(Editors’ Note: This is the latest in Just Security’s weekly series keeping readers up to date on developments at the United Nations at the intersection of national security, human rights, and the rule of law.)

COP28 Opens in Dubai with Commitments for Funding Loss and Damage

On Thursday, the first day of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28), States agreed to begin donating to the highly-anticipated fund for loss and damage impacts from climate change in developing countries. U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres praised the agreement on Twitter after warning earlier in the day that 2023 is on track to be the hottest year on record.

The fund, which garnered support last year during COP27, was proposed to enforce climate justice. Developing countries suffer disproportionately from the damage caused by climate change and sea-level rise. By using contributions from developed nations, responsible for the lion’s share of global pollution, to help developing States after climate disasters.

After agreeing to operationalize the fund, the United Arab Emirates pledged $100 million, the European Union pledged $225 million, and the United States pledged $17.5 million, according to advocacy group Loss and Damage Collaboration. However, total pledged contributions will hardly make a dent in the $100 billion minimum that developing countries originally proposed when calling for the fund.

Note: Readers may be interested in our tracker of COP28-related news.

Security Council Briefing on the Israel-Hamas Conflict

During a Wednesday open meeting of the U.N. Security Council, diplomats called for the development of the ongoing humanitarian pause, with Guterres advocating for a “true humanitarian ceasefire.”

Guterres briefed the Council on the implementation of Resolution 2712, which was passed on Nov. 15 and calls for “extended humanitarian pauses and corridors” in the Gaza Strip for “a sufficient number of days” to enable, among other things, safe and unhindered humanitarian access to facilitate the provision of essential goods and services and “rescue and recovery efforts, including for missing children in damaged and destroyed buildings.”

Guterres also recalled that the Security Council demanded all parties abide by international law, emphasizing the protection of civilians and the inviolability of U.N. facilities. Guterres noted that 111 U.N. employees have been killed in Gaza since the beginning of hostilities, “the largest loss of personnel in the history of our organization.” Meanwhile, 104 attacks have impacted U.N. Relief and Works Agency installations, 24 of which have occurred since Resolution 2712 was adopted.

Security Council Briefing on North Korea’s Nuclear Program

On Monday, Khaled Khiari, U.N. Assistant Secretary-General for the Middle East and Asia and the Pacific, briefed the Security Council on North Korea’s nuclear program, which he said violates a number of Security Council resolutions. These discussions come in the wake of a recent rocket launch by Pyongyang’s space program, which used ballistic missile technology. The launch was promptly condemned by the United States, Japan, and South Korea, among other countries.

While Khiari and many Security Council members, including the United States, France, the United Arab Emirates, Ghana, Mozambique, Malta, Japan, Ecuador, and Albania, have stressed the need for North Korea to comply with relevant resolutions, Russia argued that as joint military exercises by South Korea, Japan, and the United States in the region continue, North Korea “cannot be expected to not respond.” China, which held the Security Council Presidency for November, urged the United States to refrain from “pressure tactics.”

North Korea responded that the Korean peninsula is unstable due to the military posturing of the United States and its allies and its recent rocket launch carried a reconnaissance satellite. It also stated that relevant U.N. resolutions sanctioning Pyongyang are “no more than illegal and unlawful pieces of paper running counter to the spirit and objectives of the [U.N.] Charter.”

Second Meeting of States Parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

This week also saw the Second Meeting of States Parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), which began on Monday and runs all week. The TPNW currently has 93 signatories and 69 States Parties. The Second Meeting of States Parties has focused on providing human context to the impacts of nuclear weapons testing and wartime detonations and will also consider topics such as environmental and victim reparations.

Note: Readers may also be interested in our past coverage of the TPNW.

IMAGE: The United Nations Headquarters, in New York city, on Oct. 18, 2023. (Photo by DANIEL SLIM/AFP via Getty Images)