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Biodiversity & Environment

Draft Resolution on Climate Change: U.N.

  • 16 Dec 2021
  • 8 min read

For Prelims: United Nations Security Council (UNSC) draft resolution, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), COP26, net zero, CDRI, Kyoto Protocol, ISA

For Mains: Importance of the U.N. Draft Resolution on Climate Change, India’s response on it and initiatives taken so far by India to tackle the impact of climate change.

Why in News

Recently, India and Russia opposed a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) draft resolution on climate change.

  • The resolution was co-sponsored by Ireland and Niger and it was first proposed by Germany in the UNSC in 2020.
  • It was supported by 113 UN member countries (of a total of 193), which includes 12 of the 15 UNSC members.

Key Points

  • About:
    • The draft resolution sought to create a formal space in the Security Council for discussions on climate change and its implications on international security.
    • It also asked that the UN Secretary-General provide periodic reports on how risks from climate change can be addressed to prevent conflicts.
    • It also asked the Secretary General to appoint a special envoy for climate security.
    • Further, it asked UN field missions to regularly report on climate change assessments in their areas of operation and take the help of climate experts in carrying out their routine functions.
  • Need:
    • It has been argued that climate change had an international security dimension.
    • Climate change-induced food or water shortage, loss of habitat or livelihood, or migration can exacerbate existing conflicts or even create new ones.
    • This can have implications for the UN field missions that are deployed across the world in peacekeeping efforts.
  • Criticism:
    • Shift from UNFCCC:
      • India said that it was an attempt to shift climate talks from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to the Security Council and a “step backward” for collective action on the issue.
        • At the annual climate change conference also, India had forced a last-minute amendment in the final draft agreement to ensure that a provision calling for “phase-out” of coal was changed to “phase-down”.
      • The draft resolution, as per India, would undermine the progress made in the right direction.

UN Framework Convention on Climate Change

  • It discusses all matters related to climate change.
  • The parties to the UNFCCC — over 190 countries — meet several times every year, including at a two-week year-ending conference like the one at Glasgow, to work on a global approach to combat climate change.
  • It is this process that has given rise to the Paris Agreement, and its predecessor the Kyoto Protocol, the international instrument that is designed to respond to the climate change crisis.
  • UNSC does not have Expertise:
    • It has been argued that the UNFCCC must remain the appropriate forum for addressing all climate change-related issues, and claimed the Security Council does not have the expertise to do so.
  • Hegemony over Climate Action:
    • Unlike UNFCCC, where decisions are taken by consensus of all the 190-plus countries, the UNSC would enable climate change decision-making by a handful of developed countries.
      • The UNSC members are “major contributors to climate change due to historic emissions
    • Also, the decision of bringing the issue to the security council was made without the involvement of most developing countries and without recognising consensus.
  • Recent Climate Related Measures by India:
    • An ambitious climate action vision with five elements has been unveiled at COP26.
      • Taking non-fossil energy capacity to 500 GW by 2030
      • Meeting 50% of energy requirements from renewable energy by 2030
      • Reducing total projected carbon emissions by one billion tons by 2030
      • Reducing the carbon intensity of the economy to less than 45% by 2030
      • Achieving the target of “net zero” by 2070.
    • India now ranks fourth in terms of installed renewable energy capacity and non-fossil energy has increased by more than 25% in the past seven years and reached 40% of the total energy mix.
    • India has also taken the lead in initiatives such as the International Solar Alliance (ISA) and Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI).

United Nation Security Council

  • The UNs Charter established six main organs of the United Nations, including the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). Article 23 of the UN Charter concerns the composition of the UNSC.
  • The UNSC has been given primary responsibility for maintaining international peace and security to the Security Council, which may meet whenever peace is threatened.
  • While other organs of the United Nations make recommendations to member states, only the Security Council has the power to make decisions that member states are then obligated to implement under the Charter.
  • Permanent and Non-Permanent Members: The UNSC is composed of 15 members, 5 permanent and 10 non-permanent.
    • Five permanent members: China, France, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
    • Ten non-permanent members: Elected for two-year terms by the General Assembly.
      • Each year, the General Assembly elects five non-permanent members (out of ten in total) for a two-year term. The ten non-permanent seats are distributed on a regional basis.
      • As stipulated in rule 144 of the rules of procedure, a retiring member is not eligible for immediate re-election.
      • In accordance with rule 92 of the rules of procedure, the election is held by secret ballot and there are no nominations. Under rule 83 of the rules of procedure, the non-permanent members of the Security Council are elected by a two-thirds majority.
        • Five for African and Asian countries.
        • One for Eastern European countries.
        • Two for Latin American and Caribbean countries.
        • Two for Western European and other countries.
  • India has been advocating a permanent seat in UNSC.
  • India has the following objective criteria, such as population, territorial size, Gross Domestic Product, economic potential, civilisational legacy, cultural diversity, political system and past and ongoing contributions to UN activities especially to UN peacekeeping operations.


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