Statement at the Security Council Open debate on “Climate change, peace and security”

Statement by the H.E. Jeem S. Lippwe

Permanent Representative

New York, 13 June 2023

Madam President,

At the outset, let me align this statement with the ones on behalf of the Group of Friends on Climate and Security, and the ones on behalf of the Pacific Islands Forum as well as the Pacific SIDS.

Climate change is the defining challenge of our time. It threatens our livelihoods, ecosystems, sustainable development, prosperity and stability, thus posing a serious challenge to peace and security. We thank the United Arab Emirates for convening this very debate.

Madam President,

As we are speaking, preparations for COP28 are ongoing in Bonn. To be successful in Dubai, later this year, we need to take bold measures to limit global warming, and raise our ambition under the UNFCCC and the Paris Agreement. We need to stay below 1.5 degrees Celsius.

We can also no longer prevent all of the negative impacts of climate change; especially in fragile contexts, such as in Small Island Developing States. We also have to invest in adaptation measures to build resilience in times of climate change and address Loss and Damage.

The UN system must address this challenge comprehensively. Important work is happening in the Climate Security Mechanism (CSM). The Peacebuilding Commission is looking at specific contexts, where climate change has a direct impact on security and stability, such as the Pacific Islands. We are encouraged that discussions took place on the initiative of countries affected. The Security Council would greatly benefit from considering the findings of these and future PBC meetings on the issue, and the Council could receive those through the Commission’s written advices to the Council.

The Security Council has a crucial role to play, given its primary responsibility to maintain international peace and security. We welcome the progress in this regard, inter alia the growing recognition of the effects of climate change when considering mandates for peacekeeping and special political missions. We welcome the initiative by UAE, Malta, Mozambique and Switzerland toward developing a joint pledge to continuously addressing climate and security issues in the Council.

But more needs to be done. The Council needs the right tools to enable the UN to do its part in preventing and resolving conflicts that are at least in part driven by the effects of climate change. 

We are calling for concrete, tangible action to be considered:

  • The Secretary General to appoint a Special Representative for Climate, Peace and Security who could strengthen coordination between relevant UN entities to improve the organizations’ ability to address climate-related security risks;
  • Regular reporting by the Secretary-General on the peace and security implications of the adverse effects of climate change;
  • The use of climate-related early warning systems that also incorporate conflict prevention, mediation, and peacebuilding.

As appropriate, consistently incorporate climate risks in mandates of all relevant UN peacekeeping and special political missions.

Madam President,

An increasing number of countries and communities have been experiencing insecurity and instability as a result of climate change. We have urged the Council and its members to live up to the requests made by these countries to take action. We stand ready to support all efforts to enhance comprehensive risk assessment, capacity building and operational responses.

I thank you.

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