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UN Steps Up Response to Climate-Related Security Risks




The United Nations is stepping up efforts to address climate-related security risks amid growing recognition of the role of climate change in exacerbating the risk of conflicts.


new report by the United Nations University (UNU) Centre for Policy Research aims to support both the UN and its partners in developing climate-sensitive approaches to preventing conflict.

Climate-related changes in water resources, food security, sea-level rise and flood risks and migration patterns are already impacting the stability of many states to cope.

With warnings of impending "climate wars," driven by a dramatic shortfall in key resources as the world overheats, UN Secretary-General António Guterres has explicitly placed climate change as a central aspect of the UN's prevention agenda, as have key member states.

The United Nations has introduced a set of measures recently to make the organization better positioned to prevent conflict. They include improved planning and coordination with other actors, as well as the creation of a Climate-Security Mechanism spanning three UN entities, with a small but dedicated set of capacities to help improve the analysis of, and response to, climate-related security risks in the UN system.

The new UNU Centre for Policy Research report offers: 1) a literature review covering the major scholarship on the links between climate change and violent conflict; 2) in-depth case studies on climate-security dynamics in Bangladesh and Nigeria; and 3) cross-cutting conclusions and recommendations for the UN system.

The main recommendations of the new report include building up foresight capacities, analyzing direct impacts, adopting cross-border responses and prioritizing climate security in the broader climate discussion.

The main cross-cutting recommendations are as follows:

1.     Analyse indirect impacts.

2.     Focus on governance, not just scarcity.

3.     Build up foresight capacities.

4.     Look for maladaptation and inequality.

5.     Adopt multi-scalar, cross-border responses.

6.     Build a common language for climate-security.

7.     Prioritize and bring climate-security into the broader climate discussion.

8.     Strengthen knowledge management and build an evidence base.




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