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Climate change and its possible security implications - Report of the Secretary-General image

Climate change and its possible security implications - Report of the Secretary-General

Both governmental views and relevant research on the security implications of climate change, by and large, approach the question from a perspective of interdependence between human vulnerability and national security.

Climate change is often viewed as a ?threat multiplier?, exacerbating threats caused by persistent poverty, weak institutions for resource management and conflict resolution, fault lines and a history of mistrust between communities and nations, and inadequate access to information or resources.

This report identifies several ?threat minimizers?, namely conditions or actions that are desirable in their own right but also help lower the risk of climate-related insecurity. These include climate mitigation and adaptation, economic development, democratic governance and strong local and national institutions, international cooperation, preventive diplomacy and mediation, timely availability of information and increased support for research and analysis to improve the understanding of linkages between climate change and security. Accelerated action at all levels is needed to bolster these threat minimizers. Most urgently, a comprehensive, fair and effective deal in Copenhagen will help stabilize our climate, protect development gains, assist vulnerable nations adapt to climate change, and build a more secure, sustainable and equitable society.

Beyond this, the report identifies a set of emerging climate change related threats which merit the focused attention and increased preparedness of the international community, viz., those that appear highly likely, are large in magnitude, may unfold relatively swiftly, and are unprecedented in nature, including: loss of territory, statelessness and increased numbers of displaced persons; stress on shared international water resources, e.g. with the melting of glaciers; and disputes surrounding the opening of the Arctic region to resource exploitation and trade. This is not an exhaustive list, as new challenges may warrant the attention of the international community in future.

Publication website ( Webpage - )

Author(s)Report of the Secretary General
PublisherUnited Nations
Place publishedNew York
Date / Journal Vol No.11 September 2009



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