The Collaborative Institute

Building Connections

July 21, 2011
by The Collaborative Institute for Oceans, Climate and Security (CIOCS)
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Climate Change and Human Security

The Collaborative Institute works consistently to identify and make clear the connections between climate change and human security, as well as the impact of climate change on oceans and what that means for human health and security. Likewise, global leaders are speaking and acting to bring these issues to the forefront.

At the 6587. meeting of the Security Council, held on 20 July 2011, in connection with the Council’s consideration of impact of climate change under the item entitled “Maintenance of international peace and security,” the President of the Security Council made a  statement on behalf of the Council that begins:

“The Security Council reaffirms its primary responsibility under the Charter of the United Nations for the maintenance of international peace and security. The Council stresses the importance of establishing strategies of conflict prevention.

The Security Council recognizes the responsibility for sustainable development issues, including climate change, conferred upon the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council.”

Read the full statement here.

This official statement coincides with statements by Achim Steiner from the UN Environment Programme who stated that climate change would also “exponentially” increase the scale of natural disasters. In addressing the UN Security Council during a debate on the impact of climate change on international security and peace, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stated that, “Extreme weather events continue to grow more frequent and intense in rich and poor countries alike, not only devastating lives, but also infrastructure, institutions, and budgets – an unholy brew which can create dangerous security vacuums.”

Despite these strong statements from UN officials urging the Security Council to act in response to climate change, not all members of the Council agree including climate change on the Council agenda. According to one report, “US ambassador Susan Rice said Washington strongly believed the council ‘has an essential responsibility to address the clear-cut peace and security implications of a changing climate,’ and should ‘start now.'” The report goes on to state:

“But Russian envoy Alexander Pankin said Moscow was “sceptical” about attempts to put the implications of climate change on the council’s agenda, which is defined as dealing with threats to international peace and security.

‘We believe that involving the security council in a regular review of the issue of climate change will not bring any added value whatsoever and will merely lead to further increased politicisation of this issue and increased disagreements between countries,’ he said.

Western diplomats said Russia’s statement reflected long-standing concerns about security council agenda “creep.””

Should the Security Council investigate the connections between climate change and human security? Would this leader to “increased politicization” or open channels of communication amongst nations?

June 15, 2011
by The Collaborative Institute for Oceans, Climate and Security (CIOCS)
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Joint Ocean Commission Initiative Leadership Council Releases New Report

The Joint Ocean Commission Initiative Leadership Council has released a new report that calls upon leaders to support implementation of the National Ocean Policy. America’s Ocean Future: Ensuring Healthy Oceans to Support a Vibrant Economy identifies four fundamental components that will ensure effective implementation:

  • Coordination of federal agency policies and activities with state, regional, tribal and local entities for collaborative reform and efficient decision-making in a transparent manner
  • Increased availability and improved collection of high-quality science and information to local, state, regional, and national entities for informed decision-making
  • Implementation of policies that allow for “protection and enhancement of sustainable economic benefits from ocean, coastal, and Great Lake resources”
  • Investment in implementing the National Ocean Policy and strategies to ensure consistent funding for “ocean and coastal science, management, and restoration, including development of a dedicated ocean investment fund”

The report offers recommendations based upon these four overarching components, which will allow the Joint Initiative to complete an assessment in the future on implementation and efficacy of the policies, investment and information made available as a result. The Joint Initiative recognizes the economic austerity the United States is currently experiencing, but acknowledges the long-term economic benefits of increased investment and acting now to implement the National Ocean Policy. Investing in education, research and policy implementation now will result in better economic circumstances and quality of life later. The report calls for a collaborative effort at all levels of government to “ensure the health of the critical ocean resources on which so many Americans depend for their livelihoods and quality of life.”

To view the Join Ocean Commission Report, visit their website at www.jointoceancommission.org.

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