On Tuesday, the United Nations Security Council will hold a summit of leaders, at the initiative of Britain’s Boris Johnson, to discuss the implications of climate change on world peace, a topic in which the fifteen members adopt different approaches.
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This session takes place a few days after the official return to the United States, led by Democrat Joe Biden, at the 2015 Paris Agreement to limit global warming.
In addition to Boris Johnson, whose country presides over the Security Council in February, interventions are expected from United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, US climate change envoy John Kerry, French presidents Emmanuel Macron and Tunisian Qais Saeed, the Chinese foreign minister and prime ministers. In Ireland, Vietnam, Kenya, Estonia and Norway, according to diplomats.
An ambassador, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the session would be a test for Sino-U.S. Relations, referring to one of the few areas where the two global rivals could agree. However, the game is far from winning.
“We have to look at the attitude of the Chinese themselves towards the Americans,” notes the same ambassador. By tradition, “the Russians and the Chinese will say that (the climate) has nothing to do with Security Council issues.” “But today, the Chinese are likely to be a little open to discussion, which will alienate the Russians,” he adds.
What Russia does not want is to make climate an issue in and of itself among the issues the Security Council deals with. On the other hand, talking about it “on a case-by-case basis” suits them, diplomats explained to AFP.
The meeting “will focus on security aspects related to climate change,” identified another ambassador, who is also anonymous.
Some non-permanent members of the council, such as Kenya and Niger, feel “very concerned” about the impact of climate change on the security situation. Others refuse, as they do not want “the Security Council to turn into a new body dealing with financing, adaptation and negotiations.”
Desertification, the desirable resource
A third ambassador, who requested anonymity, confirmed, “Both China and Russia, but not only, are hesitant to see the council talking about climate change and its implications,” ruling out the adoption of a joint text at this stage.
These two countries “think that they can become intrusive and that it is not about peace and security.” “They do not want the Security Council to take decisions on economic options, even if they understand that climate change can fuel conflicts,” he said.
Another diplomat says: “desertification, population movements and competition for access to resources” are linked to global warming, believing that this topic is also important to Tunisia, Norway or Ireland, two countries that have been sitting since 1is being January in the Security Council.
In the Lake Chad region of Central Africa, the issue is not on the table “for tomorrow, it is already in place since yesterday,” the ambassador quipped, referring to “access to water resources” and “forage production” that could cause “between communities”. Violence and “seizure” of the young, unemployed population by jihadist groups.
Another diplomat said that India and Mexico, which joined the Security Council in January and are progressive on the subject, also had things to say.
“India is being mobilized on the environment issue” and needs to clearly define the impact of global warming on conflicts. “Speaking of climate in absolute terms, no, in contrast the effect of climate change on the balance of power that suits them,” identifies this source.
According to diplomats, the arrival of the Biden administration, with views radically opposed to those advocated by Donald Trump, should change the dynamics of the board on the subject.
Last year, Germany, which was a member of the Security Council, drafted a resolution providing for the creation of a UN envoy and improving the structuring of UN efforts with regard to risk prevention and analysis. Under threat of a veto by the United States, Russia, and even China, Berlin did not put this text to a vote.
The ambassador sitting in the Security Council said today, with the new American approach, there is a “window of opportunity” for this text that “remains in the refrigerator.”
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