Remarks by Ambassador Heusgen during the Security Council VTC Arria Meeting on Climate and Security, April 22, 2020

22.04.2020 - Speech

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I would like to start where Rosemary DiCarlo ended. She said, “Climate-related security risks are part of reality for millions of people. There is need for collective action.” I think that says it all. When we talk about collective action and security risks, of course, it is the whole U.N. family that is called to action. 

But at the same time, the Security Council is charged with the preservation of peace and security and needs to act. It cannot be that the Security Council willingly ignores one of the main drivers of conflict. Therefore, it is important that the Security Council gets the appropriate information. I echo what Ben Smith just said: it is very important to have a good analysis. This analysis has to reach the Security Council, which needs to get reliable and specific information about peace and security implications of the effects of climate change.

2011 was the last time Germany that was in the Security Council. A presidential statement was adopted then that actually asked the Secretary-General to report contextual information on possible security implications of climate change to the council. There was an institute that looked at all the reporting over a five year period. Of 446 reports, only 25 mentioned climate. This is not enough. There is more to be done. I support what my French colleague just said. There has to be more systematic reporting, which also caters to conflict prevention in an anticipatory way. As Bob Malley said, we have to shorten the timelines. We have to be closer to real time.

The Security Council has to receive the reports, and they have to be systematic. I agree with Bob Malley, in that we have to then go case by case. We have to see how resilient individual countries are. Dan Smith mentioned that already today, 8 of the 10 largest peacekeeping missions operate in situations that are highly vulnerable to climate change, from Somalia to DRC, South Sudan, Afghanistan, Mali, et cetera. The peacekeeping operations have to account for the security risk of climate change in their work in order to get a more comprehensive view. 

Let me end by congratulating the speakers again. The Secretariat has to report more systematically. The idea of a Special Representative was launched. The climate and security mechanism, which already works very well, has to be strengthened. In the Security Council, we have to deal with this on it on a regular Basis.

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