Climate change and international security

New York, 7th June, 2022 – The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region will face an
increase in armed conflict in the short to medium term fueled by climate change, according to the latest report from the International Centre for Dialogue Initiatives (ICDI), a MENA focused think tank established by former United Nations conflict mediation specialists.

The report comes at a time of heightened violence and insecurity across the region, with numerous incidents of conflict and terrorism seen in Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, North Africa and the Sahel.
According to the report destructive weather events such as record heatwaves, massive wildfires, glacial melting and rising sea levels are resulting in water and food shortages and devastated ecosystems. The subsequent socio- economic shocks and loss of livelihoods are driving climate migration and allowing terrorist groups to grow their influence in the region, leading to armed conflict and instability. International peace and security beyond the MENA region is at risk in the years ahead.
With global climate targets far from met and the environmental situation projected to worsen, the ICDI makes several urgent recommendations for the United Nations, Arab League and African Union, including:
1. The Security Council should include the impact of climate change on international security as part of its primary responsibility for the maintenance of peace and security.
2. The General Assembly should consider establishing a seventh committee to allow for a more direct and comprehensive United Nations approach to the threats posed by climate change. The Assembly should also appoint a Special Envoy to lead the United Nations system response to climate change and advise the Security Council on the impact of climate change on international peace and security.
3. The Economic and Social Council should consider establishing a Commission on Climate Change to furnish information and assist the Security Council with regard to climate change and international security.
4. Member States should consider reconstituting the Trusteeship Council, whereby the Council would serve as a clearing house for information on carbon sequestration and environmental protection and restoration efforts around the world, thus enabling it to provide an overview of public and private sector efforts to restore the balance of the natural world, in trust for future generations.
5. The Arab League and the African Union should explore the development of mechanisms for monitoring the impact of climate change on peace and security in their regions.
Commenting on the report, Jamal Benomar, ICDI Chair said:
“A broader understanding of the impact of climate change on the economic, political and social aspects of conflict resolution analysis is all too often missing when it comes to the MENA region. The climate and environmental crisis now before us may test the United Nations as no other crisis has since its founding. Enhanced multilateral cooperation, particularly with the Arab League and the African Union will be critical in addressing the sharp increase in armed conflict and instability that will be seen across the MENA region in the short term – instability that threatens to extend well beyond the borders of MENA.”
About the ICDI
The International Centre for Dialogue Initiatives is the first independent platform in the MENA region that is dedicated to mediation, conflict prevention, conflict resolution and promoting dialogue. It was created by veterans of UN mediation with deep roots in the region to serve as a forum for generating, analyzing and testing home-grown ideas that could enable key parties in conflicts to reach a negotiated settlement. ICDI works with wellrespected experts in the region and the world to support Track One and Track Two diplomatic initiatives including processes facilitated by the UN
About Jamal Benomar
Jamal Benomar is a former UN special envoy for Yemen and UN under secretary-general. He is chair of the International Center for Dialogue Initiatives

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