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Green NGOs campaign to reorient the UN toward climate change

The Washington Examiner

Climate change and sustainability groups want to shake up the U.N. by reorienting its climate change focus toward “security,” beginning with changes within the U.N. Security Council, where the U.S. is a permanent member.

A joint communiqué issued Monday evening after a big climate meeting in Oslo, Norway, calls on the U.N. Security Council to formally recognize climate change as a “threat to international peace and security.”

The communiqué goes further by outlining a plan to reorient the U.N. into a climate security body.

It calls for the appointment of a “special representative on climate change and security” to begin systematically addressing climate-related challenges within mediation efforts with other countries, including the use of “preventive diplomacy” when it appears climate change risks are undermining the stability of a country or region.

The communique includes U.N. agencies like the prominent Environment Programme and UNESCO as signatories, along with dozens of other NGOs that work with the U.N. on sustainability and climate change issues like: the Norwegian Nobel Global Programmes, South Pole Group, Partnership for Change, and the industry group Ceres.

A long road for climate security: So far this year, under the leadership of permanent members France and Germany, the Security Council has not attempted to address climate change in any way remotely resembling what the NGOs want.

Instead, the resolutions address security in a way that is still far more basic and conventional — seeking to counter armed conflicts by holding countries accountable to reduce lawlessness and assist victims of violence in places like Haiti.

The NGOs would like to see the council examine climate risks and step in ahead of conflicts.

For example, many groups see drought conditions caused by global warming placing increased strain on resources that could result in armed incursions and conflagration. The NGOs want to see the council get ahead of those situations before they escalate into armed conflicts.

Where the U.S. fits in: The U.S. will hold the presidency of the Security Council in December at the same time the U.N. will be holding the COP25 climate summit in Chile.

The COP25 meeting will address next steps in implementing the 2015 Paris agreement that Trump has withdrawn from.

“This summit will be a great opportunity for Chile and the world as a whole to truly acknowledge the fact that time is running out, and that the ever-increasing urgency of our objectives requires that we be more ambitious and demand more of ourselves. The time has come to act,” said Chilean President Miguel Juan Sebastián Piñera earlier this month in announcing the COP25 summit.

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