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Climate change poses risks to international peace and security through massive displacement of people and increased competition for scarce natural resources, speakers told the Security Council today while expressing divergent views on what the 15-member organ can do about it.
Rosemary DiCarlo, Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, said the risks associated with climate-related disasters do not represent a scenario of some distant future but are already “a reality today for millions of people around the globe”.
Briefing during an open debate in which more than 80 Member States participated, she explained that climate change has heightened competition for diminishing land, forage and water resources in certain countries, fuelling tensions between herders and farmers, compounding socioeconomic exclusion and raising the chances of youth being recruited into armed groups.
Looking ahead, the United Nations will invest in certain actions, she said, noting that the Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), in collaboration with practitioners from across and beyond the Organization, are developing an integrated risk-assessment framework to analyse climate-related security risks. The Organization is also working to ensure that such analysis is better reflected in mandated reports and seeks to strengthen the evidence base to support the development of climate risk prevention and management strategies in the field.
Briefing via audio teleconference from Davos, Switzerland, UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner emphasized that climate-related disasters, conflict and insecurity all have catastrophic impacts on people and societies. Noting that the World Economic Forum’s annual Global Risks Report has just been released in Davos, he said that it spotlights climate change mitigation measures as one of the world’s top priorities today.
Describing climate change as a risk multiplier that exacerbates already existing challenges, he warned that without swift action to address it, more than 140 million people in sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and South Asia will be forced to migrate within national borders by 2050. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals provide a chance for countries to leverage actions leading to real change, he added.
Pavel Kabat, Chief Scientist of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), spoke on behalf of that body’s Secretary-General, highlighting findings from the newly published Global Risks Report 2019, which indicate that extreme weather, natural disasters, climate change and water crises are the top four existential threats to the planet, demonstrating significant links with other shocks and impacts on peace and security as well as sustainable development. Noting that today marks the first time that WMO has officially briefed the Council on climate and extreme weather issues, he said climate change affects security in a multitude of ways, rolling back gains in access to food, heightening the risks of wildfire and increasing the potential for water-related conflict.
Expressing hope for closer collaboration with the Security Council, he said WMO stands ready to provide authoritative information for decision-making, adding that the agency also supports the Council’s diplomatic business in areas appropriate to the understanding and analysis of peace and security threats. As such, WMO is increasing its support to help the United Nations Operations and Crisis Centre provide expert information and assist the leadership in making informed, strategic decisions, he said.
Lindsay Getschel, a research assistant with the Stimson Center’s Environmental Security Program, said the Security Council can take three concrete steps to reduce the security impacts of climate change. First, it should adopt a resolution formally recognizing climate change as a threat to international peace and security. Secondly, deployed United Nations missions should assess how climate change will impact local youth and how young people can be involved in building resilience and sustainability. Third, missions must transition to using clean energy in the field.
Following the briefings, speakers exchanged views on the Council’s role in addressing climate-related security threats. Belgium’s Deputy Prime Minister said it is high time the Council considers climate change as part of its regular work programme, while also incorporating it into country-specific discussions and the renewal of peacekeeping mandates. He went on to propose the creation of an institutional focal point, such as a clearing house, which could pull together expertise from across the United Nations system to provide information to the Council.
Indonesia’s Foreign Minister said that the Council must consolidate efforts to better respond to the security impacts of climate change, including by equipping peacekeepers with a capacity to undertake military operations other than war, such as “climate peace missions”. She added: “Our homework in the Council is to better define what falls under the ambit of climate change itself and what constitutes security dimensions of climate-related effects.”
The Russian Federation’s representative was among several speakers arguing that the Security Council is not the appropriate forum in which to address climate change. Reiterating his country’s long-standing opposition to the “securitization” of climate change, he emphasized that considering it in the Council is both excessive and counter-productive. Such discussions also undercut the division of labour within the United Nations, he added. Moreover, climate change is not a universal challenge and should not be considered as such, he stressed, cautioning that doing so might lead to the false assumption that climate change always leads to conflict.
India’s representative said that research findings on the generalized links between climate disasters and security remain ambiguous, recalling that the fifth assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) states: “The evidence on the effect of climate change and variability on violence is contested.” A securitized approach to climate change risks pitting States in competition whereas cooperation is more productive in tackling the threat, he said, adding that thinking in security terms usually engenders overly militarized responses. It is also questionable to shift climate law-making from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to a structurally unrepresentative institution with an exclusionary approach decided in secretive deliberations.
Widely representing the views of small island developing States, the Foreign Minister of Maldives said climate change will eventually take his entire country. “Climate change is not only an everyday fact for the Maldives, but an existential threat,” he emphasized, predicting that the man-made two-metre rise in sea levels will result in a situation whereby the entire nation is virtually submerged. Deploring the fact that Maldivian lakes are drying up while the Council discusses which United Nations forum is best suited to address climate change, he demanded: “What is a bigger security threat to us than this?”
Sudan’s delegate said that his country has suffered from climate change and the resulting outbreaks of conflict, including the violence in Darfur, which began in 2003. He explained that tensions among Darfur’s largely agriculture-dependent population erupted because of competition for limited resources, fed by the spread of weapons from neighbouring countries.
The observer for the European Union said that further efforts are required to ensure that relevant climate and environmental risks are appropriately included in risk assessments that form the basis of the Council’s decisions. They should take into account the greater risks, burdens and adverse impacts on women and girls during and following disasters, including the heightened risk of gender-based violence.
Speaking in his national capacity, the Foreign Minister of the Dominican Republic, which holds the Council’s presidency for January, said it is time for the Security Council to reach a consensus on how it will integrate climate change into its work. He suggested that all proposals raised today should be collected and provided to the Secretary-General. The proposals included the appointment of a special representative on climate change and security, and representation of small island developing States on the Security Council.
Also speaking today were representatives of Kuwait, Germany, Poland, United Kingdom, China, Côte d’Ivoire, Peru, France, United States, Equatorial Guinea, South Africa, Guatemala, Hungary, Philippines, Haiti, Canada, Fiji, Nicaragua, Norway, Estonia, Liechtenstein, Japan, Greece, Latvia, Italy, Pakistan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Spain, Barbados (for the Caribbean Community), Portugal, Turkey, Switzerland, Australia, Sri Lanka, Colombia, Papua New Guinea, Sweden, Bangladesh, Ecuador, Kenya, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Ireland, Chile, Nauru (for the Pacific Island Forum), Brazil, Trinidad and Tobago, Viet Nam, Iran, Iraq, Morocco, Uruguay, Finland, Uzbekistan, Romania, Qatar, Costa Rica, Kazakhstan, Armenia, Slovakia, Netherlands, Belize (for the Alliance of Small Island States), Tuvalu, Algeria, United Arab Emirates and Mauritius.
Also delivering statements were the Permanent Observers for the Holy See, the African Union and International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
The meeting began at 10:10 a.m. and ended at 6:14 p.m.
ROSEMARY DICARLO, Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, cautioned that the risks associated with climate-related disasters do not represent a scenario of some distant future. “They are already a reality today for millions of people around the globe and they are not going away,” she emphasized. She said that a report issued by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) last October predicted more heat waves, heavier rain events, higher sea levels and more severe damage to agriculture. These trends represent a security risk for the entire world, she added, noting that their consequences are felt most strongly in regions that are already vulnerable and where climate change and extreme weather compound existing grievances and threats. The relationship between climate-related risks and conflict is complex and often intersects with political, social, economic and demographic factors, she emphasized.
For example, a series of climate-related disasters has struck Haiti since the 2010 earthquake, contributing to instability and a prolonged humanitarian crisis, she pointed out. In the Sahel and the Sudan, climate change has heightened competition for diminishing land, forage and water resources, fuelling tensions between herders and farmers. In the Lake Chad Basin, climate change contributes to unpredictable rainfall patterns that impede traditional livelihood options, compound socioeconomic exclusion and reduce the opportunity costs of joining armed groups. In Somalia, more frequent and longer droughts have been a major factor in the displacement of more than 2.6 million people, which in turn drives up local tensions as well as human trafficking, child exploitation and recruitment by armed groups, she said, noting that in recent months, the Security Council has recognized the adverse effects of climate change on the stability of Mali, Somalia and West Africa, as well as the Sahel, Central Africa and the Sudan.
She went on to recall that the Secretary-General has articulated a broad vision for prevention and made it a priority. Looking ahead, the United Nations will invest in certain actions, she said, noting that the Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), in collaboration with practitioners from across and beyond the Organization, are developing an integrated risk-assessment framework to analyse climate-related security risks. The United Nations is also working to ensure that such analysis is better reflected in mandated reports. The Organization also seeks to strengthen the evidence base to support the development of climate risk prevention and management strategies at the field level, she said, inviting Member States and other interested parties to undertake a review of good practices that will inform that effort. The United Nations is strengthening partnerships to leverage existing capacities, she added, stressing: “Addressing the security implications of climate change is a collective problem which requires a collective response.”
ACHIM STEINER, Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), briefed the Council via audio teleconference from Davos, Switzerland, agreeing that climate-related disasters, conflict and insecurity all have catastrophic impacts on people and societies. Noting that the World Economic Forum’s annual Global Risks Report has just been released in Davos, he said that it spotlights climate change mitigation measures as among the top priorities for the world today. Describing climate change as a risk multiplier that exacerbates already existing challenges, he warned that without swift action to address it, more than 140 million people in sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and South Asia will be forced to migrate within their national borders by 2050. Meanwhile, droughts such as those already visible in parts of Africa are closely linked to violence and political developments, he said, stressing: “We are not keeping up with the challenge.”
