDS). There were also briefings from a representative of an indigenous rights association based in Kiribati and a Professor of Climate Change Law from Columbia University.

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Mark Dempsey13th April 20211min

In February 2013, the UK and Pakistan co-chaired an Arria formula meeting on the “Security Dimensions of Climate Change”. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon made brief remarks at the start of the meeting, followed by presentations from a panel of speakers including the then Minister in Assistance to the President of the Marshall Islands; the Head of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impacts Research; the World Bank Vice-President for Sustainable Development; and the Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for least developed countries, landlocked developing countries, and small island developing states.

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Mark Dempsey12th April 20211min

In July 2011, the German Presidency of the Security Council held the second high-level open debate on the impact of climate change on the maintenance of international peace and security. The main outcome of this debate was a Presidential statement, which recognised that “the possible adverse effects of climate change may, in the long run, aggravate certain existing threats to international peace and security.”