After much build-up, and two weeks of grueling negotiations, the international community left the Paris Conference of Parties (COP) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) with a successor agreement to the Kyoto Protocol.1 This agreement, forged when climate change has already led to a rise in the Earth’s average temperature of 1°C above pre-industrial levels, will set the tone for action on energy, environment, and economic priorities for an entire generation.2

The agreement is ambitious, seeking to coordinate global action on reducing greenhouse gas emissions (mitigation) and ameliorating the effect of climate change currently ongoing (adaptation). To that end, the agreement includes a long-term goal of preventing global temperatures from increasing beyond 2°C above pre-industrial levels (with a preferred target of 1.5°C), mechanisms for increasing the ambition of the climate change plans of individual nations, and calls for increasing finance flows from developed states to developing ones to assist the latter in mitigation and adaptation.

The Paris agreement is a recognition that the international community understands the critical importance of taking action now to mitigate or adapt to climate change.

As numerous studies have found, climate change threatens to impose costs and burdens that go beyond merely changes in ecosystems. Most recently, for example, the World Bank found that, without climate-sensitive development measures, 100 million people would be pushed into extreme poverty by 2030.3

In addition to financial risk, climate change also brings with it significant geopolitical risk. While the Paris COP did not dwell on the discussion in these terms, climate change is directly implicated in potentially deleterious effects on international peace and security.

The robust and durable agreement that came out of the conference sets the stage in 2016 for a variety of follow-up actions. Among the key actors with a role to play in coordinating a global response to the security risks of climate change, the United Nations stands front and center, particularly its Secretariat and the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).

This issue brief will outline the ways in which the UN has dealt with climate-related security threats in the recent past, and why 2016 is an ideal year to revisit what the UN can do. It then will suggest three immediate steps—focused principally on information-gathering—that would help clarify how the UN can be helpful in broadening the understanding of the climate-security nexus, and respond to it appropriately:

  • The UNSC should adopt a presidential statement that, while endorsing the outcome of the Paris COP, also calls on the parties to the UNFCCC to increase their ambition on meeting greenhouse gas mitigation targets, and fulfill pledges regarding financing for mitigation and adaptation needs, especially through the Green Climate Fund, in recognition that climate change is a problem requiring ambitious action by the UN and its member-states.
  • The UN, through the Human Rights Council, should appoint a special rapporteur for climate change and human security, with a flexible mandate to investigate, catalogue, analyze, and draw attention to areas in which climate change can negatively impact livelihoods and potentially lead to political instability, especially in conflict-afflicted states.
  • The UN, at the direction of the secretary-general, should convene an expert panel to analyze transboundary water issues as a potential agenda item for future UNSC action. Of all of the issues in which climate change effects may draw in the UNSC as an instrument for conflict prevention, the most significant in the near-term is potential tensions over transboundary water management.

These initial steps—proposed in full awareness of the reservation some member-states have for these themes being addressed outside the UNFCCC—are designed to begin an iterative process to move this discussion from one of ad hoc dialogue to a permanent consideration at the commanding heights of the global response to threats to international peace and security.

In his new history of the UN’s efforts to build global governance norms on environmental issues, American University professor Ken Conca succinctly summarizes the stuttered start the UN has made on climate and security issues:

Just as the UN has been slow to acknowledge and articulate environmental human rights, it has been unwilling to embrace a broad “environmental security” mission to complement its developmental and legal initiatives for sustainability. Again, the barriers include opposing state interests, weak institutional incentives, a challenging bureaucratic terrain, and the disputation of ideas.4

A particular focus on climate change and security concerns has been a recurring agenda item for the Security Council for much of the past decade. The years 2007, 2009, 2011, and 2015 have all seen discussions under UNSC auspices about climate change and security. While much of that discussion has been informal, especially through Arria Formula5 dialogues, much useful conceptual groundwork has been done. The 2011 thematic debate, during Germany’s presidency of the UNSC, addressed the need for analysis and contextual information in order for the UNSC to fulfil its mandate of maintaining international peace and security.6