Indeed, the links between climate change and its effects on the biosphere are becoming ever clearer, and greater efforts are needed to act in defence of the poorest of the poor, he continued. Citing the situation of Iraq, he said climate risk and ecosystem restoration are among the issues under consideration in the reconstruction of areas recently liberated from Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh). Calling for an integrated agenda incorporating such critical issues as climate change, disaster risk reduction and development, he said the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals provide a chance for countries to leverage actions leading to real change. Underlining the urgent need to scale up action in adherence to the global target of limiting warming to 1.5°C, he spotlighted some of UNDP’s projects in more than 140 countries, pointing out that the Green Climate Fund is providing financing to assist in those efforts while managing financial risk.
PAVEL KABAT, Chief Scientist, World Meteorological Organization (WMO), speaking on behalf of that body’s Secretary-General, highlighted findings from the World Economic Forum’s newly published Global Risks Report 2019, noting that it recognizes the critical importance of WMO’s core activity, which has early warning at its centre. The report also indicates that extreme weather, natural disasters, climate change and water crises are the top four existential threats to the planet, demonstrating significant links with other shocks and impacts on peace and security as well as sustainable development. Noting that it has been about 4 million years since the Earth last experienced a concentration of carbon dioxide comparable to the current record levels, he cited WMO findings that the previous four years have been the warmest, characterized by high-impact weather events bearing the hallmark of climate change.
He went on to cite a WMO-UNEP special report on threats posed by global temperature increases, pointing out that 2017 was the costliest and most impactful Atlantic hurricane season in observable history. Damage exceeded $282 billion, with grave social and economic effects as well as on the gross domestic product (GDP) in small island developing States of the Caribbean region, including Dominica, where $1.3 billion in damage amounted to 224 per cent of GDP, and mainland Costa Rica, which experienced its worst-ever natural disaster. In 2018, flooding wreaked devastating effects on many countries, he noted. India suffered its worst-ever flooding since the 1920s, which displaced 1.4 million people in Kerala State, while floods caused 230 deaths in Japan. Floods destroyed thousands of homes and affected many parts of East Africa, including Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and the United Republic of Tanzania, he added, pointing out that, of the 17.7 million internally displaced persons tracked by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), 2.3 million were displaced because of weather-and climate-related disasters.
Noting that today marks the first time that WMO has officially briefed the Council on climate and extreme weather issues, he explained that rising sea levels and melting glaciers in the Arctic are influencing weather patterns. The short-term effects of leaving glacier melt unchecked include increased flooding, he said, adding that the long-term threats will affect water supplies for millions of people. Indeed, climate change affects security in a multitude of ways, rolling back gains in food access, heightening wildfire risks and increasing the potential for water-related conflict, he said. All these factors lead to more internal displacement and migration, he stressed, noting that climate change is increasingly regarded as a national security threat.
Expressing hope for closer collaboration with the Security Council, he said WMO stands ready to provide authoritative information for decision-making, adding that the agency also supports the Council’s diplomatic business in areas appropriate to the understanding and analysis of peace and security threats. As such, WMO is increasing its support to help the United Nations Operations and Crisis Centre provide expert information and assist the leadership in making informed, strategic decisions. Committed to providing cutting-edge science to the Secretary-General’s climate summit in September, WMO also aims to support Member States in terms of evidence-based climate action, he emphasized. “To meet the challenges and promote the international agenda, there is a need for a new political and investment paradigm to build a new generation of hydro-climate forecasting and early-warning services.” This should become a basic component of national infrastructure, comparable to roads and bridges, he said, stressing that WMO remains honoured to support Member States and the Security Council by providing top quality information on weather, climate, water and environment-related threats to peace and security.
LINDSAY GETSCHEL, research assistant, Environmental Security Program, Stimson Center, proposed that the Security Council adopt a resolution formally recognizing climate change as a threat to international peace and security. While the United Nations has incorporated the climate phenomenon into the mandates of its operations in Somalia, Darfur, Mali, Central African Republic and the Lake Chad region, a Council resolution recognizing the security impacts of climate change must also require the incorporation of climate sensitivity into the mandates of all peacekeeping and special political missions, she said. She also proposed that the Council recognize both the disproportionate impact of climate change on young people, and the unique role of youth as innovators. The Council should require the heads of each deployed mission to assess the impact of climate change impact on local youth, particularly in terms of displacement, unemployment, food insecurity and recruitment into armed groups.
She went on to say that mission heads should brief Council members on their findings, which would function as an early-warning mechanism alerting the Council to areas in which climate change will hamper the ability of United Nations missions to carry out their conflict-prevention and peacebuilding activities. Deployed missions must engage young people in building climate resilience in their communities, she continued, recalling that a young man in Saint Lucia started a business that created a fertilizer using seaweed that had washed ashore. He has removed 300 tons of seaweed from the island nation’s shores the in the three years since the launch of his business, she added. The United Nations must also live up to the goal of reducing reliance of field missions on fossil fuels, she said, emphasizing that, by reducing the energy footprint of its deployed missions, the Organization can reduce greenhouse gas pollution while building sustainable infrastructure in the communities they serve. Noting that renewable energy accounted for less than 1 per cent of electricity generation in deployed mission as of April 2017, she urged the Council to pass a resolution committing to 50 per cent of energy from renewables by 2025 and to use the Secretary-General’s regular reports to track progress.
SHEIKH SABAH KHALID AL HAMAD AL SABAH, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Kuwait, said climate change has gained greater international traction in recent years, including through the adoption of the Paris Agreement on climate change in 2015. However, the phenomenon’s adverse effects are moving more quickly than global action, with increasing food insecurity, water scarcity and other health hazards as well as rising sea levels threatening the very existence of some island nations. “Climate change is a cross-border phenomenon and no country will be spared its impacts,” he warned, calling for the necessary solidarity and political will to take effective action. Expressing hope that countries will come together — as per the recent commitment in Katowice, Poland — to implement the Paris Agreement’s guidelines, he underlined that resource scarcity and climate change were at the root of many conflicts such as those in Africa. Kuwait is playing its part to address the global phenomenon, including by supporting the development of renewable energy sources and improving the efficiency of its oil sector, he said.
DIDIER REYNDERS, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Defence of Belgium, said the international community is increasingly and ever more clearly witnessing how climate change contributes to insecurity around the world. “The international community must rally” to reach a far-reaching solution, he added, emphasizing the enormous responsibly of leaders in that regard. The Council should build up its awareness and ability to see warning signs, he said, underscoring the close links between climate change and the Council’s accelerating conflict-prevention agenda, adding it is high time the Council considers climate change as part of its regular work programme, while also incorporating it into country-specific discussions and the renewal of peacekeeping mandates. He went on to propose the creation of an institutional focal point, such as a clearing house, which could pull together expertise from across the United Nations system to provide information to the Council. A topical briefing would be a good annual starting point, as would regular reporting from special representatives and peacekeeping missions, he said. Far from overburdening the machinery, such a system would draw important existing knowledge together, he added, emphasizing the need for the Council to play its part as the international community moves forward on climate issues during the present pivotal year.
RETNO LESTARI PRIANSARI MARSUDI, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Indonesia, emphasized: “Climate change is real and it is happening now.” Indeed, the security threat of climate change is indisputable in his hometown of Semerang, an economically dynamic city in Java. However, while that city has the capacity to adapt, many other places do not, which risks transforming potential scenarios into real security threats, including irregular migration and food scarcity, he warned. The Council must consolidate efforts to better respond to the security impact of climate change, including by equipping peacekeepers with a capacity to undertake military operations other than war, such as “climate peace missions”, he said, adding that it must also ensure that peace operations recognize security-development synergy while focusing on assisting, not interfering with, affected countries, which bear the primary responsibility to respond to such threats. Underlining the importance of regional organizations, he said the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has strengthened its response capacity. “Our homework in the Council is to better define what falls under the ambit of climate change itself and what constitutes security dimensions of climate-related effects,” he added. While the Council can deal with the security dimension, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change remains the leading forum to address the phenomenon, he emphasized.
HEIKO MAAS, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Germany, noted with concern the consequences of Europe’s drought on the continent’s crops, forests and fuel supply. “Climate change is real,” he stressed, warning that it is increasingly becoming a threat to international peace and security. It must become routine for the international community, and specifically the Council, to take note of the link between climate change and security. For starters, all Member States must have access to reliable and comprehensive information. Systematic reporting by the Security Council is very important. The Secretariat and Council need to also carry out sound risk analysis and forecasts with clear recommendations for action. All countries must work harder to translate knowledge about climate change into tangible policy. “This is our shared responsibility,” he emphasized.
MICHAŁ KURTYKA, State Secretary, Ministry of the Environment of Poland, noted his other role in presiding over the global climate change process in 2019. Emphasizing that climate change is taking place all over the world, representing an existential threat, he said local climate events have a butterfly effect that impact people’s livelihoods, security, and ability to provide, produce and function. “We don’t have to look far to find examples of climate-induced conflicts destabilizing — sometimes quite unexpectedly — entire regions,” he said, citing the situations in the Lake Chad Basin and the Sahel. “Therefore, addressing this issue is not just our responsibility, it is in our own interest,” he stressed. He went on to underline the importance of anticipation and prevention in furthering those goals, including by providing access to accurate early-warning and information-gathering systems. Urging all States and organizations to use the full potential of their field offices and missions to gather and share such information, he also called for enhancing the prominence of climate change and security in the Council through regular discussion and debate. As for the global response, he noted that States parties meeting recently in Katowice, Poland, adopted the “Katowice Rulebook” aimed at making the Paris Agreement on climate change operational. He said that agreement provides clarity in terms of how and when to act; shifts the world onto a path towards a concrete, single transparency system; and creates a specific framework around the provision of climate finance to countries that need it.
