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Climate Change and its impact on Island states in Africa

Norwegian statement by Ambassador Morten Aasland at the AUPSC open session, 10. September 2019


Distinguished Chair, Excellences, Ladies and Gentlemen,

The scale and intensity of climate disasters is increasing.

Small island states are among the countries who pay the highest price for climate change and global warming.  

As a coastal nation, close to the sea in all ways, Norway has long-standing and close relations with many island states around the world and in Africa. These relations are based on mutual interests, particularly with respect to climate change, renewable energy and sustainable ocean management. 

Norway strongly supports the call from island states to put climate and security on the PSC agenda. There is a need further to explore how we can integrate the nexus of climate-security into development and security policies.

In our view, this nexus should also be firmly placed on the UN Security Council’s agenda.


The relationship between climate change, peace and security is complex. Climate change is rarely the direct cause of conflict, but works as a ‘threat multiplier”. These dynamics result in a wide range of climate-related security risks.

One well-known threat is rising sea levels, which also directly impacts the territorial integrity of small island states.

While natural disasters are not a novel phenomenon, climate change is intensifying their frequency and impact. This was clearly demonstrated by the severe human and economic losses that occurred in Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe in March 2019 from the devastation caused by Tropical Cyclone Idai.


Norway remains a firm supporter of full and swift implementation of the Paris Agreement. This is essential to prevent a further rise in global temperatures, with the dire consequences that would follow.

To achieve full implementation, Norway is committed to promoting and contributing to enhanced international support for climate vulnerable countries. As a consistent partner, we support a broad range of adaptation efforts in Africa, including early warning systems, climate smart agriculture, and multilateral programs to build resilience in vulnerable areas.

We know, however, that the current global support to adaptation and resilience building is not enough. More and innovative financing is needed.

Norway is one of the largest contributors to the Green Climate Fund, and supports simplified access to funding for the least developed countries, including island states in Africa. We will scale up climate finance and strengthen Norwegian support for climate adaptation and disaster risk reduction.

Building resilience in vulnerable countries is a prerequisite if we are to reach the ambitions in Agenda 2063.


Clean, healthy and productive oceans is another key priority for Norway. Norway’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg has established a High-level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy.  The panel consists of serving heads of states and governments, including from Ghana, Kenya and Namibia, who are joining forces to advance a new understanding – so that we can protect our oceans and at the same time optimize their value for human kind.

Norway will host the 6. Our Ocean Conference in Oslo 23-24 October. The conference will bring together leaders from governments, business, civil society and research institutions, and we look forward to welcoming high-level representatives of the AUC and African states, joining delegates from all over the world in our common quest for healthy and sustainable oceans.


Allow me to close by recognizing the leadership demonstrated by the Council in putting the climate-security nexus firmly on the PSC agenda.

It is a challenging issue, but together with the African Union and committed African partner countries, Norway is ready to contribute our share for our common future.

Thank you.