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Resolution on Climate not adopted by the UN Security Council - Statement by Minister Coveney

We are disappointed by the outcome of today’s vote on the first-ever UN Security Council Resolution on Climate and Security. 

We regret the decision of Russia to use its veto to block the adoption of this ground-breaking Resolution. We believed the weight of evidence and clarity of argument would bring the Council to consensus. However, despite months of consultations, and the strong support of the majority of UN Member States, this was sadly not the case.

This important Resolution was drafted and negotiated by Ireland and Niger, following the Security Council meeting on Climate and Security which was chaired by the Taoiseach on 23 September, during Ireland’s Presidency of the Council.

The Resolution sought to consolidate the climate and security agenda within the Council’s programme of work. Its adoption would have been an important first step in establishing a strengthened framework for future action.

Ireland and Niger, who jointly lead the Expert Group on Climate and Security, guided the extensive consultations on this text for over two months, securing the support of 12 Council Members. We also secured the support of 113 UN Member States, who signed up as co-sponsors.

Unfortunately, however Russia - a permanent Council member - voted against the Resolution, along with one elected member - India.

Although this is disappointing, the process confirms that the majority of UN member states believe the Council should factor the security risks of climate change into its decision-making.

Ireland committed to advancing the issue of Climate and Security during our time on the Security Council, and this work represents a major step forward. It has highlighted the relevance of climate risks to international peace and security, and Ireland’s commitment to engaging constructively on such a key issue. We have consolidated support at the UN, and can galvanise work to focus on this issue in the future.

The question of the security implications of climate change will not go away. Recent analysis could not be more clear – the adverse effects of climate change are only going to worsen, contributing to insecurity and exacerbating conflict.  It is telling that 80% of UN peacekeepers are deployed in countries that are the most exposed to climate change. 

It is our strong view that every organisation needs to address climate change within its own mandate. Conflict is complex with many drivers. Where climate change is a factor in exacerbating instability and undermining peace and security, the Security Council should use the tools at its disposal to tackle it.

Ireland will continue to prioritise the inclusion of climate in relevant Council products, and we will work to advance this agenda for the remainder of our time on the Security Council and beyond.

ENDS

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