TARIQ MAHMOOD AHMAD, Minister for State for the Commonwealth and the United Nations of the United Kingdom, emphasized the need to involve young people in seeking solutions to the impacts of climate change, as pointed out by one of today’s briefers, Lindsay Getschel. Recalling that his country was the first to raise the issue of climate change risks to international peace and security within the Security Council back in 2007, he said that about 60 per cent of Commonwealth members face climate-related threats. Citing Prime Minister Theresa May, he emphasized the clear moral imperative to help those who stand to lose from man-made disasters, noting in that regard, that the Government of the United Kingdom earmarked $7 billion for investment in adaptation and mitigation measures during the 2016-2020 period.
MA ZHAOXU (China) said climate change is a major challenge that affects humanity’s future, adding that the issue has become serious in certain regions. The international community must step up cooperation and countries must uphold multilateralism in order to maintain international peace and security, he emphasized, urging countries to fulfil their obligations and increase funding for technical assistance. Emphasizing the need for transition to a low-carbon economy, he also stressed the importance of acknowledging differences in the situation of each country, noting that countries shoulder common but differentiated responsibility under the Paris Agreement and other international instruments.
VASSILY A. NEBENZIA (Russian Federation), reiterating his delegation’s long-standing opposition to the “securitization” of climate change, emphasized that considering it in the Council is both excessive and counter-productive. Such discussions also undercut the division of labour within the United Nations. Moreover, climate change is not a universal challenge and should not be considered as such, he said, cautioning that doing so might lead to the false assumption that climate change always leads to conflict. He went on to emphasize that the Council should avoid pushing the real drivers of conflict in the Sahel — for example, regime-change attempts in Libya and related air strikes by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) — onto the back burner, pointing out that now, in another region, external provocations are once again attempting to exacerbate a domestic crisis. While no one denies the need for a comprehensive approach to climate change, the existing specialized United Nations bodies provide the appropriate forum in which to pursue it, he said. Regional cooperation should also be accelerated, including by tapping into the potential of the United Nations regional economic commissions, he added, stressing his country’s support for developing countries facing serious challenges around the world.
GBOLIÉ DÉSIRÉ WULFRAN IPO (Côte d’Ivoire), associating himself with the African Union, cited the rapidly increasing number of natural disasters with serious material and human repercussions. Millions of people in Africa are facing such challenges, which are compounded by demographic changes and can lead to exacerbated conflict. Turning to his own country’s experience, he said the national forestry and agricultural sectors have suffered and relations between nomadic herder and farmer communities have devolved. The Government has established a national office charged with assisting populations at risk, he said. Endorsing the outcome of the African Union Peace and Security Council’s 2018 meeting under the theme “The Link Between Climate Change and Conflicts in Africa and Addressing the Security Implications”, he said that, among other things, Heads of State agreed to speed up the implementation of global commitments, including the Paris Agreement, the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer and the Sendai Framework.
GUSTAVO MEZA-CUADRA (Peru), highlighting the risks of climate change to human security, noted that its consequences transcend the mandates of the Climate Change Convention. He welcomed the inclusion of the climate risk element in the mandates of United Nations field missions in Mali, Somalia, the Lake Chad Bain and elsewhere, noting that the Security Council also responded by increasing the number of deployed personnel in the wake of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. The Council must appropriately assess climate change risks to international peace and security, he said, stressing that the effort must be under the purview of different United Nations bodies, including the Security Council, the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council.
ANNE GUEGUEN (France) recalled that the Paris Agreement set the path forward, emphasizing that France, alongside Jamaica, will play an important role in mobilizing funding for climate change adaptation and mitigation during the climate summit later in 2019. Climate change risks must become the essential part of the Secretary-General’s prevention agenda, she said, stressing that the Organization must play a major role in rigorous analysis of these risks. The assessments must then be used by Member States and other stakeholders to implement policy measures, he said. France proposes to bring together analytical tools that exist around the world, and the United Nations must facilitate that process, she added, underlining the important role of the Secretary-General’s reports in taking stock of climate change risks. France is undertaking a research initiative that could feed into those reports, she said.
JONATHAN COHEN (United States) recalled that his country recently experienced the worst wildfire in the history of California state, as well as severe storms such as Hurricane Maria. That storm resulted in loss of human life and more than $90 billion worth of damage in Puerto Rico, he said. “This makes things harder for everyone,” he said, spotlighting the greater challenges faced by relief workers as well as spiking crime and social instability. As part of its foreign policy, the United States provides humanitarian and relief assistance to countries facing extreme weather events and other natural disasters, he said, adding that it is developing new and better ways to mitigate their impacts. For example, it provided $100 million in relief to Haiti following Hurricane Matthew; it is improving technology to address droughts in Central America; and it partners with Governments and regional organizations to assist States in crisis around the world. “Each nation must do its part,” he emphasized, urging the Council to increase its own sharing of information and improve best practices. He asked Council members to explore how United Nations special political missions can place a stronger focus on resilience in post-conflict rebuilding efforts.
ANATOLIO NDONG MBA (Equatorial Guinea) said climate change is not only an environmental matter but a cross-cutting one, spanning the economic as well as the peace and security sectors, among others. One important response is to promote policies supporting development and the eradication of poverty, while also creating a system of global cooperation to ensure coherent management of natural resources. Noting that Africa is the continent most vulnerable to climate change — despite being one of the lowest producers of greenhouse gases — he said it is consolidating its sustainable development efforts, including those related to climate change, in accordance with the African Union’s Agenda 2063 and the Paris Agreement. Outlining his country’s national measures against climate change, he said Equatorial Guinea is implementing disaster risk reduction strategies and accelerating its technological adaptation efforts. However, all countries without exception must take early, multilateral joint action in order to guarantee a future for humanity, he stressed.
JERRY MATTHEWS MATJILA (South Africa), associating himself with the African Union, stressed that Africa is particularly vulnerable to climate change. South Africa has experienced devastating weather events in recent years with several regions of the country suffering their worst drought in decades. The Government therefore remains firmly committed to addressing climate change and responding to natural disasters nationally, regionally and internationally. “Climate action needs to be dramatically scaled up, while protecting and furthering the development gains of developing countries and eradicating poverty,” he said. The Council must also highlight climate change as a factor that must be addressed by the international community. The threat posed by climate change is existential and global in nature and therefore needs a multilateral response.
MIGUEL VARGAS MALDONADO, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Dominican Republic, said that the link between climate change and security is a high priority for his country, as natural hazards induced by climate change in recent years sounded alarm. The Security Council has devoted its attention to the nexus between climate change and security over the past decade. Renewed interest in this issue is timely, as climate change is the greatest challenge humanity must grapple with. The Council incorporated risk factors in several mandates, such as in missions in the Lake Chad Basin. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reported global warming will result in greater health hazards and bring about negative impacts on food and water supplies. There is a clear need to prevent negative effects, ensuring that they do not become the root causes of conflict. In this regard, the Council must be endowed with a necessary tool to assess such risks. Analysing the causes of conflict is under its purview, and the organ must reach a consensus on how it will integrate climate change into its work. He suggested that all proposals raised today should be collected and provided to the Secretary-General.
SANDRA ERICA JOVEL POLANCO, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Guatemala, said that the Security Council should respond to the needs of other Member States by considering the nexus between climate change and security. Some countries are more vulnerable than others, facing massive human displacement and other man-made consequences. Her country is also exposed to the negative impacts of hurricanes, tropical storms and droughts. People are on the move to seek better life elsewhere. Her country has embarked on some projects to protect the environment. However, the negative impacts of climate change limit her country’s development options. The world is at a crucial crossroads and needs to act to preserve the ecosystem.
PÉTER SZIJJÁRTÓ, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary, said the Council should consider climate change as a matter of peace and security as it will generate more and more fights for resources in the coming years. Noting that climate change has already helped to drive migration — which has proven to be a serious security challenge across Europe in recent years — he warned against efforts to portray migration as a human right or a phenomenon with purely positive impacts. Instead, he urged the global community to undertake efforts to address the root causes of migration — including those related to climate. Underlining Hungary’s disagreement with the Global Compact for Migration, adopted by dozens of nations in December, he declared: “All countries should have the right to decide who they will allow to enter.” In that regard, he said, border protection will be a critical security issue going forward.
TEODORO LOCSIN, Secretary for Foreign Affairs of the Philippines, said not all the devastating effects of climate change experienced on the 7,107 islands that comprise his country will be regretted, as “so many” of those islands defy effective patrolling and have become havens for massive drug trafficking. Noting that climate change has generated civil strife and foreign wars, he called for better risk assessment and mitigation strategies, stronger synergies among States and deeper cooperation. Support for developing countries in the form of financing, technology and capacity-building should be strengthened, respecting the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities. Climate-driven conflicts will only increase, and sooner or later, the chaos “will scale any wall”. The Council should address climate change as its first, foremost and last concern, he said. Past conflicts will seem like sports competitions by comparison.
