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Climate Change In UNSC, Behind Closed Doors, Marshall Islands of Silence?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, February 11 – A big topic at the UN, but with little fanfare: the Security Council will hold a so-called “Arria formula informal meeting” on February 15 on the “security dimensions of climate change.”

   The meeting was not on the Security Council's program of work for February; it was not listed in Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesperson's "Week Ahead."

    At an ill-attended press conference on February 11 about the International Year for Water Cooperation, Inner City Press asked a number of questions, including on behalf of the Free UN Coalition for Access.

   In his response, the World Meteorological Organization's Paul Egerton said that “there may be discussions at the high political level, in the UN Security Council or other venues, of the political issues.” He also said that the Security Council would an informal meeting about climate change.

   Inner City Press asked some Council members, and found that the sponsors of the stealth session are the Pakistan and the UK, which had convened on the topic before.

   Inner City Press' inquiry with the UK mission's so far responsive spokesperson Iona Thomas yielded this:

Matthew: The UK and Pakistan are co-hosting and Arria formula informal meeting on Friday to discuss the security dimensions of climate change. The meeting will aim to provide an opportunity to continue to discuss the potential for the adverse effects of climate change to impact negatively upon international peace and security.

There will be presentations from a panel including Mr Tony deBrum, Minister-in-assistance to the President of the Marshall Islands; Professor Hans Schellnhuber, Head of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impacts Research; Ms Rachel Kyte, World Bank Vice-President for Sustainable Development and Mr Gyan Acharya, Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for least developed countries, landlocked developing countries, and small island developing states. Members of the Security Council and other members states will also have the opportunity to contribute.

   Sounds interesting. But why so quiet? And why so closed-door? Not only Inner City Press, but now the Free UN Coalition for Access, will try to look into it. Watch this site.

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