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Russia Vetoes UN Resolution Linking Climate Change To Global Security

Russian Ambassador to the UN Vasily Nebenzya (file photo)
Russian Ambassador to the UN Vasily Nebenzya (file photo)

Russia has vetoed a United Nations Security Council resolution that sought to formally link climate change and global security.

The resolution, drafted by Niger and Ireland, called for "information on the security implications of climate change" to be addressed by the Security Council.

The measure also asked UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to make climate-related security risks "a central component" of conflict-prevention and peacekeeping strategies.

The text won support from 12 of the council's 15 members on December 13. India voted no and China abstained.

Veto-wielding Russia voted no to block the resolution.

"Only the [Security Council] can ensure the security impacts of climate change are integrated into the critical work of conflict prevention and mitigation, peacekeeping, and humanitarian response," the U.S. ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, wrote on Twitter.

"Russia let the world down by vetoing a resolution backed by a majority of UN member states," she said.

The resolution was long overdue and only a "modest first step," Irish Ambassador Geraldine Byrne Nason said.

Her counterpart from Niger, Abdou Abarry, called opposition to the draft "short-sighted."

Following the vote, Niger and Ireland denounced the veto power given to permanent Security Council members the United States, Britain, France, Russia, and China, calling the rule created during the UN's post-World War II founding "an anachronism."

"This council will never live up to its mandate for international peace and security if it does not adapt. It must reflect the moment we are now living in, the threats to international peace and security which we now face," they said.

Opponents of the resolution said the UN already had bodies devoted to addressing climate change and it doesn’t belong on the agenda of the Security Council, where the issue could become politicized.

The Russian mission to the UN said in a statement that the resolution was aimed at "coercing" the council to examine conflicts and threats to international peace and security through a one-dimensional "climate lens."

"It was a generic proposal to establish this automatic link while neglecting all other aspects of situations in countries in conflict or countries lagging behind in their socioeconomic development," the statement added.

The resolution would have been used "to gain leverage in the council to impose a particular vision with regard to fulfillment of climate commitments and ultimately to initiate putting any country on the council's agenda under the climate pretext since climate-related issues are felt all over the world," it said.

With reporting by AP, Reuters, and TASS.
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