Sea level rise poses ‘unthinkable’ risks for the planet, Security Council hears

New York

© Greenpeace/Pram - Children wade through flood water in Palangka Raya, in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia. - (Picture from the UN news)


This content was originally published on the UNITED NATIONS website here.

Rising seas pose “unthinkable” risks to billions around the world, with profound implications for security, international law, human rights and the very fabric of societies, senior officials told the Security Council on Tuesday, as members held their first-ever debate on the phenomenon’s global implications.


Impunity and inaction

Also addressing the Security Council was Coral Pasisi, Director of Climate Change of the Pacific Community and President of the non-governmental organization, Tofia Niue.

She warned that, by 2050 – “within the lifetime of our children and grandchildren” – sea level rise will have exceeded at least one metre for most small island developing States, a shift that will last for thousands of years.

Listing severe impacts already facing communities today, from coral reef bleaching to salt water intrusion, she decried the international community’s continued flouting of responsibility and impunity in failing to act to stop climate change.

“This is a security issue of paramount importance to the Pacific Region,” she said, emphasizing that the security fallout of unaddressed sea level rise will fall directly under the Council’s remit.

She also expressed her hope that the General Assembly will soon adopt a resolution, put forward by Vanuatu, requesting an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice on the obligations of States vis-á-vis climate change.