Climate change is a source of social, economic and political destabilization [fr]
SEVENTY-FIFTH UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY
HIGH LEVEL SIDE EVENT ON THE HUMANITARIAN IMPACT OF COMBINED CONFLICT, CLIMATE AND ENVIRONMENTAL RISKS
STATEMENT BY MR JEAN-BAPTISTE LEMOYNE,
MINISTER OF STATE FOR TOURISM, FRENCH NATIONALS ABROAD AND FRANCOPHONIE
New York, 25 September 2020
Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends,
Climate change is a source of social, economic and political destabilization. The increasing scarcity of natural resources and rise of unusual and extreme climatic phenomena provoke serious tensions that can escalate into conflicts. They undermine the most vulnerable communities and societies, the limited means of subsistence of which depend directly on the stability and foreseeability of their natural environment. These phenomena are already causing internal displacements, cross-border migratory movements and increasing humanitarian, food and nutritional needs. The international community therefore needs to create science-based instruments to analyze, consult and cooperate and respond to the risks caused by climate change.
In this spirit, France and its European partners have asked the UN Secretary-General to produce a report every two years on the security consequences of climate change. France also proposes the inclusion of recommendations for tangible actions in the Secretary-General’s biannual report, and is working to ensure that UN resolutions, including those of the Security Council, highlights the importance of fighting climate change.
The UN will have to foster the adaptation of communities, and resilience to climate change. As such, the activities of the Climate and Security Mechanism need to be stepped up, in particular with the appointment of a Special Envoy for climate security. Humanitarian actors too must adopt climate change adaptation and climate risk prevention strategies.
The "Climate Risks and Early Warning Systems (CREWS)" initiative, launched by France at COP21, addresses this aim. CREWS seeks to improve prevention and information about the risks of hydro-meteorological and climatic events, and thus protect the lives, livelihoods and property of vulnerable populations. More generally, France is very engaged in dialogue with its humanitarian partners, including UN agencies and NGOs, concerning both the consequences of climate change for humanitarian situations and the mode of action of humanitarian actors.
The impact and acceleration of climate change mean that the short term of humanitarian emergencies can no longer be considered separately from the long term of climate issues. The terms of humanitarian assistance and of environmental protection have to be considered together. During its next National Humanitarian Conference scheduled for December, France will invite humanitarian actors to debate this subject.
In this global context, where climate change and conflicts are a vicious cycle and undermine security, the development of global environmental responsibility is increasingly necessary and will benefit all.