The UN Security Council and Climate Change

Publication Date

June 1, 2021

Page Number


Link to Report




The UN Security Council and Climate Change elaborated by the Security Council Report, explores the intersection between Climate Change and International Security. Discusses the possibility of engagement that the UN Security Council has to promote action to maintain peace. For this reason, it divides the content into different sections to group cluster insights about the current status of climate affairs in the UN body. In addition, the bottom of the publication also includes several annexes that facilitate to map of the critical documents, formal meetings and thematic meetings held by the Council while discussing climate matters.

Sections of the Report

  • At the beginning, the first section analyses the appropriateness of the Council to address climate-security matters. Compares it with international threats more urgent taking into account its overstretched discussion agenda.
  • Later, the second section revises the UN Charter and Security Council and General Assembly practice and previous decisions to find guidance regarding climate change and security issues.
  • On the other hand, the third section discusses the previous Council’s engagement on the issue in meetings and formal outcomes. Moreover, it points out the institutional mechanisms available to help the Council and the UN as a whole to address climate-related security threats.
  • Further, the fourth section describes the current political dynamics present on the Security Council regarding the topic.
  • Finally, the fifth section concludes with some actionable recommendations and observations about the Council’s role and approach to climate and security matters.

The Way Forward

Listed as suggested by the report, these are some of the potential options for action to mainstream the climate and security related issues into the agenda of the Council.

  • Climate Change and Country- and Region-Specific Outcomes – to integrate climate change language into country and region-specific outcomes. along with climate security language in the operative part of resolutions on peace operations.
  • A Thematic Climate Change Outcome: Building on the 2011 Presidential Statement – To pursue a thematic resolution or presidential statement to resurrect the aborted 2020 intent.
  • Climate Change, Security and Peacebuilding – To integrate the adverse effects of climate change into the peacebuilding efforts promoted by the Council.
  • The Informal Expert Group: Potential Future Activities – To promote the role of the informal group as a critical forum to equipping the Council Members with an enhanced understanding of climate-security threats.
  • Persuasion – To use a strategic approach to promote the scope of climate-related risk only in cases where it is more noticeable and challenging to counterargument.

Find the full report here.