UN Security Council Debates Climate Change as Threat to Peace and Security

UN Security Council23 November 2011: Addressing the UN Security Council debate on international peace and security, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon cited organized crime, pandemics and the effects of climate change as "daunting challenges" to the maintenance of international peace and security.

Noting that climate change is the "quintessential global challenge," Ban stressed the need for regional and global multi-disciplinary cooperation to tackle the threats. Also addressing the Security Council, UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres warned that climate change and its interaction with other challenges triggers mass displacement of people, thereby constituting a growing threat to international peace and security. He underscored the need to address climate change in connection with other global trends, such as population growth, urbanization and growing food, water and energy insecurity.

Guterres pointed to the particular situation of people from small island States, who are forced to leave their homes due sea level rise and floods. He called on the international community to: establish a support programme to help poorer countries adapt and cope; and prepare guiding principles on helping people forced to leave their countries as a result of catastrophic environmental events who may not qualify as refugees under international law. [UN Press Release] [UNHCR Press Release] [UN Secretary-General's Remarks to the Security Council]