ABDULLA SHAHID, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Maldives, declared: “Climate change is destroying our tiny island.” It is eroding beaches, killing coral reefs, contaminating fresh water with sea water and reducing fish stocks, he said, adding that it will also take the country entirely. “Climate change is not only an everyday fact for the Maldives, but an existential threat,” he said, predicting that the man-made two-metre rise in sea levels will result in a situation whereby the entire nation is virtually submerged. “Prospects for our future are far worse than we ever imagined,” he said, pointing out that Maldivian lakes are drying up while the Council remains busy discussing which United Nations forum is best suited to address climate change. “What is a bigger security threat to us than this?” he demanded. Expressing hope that the Paris Agreement and the Katowice Rulebook will help to raise the collective ambition to deliver on pledges and keep global warming well below 2°C, he said any solutions should also seek to strengthen the United Nations system’s capacity to identify potential climate-related conflicts and undertake early mitigation measures.
BOCCHIT EDMOND, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Haiti, associated himself with the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), welcoming the international community’s recognition of the important impact of climate change on peace and security and its demonstrated dedication to developing a cohesive action plan to counter the threat. Noting that 2019 will see significant progress in implementing commitments, he noted that the debate on climate risks dovetails with the priorities of both the Secretary-General and the President of the General Assembly. Pledging that Haiti will contribute to implementation of the global climate change architecture — with the aim of leaving no one behind — he recalled that his country has seen numerous severe hurricanes. Hurricane Matthew in 2016 was particularly devastating, he said, citing the loss of lives and livelihoods as well as development and economic setbacks. Calling for increased assistance to finance reconstruction efforts, he said Haiti is working to attract more investment, create jobs and support all strata of the population. In conclusion, he expressed concern about certain parts of the concept note distributed before today’s meeting, including a debatable reference to the increase in malaria originating in Haiti.
CATHERINE MCKENNA, Minister for Environment of Canada, described climate change as an environmental issue, an economic issue and clearly one of the greatest security challenges of the twenty-first century. Noting that her country is working hard to mitigate climate-change risks and adapt to its impacts, he emphasized that the phenomenon must have a clear place in the Council’s deliberations. Viewing climate change through a peace and security lens does not undermine the Paris Agreement, she said, stressing that it complements the accord by expanding the frame to recognize that climate change is not simply an environmental problem. She went on to express support for establishing the post of Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Climate and Security. “It is critical that the Security Council better understand climate-related security risks and report on climate risks when analysing a conflict or region,” she added.
AIYAZ SAYED-KHAIYUM, Attorney-General and Minister for Economy of Fiji, said that climate change has transformed the natural world. Extreme weather catastrophes and their frequencies, such as major floods, prolonged droughts, record shattering heat waves and super cyclones, are having a major impact. In 2016, Tropical Cyclone Winston wiped out one third of Fiji’s GDP in one day. In 2014, his Government relocated its first coastal community to safer ground and subsequently moved two more; another 43 coastal communities will follow. Fiji is too “uncomfortably close to the tipping point” whereby relocations will be forced migrations on a scale that severely stress the country’s institutions and societies. “The effects of climate change are a threat to everyone, everywhere — from the disappearing coast lines of Bangladesh to the scorching heat drying out land across sub-Saharan Africa,” he said. Extreme weather events also make economies and societies more fragile. He urged the Council and wider United Nations family to accept that climate change induced disasters are now fundamentally challenging international institutions. He called on the United Nations to lead and support national and regional efforts to tackle growing security challenges related to climate change.
PAUL OQUIST KELLEY, Private Secretary for National Policies of the President of Nicaragua, said grave climate change consequences have resulted in failed States in history and can currently be seen around the world, including the advancing Sahara Desert’s destruction of crops and the shrinking of Lake Chad’s effects on the livelihoods of people in surrounding countries that also face a crisis with the spread of Boko Haram. If Europe has a hard time dealing with 1 million refugees, he asked the region to imagine having to deal with 20 million displaced by climate-related disasters. Central America and the Caribbean are among the regions that are most vulnerable to climate change, affecting millions of people. Experts say efforts must focus on lowering emissions to change the current trends. Referring to the Green Climate Fund, he said the concept of compensation for damage caused has been part of legal systems since antiquity. Going forward, policy measures must aim at defending peace and international security affected by climate change. Decisions must be made to take steps focused either on science or on greed. While progress has been made, the Paris Agreement and emission education commitments must urgently be implemented because the future of civilization depends on attaining the goal of containing temperature rise to 1.5°C.
JENS FRØLICH HOLTE (Norway), recalled that the Boe Declaration on Regional Security, adopted at the Summit of the Pacific Island Forum in 2018, is a key document on the security threats arising from climate change. The phenomenon is seldom a direct cause of conflict, but rather works as a threat multiplier. Some 26 million people are displaced annually by natural disasters, a situation which not only aggravates existing tensions, but can fuel political extremism. “The climate-security nexus merits in our view to be firmly placed on the Council’s agenda,” he said, expressing support for the idea to appoint a United Nations Special Representative for climate and security. The Paris Agreement is the first line of defence against climate change, and the Climate Summit in September should focus on enhancing ambitions. Assisting vulnerable countries in building resilience to natural disasters and adapting to the impacts of climate change should be the second line of defence, followed by integrating the climate-security nexus into development and security policies.
PAUL TEESALU, Deputy Foreign Minister of Estonia, associating himself with the European Union, stressed that climate change has severe security implications. It is therefore essential to make continuous efforts to integrate climate change across sectors in national and regional planning. To ensure ownership and full implementation of such plans, all interest groups of society, including women and youth, must be included in the processes. Climate change’s linkages to poverty, food, water and energy security, migration and conflict need to be made more explicit to influence national policy agendas. Being at the forefront of innovation and digitalization, Estonia believes that climate resilience is an area where tools of modern technologies can be used. “We aim to invest more in innovative solutions that support a low carbon, more energy efficient and climate resilient world,” he added.
CHRISTIAN WENAWESER (Liechtenstein) said that, while the Economic and Social Council and General Assembly are competent to address climate change, it is essential that the Council deals with the international and transnational threat it poses to peace and security. Welcoming that the Council has begun to integrate climate issues in its country and region-specific work, building on the precedent set in resolution 2349 (2017), he said in the Lake Chad Basin, where 90 per cent of the economy relies on agriculture and pastoralism, the deteriorating climate will negatively affect peace and security. He likewise welcomed the Council’s use of similar language addressing climate in resolutions on Mali, Somalia and Darfur. But, it should do more, encouraging measures to prevent climate change as a cause of conflict and specifically addressing such marginalized groups as women and young people. Noting that climate change has exacerbated the severity of man-made conflict in Libya, South Sudan, Yemen and Syria, he said the melting of Arctic ice also creates incentives for greater dispute over the fossil fuels buried beneath it, which in turn impacts indigenous peoples of the Arctic region.
KORO BESSHO (Japan) said the Security Council must focus more on the entire cycle of conflict, including preventing its outbreak, escalation, continuation and recurrence. Attention should also be paid to the fact that peace and security, development, human rights and humanitarian elements are closely interlinked. Japan is leading the discussion on climate change adaptation within the Group of 20 framework and it also directly contributed to building resilient societies in developing countries. A disaster-prone country, Japan has been committed to mainstreaming disaster risk reduction in the international arena, including the adoption of the Sendai Framework. It is important that every Government makes disaster risk reduction a policy priority, introduces the reduction perspective into all development policies and expands investment in that area.
MARIA THEOFILI (Greece) said that, in her country and throughout the Mediterranean region, catastrophic forest fires, diminishing water resources, increasingly prolonged seasonal droughts and floods pose a serious threat to vital agriculture, fisheries and tourism industries. No country is immune from the direct and indirect consequences of climate change, and therefore, their mitigation requires enhanced multilateral cooperation. The first priority should be to improve shared knowledge and situational awareness on climate-related security risks, before consistently factoring them into early warning and conflict prevention mechanisms. Strengthening and aligning implementation of the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda can be a crucial first step in this direction. In the future, the ability to anticipate and adapt to security threats created by climate change may be equally important to long-term efforts to reverse it.
ANDREJS PILDEGOVIČS (Latvia), associating himself with the European Union, said the effects of climate change are becoming increasingly evident and more severe. Noting that average air temperature records in Latvia show a long-term warming trend, he said every storm causes great distress to people living in the coastal regions, and the threat of erosion along the Baltic Sea coast could intensify in the future. Emphasizing the essential need to take joint multilateral efforts and cooperation in combating climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and building resilience, he expressed his country’s commitment to the long-term goals of the Paris Agreement. Latvia is developing its detailed National Energy and Climate plan 2021-2030 which will set measures for realizing the targets by 2030, he said. On the regional level, it is critical to build trust among different stakeholders, especially to signal strongly to the private sector the need to advance innovation and investment in the green economy.
STEFANO STEFANILE (Italy), endorsing the European Union’s statement, said the world is already witnessing the destabilizing consequences of climate change, with hurricanes, drought and sea-level rise considered new forms of a “natural hybrid threat” to global security. Countries of the Sahel and Lake Chad Basin, along with small island developing nations, are especially vulnerable, and thus, more exposed to fragility risks. Reducing the impact of climate-related disasters depends on States’ capacity to contain global emissions, along with efforts to enhance adaptation, disaster prevention and emergency preparedness, he said, recalling that Italy hosted the European Forum on Disaster Risk Reduction. Supporting civil protection authorities in mainstreaming climate change factors into their policies for risk reduction, prevention, preparedness and response will be vital. For its part, the Council should incorporate the security dimension of climate-related impacts into its analysis and deliberations, in coordination with the wider United Nations system.
