On behalf of Kenya, Albania, France, Gabon, Ghana, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Malta, Mozambique, Nauru, Switzerland, and the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, the United States of America and my own country Norway, I welcome you all to today’s Arria-formula meeting on ‘Climate, Peace and Security: Opportunities for the UN Peace and Security Architecture’.
Climate change alters politics, economies, and societies in ways that have profound impacts on people’s lives.
The far-reaching effects pose not only national and regional security issues, they are redefining the global security landscape - affecting our efforts to build and sustain peace.
Climate change is a driver of conflict. We know this. Therefore, it matters to conflict resolution.
We must not only identify the challenges – but also the opportunities – for peacemaking and peacebuilding.
Today’s discussions aim to go beyond the usual focus on the adverse effects of climate change on stability and security, by arguing that broadening our lens to “Climate, Peace and Security” could offer additional tools, and entry points, for the UN peace and security architecture.
Addressing root causes is the only way to attain and sustain peace. By increasing preparedness and resilience in host countries and communities, we can prevent climate-related security risks from cascading into conflict.
There is considerable experience to draw on. The AU has held ten sessions of the Peace and Security Council to deliberate the implications of climate change on the peace and security landscape in Africa, and consistently put forward progressive views and recommendations on this topic.
Let me highlight three potential entry points:
First, climate-informed peace-making and peace agreements. They can help create inclusive socioeconomic, and political structures, that protect the environment, support climate action, and address inequalities.
The UN Peacebuilding Fund-supported dialogues between farmers and cattle herders in Nigeria are good examples.
They are aimed at reducing violence, and increasing the chances for communities to work together to deal with climate change- while also addressing gendered dimensions.
Second, management of scarce natural resources can create opportunities for collaboration within and across borders.
Climate change may exacerbate vulnerabilities, but there is always a decision: to respond in way that increases cooperation, or increases conflict.
For mediators- at the right time and in the right format- this can pave the way for broader discussions and help to build trust.
The dialogues facilitated by EcoPeace to promote Jordanian, Israeli, and Palestinian environmental cooperation at community, national and regional levels is one example of this approach producing peace dividends.
Third, partnering for peace allows us to share lessons learned, and bridge silos by bringing together different kinds of expertise.
At COP27, the Cairo International Center for Conflict Resolution, Peacekeeping and Peacebuilding, in partnership with the UNDP and the AU, launched a new initiative called Climate Responses to Sustaining Peace.
Comprehensive approaches provide opportunities to empower women politically and economically, and strengthen their contributions to peace.
Mandating UN peace operations and special political missions to “take into consideration the adverse implications of climate change” is not meant to add tasks to their burden.
It’s a recognition from the Council that peacemakers and peacekeepers are working within increasingly complex environments.
It recognises also that- while the UN must understand how their primary responsibilities could be affected by climate change- there is no single solution. The UN must adapt its responses to different contexts, to effectively implement their mandates. We welcome DPPA’s Practice Note as presented by the ASG Jenca.
There are many under-utilized opportunities to simultaneously help advance peace and climate action. These are at the heart of a Climate, Peace, and Security approach.
We look forward to exploring these in the discussion with you all today.