SC: Climate and Security

Statement by Norway's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ine Eriksen Søreide, on 'Maintenance of international peace and security: Climate and Security', 23 September 2021.


 I would like to thank Ireland for placing climate and security on today's agenda. And I greatly appreciate the briefings by the Secretary-General and Ms. Ilwad Elman.

The IPCC has issued a clear warning. We can expect further, widespread, unprecedented changes to our climate and the impacts of this can already be seen in many of the situations on the agenda of this Council. 

Half of the 20 countries that are considered most vulnerable to climate change are also affected by armed conflict. Climate change, conflict, displacement, and hunger exacerbate each other. This makes climate change an issue for the Security Council.


The impacts of climate change vary from region to region:

  • In Afghanistan, long-standing conflict has weakened community resilience and traditional natural resource management – eroding the capacity of Afghan society to deal with climate-related security risks.
  • In Iraq, water scarcity worsened by climate change deepens grievances, and escalates the risk of violent conflict – providing entry points for armed groups to exploit.
  • In South Sudan floods and droughts disrupt livelihoods and worsen food-security. And livestock losses compound rivalries which can trigger communal conflicts, displacement, and the growth of armed groups.
  • And across the Sahel, climate change may increase the risk of clashes between herders and farmers over access to water and pastures.

The impacts of climate change often hit women and girls the hardest.

According to UNICEF 1 billion children live in 'extremely high risk' countries. That is nearly half of all children in the world.

And women are on the front lines: addressing resource scarcity, mobilising for climate action and peacebuilding. We must support their efforts and leadership to enhance sustainability, stability, and climate resilience in communities.


The Security Council has expressed its concern that the adverse effects of climate change may constitute a risk to international peace and security. What is needed now is a more systematic approach by the Council. As a concrete step forward, the Council should adopt a thematic resolution on climate and security to guide its work.The intention is not for the Council to take on the tasks of other UN bodies.

It is a matter of conflict prevention.

It is a matter of addressing climate risk and resilience as part of our common responsibility to maintain international peace and security.

We therefore urge the Secretary-General to include climate-related security risks in his reports to the Council, and for climate risks to be included as a consideration in all relevant mandates of UN peacekeeping and special political missions. We must strengthen coordination and ensure a coherent and whole of UN response. The Climate Security Mechanism and Informal Expert Group will be important platforms in this regard.

Norway strongly believes that climate risks must also be addressed in mediation and preventive diplomacy efforts. The shared experience of climate change can be an entry point for building trust and dialogue across communities – as seen in Somalia and South Sudan.

Yet, sustainable peace and development cannot be achieved without the inclusion of all relevant stakeholders. To succeed, strong local and regional partnerships is needed, as well as the meaningful participation of civil society. And the Security Council needs reliable, relevant, timely and actionable information on the climate risks for the specific situations on the Council’s agenda. In this respect Norway supports the independent research undertaken by the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI), Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) and Adelphi, in close cooperation with local expertise.


Climate change is the defining challenge of our time. The UN Security Council must show leadership and fulfil its responsibility inherent in its mandate.

Climate and security is one of four main priorities for Norway in the Council, and we stand ready to do our part.

Thank you.