Press Statement on Climate and Security

Press Statement by Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ine Eriksen Søreide, following the Security Council Open debate on Climate and Security, 23 September 2021.

Good morning,

Climate and security is a top priority for Norway as elected member of the Security Council.

Therefore, I am very glad that we had the opportunity to discuss this topic today.

We need a more systematic approach by the Security Council to address climate, peace and security. As a concrete step forward, the Council should adopt a thematic resolution to guide its work.

The Security Council needs to formally recognise the links between climate change and security. Norway has repeatedly called for the Secretary-General to include climate-related security risks in his reports to the Council, and for these risks to be included as a consideration in all relevant mandates of UN peacekeeping and special political missions.

The intention is not for the Council to take on the tasks of other UN bodies. It is a matter of conflict prevention. And a matter of addressing climate risk and resilience as part of the maintenance of international peace and security.

Half of the 20 countries that are considered most vulnerable to global warming are also affected by armed conflict. Climate change, conflict, displacement, and hunger exacerbate each other.

  • 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 - just as we see now: with the ongoing drought.
  • In Iraq, the effects of climate change on water scarcity deepen grievances between people. It escalates the risk of violent conflict, and provides entry points for armed groups to exploit.
  • In South Sudan, floods and droughts disrupt livelihoods and worsens food-security. And livestock losses compound rivalries, which trigger communal conflicts, displacement, and the growth of armed groups.
  • Across the Sahel, climate change may increase the risk of clashes between herders and farmers over access to water and pastures.

I’m especially concerned that the impacts of climate change 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.

To succeed, strong local and regional partnerships are needed, together with the meaningful participation of civil society. Sustainable peace and development cannot be achieved without the inclusion of all relevant stakeholders.

Climate change is the defining challenge of our time.

The UN Security Council must show leadership and fulfil the responsibility inherent in its mandate.