In its presidential statements S/PRST/2018/17 and S/PRST/2019/10, the UN Security Council requested UNOCA to include climate change in its activities as it is one of the factors affecting the stability of the sub-region. In a declaration adopted at the 49th Ministerial Meeting of the United Nations Standing Advisory Committee on Security Questions in Central Africa (UNSAC) held from 26 – 29 November 2019 in Luanda (Angola), the Member States called on UNOCA to support efforts to address the effects of climate change on peace and security in the sub-region, in collaboration with the Climate Security Mechanism (CSM). Their appeal was reiterated during the 52nd UNSAC Meeting that took place in Libreville (Gabon) from 21 – 27 November 2021.
A holistic, integrated approach
The connections between climate change, biodiversity preservation, sustainable development, and regional peace and security in Central Africa are therefore at the heart of UNOCA's mandate. Climate change affects peace and security in multiple ways, including through: increased movement, involuntary migration and forced displacement; augmented intercommunal violence, in particular between herders and farmers; increased organized crime and activities of non-State armed groups; heightened pressure on the coastline and increased maritime crime and piracy; land conflicts, food insecurity and pressure on land; aggravated human-elephant conflicts; and increasing threats to the Congo basin rainforest.
Addressing the challenges related to security implications of climate change in Central Africa requires tackling the negative impacts of climate change through appropriate strategies, including climate finance, diplomacy, adaptation, mitigation, and resilience as well as promoting economic growth and good governance.
UNOCA’s strategic engagement on climate, peace and security is facilitated by a Climate Security Advisor and implemented in close collaboration with ECCAS, other regional organizations, UN entities, government agencies, and civil society organizations in Central Africa, including in the areas of analysis and technical advice; partnerships and advocacy; cooperation and coordination; and knowledge management. This is done through several key initiatives that aim to:
- Ensure that UN leadership has timely access to reliable, most recent environmental/climate analysis and trends in Central Africa;
- Encourage collaboration, cooperation, and partnership on climate security in the sub-region, under the leadership of ECCAS;
- Contribute to the development of a shared sub-regional vision and a governance framework to strengthen medium- and long-term stability in Central Africa;
- Lead and contribute to capacity development efforts on climate security in the sub-region; and
- Lead on environmental and climate issues and solutions within the framework of the UN Secretariat Climate Action Plan 2020-2030.
In collaboration with UNCT Gabon, a “Green Team” was set up in UNOCA to promote and ensure visibility of its activities on climate change, climate security and environment.