Introductory Statement - Climate and Security
Statement13 December 2021
I take the floor on behalf of Ireland and Niger, the co-penholders for the draft resolution before this Council for its consideration this morning. Many months of effort have gone into bringing this text to the Council table today. However, as we all know, it has taken years of leadership and engagement by many countries to reach this point. I thank colleagues around the table for their engagement and support.
Today, we come to the Council to ask it to take the modest first steps to strengthen the ability of this Council to begin to assume its own responsibility on the defining issue of this generation: Climate Change.
The draft Resolution is aimed at responding to the climate related security risks affecting the conflicts on this Council’s agenda. No more, no less. We have no doubt as to the appropriateness of the Council considering this topic. It is argued, by some, that the Council is not the right forum, that in addressing climate change and its impacts, the Council would establish a separate process to the UNFCCC. We respectfully but resolutely disagree. This resolution is about enabling the UN Security Council to address climate change with the tools it has within its mandate.
The Council has already taken steps to integrate climate related security risks into some of its mandated operations. However, we must go further. It is long overdue that the principal organ of the UN dealing with international security, takes responsibility for integrating climate related security risks across its conflict resolution, prevention and mediation work.
It could not be clearer from discussions at COP26 that we are facing a climate crisis. It is a crisis of today, not only of tomorrow. The Glasgow Pact, adopted by consensus last month, is clear: as temperatures rise, impacts from climate and weather extremes as well as slow onset events will pose an ever-greater social, economic and environmental threat.
Glasgow recognises the importance of coherent action to respond to the scale of needs caused by the adverse impacts of climate change.
This coherent action, which the international community collectively has called for, must include the work of this important body. It is inconceivable that this Council look away. Today, 113 members of this organisation have joined in co-sponsoring this draft resolution. Council engagement on this issue would reflect the will of the majority of UN member states. As an elected member who is here to represent the interests of all UN member states, we see it as our responsibility to bring this Resolution to the table today.
We have heard first-hand the voices of those living the reality of climate related insecurity around this table, many times now. Not least from the President of Niger, representing a country tragically impacted. It has been suggested that there is no clear scientific basis for linking climate change with international peace and security. We refute this – the data is there and it is compelling. What the Council needs is a framework to enable the capture and consideration of this evidence.
We need to better understand this link. Ignoring or rejecting the facts, won’t achieve that.
This is not an issue facing only one region or only one country. We need to look at it globally as well as in regional and country contexts. Regional action is of course important. Many organisations recognise the importance of addressing the security implications of climate change, including the African Union, the OSCE, the Pacific Islands Forum, the League of Arab States, ASEAN, and the EU. Every one of us here today has a role in one or other of those regional organisations, and is part of the work underway there. It is now time that the United Nations Security Council also steps up.
Finally, Mr. President,
Ireland and Niger are firmly of the view that consideration of this draft resolution must proceed this morning. Time is not on our side in any aspect of the climate issue. We cannot afford to delay in addressing the ways in which climate related security risks are undermining international peace and security. Doing so would leave this Council weakened in its ability to deal with this issue.
Over one hundred and thirteen member states have co-sponsored this resolution today - a clear majority of the countries of the world, sharing our collective determination to take this important step and adopt this draft resolution. Not all Security Council Members share all of the same views on this question but we hope that we can recognise the common ground in our positions, and allow this resolution to be adopted. Our plea, a plea backed by a majority of the Members of the General Assembly, is for all Security Council members to support this text.
Thank you, Mr. President.