Climate Change and Conflict Part II

Climate Change and Conflict Part II

As you can see, the political situation in both South Sudan and Somalia is very vulnerable. And the tensions associated with climate change seem to be able to hinder further development, influence ongoing conflicts and delay peace processes.

4: Climate and conflict in the UN

An important question is what the world community can do to prevent more negative consequences of climate change, and especially what can be achieved through international cooperation. Climate change is a common challenge that does not take into account national borders, and such challenges require countries to cooperate.

In recent years, international organizations have begun to take climate change seriously, and the United Nations (UN) has developed programs and policies to combat global warming. The UN’s sustainability goal is a work program for all countries in the world, where the goal is to eradicate poverty, fight inequality and stop climate change by 2030.

The UN’s Sustainability Goal 13, closely linked to the UN Climate Convention, aims to act immediately to combat climate change and its consequences. The goal focuses mainly on reducing and cutting greenhouse gases and investing more in renewable energy. This has laid the foundation for later climate agreements, such as the Paris Agreement , an international agreement signed by 194 countries, which will ensure that countries reduce emissions and work actively to limit the consequences of climate change.

The UN is also responsible for several peace operations in conflict-affected countries. Here they work with, among other things, stabilizing measures, protection of civilians and facilitation of political processes in the transition between war and peace. Climate change has a major impact on how the UN can carry out these operations. For example, refugee camps may become uninhabitable due to flooding or UN staff may not reach the civilian population in areas with reduced accessibility. It will therefore be important to emphasize the challenges associated with climate change in the tasks of the UN peacekeeping operations in the future.

5: How should we continue to work and what can Norway do?

The UN and the UN Security Council have focused more on the link between climate change and peace and security in recent years. At the end of March 2017, the Security Council adopted a resolution on the conflict in the area around Lake Chad in Africa According to The resolution, which was numbered 2349, recognized that climate change could lead to more instability. This was a major step for the Security Council, with several countries critical of this link.

There is still disagreement among the council’s 15 members. Two current members, India and Russia, have long been skeptical that the issue will be raised in the Security Council because they believe that climate change is not a matter of international peace and security and therefore does not belong in the Security Council. Under former President Donald Trump’s leadership, the United States was also critical.

On the other hand, several of the countries hard hit by climate change want to have this on the Security Council’s agenda. This includes small island states where sea levels are rising and African countries that see how major changes in the climate can affect the security situation.

Norway is a member of the UN Security Council in 2021 and 2022, and wants to work to ensure that the Security Council to a greater extent looks at how climate change can affect international peace and security. Norway has also shared leadership responsibilities in an expert group that works to strengthen the understanding of climate and security.

It may seem insignificant that the UN Security Council has climate and conflict on the agenda, but this can have major consequences for how the UN prioritises and works with climate change on the ground in countries with conflict.

To strengthen the work on climate and security, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs entered into an agreement with NUPI and SIPRI in 2020 to strengthen this work for Norway in the Security Council. Research project ” Climate-related Peace and Security Risks ” publishes, among other things, fact sheets on countries and regions that are on the agenda of the UN Security Council . The fact sheets present proposals for how the work can be strengthened in the specific countries and have, among other things, the purpose of strengthening Norway’s work in the negotiations on decisions. In this way, Norway is helping to promote greater understanding of the consequences of climate change.

In general, deeper and more analyzes of climate, peace and security in vulnerable countries and regions must be made. This can strengthen important local, national and international initiatives, such as the Paris Agreement. The topic must also reach the highest levels in the UN and other international forums. The African Union and other regional organizations have begun to develop and gather tools in the fight against climate change.

By increasing the adaptability to vulnerable states, one will in the long run also be able to contribute to reducing the risk of conflict. In this work, it is important that local actors are consulted and included in the preventive work against climate change, especially local organizations, women and young people in the countries that are most exposed to these changes.

Climate change and conflict