In 2015, Spain and Malaysia hosted an Arria Formula dialogue, the concept note for which began with the declaration that “Climate Change represents a global challenge with both direct and indirect effects on sustainable development and international peace and security.”7 Taking its cue from the efforts of other UN member-states to integrate climate change concerns into their foreign policy and national security planning, both Malaysia and Spain called on the subsequent debate to consider how the UN could “develop more structured means of addressing this issue from an international perspective [emphasis added].” To the extent that the Security Council is the body responsible for dealing with threats to international peace and security, its status as a venue for discussing climate change should be readily apparent.

Nevertheless, obstacles remain. Some objections to a strong climate security agenda in the UN system (and in the Security Council in particular) have to do with the very composition of the UNSC in the first place. The fact that the permanent council membership (with the exception of China) is dominated by Western developed nations—reflecting the reality of the international community in 1945—is a source of contention for many developing nations. Brazil, Japan, and India (among others) have long wanted reforms to the permanent membership procedures on the Security Council. Until a credible UNSC reform process is enacted, there will be some member-states who are very wary of the Security Council expanding its mandate outside of immediate and obvious threats to international peace and security from active armed conflicts. This is particularly true to the extent that climate change negotiations are in part discussions over historical emissions responsibility—that Western, developed nations should take more aggressive action on climate change because historically they have been the largest emitters.

Other objections are rooted in the tradition of the UN’s treatment of climate change as solely a development challenge, rather than acknowledging that the failure to tackle climate change as a development challenge has profound security implications. As many developing nations have pointed out, the UN has existing institutions that are supposed to deal with climate change, many of which are underfunded or whose recommendations are not followed with an appropriate amount of alacrity by developed nations. In addition to the UNFCCC, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) are all tasked with assisting the international community in dealing with the economic and social costs of climate change, as well as (in the case of the UNFCCC) preventing future damage through greenhouse gas emissions mitigation. Here again the debate over the burden of historical emissions responsibility rears its head. The development aspect has sovereignty implications as well—nation-states have an inherent right to grow their economies, using their naturally endowed resources, without external interference from other nation-states.

Many concerned nations have expressed reservations about the “securitization” of climate change policy. They are worried that not only will developed nations continue to ignore their obligations to address climate change as a development issue (which is bad enough on its own), but also that these nations will opt instead for fighting it as a security issue. These countries have expressed fears that major powers, such as the United States, would use their overwhelming military capabilities to dictate to others how to manage their resources (for example, by using naval forces to manage migrant flows or using coercive diplomacy against states who are perceived as laggards).8

It is essential that, in response to these concerns, the UN and UNSC begin processing information about the nature of climate change’s potential impact on peace and security, rather than simply proscribe a particular course of action. As the recommendations section of this brief details, the first step should be gathering as much data and analysis as possible so all member-states can make informed decisions on the best methodology for action by the UN. Changing the norms of the Security Council—and how skeptical nations interact with it—will be a long-term process, but it is necessary both in gaining recognition for security threats as well as enhancing the international cooperation needed to address them.

Three factors make 2016 an ideal year for the UN system to recommit itself to raising the profile of climate and security issues:

First, the Paris agreement not only shows the commitment of every nation to cooperate in the fight against climate change, but specifically demonstrates the dedication of developed nations to make serious mitigation commitments. Thus, rather than seeing action on climate and security as an abrogation of responsibility related to sustainable development, as has been alleged in the past, the agreement should help skeptical nations begin to see security concerns as complementary—provided that developed nations follow through on their commitments. Avoiding the perception of failure that cast a shadow over the Copenhagen COP presents an opportunity for the UN and the UNSC to provide leadership on the political and security dimensions of climate change-related disruption, just as the UNFCCC is showing real progress on its own mandate.

