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More Than 70 Countries Tell UN Security Council to Prioritize Climate Security Risks

UN_security_council_2005As part of New Zealand’s July presidency of the UN Security Council, the country hosted a debate around matters of interest to small island developing nations under the heading, “Maintenance of international peace and security: peace and security challenges facing small island developing States.” Not surprisingly, climate risks to these nations were prevalent throughout the discussion. This debate built on an Arria-formula meeting held earlier in the year looking at climate risks to state fragility. The concept note for the debate presented by New Zealand drew attention to the fact that while the nations themselves may be small, they represent a significant number of UN member states. “The United Nations classifies 52 countries and territories as small island developing States, with a combined population of over 50 million people. This includes 37 Member States, one fifth of the total membership.” The document also mentions that the concerns of these nations, including climate change, are significant:

“Small island developing States face a range of peace and security challenges, from traditional armed conflict to transnational crime and piracy, illicit exploitation of natural resources, climate change and climate-related natural disasters and uneven development. Taken together with the broader vulnerabilities faced by many small island developing State communities, these challenges can disproportionately affect national stability, fuel conflict across regions and ultimately have an impact on the maintenance of international peace and security.”

The concept note goes on to reiterate conclusions from a document titled “The Samoa Pathway,” which was adopted at the third International Conference on Small Island Developing States, held in Samoa in 2014. This included a statement that sea level rise and climate impacts “represent the gravest of threats to their [small island developing states] survival and viability.”

The debate included briefings and statements by numerous country representatives, many of whom used the opportunity to bring attention to the security risks associated with climate change. Below is a summary of the statements and briefings related to climate security, copied directly from the summary provided in the UN press release on the debate. The statements below touch on three main themes:

  1. Climate change presents a risk to peace and security
  2. The security implications of climate change for small island nations will reverberate throughout the international security landscape
  3. Responses to these risks requires a significant level of coordinated international action by a range of intergovernmental institutions

Briefings

TUILAEPA SAILELE MALIELEGAOI, Prime Minister of Samoa, Just recently the Polynesian Leaders Group issued a declaration accepting that climate change and its adverse impacts were a threat to their territorial integrity, security and sovereignty.  The region would advocate at every available opportunity the need for the United Nations community to be open-minded and not to reject off-hand the security implications of climate change.  He requested the Council to schedule a day each year dedicated to the consideration of the peace and security challenges facing small island developing States.

PORTIA SIMPSON MILLER, Prime Minister of Jamaica, Robust policies on climate change were vital to the long-term prospects of the countries in the region, which were investing in renewable energy.  A one-size-fits-all approach could not provide solutions to the interconnected challenges posed by peace, development and security.

JEAN-PAUL ADAM, Minister for Finance, Trade and the Blue Economy of Seychelles, said that small island developing States were the “blue guardians” of the planet, but the governance of the world’s oceanic spaces was far removed from the security expectations for terrestrial spaces.  Illegal fishing continued to undermine both national and international regulation.  The threat of climate change reduced the productivity of traditional marine resources and limited growth opportunities.  A weak governance of oceans, which made up 75 per cent of the planet, undermined global security.

Statements

MURRAY MCCULLY, Minister for Foreign Affairs of New Zealand, Security Council President, speaking in his national capacity, Outlining the challenges of the island States, he said that such factors multiply the effects of natural disasters and man-made conflict, with possible regional consequences for security.

DELCY ELOÍNA RODRÍGUEZ GÓMEZ, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Venezuela, Authentic and durable cooperation was needed, and the voices of the islands’ representatives must be heard.

MANUEL AUGUSTO, Secretary of State for External Relations of Angola, A dual-track strategy was needed, with one track providing assistance for climate change and disaster risk reduction and another outlining approaches to sustainable development that best suited their realities.

