A world in a state of climate emergency is an endangered world [fr]
CLIMATE AND SECURITY
STATEMENT BY MR. NICOLAS DE RIVIERE
PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF FRANCE TO THE UNITED NATIONS
AT THE SECURITY COUNCIL
== Translation from French ==
New York, 24 July 2020
First, I would like to command Germany for considering the links between climate change and security as one of the main priorities of its mandate in the Council.
I would also like to command Mr Jenca for his briefing, and those of the speakers who followed it.
At a time when the response to the global health crisis of COVID-19 is mobilizing all the attention, it is important not to forget the threats to international security linked to environmental risks, and, in particular, to climate change and the destruction of natural biotopes, and to strengthen our collective action on this matter.
As, indeed, a world in a state of climate emergency, like ours, is an endangered world exposed to increased security risks and new threats.
It is to anticipate, prevent and limit these effects that the international community must act.
In this context, I would like to share with you three convictions:
The first one is that the repercussions on international security of climate change and the collapse of biodiversity must imperatively become a key element of the conflict prevention agenda.
The second one is that a rigorous and regular analysis of these risks is necessary and of international public interest; the United Nations must play a central role in this regard.
The third conviction is that this risk analysis must be accompanied by preventive measures that would be implemented by national governments, regional organizations, development partners and United Nations agencies.
Based on these convictions, France wishes to work with all member states on several proposals that we have already shared, including these two main ones:
The first proposal aims to adopt a collective tool which would analyze and give early warning of the impacts of climate change on international peace and security. Some data and analytic tools exist. But they are dispersed, between States and even within the United Nations between its various agencies, in think-tanks. It is about bringing them together in a unique document and giving them a real echo. What is missing is a whistleblower, as the IPCC does for climate change. In that regard, France wants the Secretary-General to play this role by presenting every two years to the General Assembly and to the Security Council a report that takes stock of the risks to peace and security posed by the impacts of climate change, in all regions of the world, and at different time horizons.
This is the only way to put in place truly adequate responses to the threats now happening in the Sahel, parts of Asia or island states.
It is also the only way to anticipate the threats of tomorrow and to help the most vulnerable countries cope with the pressures they will face in the decades to come.
The second proposal concerns the role of the United Nations in developing recommendations for concrete actions.
Faced with these security risks, we must indeed mobilize a wide range of tools and strengthen the capacities of the secretariat, in terms of climate expertise and coordination. In some cases, such as after an extreme weather event, emergency humanitarian measures will be required, to save lives, ensure security, but also provide the means for reconstruction. In other cases, it will be necessary to help communities adapt to the inevitable rise in water levels and soil degradation. Sometimes, it will be necessary to anticipate by providing small producers with insurance mechanisms that will allow them to restart economic activity quickly after a climate disaster rather than having to migrate to other areas.
In this framework, the work of the climate and security mechanism is invaluable, but it must be strengthened, in particular with the appointment of a Special Envoy for climate security.
In any case, the United Nations must play an important role in developing these recommendations, and then in coordinating the efforts that must be implemented as a matter of priority by national governments, regional organizations and international partners.
Faced with these certain risks, we cannot take refuge in denial or disinformation. We can anticipate and respond to these risks and prevent conflicts.
We must act now, this is the role of the United Nations and the Council and it is France’s commitment. Which is why we support the idea of a resolution to the General Assembly aimed at implementing the proposals made today.
I thank you.