We must bring what is happening in Belarus to the world’s attention and hear from those on the ground. Briefers on #BYHumanRights: UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Belarus, Anaïs Marin; Belarusian opposition presidential candidate Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya; Vice-Chairman of the Viasna Human Rights Center, Valiantsin Stefanovic; Legal Expert for the Belarusian Association of Journalists, Volha Siakhovich. The meeting is chaired by Urmas Reinsalu, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Estonia. The meeting was initiated by Estonia and co-sponsored by UN Security Council members the United States and United Kingdom, as well as Canada, Denmark, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, and Ukraine.

The connection between climate change and the international security environment

International security is increasingly affected by issues with a geographic background that extends beyond state borders. Climate change and the concomitant rise in global sea levels threatens to submerge small island states, the fight for natural resources feeds conflicts in regions such as the African Great Lakes region. Resolving these issues requires coordinated cooperation between states across the world.

Climate change has a direct effect on the preservation of the territories of several states, and the provision of water and food to many regions. Natural disasters and extreme weather events can bring on widespread migration, cause impoverishment, and increase pressure on the use of natural resources in a way that would also make the international security situation more precarious.

Debates on the effect of climate change on international security have also began in the context of the Security Council, with some Security Council resolutions already explicitly mentioning the condition of the climate as a factor that affects international peace and security. To understand the connection between climate change and the security environment (including in specific regions), in-depth analysis on knowledge accumulated so far is required, and the information must be available to the UN, its agencies and member states.

We consider it important for the Secretary-General of the UN to pay increasing attention to the links between the international security situation and climate change. To this end, we support the continuation of discussions at the Security Council, including with the aim of expanding the mandate of the UN Secretary-General in this area..