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SC/14644
23 September 2021
8864th Meeting (AM)

Differences Emerge over Appropriate Forum for Discussing Climate Change, as Delegates Hold Debate on Links between Global Crisis, Security

Secretary-General Reiterates ‘Code Red’ Warning, as Civil Society Briefer Calls Security Council Efforts ‘Too Painfully Slow’

Amid clarion calls for bolder action to prevent the worst outcomes of the climate crisis, speakers in a high‑level Security Council debate diverged today on how best to address the phenomenon’s intersection with global security, as several delegations advocated for urgent changes to the 15‑member organ’s work.

Discussions among Council members - many represented at the Head of State or Government level - centred around the nexus of conflict, growing resource scarcity and human displacement.  While delegates largely agreed on the need for State action to curb climate emissions, they laid out differing views on the appropriate tools with which to devise on‑the‑ground climate responses - and the appropriate venues for related discussions - especially in the work of the 12 deployed United Nations peace operations.

Secretary-General António Guterres opened the debate by recalling that last month’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report sounded a “code red for humanity”.  Urging much bolder climate action ahead of the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference, known as COP26, he said the impacts of climate change are particularly profound when they overlap with fragility or conflict.  “Where coping capacities are limited and there is high dependence on shrinking natural resources and ecosystem services … grievances and tensions can explode,” he warned.  Listing examples - from tensions over resources in Somalia to rising food insecurity in North Africa - he pointed out that climate‑related disasters displaced more than 30 million people in 2020 alone.

Ilwad Elman, Chief Operating Officer of the non‑governmental Elman Peace and Human Rights Centre, described the Council’s work on climate and security as “too painfully slow” for vulnerable communities on the front lines, expressing particular concern that little has been invested in building the technical and knowledge‑management capacities of grass‑roots civil society organizations.  She said climate change became an inevitable element of her group’s work to prevent and counter violent extremism in Somalia, as the issue began impacting daily life on the ground.  Locust infestations and drought have become multipliers of intraclan conflict, while flooding continues to drive displacement and vulnerability to recruitment by extremist groups, she noted.

Micheál Martin, Ireland’s Taoiseach (Prime Minister) and Council President for September, spoke in his national capacity, calling for a concerted multilateral response to climate change involving all the organs of the United Nations.  “That response must include this Council,” he emphasized, pointing out that members have already recognized climate change as one of the factors driving conflict and fragility.  Ireland plans to convene discussions about a draft resolution on climate and security in the coming days, he said, noting that the Council has both the mandate and the tools needed to act.  “A failure to use them is an abdication of our responsibility,” he stressed.

Hassoumi Massoudou, Niger’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, described the heatwaves, droughts and flooding affecting his country and Africa’s Sahel region more broadly.  Climate change is depleting water and other resources, hampering efforts to build peace among a population sustained more than 80 per cent by jobs in agriculture, he said.  Noting major investment plans, by the African Union and other regional bodies, aimed at boosting national resilience capacities, he nevertheless warned that will not be enough unless the international community acts together.

President Kersti Kaljulaid of Estonia noted that the Council has the scope and tools needed to address climate‑related security risks, adding that much more should be done to integrate the issue into its work.  Regular comprehensive reporting would be another major step forward, she said, pointing out that only a few United Nations peace operations currently reflect climate and security risks in their mandates.  The Organization’s own climate policy is also a critical focus, she said, calling for green, just and inclusive transitions from peacekeeping to peacebuilding that avoid fuelling marginalization or competition.

President Nguyen Xuan Phuc of Viet Nam, outlining the devastating impacts of climate change on every continent, warned that it is also using up valuable resources meant for socioeconomic development, thereby exacerbating poverty and inequality.  Calling for vigorous action by the Council, he said it should create mechanisms for the early assessment and warning of risks “while they are still distant”.  Developed countries should take the lead in cutting greenhouse gas emissions and provide developing nations with the financing, technical assistance and know‑how they need to do the same, he emphasized.

Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State of the United States, recalled that a punishing storm killed dozens of people in the very city that hosts United Nations Headquarters just weeks ago, declaring: “The climate crisis isn’t coming, it’s already here.”  He said President Joseph R. Biden has announced a doubling of the United States public climate financing twice in the past year, while emphasizing that the Security Council also has a vital role to play.  Instead of dwelling on debate over whether the climate crisis belongs on its agenda, it should explore ways to leverage its unique tools to help those most in need, he stressed.

