It gives Kenya and Norway great pleasure to address you today as the Co Chairs
of the Security Council Informal Expert Group on Climate and Security in
preparation for a timely meeting of the Security Council on Climate and Security
in Africa, under the Presidency of Gabon.
We are close to the 27th UN Climate Change Conference of Parties this November in Egypt. We will negotiate an outcome knowing that climate change is a risk multiplier for security threats to African peoples and countries.
In the Horn of Africa, for instance, we are experiencing the longest drought in
forty years. Such extreme weather conditions are mostly striking areas already
prone to insecurity and food scarcity, therefore complicating and compounding
conflict dynamics from Somalia to South Sudan.
Other parts of Africa including the Sahel and the Great Lakes region are also
experiencing heightened tensions and insecurity driven in part by climate change
induced extreme weather patterns. Therefore, if we take action on mitigating and preventing climate related risks we would in effect be working to mitigate and prevent conflict.
With today’s discussion on Climate and Security in Africa, it is no coincidence
that the African Union is one of few regional organisations to explicitly add ress
climate related security risks within its peace and security architecture. But this
is far from just being an African problem.
Climate related security risks play out in different ways depending on different
regions and contexts. But addressing them everywhere is critical.
Kenya and Norway are in agreement: achieving the Paris Agreement remains our
first line of defence.
With many countries already feeling the effects, we must find and adequately
fund adaptation and resilience strategies and en sure that they are implemented
in a manner that does not impede any country’s ability to develop. We need to
significantly step up our support and honour our commitments. This will be a key
ask at COP27. We believe that we also need to take action in the Security Council
as we will explain during the debate.
Climate change affects all of us. And it affects our security.
For small island states, sea-level rise is already a very real threat. In the Middle East, we see tension over access to water.
In the Sahel, we see
- livelihoods disappear,
- areas become impossible to live in,
- disadvantaged groups are often hit the hardest
- and people who already have a hard life suffer even more.
We see young people raise their voice, and at the same time lose faith in their future.
I have no doubt. Climate change belongs on the Security Council’s agenda.
This past year, Kenya and Norway, together have led the Informal Expert Group on Climate and Security.
We have invited leaders from UN peace operations to meet the Council members, to brief and answer questions about how they see climate change affect security issues, and how if affects their mandate.
As a next step we need to look at opportunities. Environmental peacebuilding offers promising avenues for addressing conflict risk. Dialogue on climate and environmental issues can pave the way for broader discussions on difficult issues. It can help build trust.
Gabon’s initiative to put climate and security in Africa on the Security Council’s agenda today - ahead of the COP27 climate summit - is a call to mobilise efforts to address this challenge, and to build partnerships.
For this to happen, we must jointly step up our commitments – on mitigation. On adaptation. And not the least: on finance – for both climate action and peacebuilding.