EDGARDO RIVEROS MARÍN, Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs of Chile, said small islands’ vulnerabilities stemmed from an inability to address emerging challenges, which in turn could jeopardize their stability and both regional and international peace and security.  Chile carried out disaster prevention programmes and support for plant and animal health systems in those countries.  He urged a focus on the impacts of climate change on cultures and “life forms”, as they could create destabilizing situations, such as forced displacement.  Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing also created instability by preventing access to livelihoods, issues that could not be ignored by the Council.

JESÚS GRACIA, Secretary of State for Development of Spain, said the post-2015 agenda had encouraged the international community to acknowledge the interconnectedness between security and sustainable development.  Small island developing States embodied that link and underscored the need to take adaptation needs of vulnerable countries in the climate change discourse.  In that regard, he requested an update to the Secretary-General’s 2009 report on the challenges posed by climate change to international peace.

BANTE MANGARAL (Chad) said that while small island developing States shared many challenges with other countries, they also faced specific vulnerabilities that posed a threat to international peace and security.  Those threats required the international community’s sustained attention in order to facilitate specific solutions.

RAMLAN BIN IBRAHIM (Malaysia) said that the plight faced by small island developing States, particularly the impact of climate change, must be given due attention, including by the Council.  If left unchecked, climate change could be the greatest threat multiplier for global security, as it would undermine small island developing States at the environmental, social and economic levels.  Coastal erosion and rising sea levels threatened territorial integrity, food security, water, energy, health, and, more broadly, efforts to eradicate poverty.  Those factors could potentially risk the stability of those countries.  Peace and security could not exist without development, and development could not be achieved without peace.  Malaysia joined Spain in co-hosting an Arria Formula meeting on a similar topic last month, in which some participants stressed the need for the Council to be more engaged on the security impact of climate change.

Mr. KONONUCHENKO (Russian Federation) said that the Council had already held meetings related to climate change and related issues, and that it was fitting that small island developing States were being discussed ahead of the summit on the post-2015 development agenda.  On climate change, he urged all Member States to provide information on their actions for mitigation as his country had done, as per the outcome of the Lima conference.  International cooperation was essential.  Adaptation funds were also crucial, as were efforts to build resilience to disaster.  He outlined Russian assistance in that area and others.

FRANÇOIS DELATTRE (France), associating himself with the European Union, emphasized the connection between security and development.  Among security necessities for the small island developing States, he underlined the need for urgent work on early climate warning mechanisms that up to now were sorely lacking and described French efforts in that regard in cooperation with the rest of a coalition known as CREWS.  He pledged his country’s commitment for further contributions and appealed for the rest of the international community to participate.

MATTHEW RYCROFT (United Kingdom), applauding the inclusion of the debate on the Council’s agenda, said that small island developing States were often a bellwether for global problems.  Climate change was exacerbating challenges, threatening migrations and increasing piracy and other crime.  Climate change could become one of the greatest threats to peace and security in generations.  Partnership, through regional and international groupings, was essential to face the challenges.  He looked forward, in that context, to a strong Commonwealth stance ahead of the Paris conference on climate change.

DINA KAWAR (Jordan) said the challenges faced by small island developing States posed threats to the peace and security of humanity as a whole.  It was important to protect those States from climate change through a stronger international partnership and greater financial support.  The Council needed to play a leading role in addressing those challenges and finding solutions, where relevant, through dialogue and mediation.  The Paris conference on climate change needed to respond to the special needs of those island States, while the intentional community must focus its attention on the prevalence of organized crime there.

LIU JIEYI (China) said that small island developing States represented a major driving force in realizing global peace, security and development and had become united, strong and active in the maintenance of international stability and development.  However, they faced challenges, which the international community needed to address.  A sound strategy for the development of those island States should be developed based on agreed international frameworks.  Efforts should be made to establish, develop, and deepen partnerships to further open up the participation of those States in the global economy.  South-South cooperation, innovative means of funding, debt reduction and capacity-building would go a long way towards addressing those challenges.  Regional organizations should play a greater role in responding to non-traditional security challenges through coordinated courses of action.  Relevant United Nations organs and agencies should play their part based on their respective mandates.

