Lasting Peace in Africa Unattainable without Ambitious Climate Action at All Levels, Assistant Secretary-General Tells Security Council
While there is no direct link between climate change and conflict, the climate emergency is a danger to peace, especially in Africa whose high degree of vulnerability is exacerbating already existing risks, a senior United Nations official told the Security Council today as the 15-member organ debated whether it is the appropriate forum to address the matter.
Martha Ama Akyaa Pobee, Assistant Secretary-General for Africa, Departments of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs and Peace Operations, said Africa is seeing temperatures changing faster than the global average. From Dakar to Djibouti, desertification and land degradation are driving competition for resources and eroding livelihoods and food security for millions. In the Sahel, meanwhile, extremists are exploiting intensifying conflict over resources for their own ends. “We cannot hope to achieve lasting peace if we do not meet our climate goals,” she continued, urging ambitious climate action and collaboration at all levels.
Tanguy Gahouma, former Chair of the African Group of Negotiators on Climate Change, also briefed the Council, said that climate change is leaving the already vulnerable on the front line of multiple and intersecting crises. Africa could be a powerhouse given its abundant natural resources and young population, he said, calling on the Security Council and the African Union’s Peace and Security Council to strengthen their partnership and focus on early warning, peacekeeping, good governance and protection of human rights.
Patrick Youssef, Regional Director for Africa for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), detailed the work that it is undertaking with communities in Africa for which the convergence of climate risk, environmental degradation and armed conflict is not an abstraction, but a reality. Humanitarians are not peacemakers, however, and they cannot respond alone to many challenges on the path to peace, he said, noting that the Council and the African Union Peace and Security Council can design responses to armed conflict that are climate sensitive.
In the ensuing debate, Council members and representatives of several other Member States expressed their support for building climate resilience in Africa, but diverged on whether climate change merits a higher profile on the organ’s agenda. Several speakers recalled the Council’s failure in December to agree on a draft resolution that would have integrated climate‑related security risk as a central component of United Nations conflict-prevention strategies. (See Press Release SC/14732.)
The Minister for Foreign Affairs of Gabon, Council President for October, speaking in his national capacity, said that while his nation is among the most climate resilient countries in Africa, it is keenly aware of the consequences of its actions on other States. He called on the Council to lift the veil from its eyes and acknowledge the incontrovertible reality that climate change is a factor fuelling political instability and crises in many African nations.
The Minister for Foreign Affairs of Norway was among several delegates who underscored that climate change can drive conflict and pose a serious challenge to peacebuilding and peacekeeping. Climate and security are thus an issue for the Council and must be viewed as an integral part of crisis and conflict prevention and peacebuilding, she said.
The representative of the United States concurred, emphasizing that climate change exacerbates displacement and is a key driver of food insecurity across Africa, which is home to 17 of the world’s 20 most climate-vulnerable countries. “Climate change is a global challenge that requires urgent action, and it requires urgent action by this Council,” she said.
Kenya’s representative said that the Council must adopt a resolution that leads to pragmatic actions that can impact the day-to-day security of conflict-stricken communities. “The link between extreme-weather events, the majority caused by climate change, and major conflicts within the purview of the Council is undeniable,” he said.
Brazil’s representative, however, argued that climate change is neither a direct cause of armed conflict, nor does it directly threaten peace and security. The Council is not the adequate forum to address climate change, as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is the primary international framework for addressing the issue, he argued.
The Russian Federation’s representative said that including new themes in the Council’s work would, at best, result in the dispersal of resources and, at worst, become another tool to put pressure to bear on host States. To counter security threats, focus must be on sustained socioeconomic development, infrastructure, social services, and early warning and response mechanisms, he said.
Some delegates, acknowledging the opposing views within the Council, called for practical steps to be taken.
The representative of the United Arab Emirates urged a sharp increase in climate finance for fragile countries in Africa, through additional commitments by climate finance providers, and for more systematic and standardized reporting on climate security risks, providing the Council recommendations on how to react on such threats.
Ghana’s representative said that the Council must embrace climate action when it is relevant or useful to do so; to encourage strengthening of the capacity of regional and national actors to enhance early warning systems; and to enhance its collaboration with United Nations entities in the peacebuilding sector when addressing climate-related security threats.
