Security Council Open Debate on“The Impact of Climate Change and Food Insecurity on the Maintenance of International Peace and Security”

Statement by H.E. Jeem S. Lippwe, Permanent Representative

New York, 13 February 2024

Madame President,

My delegation aligns itself with the statements on behalf of the Pacific Islands Forum, the Pacific SIDS, and the Group of Friends on Climate and Security.

We thank you for convening this timely debate on “The Impact of Climate Change and Food Insecurity on the Maintenance of International Peace and Security”. The nexus between these components is an important one and I want to highlight the following points.

Despite our being the poster child of the dire impacts of the climate crisis, it seems that few other states can quite comprehend our situation. We are not talking about the future, as already our islands are experiencing the dire and immediate impacts of climate change and sea-level rise.  These impacts include the inundation of coastal areas, flooding, drought, and damaged crops – an occurrence that has become the new normal for island states. They have far reaching implications. Not only is the climate crisis threatening our physical infrastructure, but it also results in salt-water intrusions. Aquifers used for cooking, drinking and for farming have now become unusable, threatening our food security.

When it comes to food security, one of Micronesia’s most important resources comes from our fisheries. In 2021, Pacific Islands Forum Leaders declared that our maritime zones, as established and notified to the UN Secretary-General in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, and the rights and entitlements that flow from them, shall continue to apply, without reduction, notwithstanding any physical changes connected to climate change-related sea-level rise.  However, while this legal clarity is crucial, it means little if fish stocks permanently move away from our lawfully established maritime zones because of a warming Ocean.

Madame President,

The compound effects of the above point towards a crisis. Much work remains to address the various effects. In addition to calling for help from developed countries, we see the need for the Security Council to step in. The Council must take into account how climate change causes food insecurity, which in turn threatens to undermine security in general, particularly for specially affected States like Micronesia.

Madame President,

What is constructive is a targeted set of solutions focused on adaptation, mitigation and sustainable responses. My delegation continues to advocate for the appointment of a Special Representative for Climate, Peace and Security as the most appropriate tool in this regard.

I thank you.

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