DAVID PRESSMAN (United States), recounting personal stories of people living in small island developing States, said addressing the impact of climate change was not something that could be left for later.  The science and problems were real and so, too, was the commitment to act.  All countries needed to reduce their emissions and reach a meaningful agreement at the Paris conference in December.  Energy security was another priority for those island States, which needed to be supported by the rest of the world through financial and technical support.  Ensuring the protection and sustainability of oceans was a vital international security issue and was inextricably linked in those States.  Those were everyone’s problems that needed to be tackled with speed and unity.

JOY OGWU (Nigeria) said the specific challenges faced by small island developing States constrained the national development as well as ability of those nations to fulfil their international obligations.  Strengthening regional cooperation mechanisms was pivotal in addressing their common challenges and bridging their gaps.  Those States had recorded significant cooperation across various sectors and raised their international profile.  Member States and all stakeholders must work to implement commitments made at international conferences.  Greater partnership between the Council and those island States was the first step towards addressing challenges to international peace and security, she said, stressing the need for focused and sustained action.

RAIMONDA MURMOKAITĖ (Lithuania) said climate change contributed to human insecurity and potentially to new conflicts.  Land was disappearing from many small islands, with Kiribati forced to buy land in Fiji to grow food and resettle its population.  The consequences of such events would impact regional and international security.  The Council should recognize climate change-induced tensions and their role as a “threat multiplier” to international peace and security and take preventive action.

ANOTE TONG, President of Kiribati, welcomed what she called the growing momentum of acknowledging the magnitude of the security threat of climate change while expressing concern that the issue lacked global leadership and accountability and remained peripheral in the considerations of those with the capacity to address it.  Meanwhile, those with the least capacity were bearing the brunt of a threat that could wipe out entire cultures, as well as life as currently known.  This meeting of the Security Council, for that reason, must be decisive and lead to a set of actions that guaranteed the security of all.  It was a moral obligation to ensure that the future of everyone’s children was safe and secure.  “For their sake we must do the right thing,” she concluded.

TOKE TALAGI, Premier of Niue, said that ambitious, long-term international targets were needed to mitigate climate change, which was severely affecting the entire population of small island developing States.  So far, assistance had come mainly in short-term reaction to disasters, with great delays and much of the funds devoured by consultants “hired to show us how to fill in a form or write a report”.  He posited a “huge abyss between developed and developing countries” in their views of such matters.  The Council, if it wanted to take on a wider role to meet peace and security challenges, should help promote mitigation of climate change and help protect fishing and mineral resources of the oceans.  Those issues must be addressed as a matter of urgency.  “Save this planet our home because it’s the only one we have and it’s worth it,” he urged, noting the hostile environments of other orbs, such as newly-surveyed Pluto.

CHARLES HENRY FERNANDEZ, Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Trade of Antigua and Barbuda, said that the security challenges faced by small island developing States went well beyond the military dimension; they were inextricable from the social, economic and environmental pillars of sustainability.  At the same time, he emphasized the threats to the borders and shorelines of the islands, which he said could be effectively addressed if they became a high priority of the Council.  The effects of climate change were worsened by the lack of capacity and financing to implement strong policies and implementation mechanisms.  Illicit drugs, small arms, external financial shocks, food-price volatility, erosion of trade preference, debt and contracting economies all had security implications that threatened the existence of those island States and must be addressed.

FREDERICK A. MITCHELL, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Immigration of the Bahamas, said there were no higher priorities for his country than the environment, fighting crime, containing illegal immigration, unemployment and the economy.  The impacts of climate change must be primarily addressed by multilateral bodies that were inclusive, representative and transparent.  Ambitious actions taken in that context would reduce the security implications associated with climate change.

MAXINE MCCLEAN, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Barbados, Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, as well as pollution, ocean acidification and coastal runoff, posed threats to the food security of and livelihood in communities.  The narrow post-war definition of peace and security, which guided the Council’s work in its 70 years of existence, needed to be broadened.

