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Closing the Governance Gap in Climate, Security and Peacebuilding

Author: Adriana Erthal Abdenur
Source: Stimson Center
Year: 2020

The past decade has brought about major achievements in global climate governance, as well as significant new challenges. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has produced objective, science-based evidence needed to understand the planet's current situation and to forecast likely scenarios. Moreover, the Paris Climate Agreement succeeded against major odds in bringing together nearly all countries to agree that climate change is driven by human behavior and that collective action is necessary to stop it. Yet the full range of impacts of climate change are only beginning to be understood, and global governance is lagging behind. In some cases, it is undergoing reversals. One of the areas requiring urgent action—not only in terms of diagnostics of the problems faced, but also of the solutions required—concerns the relationship between climate and security. While some strides have been made in this area, the UN's approach requires a broader understanding of how climate multiplies human security risks—and vice versa. This paper provides an overview of the first decade of climate and security at the United Nations and offers a number of recommendations on how global governance can become more effective in addressing the multiple challenges related to this nexus. The recommendations focus on four key areas: mainstreaming the issue across the UN system, boosting the role of regional organizations, reframing the debate so as to better incorporate peacebuilding, and making the decision-making process more inclusive, especially through meaningful participation by subnational governments, civil society, and the private sector.

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