The Russian Federation’s representative struck a different note, emphasizing that the climate change question is within the domain of the General Assembly, Economic and Social Council, the High-level Political Forum and other specialized formats.  Emphasizing the importance of “division of labour”, he warned against increasing attempts to enshrine climate change in the Security Council’s agenda, cautioning:  “Too many cooks spoil the broth.”

China’s representative similarly warned against “sidestepping” the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement - the main international negotiating channels on the issue - emphasizing that the Council lacks the necessary specialized tools and knowledge.  It should therefore refrain from including climate change in peacekeeping mandates, so as not to diminish the ability of peace operations to deliver on their core tasks, he said.

Reenat Sandhu, Vice Minister, Secretary (West) in India’s Ministry of External Affairs, pointed out that climate change is under focused discussion in the relevant mechanisms of the United Nations, adding that addressing climate security in the Security Council is not desirable.  She warned against building a parallel climate track.

Also speaking today were ministers and other senior level representatives of France, Mexico, Norway, Kenya, Tunisia, United Kingdom and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

Several non‑member delegations submitted written statements for inclusion in the debate.

The meeting began at 8:06 a.m. and ended at 10:03 a.m.

Briefings

ANTÓNIO GUTERRES, Secretary‑General of the United Nations, recalled that in August the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a “deeply alarming report” showing that climate disruption caused by human activities is widespread and intensifying.  “The report is indeed a code red for humanity,” he said, urging much bolder climate action ahead of the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP26, in Glasgow, in order to ensure the maintenance of international peace and security.  “Our window of opportunity to prevent the worst climate impacts is rapidly closing,” he warned, emphasizing that no region of the world is immune from the wildfires, flooding, droughts and other extreme events already impacting every continent.

Stressing that the effects of climate change are particularly profound when they overlap with fragility and past or current conflicts, he described both climate change and environmental mismanagement as risk multipliers.  “Where coping capacities are limited and there is high dependence on shrinking natural resources and ecosystem services, such as water and fertile land, grievances and tensions can explode, complicating efforts to prevent conflict and to sustain peace,” he said.  In Somalia, for example, more frequent and intense droughts and floods are undermining food security, increasing competition over scarce resources and exacerbating existing tensions from which the Al‑Shabaab terrorist group benefits, he noted.  In the Middle East and North Africa - among the world’s most water‑stressed and climate‑vulnerable regions - a major decline in precipitation and a rise in extreme weather events is harming water and food security, he added.

In 2020, more than 30 million people were displaced by climate‑related disasters, he recalled.  Ninety per cent of refugees come from countries that are among the most vulnerable and least able to adapt to the effects of climate change, and many are in turn hosted by countries also suffering from its impacts, he said.  Meanwhile, the devastation caused by the coronavirus pandemic continues to undermine the ability of Governments to respond to climate disasters and build resilience.  However, it is not yet too late to act, he said, calling for “unambiguous commitment and credible actions” by all countries to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius and avert the most catastrophic impacts of climate change.

Spotlighting three “absolute priorities”, he urged all nations to show greater ambition in their nationally determined contributions by the time COP26 begins, and to translate their commitments into concrete and immediate action.  Collectively, the world requires a 45 per cent cut in emissions by 2030, he said.  Secondly, he underlined the need to deal with the already dire impacts of climate disruption on the lives and livelihoods of people all over the world, calling, in particular, for a “breakthrough on adaptation and resilience”.  At least 50 per cent of climate finance globally must be committed to resilience and adaptation, he emphasized, adding that huge gaps remain in adaptation finance for developing countries.

In that context, he called upon developed countries to uphold their promise to deliver, before COP26, $100 billion in climate finance annually to the developing world, and to ensure those funds reach the most affected populations.  Grant financing is essential, as loans will add to already crushing debt burdens in the most climate‑vulnerable countries, he noted.  As a third priority, he said climate adaptation and peacebuilding can and should reinforce each other.  Listing several successful examples, he also spotlighted the crucial role of women and girls as agents of change in those efforts, noting that their meaningful participation and leadership brings more sustainable results that benefit more people.