RATU INOKE KUBUABOLA, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Fiji, noting that many small islands were contributing to the management of global security problems, noted that his country had been involved in United Nations peacekeeping operations since 1978 at considerable human and financial cost.  Climate change was a risk multiplier, and it was clear that small islands were victims of a problem not of their creation.  To respond to security threats of climate change, those island States needed investment in adaption measures and action-oriented responses.  The Council and development partners must increase human and institutional measures to address that existential threat, notably by addressing the need for sustainable energy in a meaningful way.  More global capital needed to be directed towards renewable resources and green growth frameworks.  He also called on bodies, such as the Council, to focus on technical support mechanisms to strengthen monitoring and control of the oceans.

RIMBINK PATO, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Immigration of Papua New Guinea, noting that the General Assembly recognized the unique vulnerabilities of small island developing States, urged the Council to give greater consideration to their special circumstances.  The nexus between sustainable development and peace and security was clear.  His Government had committed $150 million to small island developing States in the Pacific over the next five years to address some of their challenges, including in education, health, capacity-building, climate change adaptation, and infrastructure rehabilitation and development following natural disasters.

CAMILLO M. GONSALVES, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, said that while the Council had occasionally pronounced on matters involving small island developing States, it had largely excluded their issues and perspectives from serious and sustained consideration.  Yet significant incidents, including election violence, natural disasters and the blockade of Cuba, had come and gone with barely an acknowledgement from the body. The Council must formally determine that climate change, transnational crime, non-State actors and economic strangulation posed special and specific threats to peace and security among small island developing States and must consider recommendations and measures.

WINSTON DOOKERAN, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Trinidad and Tobago, Today’s debate could help usher in a new diplomatic momentum in designing instruments in the field of climate change or elsewhere.

PAVLO KLIMKIN, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, said that an “S.O.S. distress call” was currently being sent by small island developing States that were losing their territories, populations, resources and their very existence due to climate change.  “It is our obligation to hear their call and to respond to it without any further delay,” he said.  Debates on climate change should be continued with the view to realizing a success story at the upcoming United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of States Parties Summit in Paris.  However, in those debates, the international community must not lose sight of the lives of the thousands of people in the sinking islands of the Pacific, Indian and Atlantic oceans.  Those people were being threatened not by weapons, but by a much worse enemy, the rise of the ocean level caused by climate change.  “We have to take this challenge very seriously before it is too late,” he said, adding that the Council had a role to play in taking preventive steps related to the legal status and human rights of the people being forced from their homelands.

ISABELLA LÖVIN, Minister for International Development Cooperation of Sweden, speaking for the Nordic countries, said the effects of global warming represented the most important long-term security challenge for small islands.  The Nordic countries would remain steadfast partners in that fight.  They had made significant commitments to the new Green Climate Fund and prioritized peace and security aspects in the post-2015 agenda.  In that context, she urged support for capacity-building and resilience against conflicts due to environmental problems.  Illicit natural resource exploitation was another challenge for small islands, as was trafficking in arms, humans and drugs.  Indeed, the adverse effects of global warming were a security issue.

MARK BROWN, Minister of Finance of the Cook Islands, said that Cook Islanders greeted each other and visitors with “Kia Orana”, which meant “may you and your lineage live on”.  That was the essence of what he was asking for today — to be given the chance to live on.  The Cook Islands was a steward of 2.2 million square kilometres of ocean in the Pacific, which was the last remaining healthy fishery stock in the world.  His country was leading the world in marine resource management with innovative initiatives, such as a regional vessel monitoring system, ship rider agreements, and boat and aircraft surveillance programmes.  He proposed a buffer no-fishing zone between individual and collective maritime boundaries and international waters.  There was an urgent need to combat the climate change crisis.  “Give us a fighting chance against the changing climate,” he said, stressing the need for the global community to reach a legally binding agreement in Paris, a pact that took into account special circumstances of small island developing States.