MUHAMMAD IMRAN KHAN (Pakistan) said that, besides the tragic human and material cost, climate-induced threats impede the ability to achieve national priorities, promote sustainable development and ensure economic prosperity. Pakistan is water-stressed, which risks devastating the breadbasket of South Asia. It is critical to address the root causes of climate change not just its symptoms. “Now it is time for action,” he added. The international community must strengthen exchanges and cooperation to respond to climate change and help developing countries acquire the technology, financing and capacity needed to address the phenomenon.
BERNARDITO CLEOPAS AUZA, Permanent Observer for the Holy See, noted that climate change impacts rich and poor countries alike. Heavy rains, floods, fires, droughts and earthquakes caused immense distress and suffering over the past year, from the Americas to South-East Asia and elsewhere, he said, adding that, given that context, greater sensitivity and proactivity are needed to prevent the conflicts that too frequently ensue, disrupting access to food and clean water. Other impacts include forced and protracted displacement and tensions between farmers and pastoralists vying for limited and diminishing resources. Citing the situation of the Lake Chad Basin, he said the IPCC has identified five essential elements of a global response to the threat: enhancing multilevel governance; improving institutional capacities; promoting technological innovation; strengthening policy instruments and climate finance; and enabling lifestyle and behavioural change. Those actions are also part of the “ecological conversion” encouraged by Pope Francis, he added.
CHULL-JOO PARK (Republic of Korea) said that, for small island developing States, climate change poses the most significant threat to security. Elsewhere, it is becoming increasingly clear that climate change is creating or pushing regional instabilities into full-blown conflicts and humanitarian crises. “Climate change is the fundamental cross-cutting issue of our time,” he said, and its effects are felt in all regions and many areas of our lives. However, the current United Nations system is fragmented. Collaboration and coordination are essential in responding to the multifaceted security aspects of climate change. He stressed that the Council’s discussions on climate change must lead to tangible results. To prevent climate crises from further spiralling into threats to global peace and security, international cooperation and support for vulnerable countries is critical.
JUAN SANDOVAL MENDIOLEA (Mexico) said more ambitious efforts are needed to tackle current challenges, adding that the Council must express its concern about climate change. Emphasizing that the Climate Change Convention leads to ways in which to address related challenges, he stressed the importance of building resilience and promoting international cooperation. Pointing out that security-related climate change effects are outlined in the 2030 Agenda and in various Sustainable Development Goals, he said efforts must be made to address those concerns. Although climate change exacerbates vulnerability, it is important to recognize factors linked to security-related consequences, he said, stressing the need for a holistic approach entailing the inclusion of climate-related issues in assessments with a view to fostering sustainable peace and preventing conflict. While some peacekeeping operations recognize the consequences of climate change as factors in security-related situations, such issues should be included in Council discussions, he said, adding that, before making it a standard item on the agenda, analysis is needed to provide adequate information to members. The Council should also reaffirm its role as one of the main partners in dealing with such topics with a view to dealing with challenges in a cross-cutting manner across the United Nations system.
FINNIAN CHESHIRE (New Zealand), endorsing the statement by the Pacific Islands Forum, said the Council has recognized the links between climate change and security. When its effects intersect with environmental and social issues, climate change drives conflict. Cyclones, storm surges and drought are increasing the vulnerability of communities across the Pacific region. Sea-level rise is the most obvious risk to low-lying atoll countries, while ocean warming and acidification are just some of the compounding challenges, already having caused some people to migrate. In its efforts to prevent conflict, the Council should identify and respond to threats caused by climate change as they emerge, he said, affirming support for the appointment of a high-level representative for climate change.
SYED AKBARUDDIN (India) said climate action should be a priority of international cooperation, with global institutions responsive to disaster preparedness, resilience and response. On the other hand, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s fifth assessment report states: “The evidence on the effect of climate change and variability on violence is contested.” Indeed, research findings on the generalized links between climate disasters and security remain ambiguous. “The nexus between climate change and security is complex, contingent and not fully understood,” he said, noting that while defining a problem as a security challenge often upgrades attention and resources, a securitized approach to climate change risks pitting States in a competition, when cooperation is most productive to tackling the threat. Thinking in security terms also usually engenders overly militarized response. He questioned whether mitigation and adaptation strategies can be fulfilled through enforcement actions, and whether the needs of climate justice can be served by shifting climate law-making from the Convention on Climate Change to a structurally unrepresentative institution with an exclusionary approach decided in secretive deliberations.
AGUSTÍN SANTOS MARAVER (Spain), noting that his country is vulnerable to climate change, said his delegation attaches great importance to discussing the links with security-related issues. Scientific evidence often warns of the inevitable consequences of temperature rise, including drought, flooding and other disasters, that affect food and water access. Climate change also carries political and social repercussions, he said, emphasizing that urgent action must mitigate such challenges. For its part, Spain has adapted its policies in line with international environmental-related agreements, but national efforts are for naught unless global initiatives take similar steps. Approving the inclusion of climate change on the Council’s agenda, he said it is no longer realistic to ignore environmental-related consequences. Indeed, Spain recognized this link in its 2017 national security strategy. If this approach occupies a place in national affairs then it must urgently take its rightful place at the multilateral level that this Council represents.
ANTONIO PARENTI, European Union, said that assessing climate and environmental risks and their potential impact on socioeconomic stability should be done in all countries. In fact, it must be a top priority especially in the most fragile countries and regions. Further work is required to ensure that relevant climate and environmental risks are appropriately included in risk assessments that form the basis of the Council’s decisions. “We should also remember the greater risks, burdens and adverse impacts on women and girls during and following disasters, including a heightened risk of gender-based violence,” he stressed. Empowering women as one of the drivers of economic growth strengthens resilience. The European Union is convinced that multilateral action and partnerships, treating the causes and the symptoms, and promoting cooperation, is essential. To that end, the European Union will continue to support a wide range of programmes that focus on building and strengthening resilience in an integrated manner worldwide.
ELIZABETH THOMPSON (Barbados), speaking on behalf of Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and associating herself with the Alliance of Small Island States, called on developed countries to fulfil their financing, capacity-building and technology transfer commitments. The understanding of how climate change threatens peace and security and drives conflict needs to be improved across the United Nations system. Only then will climate policy underpin all other development planning and initiatives. “We cannot lament migration trends without addressing the push factor of climate change,” she stressed. The international community cannot ignore the history of resource scarcity and its relationship to conflict of war, she continued, also adding: “We ought not to speak of global peace, security, or sustainability when climate impacts put development out of reach.” The Community also reiterated calls for IPCC and the Office for Disaster Risk Reduction to brief the Council on climate change related security threats.
FRANCISCO DUARTE LOPES (Portugal) said current challenges require urgent and ambitious action, particularly as climate change is recognized as having an impact on international peace and security. As a threat multiplier, especially in fragile areas, climate change affects competition over diminishing resources and amplifies vulnerabilities, as reflected in the declaration of the 2017 Planetary Security Conference. In Portugal, a strategic national defence plan addresses this reality, considering environmental threats and risks while paving the way for strengthening national capacities to prevent, adapt and respond to related security challenges. Given that the Council identified climate change in 2013 as a new challenge to international peace and security, the time is ripe for strengthening the inclusion of relevant climate change and environmental risks in assessments that form the basis for its discussions, thus bolstering its conflict-prevention role. Emphasizing that the international community must implement the Paris Agreement, he said the Council cannot ignore the many links between climate change and security and must stand ready to take necessary measures required to prevent, reduce and address the existing risks. An integrated approach to these challenges must be based on inter-pillar and interregional cooperation aimed at promoting resilience and preparedness, representing a necessary step towards the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda.
FERIDUN HADI SINIRLIOĞLU (Turkey) reiterated concerns that the Caribbean and Pacific regions are heavily and increasingly affected by climate change and related security consequences, despite having made almost no contribution to global warming. Emphasizing the urgent need to adapt and establish systematic and comprehensive resilience-building tools for island nations in those regions, he called for strengthening the capacities of the local populations and Governments through polices that would enable them to better cope with the devastating effects of climate-related disasters. Turkey prioritizes assisting countries that have been critically affected by extreme weather and disasters by delivering mobile hospitals and deploying rescue teams, he said. Located in a vulnerable region severely affected by global warming, Turkey is itself expected to become a water-stressed country by 2030, he noted.
DOMINIQUE MICHEL FAVRE (Switzerland) said today’s debate clearly demonstrates the global dimension of climate change. Switzerland is increasingly experiencing climate-related consequences, including economic losses during the 2018 heat wave. In a globalized world economy, accelerating climate change will have an increasing impact on human and economic activities, threatening stability and collective security. To prepare for such new challenges, Switzerland has adopted a national strategy, commissioned impact studies of existing measures in the field of climate change and security with a view to protecting its population and launched the Blue Peace initiative aimed at strengthening cross-border cooperation for managing water resources. As climate change also affects human security, mitigation efforts should focus on prevention, including early warning systems. The Council has an important role to play in this context, taking such actions as systematically integrating climate risks into regional or country situations on its agenda and taking full advantage of existing information and resources within the United Nations system. “We need to take proactive and systematic measures, also in this Council, in order to ensure international peace and security in a context of increasing climate-fragility risks, extreme disasters and slow-onset hazards,” he said, highlighting the opportunity to address such issues at the 2019 Global Platform of Disaster Risk Reduction, to be held in Geneva in May.