Among non-members of the Council who took the floor, Germany’s representative, speaking on behalf of the Group of Friends on Climate and Security, underscored the growing list of countries facing instability and insecurity due to climate change. When climate change threatens peace, those States in Africa and elsewhere which are particularly affected deserve the Council’s full support, he said.
Egypt’s representative, whose country will host the twenty-seventh Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in November, said that there is a dire need for a holistic approach. Among other things, he said that conflict-sensitive adaptation efforts should include multidisciplinary projects to build resilience against the impacts of climate change and related security threats.
Also speaking today were the representatives of France, Mexico, India, Albania, Ireland, United Kingdom, China, Italy, Morocco, Namibia, Niger, Ukraine, Poland, Colombia and South Africa.
The meeting began at 10:03 a.m. and ended at 1:13 p.m.
MARTHA AMA AKYAA POBEE, Assistant Secretary-General for Africa, Departments of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs and Peace Operations, said that although there is no direct link between climate change and conflict, climate change exacerbates existing risks and creates new ones. Africa, the continent with the lowest total greenhouse gas emissions, is seeing temperatures rising faster than the global average. It lies at the front lines of the unfolding crisis, she emphasized. From Dakar to Djibouti, desertification and land degradation are driving competition for resources and eroding livelihoods and food security for millions. In the Greater Horn of Africa, a devastating drought is forcing families to move far from their homes. In the Sahel, conflict over resources is intensifying. Extremists are exploiting these for their own ends, she noted.
“To support the African content in addressing the impact of climate change on peace and security, we need to act on multiple fronts. We can no longer afford to do business as usual,” she said. Ambitious climate action and accelerated implementation of the Paris Agreement are needed, she said, voicing hope that the twenty-seventh Conference of Parties on the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change will see meaningful commitments from the largest emitters. “We cannot hope to achieve lasting peace if we do not meet our climate goals,” she added. Underscoring additional priorities for action, she said there is need to increase capacity for risk analysis and to integrate a climate lens into conflict prevention peacemaking and peacebuilding efforts. With the help of innovation partners, the United Nations is tapping into new tools to better understand climate projections and trends to reinforce its analytical and early warning capacity. In that connection, the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel is expanding its capacity to advise partners on conflict-sensitive climate mitigation and adaptation strategies. The Peacebuilding Fund is increasingly adopting a climate lens, having invested over $85 million in more than 40 climate-sensitive projects since 2017.
Also needed are multidimensional partnerships that connect the work of the United Nations, regional organizations, Member States, international financial institutions, civil society, the private sector and international and local researchers, she said. Within its own system, the United Nations has established the Climate Security Mechanism, a joint initiative between the Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, the Department of Peace Operations, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), to address climate, peace and security risks more systematically. She called on Member States to work together in new and unprecedented ways, with the guidance of affected countries and Africa’s leadership. “Our response does not match the magnitude of the challenge we are facing. Let us move faster,” she said, urging more partnerships and collaboration at all levels.
TANGUY GAHOUMA, Former Chair of the African Group of Negotiators on Climate Change, said that the speed at which climate change is accelerating represents a challenge and a threat for the 54 countries in Africa. Moreover, Africa is the continent most plagued by instability and war, he said, citing a 2021 study by the Institute of Security Studies which observed that 80 per cent of the countries where peacekeeping forces are deployed — such as Mali, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Somalia — are most sensitive to climate change. Further, by 2050, climate change will amplify by 10 to 20 per cent the number of people suffering from hunger, he said, adding that climate change and related disasters expose the vulnerability of an entire system and threatens lives and livelihoods, especially in conflict zones. “It is leaving the already vulnerable on the front line of multiple and intersecting crises,” he said.
