December 18, 2021 - 11:51 am

The UNSC Rejects Draft On Climate-Related Security Risk 

A contentious proposal to authorise the UN Security Council to deliberate on climate-related issues was rejected on Monday after the Russian veto, the Indian opposition, Chinese abstention and a letter written by Brazil supporting them meant that most of the BRICS grouping had taken a common stand. This was similar to 2011 when all 5 members of the grouping were in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and had joined hands to turn down a similar Western attempt. Though, it was backed by 12 of the council's 15 members.

                           The draft resolution, piloted by Ireland and Niger, had been in the making for several months, and sought to create a formal space in the security council for discussions on climate change and its implications on International Security. The vote followed an open debates of the council in which nearly 60 speakers warned that people and countries most vulnerable to climate change also are most vulnerable to terrorist recruitment and violence. The resolution had called on the UN Secretary-General report within two years "on the security implications" of climate change on issues addressd by the council and sought recommendations on how these risks could be addressed.

                          Although it is not the forum to discuss climate change, the security council and its secretariat has hosted a few debates and informal discussions on the subject in the past. The opposing countries have been arguing that the UNFCCC must remain the appropriate for addressing all climate change-related issues and claim the Security Council does not love the expertise to do so. They have also been pointing out that unlike UNFCCC, where decisions are taken by consensus of all the 190-plus countries, the UNSC would enable climate change decision-making by a handful of developed countries.

                          India is second to none when it comes to climate action and climate justice and is be moving forward on climate change with "great courage and hay ambition". India had no option but to vote against the resolution as it attempts to undermine the hard-won consensus in Glasgow. It would only sow seeds of discord among the UN members. India argued that global warming was chiefly an issue related to economic development, rather than International Security.

                          The reality is that developed countries have fallen well short of their promises. The UNSC members are "major contributors to climate change due to historic emissions" and the position that a few countries will have a "free hand" in deciding all climate-related issue. The council should live up to its made for international peace and security.