The Paris agreement showcases the developed world’s commitment to the process of addressing climate change, as it rests on the provision of annual financing from developed nations to developing ones, as well as procedures for monitoring and review of commitments, with an eye to ratcheting up ambition at regular intervals well into the future. In other words, subscription to these structures means that climate change will not fade from the first rank of international issues to be addressed this century; with the promise of this visibility in mind, the UN and UNSC should be empowered to act accordingly.

Second, 2016 will see the election of a new UN secretary-general. The incumbent, Ban Ki-Moon, has been very outspoken on the dire impacts of climate change, especially for the world’s poor. At the Doha COP in 2012, he called climate change “an existential challenge for the whole human race—our way of life, our plans for the future.”9 Ban has specifically spoken on how the UN system has been slow to work in unison to address these links. In his November 2015 remarks to the UNSC open debate, “Security, Development, and the Root Causes of Conflict,” he said:

Today’s violent conflicts and violent extremism are often rooted in a mix of exclusion, inequality, mismanagement of natural resources, corruption, oppression, governance failures, and the frustration and alienation that accompany a lack of jobs and opportunities.

Yet our responses have not caught up to these realities. We are not yet properly integrating United Nations action across the inter-dependent pillars of our work: peace, development and human rights.10

Public action by the UNSC and other UN bodies can set the precedent of positive momentum for the incoming secretary-general to take up climate change issues broadly and the potential security effects specifically, subject to his or her estimation of the receptivity of UN member-states.

Lastly, perhaps the crucial difference between the present and previous informal discussions on the subject is the fact that there is now a strong evidentiary basis for saying that climate change is directly implicated in an international crisis that has necessitated Security Council involvement. While the causes of the civil war in Syria and the attendant rise of the so-called Islamic State are multifaceted, and lie most directly at the feet of the regime of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, the meteorological and social science evidence points reasonably to the role climate change played in negatively impacting trend lines to the point where it contributed to the course and severity of the conflict.

The most authoritative treatment of the connections between climate change and the Syrian civil war is “Climate change in the Fertile Crescent and implications of the recent Syrian drought,” published earlier this year in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.11 Using meteorological observations and modeling simulations, researchers demonstrated three important findings: first, that the effects of human-induced climate change (“anthropogenic forcing”) made the likelihood of the 2007–2010 drought three times stronger than could possibly be explained by natural variability alone; second, that this drought led directly to negative impacts on agricultural productivity and water security; and, lastly, that to the extent these effects drove involuntary rural-to-urban migration in Syria, the drought is implicated as one of the factors that contributed to the outbreak and violent course of the civil war.

While the community of analysts who study climate change and conflict will be quick to point out that it would be incorrect to say climate change causes conflict, it is certainly proper to note its role as a “threat multiplier” and to be concerned that this role could become more prominent as time goes on.12 Language to this effect appears in strategy and policy documents prepared the Department of Defense, Department of State, Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and the National Security Council. It is by no means solely an American fixation. The United Kingdom’s National Security Strategy and Strategic Defense and Security Review 2015 finds that “Climate change is increasingly a risk to the UK, with the full effects on UK national security more likely to be seen after 2035.”13 According to the American Security Project’s Global Security Defense Index on Climate Change, 70 percent of the international community explicitly lists climate change as a national security concern somewhere in their defense or national security planning and strategy documents.14

It is incumbent on UN member-states to build on the post-Paris momentum to involve the United Nations more closely in considering climate change and conflict and security risk. To do so, those member-states most invested in the process must overcome the reluctance and objections of other participants, as well as navigate past the bureaucratic priorities already extant within the UN system that might make key players skeptical or averse to policy innovation.

Carefully constructing the first steps of post-Paris agenda-setting is critically important. If the United Nations as an institution is to address the climate and security challenge with appropriate action, it must be grounded in facts and data. In the past Arria formula dialogues on these topics, member-states have often asked the secretary-general and UN Secretariat for “contextual information” about climate change and conflict risk, so as to make more informed decisions about what action may be appropriate.15 The UN and UNSC can start with this objective in mind.