He went on to note that the United Nations itself is integrating climate risks into its political analysis, as well as its conflict prevention and peacebuilding initiatives.  The Climate Security Mechanism helps field missions, country teams and other partners analyse and address climate‑related security risks and shape integrated and timely responses.  Citing several examples, he said the regional office in West Africa and the Sahel is coordinating with various United Nations funds, programmes and agencies in a new initiative on peace, climate change and environmental degradation.  Meanwhile, the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) is working with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to promote the peaceful settlement of farmer‑herder conflicts, he reported.

ILWAD ELMAN, Chief Operating Officer of the Elman Peace and Human Rights Centre, warned that the world is in a planetary emergency that will make the task of maintaining international peace and security even harder in the coming decade and beyond.  “As climate change and other environmental crises gather pace, they are touching every aspect of life,” she said, adding:  “The world of international peace and security is no exception.”  The Council has held several thematic debates on climate and security, but that is still too painfully slow for the vulnerable communities on the front lines, she emphasized, noting that, for front‑line activists on the cusp of climate and security, there is little support available.  The toolkits, recommendations, and research being produced primarily target Governments, the United Nations, peacekeeping missions, and, at times, large international non‑governmental organizations, and there is very little investment in building technical and knowledge‑management capacities of grass‑roots civil society organizations, she said.  “The discourse around climate change and security still fails to adequately meet the needs of affected communities and represent the voices of those that are disproportionately affected by climate‑related security risks,” she stressed.

She went on to state that she works in Somalia as a director of the Elman Peace Centre, a peacebuilding organization established in response to the armed conflict and working to prevent and counter violent extremism.  The Centre also facilitates the disarmament, rehabilitation and reintegration of young people and adults associated with different armed groups, including defectors from designated terrorist organizations, she added.  Noting the Centre began working on climate change issues because lives and daily realities are at the nexus of climate change and security, she explained that it realized that peacebuilding goals and mediation efforts could not succeed or be sustained without addressing the broader environmental issues related to security, whether it is the locust- and drought‑induced scarcity of resources that multiplies the threat of intraclan conflict or flooding that continues to drive regional displacement and vulnerability to violent extremist groups.  The impacts of climate change and environmental degradation are also changing what it takes to build peace for local peacebuilders, she added.

Arguing that peacebuilding practitioners and civil society organizations must be empowered to respond to their changing environments, she said they need the ability to access technical and financial resources as well as educational materials that are fit for purpose.  Risk assessment information should be made available to peacebuilding practitioners through the Climate Security Mechanism, she added.  Stressing that the Security Council and the wider United Nations system must be receptive to bottom‑up solutions and community‑led processes, she said that mandating and deploying more environmental security advisers can assist in forging cooperation, learning and coordination with local expertise.  She noted that she sits on a panel of Environment of Peace, which explores how environmental deterioration exacerbates insecurity and, on the positive side, how environmental sustainability can support peace.

The organization will launch a report in May 2022, in the run‑up to the Stockholm+50 conference, she said, adding that the report will look at the risks and opportunities for peace arising from the transition to a greener and more sustainable future, and show how global cooperation and collective action can help to address those enormous challenges.  “The momentum that currently exists for the climate and security agenda is undeniable; now is the time for policymakers to turn this ambitious agenda into coherent policies that guide the future of peacebuilding,” she stressed.

Statements

MICHEÁL MARTIN, Taoiseach of Ireland and Council President for September, spoke in his national capacity, emphasizing that it is essential to act now to prevent any further warming of the planet, and to reach net‑zero emissions as quickly as possible.  “A concerted multilateral response to climate change involving all the organs of the United Nations is urgently needed,” he said, adding:  “That response must include this Council.”  From the Sahel to Iraq and from Lake Chad to the Horn of Africa, he said, members have already recognized that climate change is one of the factors driving conflict and fragility.  Meanwhile, the instability driven by the adverse effects of climate change is felt across the globe.  Noting that Ireland and Niger co‑chair the Informal Expert Group of Members of the Security Council on Climate and Security, which has convened since 2020, he said the Council has both the mandate and the tools to take action.  “A failure to use them is an abdication of our responsibility,” he stressed, noting that Ireland will convene discussions to draft a thematic resolution on climate and security in the coming days, and hopes that all members will engage constructively in that exercise.

