I thank the United Kingdom for placing this issue on the Security Council’s agenda. I also thank the briefers for setting the stage.
2020 was the hottest year on record. Heat waves, wildfires, and floods affected the lives of millions. 270 million people have acute food insecurity. Climate shocks are a key driver.
In the Sahel, climate change affects ecosystems and livelihoods. Increased competition over scarce resources fuels conflicts. In Somalia and the Lake Chad, climate impacts have enabled armed groups to boost recruitment. And on the Horn of Africa and in the Middle East, climate change escalates the risk of conflict.
Ocean warming, illegal fishing and sea level rise threaten the coastal and small island nations. So – like the farmers in the Sahel - fishermen in the Pacific find it difficult to maintain their livelihood.
The biodiversity crisis and deforestation affect the security of many. These are closely interlinked with climate change and can hamper peace and development.
We risk a negative spiral: Climate change undermines the ability to cope with conflict. And conflict undermine resilience to climate change.
Climate change is redefining the global security landscape. But there is no single solution – we must adapt our response to different contexts.
Climate change is expected to displace more than 140 million people by 2050. Twelve of the 20 countries most vulnerable to climate change are also dealing with violent conflict.
We must rethink and adapt the Council’s approaches to peacebuilding and sustaining peace in three ways:
First, the Council needs better information on climate-related security risks. International research networks and the Informal Expert Group will be important here. To support our work Norway has engaged NUPI and SIPRI to establish a Nordic-Baltic expert network.
We fully support the work of the Climate Security Mechanism. I echo the call for regular reports by the Secretary General to the Council. A special representative on climate and security should also be appointed.
Climate risks must be considered in all prevention, peacekeeping and peacebuilding activities. This goes for the Security Council, but also for the Member States, the UN Secretariat and the leadership of UN operations.
Second, the Security Council should discuss climate risks in specific country contexts, based on country reporting and briefings. The UN must be at the forefront of preventive diplomacy. To achieve sustainable solutions, our peace diplomacy must be climate-sensitive. And our climate action must be conflict-sensitive.
Third, we must strengthen our partnerships within and beyond the UN system. We must partner closely with affected states and regional organisations. And ensure the active participation of diverse groups, including women and youth.
The national security communities in many countries have understood the security risks posed by climate change. While climate change can lead to hard security challenges, there are no hard security solutions.
Our first line of defense is ambitious climate action. It must begin with the full implementation of the Paris Agreement and Agenda 2030. Climate action depends on multilateral cooperation.
We must invest in the ability of communities to adapt and respond to climate shocks and crises. This will reduce risks. And in turn break the cycle of short-term responses, shifting to sustainable solutions.
We have a common responsibility to counter climate change and maintain peace and security - especially for coming generations.
I firmly believe the UN Security Council will play an important role in these efforts. By doing so, the Council will be better prepared to maintain international peace and stability.