Endorse the Outcome of the Paris COP

The most immediate step the UN system can take to advance a climate security agenda is to endorse—through the Security Council—the outcome of the Paris climate change conference. The surest path to preventing the security implications of accelerating climate change from becoming reality is to reduce the underlying cause of climate change in the first place: the unabated emission of greenhouse gases.

A strong statement of endorsement of the Paris agreement by the UNSC president could encompass support for specific details, including actions to help countries deal with the costs associated with adaptation, or simply be a general statement welcoming the outcome of the COP. There would be precedent for such a statement, not only from previous discussions about climate and security, but debates about the connections between economic development and security. A January 2015 UNSC presidential statement summarizing a council meeting on “inclusive development” as a condition for international peace and security included one paragraph in particular that, broadly interpreted, could serve as a necessary avenue for the introduction of further measures to address climate specific impacts on development as potential security concern:

The Security Council notes that in matters relating to the maintenance of international peace and security under its consideration, conflict analysis and contextual information on, inter alia, social and economic issues is important, when such issues are drivers of conflict, represent a challenge to the implementation of Council mandates or endanger the process of consolidation of peace. In this regard, the Council requests the Secretary-General to ensure that his reporting to the Council contains such contextual information.16

The UNSC president’s statement could also reference the high-profile adoption in September of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, which contain specific, separate climate and peace goals.17 The statement would still position the UNFCCC as the principal UN vehicle for tackling climate change. It would also encourage commitments by Security Council members to transparency and accountability in executing the emissions reduction plans developed by individual member states. Developing states could hardly complain about the UNSC putting its imprimatur on an outcome already endorsed through the UNFCCC. It also sets a precedent for future council members (non-permanent as well as potential new permanent members, subject to reform of the Security Council) to understand that taking action on climate change is an important prerequisite for a strong candidacy for membership.18

Appoint A Special Rapporteur on Climate Change and Human Security

Cementing a place for climate change and security concerns on the UN Security Council will be a long-term process. Both the institutional and thematic obstacles will be present, regardless of the strength of the momentum after the Paris COP. Nevertheless, it is incumbent on member-states to ensure that the UN system has the capacity and political will to act on this issue, whether or not it is initially specifically through a Security Council lens.

Another step for accomplishing this goal would be to add to the UN’s growing list of special rapporteurs (SR), independent experts empowered by the UN Human Rights Council to research, advocate, and bring attention to a wide variety of issues that could impact human rights protections around the world. The Human Rights Council enjoys several advantages over the Security Council with respect to being an appropriate avenue for introducing climate change and security considerations. For one, there is no bloc of permanent members who wield veto power. The Human Rights Council is also much more geographically diverse; its forty-seven member states include representation from African, Latin-America Caribbean, Western and Eastern European, and Asia-Pacific states.19

There is already precedent in the appointment of John H. Knox as the UN special rapporteur for human rights and the environment.20 A new special rapporteur for human security and climate change would build on the work done by other SR’s with environment-specific portfolios. He or she could become a roving investigator into how climate change is manifesting itself in communities around the world, acting as a clearinghouse for translating academic work on disaster risk reduction, the challenge to international law posed by climate-induced migration, and food and water stress into the specific kind of “contextual information” that UN member-states have requested. A recent joint effort between UNEP and Columbia University Law School’s Sabin Center for Climate Change Law produced a report linking human rights and climate change concerns; among its recommendations is an “independent accountability mechanism” to evaluate the human rights implications of actions take on climate change.21 The special rapporteur could adopt as his or her mandate outlining what such a mechanism could look like, and whether and how it should address human security concerns between nation-states as well as within them.