GILLIAN BIRD (Australia) said the Boe Declaration adopted by Pacific island leaders in 2018 aims to enhance regional information-sharing and analysis and to draw upon climate data and disaster analysis to inform responses to shared security threats. Australia is establishing a $2 billion Infrastructure Financing Facility which will work with Pacific partners to build key infrastructure in such sectors as energy, water and transport, she said. At the global level, Australia’s development assistance for reducing disaster risk has consistently exceeded the target of 1 per cent of official development assistance (ODA) since 2009, she noted, emphasizing that integrating disaster risk reduction into the country’s development assistance investments is at the heart of Australia’s approach. “We do this through climate and disaster risk screening, and climate and disaster-proofing new investments,” she added.
AMRITH ROHAN PERERA (Sri Lanka), citing current negative climate-related trends, said his country has been devastated by nature-driven tragedies. As Sri Lanka depends on the ocean for employment, food and avenues for trade and commerce, a sea level rise, marine pollution and fish stock depletion are not abstractions. Only a global vision implemented through multilateral cooperation will halt the planet’s degradation. Solidarity in international relations is vital to address this issue at all levels and stages, from prevention to post-disaster management, and to provide long- and short-term disaster relief. A fundamental normative framework for systematically addressing these concerns can be found in the Climate Change Convention, Paris Agreement, Sustainable Development Goals and other significant environmental instruments, he said, expressing hope that such commitments will be the basis for a global consensus on climate change and its impact on the planet. Highlighting links with international peace and security, he said climate change multiplies threats, creating scarcity of resources, internal displacement, migration and refugee movements, food shortages and competition for local natural resources. As such, the international response to weather events and disasters must, among other things, respect national responsibilities. Indeed, Government action can be a springboard to build peace and increase resilience, he said, pointing at the International Law Commission’s work on the topic of protecting persons in the event of disasters, which reflects a careful balance in recognizing the primary role of the affected State in providing relief assistance to its people and underlining the value of international solidarity as a genuine humanitarian measure.
FRANCISCO ALBERTO GONZALEZ (Colombia) said that focused attention to climate action is necessary to ensure the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda. The science is clear — current national contributions outlined in the Paris Agreement will not be adequate to effectively reduce rising global temperatures. Latin America is highly vulnerable to climate change, including Colombia, which faces development challenges as well as challenges linked to its varied biological diversity. The El Niño and La Niña phenomena resulted in massive economic losses, forest fires and water scarcity, which triggered sharp increases in food prices, he said, stressing that action on climate change is the only way to reduce such vulnerabilities. Efforts should aim at, among other things, enabling responsible solutions for mitigating climate change, he said, underlining that the General Assembly is the natural forum in which to discuss such issues since it ensures the participation of all Member States.
MAX HUFANEN RAI (Papua New Guinea), providing examples of the effects of rising sea levels on his country, said the sinking island of Caterets has seen the forcible dislocation of most of its population. Their resettlement was beset by tension and conflict over land and resources, he said, noting that the same scenario is unfolding in the northern region. These examples demonstrate the importance of addressing the root causes of climate change-related threats at the national level and collectively through the United Nations system, including the Security Council, he said. “Let’s not allow the doubting Thomases of this world be the reason for not saving ourselves from the onward dangerous march of climate change and its perils to peace and security,” he emphasized. While welcoming the continuing debate on this “seminal” topic in the Council, he expressed concern about the unacceptable and persisting gulf between its views and those of the General Assembly, which has already adopted resolution 63/281, collectively recognizing the security implications of climate change. Despite the resolution, there remains only minimal concrete or coordinated action, he noted. Welcoming the Council’s acknowledgement of the adverse impact of climate change on security in the Lake Chad Basin and the Sahel, he urged members to view this in a wider context to cover many other suffering regions, such as small island developing States.
OLOF SKOOG (Sweden) said climate and security was a top priority for his country from day one during its tenure on the Council, noting that with conflict prevention as a point of departure, climate-related security risks were in its country and region-specific work. A thematic debate was also organized in July 2018 to take that agenda forward. “It is now about how and what to do,” he said, stressing that negative impacts on security are evident in water and food insecurity and sea-level rise, which pose risks for competition over scarce resources, and in turn, social tension and conflict. With the world having already crossed some of its planetary boundaries, the impacts, including on global peace and security, are not yet known. The Council must receive comprehensive climate-related security risk information, analysis and early-warning mechanisms to make informed decisions. He advocated approaches to better address such risks through updated mission mandates and resource allocations, pressing the Council to also consider climate-related challenges within mediation efforts, exploring how parties can come together around climate adaptation.
MASUD BIN MOMEN (Bangladesh) said his country is among the worst affected by the impacts of climate change, highly prone to cyclones, flood, landslides and earthquakes, and losing 2 per cent of annual GDP due to such calamities. It uses 1 per cent of its GDP to combat the phenomenon and has reduced casualties in such events by improving its early warning system, disseminating information, building cyclone shelters and engaging cyclone preparedness volunteers. Globally, reducing such risks will depend on implementing the 2030 Agenda, the Paris Agreement and Sendai Framework, as well as reducing greenhouse gas emissions, providing financial resources and transferring technology to vulnerable countries for their adaptation efforts. While not ignoring there could be a nexus between climate change and international peace and security, the United Nations system should work together to improve its understanding, to discover if climate change impacts pose a direct threat to peace and security, or whether it is among the multiplying factors. It should speak in one voice for preventing and resolving any crisis that stems from the adverse effects of climate change.
FATIMA KYARI MOHAMMED, Permanent Observer for the African Union, said climate change could create conditions for conflict and act as a threat multiplier, with conditions becoming tipping points for difficult situations while narrowing options for solving problems. A clear manifestation of the complex relationship between climate change and conflict is unfolding in the Lake Chad Basin and the Sahel, where poor communities depend heavily on ever-shrinking natural resources. Indeed, developing countries suffered the most, she said, noting that Africa contributes insignificantly to greenhouse gas emissions while remaining among the most vulnerable regions to adverse climate change consequences, including flooding, drought and coastal degradation, which in turn trigger increased migration. To mitigate such risks, she said, Member States must honour their commitments, with developed countries providing sufficient and sustainable climate financing to developing countries. The transfer of technology is also essential as a preventive measure, she added. Africa continues to consolidate efforts by its member States to determine a low-carbon development path, in accordance with the Paris Agreement, she said. Meanwhile, the African Union Peace and Security Council dedicated a recent meeting to the effects of climate change on stability in member States, recommending enhanced cooperation among stakeholders to develop coping mechanisms and tools for proactive responses to security repercussions from climate change-related conflicts. “Our endeavour to fight climate change will not be genuine unless anchored in a multilateral approach, of which the Paris Agreement remains one of the best illustrations,” she stressed, pledging that the African Union will continue to advance cooperation and to work constructively with partners in addressing these and related challenges.
LUIS GALLEGOS CHIRIBOGA (Ecuador) said the Climate Change Convention represents the best intergovernmental forum in which to negotiate a global response. Discussions in the Council on this important issue complement ongoing efforts, particularly with regard to links with security-related consequences. The dire effects of rising global temperatures include desertification, drought, rising sea levels and food insecurity, as well as displacement and water shortages, which in turn trigger catastrophic humanitarian consequences, millions of lost lives, displacement and marginalization. Climate change-related conflict is intensifying, requiring urgent efforts to address humanitarian concerns, he said, noting that 135.7 million people required assistance in 2017. For its own part, Ecuador promotes the principles of equality, predictable and sustainable financing, transfer of technology and adopting person-focused policies based on inclusive practices. The Sendai Framework provides a blueprint for shaping national recovery plans and risk reduction strategies, he said, emphasizing that sustainable development gains are impossible without peace and security.
LAZARUS OMBAI AMAYO (Kenya) noted that drought, hurricanes, tsunamis, floods and extreme temperatures have wiped out investments, destroyed livelihoods and engendered conflict. Where poverty is high and adaptive capabilities insufficient, there is considerable vulnerability to climate shocks. In most cases, women, children and persons with disabilities bear the greatest risks, he said. Advocating greater international cooperation to improve resilience, he emphasized that the challenge in effectively adhering to such strategies as the Sendai Framework lies in mobilizing the means of implementation, particularly at local levels. Insufficient financing, technologies and other capacities limit the ability of developing countries to uniformly domesticate international guidelines, he said, stressing the need to close such gaps. That can be done, in part, by strengthening national institutions for disaster preparedness and management, he said, outlining Kenya’s efforts in that regard.
NEDRA MIGUEL (Saint Vincent and the Grenadines), while reaffirming the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change as the primary body addressing climate change, said a multipronged approach is needed to fight its effects. The rise of climate change as an existential threat has not replaced the peril of armed conflict across the globe, with suffering in Syria, Yemen and Myanmar in particular demanding greater international attention. The potential threats posed by tensions on the Korean Peninsula, among the Gulf States and in the State of Palestine also require diplomacy. “We have to deal with them all, no matter how inconvenient climate-related security may be,” he said, calling on the Council to encourage carbon emitters to make deep cuts. The Council must be more aware of — and sensitive to — the consequences for international peace and security. In recognizing climate change as a security threat, and working in solidarity to protect all people from it, the Council would be on the right track.