BENEDETTO DELLA VEDOVA, Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs of Italy, said helping to improve the food security, sea defences, renewable energy systems, natural risk management and economic competitiveness of small island developing States presented an opportunity to build a comprehensive sustainable development model that would also benefit other countries.  Italy had gathered wide expertise in learning to face natural disasters.  For example, to address the high risk that the rising level of the Adriatic Sea posed to Venice, a system known as MOSES had been developed to protect the city from tides up to three metres high.  As a follow-up to the 2014 Samoa conference, Italy would host a stock-taking event at the ministerial level in October.  His country was also working with Pacific States, including in the energy sector and climate change adaptation.  Italy was also now working to develop a cooperation programme to help to meet the specific challenges of its Caribbean partners.

ROBERTO SARMENTO DE OLIVEIRA SOARES, Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Timor-Leste, said climate change had the potential to unravel development efforts, exacerbate tensions and lead to conflict.  Therefore, globally coordinated actions to tackle those threats were vital.  Access to natural resources and the equitable distribution of revenues to the people were paramount to security.  Timor-Leste was proud to be at the forefront of the world’s best practices in relation to the management of natural resources.

ALI NASEER MOHAMED, Foreign Secretary of Maldives, speaking on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States, said that the group was born out of a meeting in his country attended by 14 States 25 years ago.  The lesson of history was that peace would prevail only when sustainable development practices were promoted.  Those States understood that reality well from their experiences.  More recently, they had undertaken important responsibilities in promoting peace and security on the international stage by providing peacekeepers and hosting operations in “our backyards”.  But small islands were vastly underrepresented in the Council, with only 6 out of the 125 elected members having been served by them.  Those States were ready to lead, he said, underlining that they were vulnerable but valuable contributors in solving common global problems.

MIKE EMAN, Prime Minister of Aruba, Netherlands, said the topic of the debate was of interest to the kingdom because three of its four autonomous countries were small island developing States.  Behind the images of a tropical paradise those States evoked lay serious challenges such as climate change, transnational crime and illicit exploitation of natural resources.  Stronger regional and international collaboration was needed to meet the security challenges encountered in the Caribbean and in the regions of other small island developing States.

DESRA PERCAYA (Indonesia) said security issues relating to small islands’ specific situations should be integral to collective efforts to promote global peace and security.  Indeed, those States should be equal partners in such work and the United Nations, including the Council, should broaden its approach to dealing with international peace and security.  If poverty, unemployment, climate change adaption and institution building in those States were not addressed, opportunities for grievance, instability and conflict would manifest.  “We must not let this happen,” he said, reaffirming the importance of the United Nations in strengthening cooperation for promoting sustainable development that considered small islands’ specific needs.

MAHE’ULI’ULI SANDHURST TUPOUNIUA (Tonga), speaking on behalf of the Pacific small island developing States, said the root causes of the difficulties in maintaining international peace and security were no longer drawn from traditional definitions of those issue.  Questions of sustainable development, or the lack thereof, were root causes of the failure to maintain peace and security and vice versa.  The Council must, therefore, examine issues of international peace and security by redefining its meaning of security in line with today’s realities.

Pacific leaders continued to call for the political will and ambitious actions to address adverse effects of climate change, he said, reiterating the group’s call for the immediate appointment of a special representative on climate and security with responsibility for analysing the projected impact of climate change.  That way, the Council and Members States could prepare for the unavoidable security threats ahead.  As climate change was crosscutting, all the major organs of the United Nations had a role to play based on their respective mandates.

CALEB OTTO (Palau), associating himself with the Pacific small island developing States and the Alliance of Small Island States, listed transnational crimes, money laundering, trade of illegal drugs, non-communicable diseases, and illegal unreported and unregulated fishing as among the various threats to his country.  However, when the total population would be forced to migrate due to climate change impacts, peace would become fragile and the potential for conflict would increase.  Climate change must be on the Council’s agenda and needed to be addressed.  He also called for a legally binding agreement on climate change in Paris at the end of the year.  Palau contributed to international peace and security, providing peacekeepers in Sudan and Darfur.