The use of the specific phrase “human security” in the special rapporteur’s title rather than security in general is purposeful. Human security is already a concept defined, most directly, in the most recent Assessment Report (AR5) from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). For the first time, the Assessment Report included a chapter on human security, which it defined as:

[A] condition that exists when the vital core of human lives is protected, and when people have the freedom and capacity to live with dignity.22

The IPCC chapter further contextualized how climate change would impact human security:

Climate change threatens human security because it undermines livelihoods, compromises culture and individual identity, increases migration that people would have rather avoided, and because it can undermine the ability of states to provide the conditions necessary for human security. Changes in climate may influence some or all of the factors at the same time. Situations of acute insecurity, such as famine, conflict, and sociopolitical instability, almost always emerge from the interaction of multiple factors. For many populations that are already socially marginalized, resource dependent, and have limited capital assets, human security will be progressively undermined as the climate changes.23

The situation also works in reverse. Just as climate change may impact the factors that make states more susceptible to conflict—so too does conflict, either ongoing or recently concluded—make it harder for states to address climate change, potentially creating a vicious circle of climate-related disruption.

The nature of climate change as a security threat would be extremely broad for the mandate of one special rapporteur. Ideally, he/she could identify areas for further research by other UN bodies, or recommend to the secretary-general that he or she create an Independent Expert Panel on issues of particular salience to international peace and security.

Convene an Expert Panel on Transboundary Water Issues

One critical issue in the climate/security nexus that needs significant attention is the question of transboundary water-sharing and management. While the special rapporteur position has a very broad mandate to describe the social dislocations of climate change that may give rise to armed conflict, this initiative should be more tightly focused. To underscore the importance of this issue, the incoming secretary-general should use his or her authority to convene outside independent expert panels to analyze and issue reports on issues of great importance to the UN.

In particular, the expert panel should seek to raise awareness and identify avenues for further research regarding the scope and effectiveness of transboundary water agreements. Despite the rhetoric surrounding the coming “water wars,” the management of shared water resources historically has been as much a driver of cooperation as conflict. The most notable and durable of examples is management of the Indus River and its tributaries which, since 1960, has been managed under the Indus Waters Treaty regime.24 Sound risk-management strategy, however, would suggest that planning begin now for future eventualities in which climate change effects may undermine that cooperation.

There are two crucial motivating factors for focusing on transboundary water management within the context of climate change and human security concerns. The first is that sovereignty concerns are not as likely to arise because, by definition, transboundary water management is not a domestic matter, internal to only one nation-state. While it is true that two (or more) states may not wish for the involvement of third parties in helping to manage these concerns, the larger point remains that it is not axiomatic that action by the United Nations or the Security Council would infringe on the sovereignty of a nation-state.

Second, identifying transboundary water issues as an area requiring multilateral assistance is a step that has already been made by UN member-states, most directly in their intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs). Concerns about the economic and social viability of the Lake Chad region in particular has been noted explicitly by Nigeria, Chad, and Niger. Since 1960, the lake is an entire order of magnitude smaller, with Chad citing the negative effects on agricultural and fisheries production, and involuntary migration.25 Niger, for its part, lists the silting of watercourses such as Lake Chad as a significant vulnerability.26 Addressing this issue directly impacts international peace and security to the extent it erodes economic development, which appears to be a factor driving recruitment by the terrorist group Boko Haram. Nigeria points to reduced opportunities for sustainable agriculture being a “contributing factor to the current conflict and high degree of insecurity in the region.”27 Former United States ambassador John Campbell put it best when writing that “If not the cause of Boko Haram and other forms of jihadist terrorism, climate change and its social and economic dislocations is certainly part of the context.”28

Such an expert panel could be a regular and reliable source of information for both the UN Secretariat and the UN Security Council. It could work in parallel with the secretary-general’s High-level Experts and Leaders Panel on Water and Disasters (HELP), which is focused on disaster risk reduction and recovery.29 It could take its cue from the recommendations of “A New Climate for Peace,” the report of a G7-commissioned expert group addressing climate and security risks. One of the sectoral areas the report highlights is transboundary water management; while acknowledging that the responsibility to decide these issues ultimately lies with basin countries, the report recognizes that financial and technical support from the international community plays an important facilitation role.30 As with the special rapporteur, the Expert Panel on Transboundary Water Agreement would serve the need identified by the 2015 Arria-formula discussion for contextual information on climate change-related security issues.

