Russia on Monday vetoed a UN Security Council resolution, the first of its kind, making climate change a threat to international peace and security, ending a multi-year effort to place the global warming at the heart of decision-making in the most powerful organ of the UN. .
Led by Ireland and Niger, the proposal called for “integrating information on the security implications of climate change” so that the council can “take due account of the root causes of conflict or risk multipliers”. make climate-related security risks “a central part” of conflict prevention strategies and report on how to address these risks in specific hot spots.
Previous Council resolutions have mentioned the destabilizing effects of climate change in specific places, such as various African countries and Iraq. But Monday’s resolution would have been the first devoted to the climate-related security danger as a problem in its own right.
Some 113 of the 193 UN member countries supported the proposal, including 12 of the 15 Council members.
But India and Russia with veto power voted no, while China abstained.
Envoys from Russia and India said the issue should stay with UN groups such as the Framework Convention on Climate Change. Adding climate change to the Security Council’s agenda would only deepen the global divisions that were highlighted by last month’s climate talks in Glasgow, Scotland, opponents said.
“Positioning climate change as a threat to international security distracts the Council’s attention from the genuine and deeply rooted reasons for conflict in countries on the Council’s agenda,” Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said, adding that the resolution would become “a scientific and economic issue into a politicized issue” and give the council a pretext to intervene in virtually any country on the planet.
Supporters of the measure have said it is a modest and reasonable step to take on an issue of existential importance.
“Today was an opportunity for the council to recognize, for the first time, the reality of the world we live in and that climate change increases insecurity and instability,” said Irish Ambassador Geraldine Byrne Nason. “Instead, we have missed the opportunity to act and we are looking away from the realities of the world we live in.” Niger Ambassador Abdou Abarry added: “The force of the veto can block the approval of a text, but it cannot mask our reality”.
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