Nonetheless, Africa could be a powerhouse, with its abundant natural resources and young population, eager to lift themselves out of poverty into the middle class, he continued. Hopeful initiatives such as the African Continental Free Trade Area could lead to the continent’s gradual integration into globalization. He called for a strengthened partnership between the Security Council and the African Union Peace and Security Council to tackle the climate, peace and security nexus through a focus on early warning, peacekeeping, good governance and protection of human rights. Noting that climate change impacts face no borders, he called for an integrated response that prioritizes adaptation and climate finance. He recommended the development of a climate risk assessment study, integrated integrate post-conflict reconstruction with a security risk dimension, fostering coordinated responses to cross-border threats and developing African priorities pertaining to climate finance and adaptation ahead of the twenty-seventh Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
PATRICK YOUSSEF, Regional Director for Africa, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), said that today, the ICRC works closely with communities in Africa for whom the convergence of climate risk, environmental degradation and armed conflict is not an abstraction, but a reality. However, those who are best equipped to provide climate finance and who can support climate adaptation are largely absent due to security risks. Detailing the ICRC’s work on the continent, he said that in several countries in the Sahel, it helps farmers and herders cope with increasingly variable rainfall and periods of water scarcity. In Burkina Faso, Central African Republic and Sudan, it provides solar-powered water pumps and high-yielding drought-resistant seeds, and trains women’s groups in year-round greenhouse agricultural production. In Mali, the ICRC focuses not just on structures, but also on information so that reliable climate and weather data reaches those who need it, namely the 80 per cent of the population that depends on rain-fed farming and grazing. In Niger, where conflict is forcing both host and displaced communities together in areas with scarce resources, the ICRC is designing an irrigation, agroforestry and agropastoralism program aimed at strengthening livelihoods and reversing environmental degradation, he said.
While front-line humanitarian action is a vital stabilizing factor in fragmented environments, humanitarians are not peacemakers and cannot respond alone to many challenges on the path to achieving sustainable peace, he said. The Security Council and the African Union’s Peace and Security Council are international bodies which can design responses to armed conflict that are climate sensitive. To address growing climate risks in conflict settings, context-specific responses must consider people’s individual needs and characteristics. The international community must share knowledge and align experiences, he said, adding that the Council can do its part with more regular and systematic discussions, including with regional and subregional organizations. Humanitarian organizations can help other actors bring a conflict-sensitive lens to their work and address some of the risks which limit their actions. Moreover, greater respect for international humanitarian law can limit environmental degradation, thus reducing the harm and the risks that conflict-affected communities can endure, including the effects of climate change, he said.
Without decisive support from the international community, what is happening now in many places in Africa will only get worse and existing vulnerabilities will multiply, he continued. “Building resilient communities alongside efforts to protect those communities from violence is critical,” he said, calling for increased resources to adaptation efforts, especially for countries experiencing armed conflict.
MICHAEL MOUSSA ADAMO, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Gabon, Council President for October, quoted a statement from 2009 by the Africa Progress Panel chaired by the late Kofi Annan, noting that due to climate change impacts, 23 African States will face a high risk of violent when climate change exacerbates traditional security threats, while a further 14 African countries face a high risk of political instability. He went on to observe that since then, the international community has lost 13 years through insufficient action to reduce carbon emissions, despite ever more stark alerts from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Due to the impact of unchecked climate change, as many as 22 million people are today threatened with starvation in the Horn of Africa, while the expansion of the jihadist movement in West Africa can be attributed to desertification which has resulted in increasingly stressed Pehl or Fulani nomadic herders struggling to find places for their cattle to graze.
Speaking in London in 2012, Ali Bongo Ondimba, President of Gabon, observed that future wars will be fought not over oil and diamonds, but over water, food, and land, the Minister continued. While Gabon is among the most climate resilient countries in Africa, it is keenly aware of the consequences of its actions on other States. In a catastrophically warmer world, there will be hundreds of millions of climate refugees and the entire African continent will be destabilized, he said, calling for stepped up action on climate change action. The Council must lift the veil from its eyes and acknowledge the incontrovertible reality that climate change is a factor fuelling political instability and crises in many countries in Africa. “We cannot wait to act,” he said, calling for the implementation of adaptation policies and greater cooperation between stakeholders to curb the adverse effects of climate change on security and peace in Africa.
ANNIKEN HUITFELDT (Norway) said that there is strong evidence that climate change can drive conflict and pose a serious challenge to peacebuilding and peacekeeping. That clearly makes climate and security an issue for the Security Council, she added. “This should not be controversial,” she stressed, noting that Norway, together with other Council members, has consistently worked to ensure that climate risks and their impact on peace and security are reflected in Council resolutions and statements. Climate and security must be viewed as an integral part of crisis and conflict prevention and peacebuilding, she said, suggesting several key focus areas, including the need to build climate resilient communities, infrastructure and livelihoods to prevent tensions and avert a return to conflict. As this will require a steep increase in financing, Norway will double its climate finance and at least triple its support to climate adaptation by 2026, she said. Also needed is meaningful participation by those who are most affected, building on local knowledge and expertise, and ensuring local ownership. “We must connect solutions to climate and security challenges with other agendas that African countries prioritize,” she said, highlighting Norway’s work with national institutions in Niger to help farmers adapt to climate change. As well, new approaches to mediation and peacebuilding must be explored, she said, calling on the Council to “expand our narrative from talking about ‘climate and security’ to talking about ‘climate, peace and security’”.