A durable Paris agreement will set the stage for the next fifteen years of action on energy, environment, and economic priorities. While any agreement will require coordinated action across of a range of sectors to secure a low-carbon, climate-resilient future, the success of these endeavors also depends on the recognition of this critical fact: Climate change has direct implications for international peace and security, putting it firmly within the purview of the United Nations Security Council, working with other appropriate bodies in the UN system.

While it is clear that the United Nations in general and the United Nations Security Council in particular have the authority to consider climate and security issues, what has been articulated less forthrightly is how exactly to go about doing so in a way that maintains consensus and speaks to the varied interests not only of the permanent five members, but the broader Security Council rotating membership, and indeed all member-states. Proponents of a United Nations role should take seriously the objections of reluctant member-states, while not hesitating to move forward on raising awareness and building capacity to address these issues.

To that end—taking into account a generally positive outcome from the negotiations at the Paris COP and the opportunity afforded in 2016 to further embed dealing with the impacts of climate change in the agenda of the United Nations Secretariat and Security Council—UN member-states should push for the following steps:

  • A formal United Nations Security Council presidential statement that, while endorsing the outcome of the Paris COP, also calls on the parties to the UNFCCC to increase their ambition on meeting greenhouse gas mitigation targets, and fulfill pledges regarding financing for mitigation and adaptation needs, especially through the Green Climate Fund.
  • The appointment, by the Human Rights Council, of a special rapporteur for climate change and human security, with a flexible mandate to investigate, catalog, analyze, and draw attention to areas in which climate change can negatively impact livelihoods and potentially lead to political instability, especially in conflict-afflicted states.
  • A convening by the incoming secretary-general of an expert panel to analyze transboundary water issues as a potential agenda item for future UN Security Council action. Of all of the issues in which climate change effects may draw in the Security Council as an instrument for conflict prevention, the most significant in the near-term is potential tensions over transboundary water management.

Climate change will require multifaceted solutions across a variety of economic sectors by several levels of actors—private sector, NGOs, subnational and national governments, and intergovernmental organizations. In the wake of the Paris agreement, the United Nations and its constituent bodies and member-states are directly implicated in pushing forward on solutions to the issue. While the main effort of climate change mitigation is the role of the UNFCCC, managing the impacts of climate change (adaptation) falls across a spectrum of UN organs.

Beginning to understand the security implications of both adaptation and mitigation efforts, despite past skepticism, is well within the purview of the United Nations and the Security Council. The recommendations put forward here would represent incremental progress toward institutionalizing climate and human security concerns within the most important political bodies of the United Nations and on behalf of its member-states.

I am grateful to the research support provided by The Century Foundation’s Summer 2015 climate change intern Elana Sulakshana, and editorial guidance from Jason Renker, TCF’s editorial director. Any mistakes in fact and interpretation are my own.


    1. UNFCCC, “Adoption of the Paris Agreement,” 12 December 2015,, accessed 12 December 2015. The original Kyoto Protocol, adopted in 1997, went into effect in 2005. Its first commitment period ended in 2012, but was extended to 2020. UNFCCC, “Kyoto Protocol,” UNFCCC website, n.d.,, accessed 9 November 2015.

    2. Joby Warrick, “Greenhouse gases hit new milestone, fueling worries about climate change,” Washington Post, 9 November 2015,, accessed 9 November 2015.

    3. Stephane Hallegatte, Mook Bangalore, Laura Bonzanigo, et. al, Shock Waves: Managing the Impacts of Climate Change on on Poverty. Climate Change and Development Series (Washington, DC: World Bank Group, 2015),, accessed 9 November 2015.

    4. Ken Conca, An Unfinished Foundation: The United Nations and Global Environmental Governance (New York: Oxford University Press, 2015).

    5. Arria Formula meetings are meetings of the Security Council which are informal, private, and meant to allow member-states to express their views openly. As such, they are not part of the formal agenda of the UNSC.