BRIAN PATRICK FLYNN (Ireland) said the denial of both climate change and its link to the Council’s mandate must end, emphasizing that climate and security concerns should be considered across all country-specific situations on the Council’s agenda, with efforts focused on identifying best practices in addressing climate-related threats to security. Success factors can be replicated by moving from discussion of the risks of climate change to taking action and working more systematically with regional and subregional organizations, he said. The global community can also find success by generating evidence-based analysis upon which to draw, better understanding climate’s links to security, and listening to the testimonies of those most affected. “The voices of vulnerable small island developing States need to be heard here,” he emphasized, expressing support for the appointment of a special representative on climate and security.
MILENKO ESTEBAN SKOKNIC TAPIA (Chile), underlining the timeliness of this open debate, said “the environment is changing faster than our efforts to understand and protect it”. Alarm bells are still sounding and the time for hesitation is past because climate change threats will define this century’s characteristics and centuries to come, requiring an enormous multilateral effort now. Cooperation is essential to improve understanding of security implications of natural disasters related to climate change and to devise effective assessment and mitigation strategies. It is therefore essential to develop analytical skills within the United Nations to allow for timely evaluations of possible climate change-related threats to international security so the Council can be given useful information on these threats and help States to draft and implement action plans. For its part, Chile adopted innovative cooperation mechanisms to reduce the risk of disasters in the region and joined global efforts to address the most devastating effects of climate change, he said, noting that the twenty-fifth United Nations Climate Change Conference, which Chile will host in November, should mark a milestone in the drive towards greater climate action.
MARLENE MOSES (Nauru), speaking on behalf of the Pacific Island Forum, said that while few countries wished to discuss the security implications of climate change a decade ago, today it is impossible to ignore that the issue has become a world-changing crisis. The Forum adopted the Boe Declaration on Regional Security in September 2018, reaffirming climate change as the single greatest threat to the livelihoods, security and well-being of peoples in the Pacific. It recognizes an expanded concept of security that climate change poses challenges to human security, humanitarian assistance and environment security. “The institutions needed to respond to the security implications of climate change are not in place,” he said, stressing that the problem cannot be tackled by countries individually, but rather through collective and coordinated actions. The Boe Declaration also requires the United Nations to work more effectively across institutions with related mandates. He advocated the appointment of a Special Representative on climate and security to update the Secretary-General and the Council about emerging climate risks, facilitate regional and cross-border cooperation, monitor potential “tipping points” at the climate-security nexus, engage in preventive diplomacy and support post-conflict situations when climate change risks undermining stability.
FREDERICO SALOMÃO DUQUE ESTRADA MEYER (Brazil) said he recognizes the particular challenges that small island developing States endure from earthquakes, flooding and mudslides, among other events, especially in terms of critical national infrastructure. Citing Brazil’s long history of solidarity with disaster-struck nations, notably Haiti, he emphasized that securitizing the environmental agenda risks mistakenly assuming that any environmental threats will automatically lead to unrest and armed conflict, ultimately threatening international peace and security. While there is no direct cause and effect between disaster and conflict, that is not to say that the Council should refrain from considering climate factors as a specific situation surfaces, posing a danger to international peace and security, he said. If on one hand, natural disaster may have consequences for security, it is true that armed conflict may pose danger to the environment. Involving all countries, rather than select nations, is critical in devising the legal formula and mechanisms to put in place, he said. Risk management strategies are needed to help Governments and peoples reduce the impacts of natural disasters, he added, stressing that all countries require the legal framework and institutions to address natural disasters.
PENNELOPE ALTHEA BECKLES (Trinidad and Tobago), associating herself with AOSIS and CARICOM, said that as a threat multiplier, climate change increases stress on limited resources, on economic and social pressures and on the adaptive capacities of fragile ecosystems, all of which can lead to conflict. Its complex causes and consequences require an integrated United Nations approach involving the Security Council, she said, underscoring the need to enhance understanding of climate-related security threats to better inform the Council. Emphasizing that enhanced understanding of how to address such risks in the Council will not duplicate the responsibilities of the General Assembly and other United Nations bodies, she said that, rather, it will strengthen the Organization’s coordinated response. Now is the time for ambitious action to address the threat of climate-related disasters to global peace and security, she added.
DANG DINH QUY (Viet Nam) said the most threatening impact of climate change is sea level rise. “The very survival of small island States is at risk,” he warned. For Viet Nam, rising sea levels can affect the livelihoods of nearly 40 million people, he said, adding that they can also impact food security beyond Viet Nam’s borders because the country remains a top exporter of rice. Expressing support for a comprehensive approach to climate change, he said the United Nations must continue to collaborate with regional organizations in facilitating cooperation and coordination of disaster preparedness and response. “We call on the United Nations and international partners to closely cooperate with and assist us.”
ESHAGH AL HABIB (Iran) said that while climate-related disasters occur everywhere, their impact on the lives of people differs widely. According to recent reports of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, people in the poorest nations were seven times more likely to be injured in such a disaster than those in the richest countries. The international community must vigorously strive to address climate change, but should do so based on the principle of common but differentiated responsibility as well as the availability of related technologies. Warning against any attempt to undermine relevant international instrument — including through withdrawals — he also called for more efforts to empower developing countries, especially those most vulnerable to climate disasters. Such goals should be pursed in the appropriate forums — including the Climate Change Convention, the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council — not in the Security Council, which lacks both the legal competence and the technical capacity to address the issue and should “avoid making promises for solutions it cannot ultimately fulfil”.
MOHAMMED SAHIB MEJID MARZOOQ (Iraq) said the Climate Change Convention is the optimal forum to discuss climate change. Expressing concern about the many threats resulting from that phenomenon, he said “this is an international challenge” that risks impacting all three of the United Nations pillars. Noting that the threats are particularly severe in the Middle East, with reduced rainfall and unsustainably used land, he said common water resources in the region, such as rivers, are the subject of increasing pressure. Citing the erosion of the Iraqi Delta, with fresh water becoming salinized, he added that terrorism in the region has destroyed important water infrastructure. Climate change adaptation must therefore be part of all reconstruction strategies, he said, also calling for the development of new strategies to address conflicts over shared water resources.
OMAR HILALE (Morocco) said that climate change is compounding conflicts and undermining development. It is essential to address the negative impacts of climate change, which poses a threat to international peace and security. It is also vital to increase community resilience and the private sector is called upon to mobilize resources. He highlighted the importance of regional cooperation, citing a meeting of the African Union held on the margins of the twenty-second session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Marrakech in 2016. At that session, a three “S” — sustainability, stability and security — initiative was launched on the continent. Also, the Adaptation to Agriculture in Africa, known as Triple A, Initiative was launched. Morocco intends to become a major provider of renewable energy by 2030.
LUIS HOMERO BERMÚDEZ ÁLVAREZ (Uruguay) said that addressing the impacts of climate change are a top priority for his country, as it is exposed to extreme weather events. Its Government has made a decision to use more renewable energy towards energy independence and to tackle climate change. While today’s debate is important for the future of mankind and the planet, this matter should not be confined to a narrow scope of security. Decision-making bodies, including UNEP, WMO, and the Economic and Social Council, are more appropriate places to address the issue in an integrated manner. But holding a debate in the Security Council has a value since climate change is “the defining issue of our time”, as the Secretary-General said. In conclusion, he underscored the importance of the climate summit to be held this fall.
ROBERT MARDINI, Permanent Observer of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), said that when discussing the impacts of climate-related disasters on international peace and security, it is vital to consider how climate change can multiply people’s vulnerability in situations of armed conflict. Indeed, the body’s humanitarian response must be sensitive to this growing challenge and is involving local actors in disaster risk reduction and adaptation. This year, with the support of the Red Cross Climate Centre, ICRC is convening a series of climate round tables within the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement to address these issues. Also in 2019, the Committee’s legal division is revising the 1994 ICRC guidelines for military manuals and instructions on the protection of the environment in times of armed conflict.
MAGDI AHMED MOFADAL ELNOUR (Sudan), associating himself with the African Union, said in many countries climate change is weakening Governments’ ability to meet the basic of their people. Sudan has itself suffered from climate change and resulting outbreaks of conflict, including the violence in Darfur that began in 2003. Tensions among Darfur’s largely agriculture-dependent population erupted because of competition for limited resources, fed by the spread of weapons from neighbouring countries. Today, Sudan is planting trees, developing such renewable energy sources as solar power and working closely with other African countries to combat climate change. Expressing hope that a productive outcome will emerge from the climate summit planned for September, he said paying greater attention to early warning systems, developing countries’ capacities to leverage technological advances and promoting cooperation on the matter will all be crucial going forward.
KAI SAUER (Finland) said climate change affects food and water security, increases competition over resources and can lead to forced migration. As the Chair of the Arctic Council, Finland attaches great importance to the issue, and is especially alarmed by the recent reports of IPCC. In that context, he announced that today in Helsinki the Prime Ministers of the five Nordic countries — Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden — signed a declaration to work together towards carbon neutrality. Improving the capacity to produce high-quality weather information will help countries respond to climate-related risks, as will enhanced mitigation efforts. “We must raise the level of our ambition,” he stressed, urging all countries to demonstrate their determination to remain below the 1.5°C temperature increase target.