LINDA THOMAS-GREENFIELD (United States) said the scientific reality is that Africa is home to 17 of the world’s 20 most climate-vulnerable countries. Climate change threatens the lives and livelihoods of millions of Africans, exacerbates displacement and is a key driver of food insecurity across the continent. Some Member States engage in behaviour that not only exacerbates the climate crisis, but makes it more difficult to adapt, she said, pointing to the plundering of fish stocks, illegal mining and deforestation in rain forests, and the poaching of endangered species to be sold as luxury goods. Funds from those illicit practices fuel terrorist groups, causing even more instability and harm. “Climate and security are connected and must be at the top of this Council’s agenda,” she emphasized. Noting that some Council members argue that the organ is not the place to address climate-induced security threats, and that they worked to defeat an effort in that regard by Niger in 2021, she said: “Climate change is a global challenge that requires urgent action and it requires urgent action by this Council.” The United States is implementing a bold climate action agenda, she said, detailing its efforts to transition to a clean economy and financial support to other countries to address the impacts of climate change.
LANA ZAKI NUSSEIBEH (United Arab Emirates) said the Council has discussed the nexus between climate and security since 2007, but it has also failed to address it, as the list of countries and regions destabilized by drought, heatwaves, floods and other extreme weather events grows exponentially. Noting that climate finance flows to African countries account for only 4 per cent of the global total she said that many African countries, notably the most fragile, receive less than $2 per capita of climate finance. Although there is no agreement within the Council on a framework to address the links between climate change and security, she called for an acknowledgment of the urgency and wisdom of lifting investment to prevent climate impacts from escalating into security situations. In this regard, she called for practical steps to be taken, including a sharp increase in climate finance for fragile countries in Africa, through additional commitments by climate finance providers; for anticipatory action to be prioritized, including by the Council, which can help shift the institutional mindset from reaction to prevention; and for more systematic and standardized reporting on climate security risks, providing the Council recommendations on how to react on such threats, she said.
RONALDO COSTA FILHO (Brazil) said that the Security Council is not the adequate forum to address climate change. The Council’s primary responsibilities, mandates and tools must be preserved, and duplication of work avoided. Climate change is neither a direct cause of armed conflicts, nor does it constitute a direct threat to peace and security in the sense underscored in the United Nations Charter, he said. While the Council may be effective on the ground by contributing to host countries’ efforts to increase local resilience and build capacities, this does not imply that the Council has or should have a mandate to thematically address climate change. Emphasizing that the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is the primary international framework for climate change, he said that proper forums, tools and mechanisms for mobilizing and providing climate action resources already exist within the Convention and the wider United Nations system and that none of them require the Council’s direct involvement. He warned against backtracking in the transition towards low emission energy systems, voicing concern about some developed countries’ recent moves that seem to signal a turn to dirty energy sources.
HAROLD ADLAI AGYEMAN (Ghana) cited several instances of climate change and security crises interacting on the African continent, including in the Lake Chad region where the lake’s contraction is a threat multiplier, amplifying food and water insecurity, loss of livelihoods, climate induced displacements and exacerbating vulnerabilities, tensions and conflict. “While there may not be a harmonized view over the degree to which climate change leads to insecurity, we cannot continue to disagree about the notion that in seeking to resolve conflicts, climate risks, where relevant, have to be tackled as part of peace efforts,” he said. He called on the Council to embrace climate action when it is relevant or useful to do so; to encourage strengthening of the capacity of regional and national actors to enhance early warning systems and data analysis critical for regional preventive action; and for the Council to enhance its collaborative arrangements with relevant United Nations entities in the peacebuilding sector when addressing climate-related security threats.