NGUYEN XUAN PHUC, President of Viet Nam, outlining the devastating impacts of climate change on every continent, warned that it is also using up valuable resources meant for socioeconomic development, thereby exacerbating poverty and inequality.  “These consequences may well erupt into geopolitical tension and instability, damaging peace, security, development and prosperity of States and nations,” he warned, emphasizing the need for vigorous action by the Council.  It should establish mechanisms for the early assessment, forecast and warning of climate security risks, “while they are still distant”, he said.  The United Nations should also create a database on the impacts of rising sea levels, he added, also calling greater efforts to protect civilians and infrastructure and to safeguard the sovereignty of nations.  Urging developed countries to take the lead in cutting greenhouse gas emissions, he said they should provide developing nations with the financing, technical assistance and know-how needed to do the same.  Noting that successive natural disasters have devastated the lives of some 20 million people in Viet Nam, he underscored his country’s commitment to undertaking climate action and to developing a green, sustainable and low‑carbon economy.

KERSTI KALJULAID, President of Estonia, said the international community cannot ignore the massive changes triggered by climate change, adding that its efforts should concentrate on building State and societal resilience, which would help reduce and manage risks before they become critical threats to international peace and security.  Agreeing with other speakers that the Council has the scope and tools needed to address climate‑related security risks, she said much more should be done to integrate the issue into its work.  Calling for a systematic approach based on conflict prevention, she advocated for a resolution on climate and security, declaring:  “It is of utmost importance that the Secretary‑General … receives a mandate to collect data and coordinate policy.”  Regular comprehensive reporting would be another major step forward, she said, pointing out that only a few peace operations currently reflect climate and security risks in their mandates.  The Organization’s own climate policy is also a critical focus, she said, calling for green, just and inclusive transitions that avoid fuelling marginalization or competition.

HASSOUMI MASSOUDOU, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Niger, said fragility related to climate change aggravates conflict, describing today’s debate as “timely”.  The world is moving into the second year of the COVID‑19 pandemic, he noted, drawing attention to another, longer‑term “pandemic” that has no vaccines – climate change.  Whether in the form of heatwaves, droughts or flooding, Niger and the Sahel are already facing that reality, which undermines development, he emphasized.  Noting that agriculture is a pillar of Niger’s economy, sustaining the livelihoods of 80 per cent of its population, he said climate change is depleting water and other resources, hampering efforts to build peace.  Studies show climate change is leading to additional pressure in conflict, he added, describing the situation as a vicious cycle.  He said the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have a 2018‑2030 investment plan to boost resilience, but that is not enough unless the international community acts together, he stressed.  He went on to underline the need to adopt a holistic and coordinated approach, focusing on prevention, and to increase the Council’s capacity to better understand the link between climate and security.  Calling for systematic consideration of risk in various regions, he encouraged the Council to make use of the Peacebuilding Commission’s consultative role.  He went on to describe the appointment of a Special Envoy on climate and security as a wise idea, and expressed support for the adoption of a Council resolution on that matter.

ANTONY J. BLINKEN, Secretary of State of the United States, said President Joseph R. Biden has made addressing the climate crisis a core element of his foreign and domestic policies.  Recalling that a punishing storm recently killed dozens of people in New York, dumping more than three inches of rain in a single hour, he emphasized:  “The climate crisis isn’t coming, it’s already here.”  Twice in the last year, President Biden has announced a doubling of the United States public climate financing, he pointed out.  Noting that the Council also has a vital role to play, he stressed that it must stop debating whether the climate crisis belongs on its agenda and instead explore ways to leverage its unique tools to help those most in need.  United Nations field missions should incorporate climate and security risks into their mandates - as with the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) and the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS) - and the Organization should integrate climate security into all its strategic planning, he said, underlining the need for all nations to take bold, immediate actions to move swiftly towards a net‑zero world.  He went on to call upon States to bring the highest possible ambitions to the table at COP26.