    6. Statement by the President of the Security Council,” S/PRST/2011/15, 20 July 2011,, accessed 3 August 2015, 1.

    7. Permanent Mission of Malaysia to the United Nations & Permanent Mission of Spain to the United Nations, “Open Arria-formula meeting on the role of Climate Change as a threat multiplier for Global Security,” 30 June 2015,, accessed 1 July 2015.

    8. Conca summarizes this issue: “It raises fears that industrialized countries hope to slip out of their commitments to promote and fund sustainable development, while imposing new forms of environmental conditionality on resources use.” Conca, An Unfinished Foundation, 169.

    9. Ban Ki-Moon, “Remarks to UNFCCC COP18 High-Level Segment,” UNFCCC, 4 December 2012,, accessed 23 November 2015.

    10. Ban Ki-Moon, “Remarks to Security Council open debate on ‘Security, Development and the Root Causes of Conflicts,’” United Nations News Centre, 17 November 2015,, accessed 17 November 2015.

    11. Colin P. Kelley, Shahrzad Mohtadi, Mark Cane, Richard Seager, and Yochanan Kushnir, “Climate change in the Fertile Crescent and implications of the recent Syrian drought,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 112, no. 11 (17 March 2015): 3241–46,, accessed 17 March 2015.

    12. Francesco Femia and Caitlin Werrell, “Let’s Not Say Climate Change Causes War. But Let’s Also Not Ignore the Real Security Risks,” Center for Climate and Security, 5 December 2015,, accessed 5 December 2015.

    13. United Kingdom, National Security Strategy and Strategic Defense and Security Review, 23 November 2015,, accessed 23 November 2015, 86.

    14. American Security Project, “The Global Security Defense Index on Climate Change,” n.d.,, accessed 24 November 2015.

    15. See, inter alia, “Statement by the President of the Security Council,” S/PRST/2011/15, 20 July 2011,, accessed 3 August 2015, 2.

    16. “Statement by the President of the Security Council,” S/PRST/2015/3, 19 January 2015,, accessed 8 December 2015.

    17. Sustainable Development Goals, United Nations, n.d.,, accessed 8 December 2015.

    18. Conca, An Unfinished Foundation, 175.

    19. “Membership of the Human Rights Council,” UN Human Rights Council, n.d.,, accessed 8 December 2015.

    20. Knox was originally appointed to a three-year term as an independent expert. When that term was renewed in March 2015, the position was upgraded to a special rapporteur. “United Nations Mandate on Human Rights and the Environment,” n.d.,, accessed 17 November 2015.

    21. UNEP and Columbia Law School, “Climate Change and Human Rights,” 10 December 2015,, accessed 11 December 2015.

    22. W. Neil Adger, Juan Pulhin, et. al., “Human security,” in Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability. Part A: Global and Sectoral Aspects, Contribution of Working Group II to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2014),, accessed 17 November 2015, 759.

    23. Ibid., 762.

    24. “The Indus Waters Treaty,” World Bank, n.d.,, accessed 8 December 2015.

    25. Republic of Chad, “Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) for the Republic of Chad,” UNFCCC, 1 October 2015,, accessed 1 October 2015, 2.

    26. Niger, “Intended Nationally Determined Contribution of Niger,” UNFCCC, 20 October 2015,, accessed 20 October 2015, 11.

    27. Nigeria, “Nigeria’s Intended Nationally Determined Contribution,” UNFCCC,’s%20INDC_271115.pdf, accessed 8 December 2015, 5.

    28. John Campbell, “Climate Change and Ethnic and Religous Conflict in Nigeria,” Energy, Security, and Climate blog, Council on Foreign Relations, 5 December 2015,, accessed 5 December 2015.

    29. High-level Experts and Leaders Panel on Water and Disasters (HELP), n.d.,, accessed 15 December 2015.

    30.Lukas Rüttinger, Dan Smith, Gerald Stang, Denis Tänzler, and Janani Vivekananda, A New Climate for Peace: Taking Action on Climate and Fragility Risks,, accessed 5 December 2015.