NICOLAS DE RIVIÈRE (France) said that the fight against climate is also a fight for international peace and security. The international community must build a virtuous circle between social and inclusive economic development and climate and biodiversity conservation actions, he said, pointing to the Great Green Wall project in the Sahel, to which France has contributed to mobilizing €16 billion. “The Council is playing its full role when it considers the threats linked to climate change,” he said, underscoring the need to better assess, anticipate and prevent the impact of climate change on international peace and security. He proposed that the Secretary-General prepare a biannual report to the Council on the consequences of climate change on international peace and security that would include recommendations for action. The appointment of a special envoy for climate security could meanwhile bring together the action of the international community. He called for a strengthened United Nations climate security mechanism in order to include climate change impacts when dealing with peace and security issues. “Our society pays an ever-higher price for inaction,” he said, calling on every State to make ambitious, firm and lasting commitments that respond to challenges and protect the most vulnerable.
ALICIA GUADALUPE BUENROSTRO MASSIEU (Mexico) said the Council must systematically consider how the effects of climate change undermine its attempts to respond to threats to global peace and security. She drew attention to reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change on how climate change amplifies food insecurity and displacement, heightens tensions and impedes efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. In the Sahel, intercommunal conflict has intensified due to increasingly scarce access to natural resources, while in Somalia, the worst drought in four decades has extended the influence of extremist groups. Noting that most African States are paying an exorbitant price for the climate crisis, she called for stepped-up financing for adaptation and mitigation measures to prevent the impacts of climate change from exacerbating conflict. Developed countries must meet their commitments in this regard, in line with the commitments agreed at the twenty-sixth Conference of the Parties in Glasgow. Further, the Council can take into account data from the United Nations Climate Security Mechanism to undertake preventive action to prevent or mitigate humanitarian disasters. Noting that a draft resolution on the link between climate change and security was vetoed at the Council last year, she called on Council members to listen to African voices as they sound the alarm over the adverse effects of climate change on peace and security.
MARTIN KIMANI (Kenya), recalling a proposed resolution on climate and security in December that was vetoed by a Permanent Member despite Member States’ strong support, said: “This sad litany of short-sighted manoeuvring, resistance to responsibility, and double standards is where we find ourselves today. Detailing various recommendations, he called for overdue charter-level reforms of the United Nations, Bretton Woods institutions and the Group of 20 (G20). The Council’s permanent membership must be balanced and include States that can best represent the voice of the most climate-change affected countries. The Resilience and Sustainability Trust administered by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) must act promptly to equitably reallocate $650 billion in special drawing rights for global public policy and climate adaptation. As well, the African Union must have a permanent seat in the G20. He went on to call for the removal of barriers to a high-energy future for all countries, particularly those in Africa. “The link between extreme-weather events, the majority caused by climate change, and major conflicts within the purview of the Council is undeniable,” he said, calling for investments into the Sahel and the Horn of Africa. The Council “cannot remain on the sidelines,” he said, urging the Council to deliver a resolution that leads to pragmatic actions that impact the day-to-day security of communities in conflict-areas within its purview.
RUCHIRA KAMBOJ (India) said that her country partners with African States in their pursuit of socioeconomic development, guided by their own priorities, including through the extension of concessional loans of $12.3 billion to various projects since 2015. Furthermore, in recent years, clean and green energy have increasingly driven India’s development programmes in Africa and beyond. Linking climate change to security would only intensify the historical injustice towards developing countries, who are already on the receiving end of the environmental crisis, she said, adding that there is no common, widely accepted methodology for assessing the links between climate change, conflict and fragility, as they are highly context specific. The oversimplification of the causes of conflict in certain parts of Africa will not help in resolving them, she said, adding that they can potentially be misleading. She underscored the need to address climate issues within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and not in the Security Council. “In fact, we view this as an attempt by developed countries to evade responsibility under UNFCCC [United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change] and divert the world's attention from an unwillingness to deliver where it counts,” she said.
ARIAN SPASSE (Albania) said the definition of security must include the threat posed by climate change so that the Council can devise appropriate security policies. A global integrated response must include the realization of pledges to keep global warming under the 1.5°C limit, measures to build resilience and foster adaptation, financial assistance to the most affected populations and investments in key country-led adaptation programs. He highlighted the need for all to have access to early warning systems, noting that only 40 per cent of the African population have such access. The devastating consequences of climate change on women and children must be taken into account, he added, pointing out that climate change intensifies the risk of gender-based violence, sexual exploitation and abuse in internally displaced persons camps and hampers children’s access to education. Mitigating climate change must focus on protecting the most vulnerable people and communities by promoting inclusive governance and encouraging full and meaningful participation of all communities, women, youth, and civil society.