MARÍA EMMA MEJÍA VÉLEZ (Colombia) said that two challenges — transnational organized crime and climate change — were particularly significant.  Of the 52 small island developing States, 23 were in the Caribbean region.  Her country had suffered from transnational organized crime, which had a heavy toll on society.  A single natural disaster could destroy the entire infrastructure of a nation.  Failure to act on climate change made the future less secure.

MINNA-LIINA LIND (Estonia) said climate change could be a driver for insecurities and crises internally and externally, which underscored the utmost importance of concluding a global, ambitious, single, legally binding agreement applicable to all.

THOMAS MAYR-HARTING, Head of the European Union Delegation, said many small island developing States continued to be dramatically affected by natural and other disasters leading to loss of lives and livelihoods and significant economic, cultural and environmental costs.  The Sendai Framework firmly anchored risk management as a key element of sustainable development and took into account the vulnerabilities of those island States.  The European Union was therefore reorienting its support to make resilience a priority in cooperation with vulnerable countries, and would work with those island States to better integrate risk management and resilience into their policies and strategies.

In addition, as discussed in the recent open Arria Formula meeting of the Security Council, it was widely recognized that climate change triggered humanitarian crises as well as political and economic instability and tensions and “climate-induced” migration.  The international community would have to prepare for such displacement, which could turn into a grim legal, humanitarian and security issue.  It was in that context that the moment had come to reach a universal, fair, ambitious and balanced legally-binding international agreement on climate change in Paris.  “An agreement that ensures that the world remains on track to keep global warming below 2°C is absolutely necessary to limit the risks predicted by science, and of which [small island developing States] would be — or I should say already are — the first victims,” he said.

KAREN TAN (Singapore) said climate change posed a risk to national and international security, including transboundary issues, such as pollution, and if States failed, terrorism.  In terms of disaster risk reduction, the international capacity for humanitarian assistance was already at “full stretch” and could be overwhelmed.  Citing the non-traditional security implications of climate change, she said the phenomenon could be a threat multiplier and that there was no choice but to undertake adaption measures to help small islands increase resilience and decrease loss or damage.  She cited the need for improved disaster risk reduction and greater food security through promoting open national and international markets.  Today’s debate drew attention to the need for more support for small islands.  She urged the widest possible cooperation by all countries and their participation in an appropriate international response.

GILLIAN BIRD (Australia) An integrated approach to building security, sustainable development and human rights was needed.  She focused on securing global commitments, including by implementing agreements such as the Arms Trade Treaty; making bold actions to reduce emissions, including through a new climate agreement; increasing investment in adaption; and updating the Secretary-General’s 2009 climate change and security report.  Regional partnerships were also important to help small islands build their capacity.  The Council should take steps to help those countries fulfil their obligations by engaging in regional partnerships.

GUILHERME DE AGUIAR PATRIOTA (Brazil) Climate change could not be properly understood, let alone resolved, through a security-based standpoint.  The Council lacked the tools, expertise, representation and legitimacy to deal with the economic, social, environmental, humanitarian, scientific and technological aspects of that global debate.  Rather than debating climate change from a forum where small islands were seldom represented, solutions should be sought through the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).  Climate change could not be considered as a threat to international peace and security nor a “threat multiplier”.  Instead, it was the foremost sustainable development challenge, he said, urging renewed efforts towards an ambitious climate agreement.

SYLVIE LUCAS (Luxembourg) While 70 years ago it would have been difficult to imagine that the principle of territorial integrity could be endangered by the impacts of climate change, today that challenge could cause population displacement and other instability unless properly managed.  “The international community cannot do nothing,” she said, urging the conclusion of a legally binding global agreement that kept climate change below 2°C.  To better address the root causes of conflict, the Secretary-General could report to the Council on the increasing threats faced by small islands.  Security and development were intrinsically linked.

COLLIN D. BECK (Solomon Islands) urged the Council to institutionalize the threats posed by climate change on international peace and security on its agenda, play a more proactive role in mobilizing multilateral action to deliver as one on the issue and facilitate a new international partnership in such areas as hydro, geothermal and wind power generation.  The Council’s work needed to be guided by science in its efforts to reduce security threats facing small islands.  The Council should be expanded to include a dedicated seat for those States to ensure that their challenges were meaningfully addressed in the 15-nation body.

