The climate crisis is rapidly getting worse. The IPCC has warned us that nearly half of humanity is already living in the danger zone. Let me first start by thanking Gabon for firmly placing climate-related security risks on the Security Council’s agenda. I also thank Under-Secretary-General di Carlo, Mr. Gahouma and Mr. Youssef for your important insights to this debate.
Climate change and environmental degradation are drivers of instability and conflict. We know this. In Africa, water stress, droughts and floods are hitting communities, economies and ecosystems hard. There is strong evidence that the impacts of climate change can drive conflict. And that they are a serious challenge to peacebuilding and peacekeeping. Which clearly makes climate and security an issue for the Security Council. This should not be controversial.
Norway has worked to ensure that climate risks and their peace and security impacts are reflected in Council resolutions and statements. In the case of South Sudan for instance, climate and security aspects are now included in country-specific reportings and briefings. This matters.
We must also recognize that climate-related security risks cannot be addressed through military or security measures. Climate and security must instead be viewed as an integral part of crisis and conflict prevention. And as an essential component in peacebuilding. Going forward, I would like to suggest we focus on three key areas:
First, we need to build climate-resilient communities, infrastructure and livelihoods. This can prevent tensions and avoid return to conflict. Doing so will require a steep increase in financing – for adaptation, resilience, peacebuilding and early warning. Norway will do our share. We will double our climate finance and at least triple our support to climate adaptation by 2026.
Secondly, we need to ensure meaningful participation by those who are most affected. We must build on local knowledge and expertise, and ensure local ownership. We must connect solutions to climate and security challenges with other agendas that African countries prioritize. Such as ‘Women, Peace and Security’ and ‘Youth, Peace and Security’. One good example of this is Niger, where Norwegian and national institutions are working together to help farmers adapt to climate change. The aim is to strengthen food security, generate income, and create new jobs for thousands of people. But another key component of the programme is capacity building for women and young people – which benefits the community as a whole.
Third and finally, we must explore new approaches to mediation and peacebuilding. As highlighted by the IPCC, 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 to build trust. We should therefore start expanding our narrative from talking about ‘climate and security’ to talking about ‘climate, peace and security’.