FERGAL TOMAS MYTHEN (Ireland) said that, at the upcoming twenty-seventh Conference of the Parties in Egypt, Member States must increase their ambitions to urgently deliver on the Paris Agreement. They must also make progress on commitments made at the twenty-sixth Conference of the Parties on climate finance and on loss and damage, including through helping those the least prepared to face climate change effects. Across the African continent, the impacts of climate change have increased competition over scarce resources, he noted, adding that climate change is an exacerbating factor in armed conflict and recognized as the most consequential threat multiplier for women and girls. The African Union and the European Union have recognized the link between climate change and instability, and despite the Council’s failure to adopt a much-needed resolution on this issue in 2021, it has increasingly incorporated climate-related security risks into its peacekeeping mandates. He outlined initiatives that Ireland has undertaken, including through the Council’s Informal Expert Group on Climate and Security, which it co-chaired with Niger in 2021, and co-hosting a regional conference on climate change, peace and security in West Africa and the Sahel in Dakar in April.
JAMES KARIUKI (United Kingdom), highlighting the undeniable link between climate, nature, peace and security in Africa and the world, said his country was the first to bring climate security to the Council in 2007 and hosted the first leader-level debate on the topic in 2019. Voicing regret about the veto that blocked Niger’s climate security resolution in December, he said that the Council can help ensure the United Nations system has the mandates and capacities to integrate climate into its analysis and response to the drivers of conflict and fragility. It is critical to accelerate climate action, deliver the Glasgow Climate Pact agreed last year and meet financing commitments to build resilience. In that regard, the United Kingdom has announced $23 million to support 1 million people in drought and flood-affected areas in Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya and South Sudan. Under the African Union Green Recovery Action Plan, it has funded experts in the African Union Commission and enhanced capacity to implement climate action plans across the continent, he added. Moreover, his country has committed £100 million to the Taskforce on Access to Climate Finance, part of which established a new Climate Finance Unit in Uganda’s Ministry of Finance. It has also committed to doubling its international climate finance to at least £11.6 billion up to 2026, balanced between mitigation and adaptation. The United Kingdom is taking responsibility for its impact on climate change, he added, noting that it was the first major economy to commit to reducing all greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050.
DMITRY S. CHUMAKOV (Russian Federation), citing the report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change titled "Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability,” said that compared to other socioeconomic factors, the influence of climate on conflicts is deemed to be relatively weak. What is needed to successfully counter threats are sustained socioeconomic development rooted in national priorities and local specificities, infrastructure, functional social services, and early warning and response mechanisms. Noting Africa's 2063 Agenda for Development and the Silencing the Guns initiative, he said that the latter underscores the need to combat drought, desertification, deforestation and climate change in the context of sustainable development. “This is the missing link in attempting to forge the chain from climate to security and is the most important area for action to be taken,” he said. Turning to the Council, he said the inclusion of new generic themes at best results in the dispersal of resources and at worst morphs into another tool for the exertion of pressure on host States. In the so-called securitization of conflict, he said, the main proponents are developed countries which achieved their economic prosperity at the expense of the use of natural resources, including fossil fuels. Much of that wealth came and still comes from Africa, he added, highlighting that developed countries had started at deliberately advantageous positions and now continue to evade compliance with their own climate obligations.
DAI BING (China) said that while climate change may increase resource scarcity and tension, it does not necessarily lead to armed conflict. He pointed out that while Europe and Africa both experienced spells of intense heat over the past summer, the aftermath was different in both regions. The ability to withstand shock is crucial, he said, calling for targeted efforts to strengthen climate resilience and capacity building in Africa in order to improve its ability to respond to climate change impacts. These include increased investment for response capacity and disaster preparedness, including early warning systems, and stepped-up coordination between relevant United Nations and African Union bodies. For their part, developed countries must honour their climate financing commitments to Africa, not by chanting slogans but by meeting African needs. He emphasized the need for greater equity and justice, including by not obliging Africa to assume the same responsibilities in reducing emissions as developed countries, as the continent should be allowed development space.