AZIZKHAN NAZIROV (Uzbekistan) stressed that the situation in the Aral Sea is “one of the worst environmental disasters of our time”, adding that salinity levels have increased by 25 times, and now significantly exceed those of the world’s oceans. In place of once flourishing fishing waters, a sandy salt desert of more than 5.5 million hectares has become a breeding ground for dust and salt storms. It carries more than 75 million tons of dust and poisonous minerals into the atmosphere every year. The Aral catastrophe has exacerbated climatic conditions in the region, increasing dryness and heat in summer and extending periods of cold in the winter. According to forecasts, by 2050 the air temperature in the region could increase by several degrees Celsius. He expressed concern for the lack of funding and coordination to address the issue. This concern has prompted Uzbekistan and the United Nations to establish a unified platform for mitigating the consequences of the Aral Sea crisis, but more remains to be done.
ION JINGA (Romania), associating himself with the European Union, said climate change is not an immediate cause of clashes. “It acts gradually and imperceptibly”, embodying an ensuing crisis whose slow progress often escapes attention. Citing such impacts as displacement, food insecurity, drought and sea-level rise, he said it can threaten regional stability by creating political tensions among neighbouring countries, and internal clashes between herders and farmers. The World Bank estimates that 140 million people will be displaced by 2050 to avoid the impacts of climate catastrophes. The world’s humanitarian crises demonstrate that climate-related security risks are growing more prevalent and require integrated security, economic, political, military and environmental responses. Multilateralism is the proper framework for addressing international peace and security threats.
ALYA AHMED SAIF AL-THANI (Qatar) said climate change induces natural disasters, which in turn spread disease, destroy natural resources and force migration. Developing countries pay a heavier price, necessitating a systematic United Nations response with all entities using their expertise to fulfil their mandates. Noting that the Council is increasingly aware of the nexus between climate change and conflict, she emphasized the necessity of early-warning mechanisms. Pointing out that her country hosted the eighteenth Conference of Parties (COP18) to the Climate Change Convention before the Paris Agreement was signed, she said Qatar contributed to COP24 in Katowice, Poland, in 2018 and is investing in a low-carbon economy. By 2030, it intends to expand the use of solar power to 20 per cent of national energy needs.
RODRIGO A. CARAZO (Costa Rica) described his country’s fall in the disaster risk index ranking following the eruption of a volcano, noting that the costs associated with responding to natural disasters and extreme weather events are enormous. The Government of Costa Rica has established a fiscal framework to earmark resources and drawn up a range of plans, including a national de-carbonization project, he said. Noting that the impacts of climate change fall disproportionately on women, he said Costa Rica is leading the Coalition for All, which seeks to incorporate gender quality as a cross-cutting issue in multilateral agreements. The proposal to appoint a special representative on climate change and security is worth considering, he added.
KANAT TUMYSH (Kazakhstan), echoing concerns raised by other speakers about both direct and indirect challenges posed by climate change, said sustainable development helps to mitigate those threats and alleviate environmental damage. Spotlighting the importance of early warning systems, preparedness and risk reduction, he called for stronger synergy between the Council, the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council in those critical areas. Outlining the environmental challenges being faced in Central Asia, he said glaciers are melting rapidly and dramatically, threatening the region’s irrigation and drinking water supplies by 2050. Describing the impact of the Aral Sea disaster, in which that body of water’s volume was sharply reduced and salinity increased, he said Kazakhstan is engaged in transboundary water cooperation with others in the region. Calling for support for the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea, he also drew attention to the establishment of the Centre for Emergency Situations and Disaster Risk Reduction in Almaty.
SOFYA SIMONYAN (Armenia) said that recognition of mutual dependency, strong political will and genuine commitment are critical prerequisites for successful risk mitigation. Located in one of the most seismically active regions of the world, Armenia is well familiar with the risk of natural hazards and their potential to cause grave destruction. Moreover, Armenia’s standing as a middle-income country and a landlocked developing nation, given the vulnerabilities of its mountainous terrain and the ecosystems, requires prioritization of climate change and disaster risk reduction strategies. In defining its policies of climate change adaptation, Armenia has been guided by the “ecosystem approach” in line with the principles of green economy. It also aims to focus on the sectors of public life that are most vulnerable to climate change.
MICHAL MLYNÁR (Slovakia) welcomed the Council’s increased attention on environmental problems. Associating with the European Union, he said climate change is a grave risk to health, economic growth and security, with its impacts already causing increased vulnerabilities among some populations. He encouraged the Council to continue identifying ways to address its impacts on conflict and seek policy responses that align with its mandate. An integrated United Nations response, involving the Council, is required, focused on preventive diplomacy, peacebuilding, peacekeeping and resilience. He advocated more effective efforts to address critical threats that war and armed conflict pose for the environment, as well as the role that natural resources play in fuelling armed conflict. Noting that large peacekeeping operations can have adverse environmental impacts on host countries, he called for the full implementation of the Department of Field Support strategy launched in 2016 to reduce their environmental footprint, pressing the Council to closely cooperate in that regard.
LISE GREGOIRE VAN HAAREN (Netherlands), outlining the ongoing Hurricane Irma recovery efforts in its Caribbean territory Sint Maarten, said the link between climate change and security is clear, as consequences increase threats to stability and exacerbate vulnerabilities. She drew attention to the “3P approach”, saying “if we are to prevent, we need to predict and prepare”. This entails integrated risk assessments and analysis, including strengthening related institutional capacities, to determine all threat multipliers, such as water stress and climate change. Early warning tools can help Governments and the United Nations system to enhance such efforts, she said, welcoming the Council’s progress in this regard while encouraging it to expand this to relevant country situations and mission contexts. Sound risk assessments enable the development of joint risk management strategies to better prepare with a view to strengthen operations and develop programmes. It is crucial that mandates reflect the necessity for integrated risk assessment and that missions and United Nations entities are given the institutional capacity to do so. Outside the United Nations, more needs to be done to share knowledge and best practices while exploring actionable responses. “If we predict better through early warning and prepare better through early action, we can prevent conflict,” she said, welcoming the Secretary-General’s Climate Summit and urging the Council to assign the issue the priority it deserves by calling for integrated risk assessments and encouraging climate- and conflict-sensitive programming.
LOIS MICHELE YOUNG (Belize), speaking on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), described such daily challenges as salt water intrusions in drinking water sources, farmers forced into debt as they try to adapt to changing rainfall patterns and families losing lives and livelihoods to rising seas. “This reality is being replicated across the globe at an alarming pace and with unprecedented impacts,” she stressed. Noting that large-scale displacement of people and loss of territory are the manifestations of the “associated risks” outlined in the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, she said that without drastic systems transitions the current human-induced global warming trajectory will result in severe and often irreversible impacts on the planet with inevitable humanitarian consequences. Of paramount importance is ensuring the developing countries have the support they need to adapt — or, where those capacities are exhausted, to address loss and damage. The summary produced of today’s debate should reflect the many urgent calls for action and for developed nations to marshal resources to support developing countries, especially small island developing States, and for the Council to play a critical role.
SAMUELU LALONIU (Tuvalu), speaking for the Pacific Small Island Developing States and associating himself with the Alliance of Small Island States, said the Pacific region has faced severe storms — resulting in heavy rain, flooding and infrastructure damage — in the last month alone. Small economies facing repeated storms struggle to find the breathing room needed to recover, he said, adding that the countries of the region have reaffirmed that climate change is the single greatest threat to their livelihoods, well-being and security. Indeed, he said, the phenomenon has the potential to harm both national and regional stability and create extreme fragility. Noting that the Pacific is now the global epicentre of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, as well as related money laundering and illegal trafficking, he highlighted the need for proper assessment and analysis and a Council that is more equipped to make better-informed decisions.
SABRI BOUKADOUM (Algeria) said that, while it might seem awkward for the Council to consider the impacts of climate change, “the link between climate and international peace and security is not remote”. Citing examples of such connections in the Mediterranean region, North Africa and small island developing States, among other hotspots, he said many such nations were among those that contributed the least to anthropomorphic climate change. “Ignoring that the situation has had effects for already poverty-prone populations would be a tragic mistake,” he stressed, adding that both poverty and resource scarcity open the door to malicious groups, including terrorists and criminal networks. While the Climate Change Convention is the best architecture through which to address climate challenges, the Council also has a role to play, with a mission to be defined. Conflict prevention efforts focused on tackling root causes — whether political, economic, social or environmental — are crucial, he said, also calling for more clarification of the links between climate-related disasters and international peace and security.
LANA ZAKI NUSSEIBEH (United Arab Emirates) said that military experts in many countries have concluded that the changing climate poses existential threats of displacement and extinction for some nations. “If we fail to act on climate change, a number of these countries could be continually devastated or even submerged under water, triggering population movements and creating new challenges around territorial control and integrity,” she warned. Member States, donors and the United Nations system need to explicitly target insecurity through climate action, she stressed. Targeted development and humanitarian work that provides livelihoods, education or training could mitigate the risk that climate-related unemployment contributes to insecurity.
MAHAMMED NAGUIB SOOMAUROO (Mauritius) said that addressing climate change is everyone’s responsibility. It is not only an environmental or development issue. It is highly complex and has the potential to cause frictions and pose a threat to international peace and security. The Council is the appropriate platform to address this threat to international peace and security. “We are on an unprecedented run of global warming,” he continued. All the climate indicators in Mauritius are showing signs of aggravation. Rising air temperature and sea level, and projected water-stress and a possible decline of agricultural production could imperil livelihood and stability. “Now it is the time for us to go beyond words,” he added.
Source: United Nations