JEAN-YVES LE DRIAN, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs of France, said that, because the climate fight is a geopolitical issue and a matter of peace and security, the Council is well within its rights to address it.  “We need to work to anticipate and mitigate the consequences of climate disasters”, including by helping the world’s most vulnerable countries in such areas as mapping, financing and the provision of emergency humanitarian assistance, he added.  Emphasizing that violent groups and terrorists must be prevented from taking advantage of the impacts of climate change in places already fragile or affected by conflict, he noted that 12 of the most conflict‑impacted nations are also among the countries most vulnerable to climate change.  Citing the positive example of the “Great Green Wall” initiative in the Sahel region, he called for more projects that integrate development actions into efforts to build up climate resilience.  Among other important steps, the Secretary‑General should be tasked with submitting a biannual report to the Council on the impacts of climate change on peace and security, he said, adding that he should also appoint a special envoy for climate security.  Meanwhile, States should take the opportunity presented by COP26 to make greenhouse gas emission commitments commensurate with the challenges confronting the world.

MARCELO EBRARD CASAUBÓN, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Mexico, said it is undeniable that the effects of climate change exacerbate conflict.  The Peacebuilding Commission has stated that 11 of the countries it monitors are in areas particularly exposed to the effects of climate change, which further complicates efforts to achieve sustainable peace, he noted.  The only way to tackle climate change is through multilateralism, with a comprehensive and coherent approach across the entire United Nations system.  He took note of the Secretary‑General’s report “Our Common Agenda”, and urged the Security Council not to avoid the issue of climate change.  He went on to call for more effective interaction between the Council and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and for the integration of their perspectives into the analyses of the Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs.  Describing the creation of the informal group of experts on climate and security within the Council as a step in the right direction, he emphasized that it is time to translate their recommendations into action.

INE ERIKSEN SØREIDE, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Norway, said the Security Council should adopt a thematic resolution on climate and security to guide its work, explaining that the intention is not to take on the tasks of other United Nations bodies, but rather to tackle it as a matter of preventing conflict.  She urged the Secretary‑General to include climate‑related security risks in his reports to the Council, saying climate risks must be included in all relevant mandates of United Nations peacekeeping and special political missions.  The Climate Security Mechanism and informal expert group will be important platforms in that regard, she added.  Norway strongly believes that climate risks must also be addressed in mediation and preventive diplomacy efforts, she said, noting that the shared experience of climate change can be an entry point for building trust and dialogue across communities, as seen in Somalia and South Sudan.  Stressing the need for reliable, relevant, timely and actionable information on the climate risks for specific situations on the Council’s agenda, she expressed support for the independent research undertaken by the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute and Adelphi, in close cooperation with local expertise.

RAYCHELLE OMAMO, Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs of Kenya, said climate change is leading to profound effects on global weather conditions, migration, competition for resources, livelihoods and economies.  They are combining to increase the vulnerability of countries to conflict, particularly in the Sahel, Horn of Africa, Middle East and in small island developing States, she added.  Noting that adaptation to climate change will need to deliver on conflict prevention and resolution, she emphasized that the growing body of evidence on the climate‑security nexus must be developed with States and institutions in the global South, where the challenge is most keenly felt.  Climate action, she added, must also build on local knowledge and practices that are proven to work, especially in enhancing the resilience of communities against climate vagaries.  She went on to stress the need for the bulk of resources for climate adaptation to be drawn from domestic resources, and for the development of early‑warning systems that map climate change hotspots.

OTHMAN JERANDI, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Migration and Tunisians Abroad of Tunisia, said emerging challenges such as intensifying and more frequent climate events, natural disasters and pandemics pose grave challenges to multilateralism and international cooperation.  “We can no longer overlook the extent to which climate change exacerbates fragility and instability … and prolongs conflict, especially in Africa,” he emphasized.  Noting that climate change is a global phenomenon, he said its impacts are geographically uneven, with some regions less capable of coping with shocks.  Against that backdrop, deeper cooperation and more urgent climate action is needed, he stressed.  Tunisia calls for serious consideration to reprioritizing the objectives of the United Nations development system and reforming global financial frameworks with the aim of supporting the ability of developing countries to mitigate and adapt to climate change, he said.  He went on to point out the shared nature of responsibility for climate change, while underlining that it must be allocated to varying degrees on the basis of each nation’s contribution to the current crisis.

