21 Jul 2011

Nauru President's request for UN Security Council help on climate change unsuccessful

7:20 pm on 21 July 2011

Nauru's president has asked the United Nations Security Council for help on behalf of small island nations threatened with extinction by rising sea levels caused by climate change.

Marcus Stephen told the Council at a special meeting in New York that the threat of sea-level rise is a threat as great as nuclear proliferation or terrorism, and it carries the potential to destabilise governments and ignite conflict.

But a divided council couldn't agree on the link between climate change and threats to peace and security.

Russia, China and other council members had argued that climate change should not be discussed in the Security Council.

The council settled for a statement expressing concern that possible adverse effects of climate change may, in the long run, aggravate certain existing threats to peace and security.

Speaking on behalf of Fiji, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Palau, Samoa, Tuvalu, Tonga and Vanuatu, Mr Stephen said they were deeply disappointed.