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UN Security Council debates impact of climate change on peace and security

17 April 2007

UN Security CouncilOn 17 April 2007 the United Nations Security Council held its first-ever debate on the impact of climate change on security.

The meeting, called by the United Kingdom, aimed to examine the relationship between energy, security and climate, and featured interventions from more than 50 delegations, representing imperilled island nations and industrialized greenhouse gas emitters alike. While some speakers praised the initiative, some delegates, seeing climate change as a socio-economic development issue, raised doubts over whether the Security Council was the proper forum to discuss this.

The session was chaired by British Foreign Secretary, Margaret Beckett, whose country holds the presidency of the 15-nation Council for April. She said that recent scientific evidence reinforced, or even exceeded, the worst fears about climate change, as she warned of migration on an unprecedented scale because of flooding, disease and famine. She also said that drought and crop failure could cause intensified competition for food, water and energy. Beckett stressed that climate change is a security issue, but it is not a matter of narrow national security; it is about ?our collective security in a fragile and increasingly interdependent world," she said.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for a ?long-term global response? to deal with climate change, along with unified efforts involving the Security Council, Member States and other international bodies. He recognized that projected climate changes could not only have serious environmental, social and economic implications, but implications for peace and security, as well.

See minutes of the meeting

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