FRANK JARASCH (Germany), speaking on behalf of the Group of Friends on Climate and Security, said that that group of more than 60 members from all regions of the world is united by a common concern, namely the increasing threat of climate change on livelihoods, food security, stability, sustainable development and prosperity, the effective enjoyment of human rights and, in turn, peace and security. The international community must intensify its efforts to address the climate crisis while immediately enhancing support for those most affected, such as African States. It must find ways to integrate conflict sensitivity into mitigation and adaptation efforts and ensure that climate policies and climate financing take conflict and fragility into account. Building climate-resilient systems that support peace and stability urgently requires a more concerted international effort and strong partnerships, he said, adding that the entire United Nations system must address this challenge, in all relevant forums and within all relevant mandates. He called for the strengthening of the climate security mechanism, saying that which enhances the capacity of the United Nations system to integrate the analysis and addressing of the adverse impacts of climate change on peace and security matters through effective interagency cooperation.
He welcomed the Council’s recognition of the effects of climate change when considering a growing number of mandates for peacekeeping and special political missions, noting that the Informal Expert Group of Members of the Security Council has proven crucial in informing the Council’s work in that regard. However, more needs to be done to ensure a truly systematic approach and to create the necessary tools for the United Nations system to do its part in preventing and resolving conflicts driven or aggravated by the effects of climate change. He urged all Council members to listen to the increasing number of countries who are experiencing instability and insecurity due to climate change and to support their request for Council action instead of blocking it. Such action includes creating and implementing frameworks that will enhance the Organization’s risk assessments and strategies which take into consideration the effects of climate change, capacity-building and operational response. When climate change threatens peace, African States and others particularly affected by the dramatic effect of climate change deserve the Council’s full support, he said.
OSAMA MAHMOUD ABDELKHALEK MAHMOUD (Egypt), noting its presidency of the upcoming twenty-seventh Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, said his country is committed to strengthening joint efforts to address the existential threat of climate change. Noting the dire need for a holistic approach, he called for collective action to deliver on the $100 billion for climate finance. Moreover, concessional financing must be an integral part of the financial instruments provided to developing countries. He voiced support for the Secretary-General's call to allocate 50 per cent of climate finance to adaptation and resilience, stating that estimates by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) indicate that annual climate adaptation costs in developing countries could reach $300 billion in 2030. He went on to say that conflict-sensitive adaptation should include multidisciplinary projects to build resilience against the impacts of climate change and related security threats.
MAURIZIO MASSARI (Italy), associating himself with the Group of Friends on Climate and Security, said the adverse effects of climate change, coupled with extreme poverty, food insecurity, institutional fragility and terrorism, pose a serious threat to international peace and security, while social tensions and conflicts can further reduce resilience to climate change. African States and their most vulnerable populations, including women and children, are often among those most impacted by the disruptions caused by climate change, which acts as a threat multiplier for violence and instability. Ongoing severe droughts and heatwaves in the Horn of Africa and the Sahel which are displacing millions and fuelling conflict represent not only an African problem, but also an alarm bell for everyone, requiring collective solutions to be found hand in hand with our African partners. He welcomed efforts by the continent’s Member States to draw the Council’s attention to the links between climate change and security in Africa and encouraged all Member States to back a strengthened partnership between the United Nations system and the African Union to tackle together the risks to peace and stability posed by the climate crises. Further, climate finance is critical and mitigation and adaptation should be further integrated in the formulation of mandates for United Nations peacekeeping missions, he said.
OMAR HILALE (Morocco) said his country has an ambitious policy to fight climate change and develop renewable energy sources. As a low emitter of greenhouse gases, representing less than 4 per cent of global emissions, Africa is unfairly suffering the drastic effects of climate change. Detailing Morocco’s efforts to combat climate change, he said it is providing financial and technical support for South-South cooperation to launch the Climate Commission of the Lower Sine Congo, the Climate Commission of the Sahel region and the Climate Commission of Island States. His country remains committed to South-South cooperation in agriculture, especially in Africa, which has over half of the world's unused arable land. Africa’s young population and huge continental market of more than 1 billion people must be energized to ensure food security in Africa, he added. To keep their promise to developing countries, Member States must contribute to addressing the imbalances created by climate change, he said.
