New Delhi: India late on Monday evening voted against a UN Security Council (UNSC) draft resolution on climate change and security co-authored by Ireland and Niger that sought to link climate change and security. According to reports, the draft resolution was also vetoed by Russia. New Delhi argued that the draft resolution sought to put the responsibility on combating climate change on the UNSC when commitments already exists under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), adding that the motive was so that “decisions can be taken without involvement of most developing countries without recognising consensus” and that “a few states will have a free hand in deciding on all climate-related issues”. It also demanded that “developed countries must provide climate finance of $1 trillion at the earliest” and that “it is necessary that climate finance be tracked with the same diligence as climate mitigation”.
The draft resolution said that “the adverse effects of climate change can “lead… to social tensions… exacerbating, prolonging, or contributing to the risk of future conflicts and instability and posing a key risk to global peace, security, and stability”.
In the “explanation of vote”, India’s ambassador and permanent representative to the United Nations in New York, T.S. Tirumurti, said, “India is second to none when it comes to climate action and climate justice but the UNSC is not the place to discuss either issue. In fact, the attempt to do so appears to be motivated by a desire to evade responsibility in the appropriate forum and divert the world’s attention from an unwillingness to deliver where it counts... India understands the challenge of fellow developing countries and shares them fully and will continue to voice their concerns... To move forward decisively, access to climate finance has become critical. Developed countries must provide climate finance of $1 trillion at the earliest. It is necessary that climate finance be tracked with the same diligence as climate mitigation. The developed countries have fallen well short of their promises.”
Mr Tirumurti added, “It is important to recognise this because today’s attempt to link climate with security really seeks to obfuscate lack of progress on critical issues in the UNFCCC process. We are concerned about the manner in which this issue has been brought before the UNSC... Why is it that one needs a UNSC resolution to take action against climate change when we have commitments under UNFCCC towards concrete climate action. The honest answer is that there is no real requirement for this resolution except for bringing climate change under the ambit of the UNSC. The reason is that decisions can be taken without involvement of most developing countries without recognising consensus. And all this can be done in the name of preserving international peace and security.”
Mr Tirumurti further said, “If the UNSC takes over responsibility on this issue, a few states will have a free hand in deciding on all climate-related issues. This is clearly neither desirable nor acceptable. Today’s UNSC draft resolution appears to undermine the hard-won consensus which we reached in Glasgow. This draft resolution will only sow the seeds of discord among the larger UN membership. It sends a wrong message to developing countries... India had no option but to vote against (the draft resolution).”
According to reports, the “co-penholders (Ireland and Niger) convened a read-through of the zero draft with all Council members on 30 September and then held one round of negotiations on 11 October. It seems that during the 11 October meeting, deep Council divisions on the issue became evident: Twelve members — Estonia, France, Ireland, Kenya, Mexico, Niger, Norway, Tunisia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, the UK, the US, and Vietnam — expressed support for a more systematic integration of climate-related security risks into the Council’s work, requesting only minor adjustments to the zero draft. China, India and Russia, however, apparently expressed deep skepticism about the need for Council engagement on this issue. It seems that China voiced “strong reservations” about the need for such a resolution and Russia said that it would not engage any further on the text.
Reports further said ahead of the voting that “India and Russia also apparently highlighted concerns about a ‘securitised’ approach to the issue, conveying apprehension that the Council could pursue coercive measures to address the challenges posed by climate change... The co-penholders then placed a draft of the text under silence procedure on 29 November. China, India and Russia subsequently broke silence, disseminating to Council members nearly identical letters that objected to the draft resolution, arguing that there is ‘no clear scientific background for equating climate change with security concerns’.”