TARIQ AHMAD, Minister of State for South Asia, United Nations and the Commonwealth of the United Kingdom, noted that many of the countries most vulnerable to the impacts of the climate crisis are already enduring the weight of armed conflict.  “The world is looking to this Council to act, and act swiftly,” he emphasized, spotlighting the United Nations system’s role in reporting comprehensively on the links between climate and security, and in providing the right experts to respond to the crisis.  Meanwhile, the Council should listen to those countries with first‑hand experience of the impact of insecurity compounded by climate change and ensure that women and girls play a meaningful role in all efforts to address the crisis, he said.  “At COP26 in November, we are approaching a crunch point where those efforts need to turn to urgent action, from us all,” he stressed, urging all Member States to bring forward net‑zero commitments, ambitious nationally determined contributions and the policies needed to deliver them.  He went on to outline the United Kingdom’s recent actions, including its commitment to cut emissions by at least 68 per cent by 2030, and its $16 billion climate finance commitments over the next five years.

REENAT SANDHU, Vice Minister, Secretary (West), Ministry of External Affairs of India, cautioned that addressing one aspect of climate change while ignoring others will be counterproductive.  Noting that the issue is under focused discussion in the relevant mechanisms of the United Nations, she said mechanisms have been put in place, whether the question is climate change, biodiversity, desertification or others.  Addressing climate security in the Security Council is not desirable, she said, warning that ignoring basic principles and practices relating to climate change could disrupt the nature of overall discussion on that extremely important topic.  She also warned against building a parallel climate track, saying:  “To view conflicts in the poorer parts of the world through the prism of climate change will only serve to present a lopsided narrative when the reasons for the conflict are to be found elsewhere.”  She went on to state that the report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change clearly states that the effect of climate variability on violence is contested.  Highlighting the need to bring the focus back to where it should be – combating climate change - she said India is a leader in climate action and is on track to meet its commitments under the Paris Agreement on climate change, adding that it also has the world’s fastest‑growing solar energy programme.

INGA RHONDA KING (Saint Vincent and the Grenadines) said that, in order to tackle climate‑related security risks in relevant situations on the Council’s agenda, it is vital to build capacity and enhance expertise across the United Nations, including by embedding climate‑security advisers in relevant operations and considering the appointment of a special representative of the Secretary‑General for climate‑related security risks.  Emphasizing that the Council must not sidestep its responsibility to address the security implications of climate change, she said it can take tangible actions, including:  requesting increased training and enhanced reporting on climate and security; strengthening coordination with relevant actors at the local, national and regional levels; and adopting a focused resolution to better enable the Council to address climate and security risks.  She encouraged closer coordination between the Council and the Peacebuilding Commission, including on issues related to climate, security and peacebuilding.

DMITRY A. POLYANSKIY (Russian Federation), concurring fully with concerns expressed about climate change, said his country is taking steps to reduce the carbon footprint of its economy.  He went on to state that the climate change question is within the domain of the General Assembly, Economic and Social Council, High‑level Political Forum and other specialized formats.  Emphasizing the importance of “division of labour”, he warned against increasing attempts to enshrine climate change on the Security Council’s agenda, saying that could obstruct the work of other bodies.  “Too many cooks spoil the broth,” he added.  Suggesting that some might be attempting to raise the profile of the climate change agenda by involving the Security Council, he said inclusion or non‑inclusion on its agenda should not be a gauge of importance or unimportance.  The Russian Federation is ready to discuss climate security, he said, but only in relation to specific country or regional contexts, relying on scientific data and taking into account the complex overall picture of each case.  He went on to say it is counterproductive to include a climate component in the mandates of peacekeeping or special political missions, as peacekeepers lack the expertise to tackle climate change, he noted.  Expanding their mandates could also result in additional administrative and financial costs and undermine the effectiveness of their primary missions, he said, stressing that the Security Council is not a universal forum.

ZHANG JUN (China), describing climate change as a “very complex” issue, emphasized that the main channels of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement, as well as the right of all nations to speak on an equal footing, must be respected.  It would be inappropriate for the Council to replace those forums, he said.  Underlining the principle of common but differentiated responsibility, he said developed countries “cannot always lock their sight on others”.  Instead, they must lead the way in reducing carbon emissions, fill the remaining climate funding gap of $100 billion and formulate a new funding target for the post‑2025 period, he asserted, adding that such steps will allow for the early realization of net‑zero emissions and help developing countries live up to their own commitments.  He went on to point out that climate change did not plunge the countries on the Council’s agenda into chaos, and nor does the organ possess the specialized tools or knowledge needed to address the issue.  It should therefore refrain from including climate change in peacekeeping mandates, so as not to take away from their ability to successfully deliver on their core tasks, he said.

 

For information media. Not an official record.