NEVILLE MELVIN GERTZE (Namibia) said that while a direct link between climate change and conflict is not one that can be draw naturally and logically, it is possible to recognize how climate change interacts with other variables such as social, political and economic marginalization, water scarcity, food security and resource competition. He urged the Council members to support Africa’s efforts to counter the impacts of climate change through investments in climate information services and disaster risk reduction as well as by helping to create frameworks to enhance risk capacity response. He further called on the international community to fulfil its commitment of $100 billion towards fighting climate change.
SAMADOU OUSMAN (Niger) said that although Africa has contributed little to climate change, it suffers disproportionately from its harmful effects, undermining the stability of some States. The climate security-development nexus is incontrovertible, he stressed, calling for effective tailor-made solutions to reflect new challenges. Climate action requires a more comprehensive global approach that includes land protection and recovery and the rational use and management of natural resources. Poverty and insecurity create fertile breeding grounds for violent extremism and terrorism, he continued. As such, it is essential to build the Council’s capacity to grasp the impacts of climate change through regular reporting by the Secretary-General that features in-depth analysis of current and future risks and action-oriented recommendations. That would enable the Council to deliver on its peacekeeping and conflict prevention mandates, he said.
KHRYSTYNA HAYOVYSHYN (Ukraine) said that the Russian Federation’s aggression against her country, a key global supplier of sunflower oil, corn and wheat, has led to global food shortages that affect 400 million people worldwide, many of whom live in Africa. The aggression has broken supply chains and aggravated threats already faced by African countries due to climate change, she said. Ukraine is committed to climate change action, she continued, stating that it was among the first countries in Europe to ratify the Paris Agreement and that it has pledged to reach climate neutrality by 2060. However, it is not possible to focus on these ambitions so long as the war of aggression distracts Ukraine and consumes its resources, she said. Nonetheless, Ukraine wishes to strengthen its engagement and dialogue with African countries, including on climate policy, she said, noting that it recently sent 50,000 tons of wheat to Ethiopia and Somalia as humanitarian assistance.
KRZYSZTOF MARIA SZCZERSKI (Poland), associating himself with the Group of Friends on Climate and Security, said the international community should be worried about Africa’s deteriorating food security, as food insecurity is a key driver of conflict and instability. “The Russian war against Ukraine has made an already critical food situation in Africa even worse,” he said, adding that the conflict has contributed to sharply higher food, fuel and fertilizer prices as well as supply chain disruptions. Enhancing climate resilience in Africa is an urgent and persistent need, he said, calling for regional infrastructure investments as a main tool for building resilience that can help to respond to climate change and other crises. While welcoming the Council’s inclusion of climate change language in resolutions concerning peace operations, including in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali, South Sudan, and Somalia, he called for strengthened risk analysis and operational response to climate shocks.
LEONOR ZALABATA TORRES (Colombia), underscoring her country's commitment to protecting rural families, indigenous communities and Afro-descendant populations, said that the climate crisis is causing more natural disasters, thus leading to increased internal population displacement as well as exacerbating inequalities and compromising food security. Higher food and energy costs are adding to the climate crisis and jeopardizing food security in Africa and other parts of the world. Worldwide, 345 million people are facing acute famine, many of them in vast regions of Africa, she said, adding that a lack of access to resources has serious implications for peace and security. Many regions of Africa are today on the front lines of this war against the planet, she said, urging the international community to act in solidarity and recognize the particular vulnerabilities that each region faces.
XOLISA MFUNDISO MABHONGO (South Africa) said that while extreme weather events, drought, water scarcity, food insecurity and desertification can increase the risk of violent conflict within sovereign States and across State boundaries, South Africa does not support expanding the Security Council’s scope to include a greater focus on climate change. Doing so detracts from the primacy of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which is a fit-for-purpose United Nations entity that was specifically created to tackle climate change. Ahead of the twenty-seventh Conference of the Parties, which will soon take place on African soil, the focus should be on developed countries honouring their long-outstanding commitments to developing countries, he stressed, pointing out that the $100 billion per year which developed countries promised to make available to developing countries from 2020 has yet to materialize.
Mr. CHUMAKOV (Russian Federation), taking the floor a second time, said he would not respond to accusations made by some States that distort the reality that is unfolding today. Instead, he said that he merely wished to point out that while several States are exploiting Africa, the Russian Federation has been listening to Africa and stands ready to work with its agenda.