BERNARDITO CLEOPAS AUZA, Permanent Observer of the Holy See, viewed concerns for climate change as inseparable from human development.  Progress could be made by achieving a deal in Paris and allocating sufficient funds for tackling climate change, especially through finance, which was a vital part of “paying the ecological debt”.  Increasing access to renewable energy was also important, as billions of people needed energy access to emerge from poverty.  Wealthier nations must help poor countries develop less polluting energy by offering them better access to technology and financial resources.

RICARDO ALDAY GONZÁLEZ (Mexico) said the debate provided an opportunity to explore first-hand the challenges small island developing States faced in the maintenance of international peace and security.  Development was intrinsically linked to security and the vulnerability of that group of countries deserved the full attention and support of the entire world.  As no other body had the capacity to mobilize concrete action to address the unique challenges confronting those States, the United Nations needed to focus greater attention to the different ways those challenges presented themselves as threat multipliers.  The Council must ponder actions it might take to support those States in maintaining international peace and security.  Further, the voice of those countries needed to find greater representation in the Council.

VIRACHAI PLASAI (Thailand) said drought, sea level rise, coastal erosion and ocean acidification threatened the survival of small islands and the United Nations should urgently devise a long-term response.  Climate change also threatened their food security, already a vulnerable sector given their dependence on subsistence fishing, food imports and a narrow land resource base.  The United Nations could help them in developing sustainable agriculture and in improving access to fresh water.

HARALD BRAUN (Germany) said the debate highlighted challenges affecting 52 countries and territories and more than 50 million people.  The effects of global warming disproportionately threatened small islands and “for some it is a question of survival and national security”.  He urged advancing climate change mitigation and adaption efforts.  For its part, Germany was prepared to support vulnerable countries and had recently pledged to double its public climate financing by 2020 to €4 billion annually.  The Council should regularly discuss the interdependence between climate change and security, while the Secretary-General’s 2009 report on “Climate Change and Its Possible Security Implications” should be updated.  More broadly, “Group of 7” leaders recently had agreed to raise contributions to $400 million by 2020 to increase the number of people in vulnerable countries covered against climate change-related hazards.

FRANCISCO ANTONIO CORTORREAL (Dominican Republic) said that the security challenges posed by climate change required that the Council join in efforts to counter the phenomenon.  His country, which shared its island with Haiti, was particularly troubled by the disruption of rainfall patterns, which were tied to the extensive hydroelectric infrastructure.  An unprecedented water supply crisis had ensued recently, with increased drought.  Haiti, also hit by drought, was prey to population pressures that among other problems were potentially destabilizing.  Effective, timely solutions were needed.  Replying to other delegations, he said that his country complied with the highest human rights standards in relation to populations residing in its territory.

NICHOLAS EMILIOU (Cyprus), associating himself with the European Union, affirmed the multiple vulnerabilities and challenges of small island developing States, particularly climate change.  The debate provided an excellent opportunity to discuss actions to deal with the security implications of climate change, which could exacerbate structural adversities.  Cyprus was familiar with such challenges as an island that experienced resource shortages, including a dearth of fresh water.  Partnerships at all levels were crucial to address such diverse challenges.  Stressing the link between security and development, he said it was in the collective interest to help those States face their challenges.

ASOKE KUMAR MUKERJI (India) said international cooperation on the concerns outlined in the concept note had been most viable outside the Council, enabling a democratic, inclusive and transparent approach.  By allowing each State to raise concerns and agreeing on a way to address them, the General Assembly had played the role given to it by the United Nations Charter.  He urged looking beyond the Council and focusing on how the Assembly could enable small islands to use the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea more effectively.  The 1972 Conference on the Human Environment had provided the impetus for the Assembly’s consideration of climate change issues.  Also, draft sustainable development goal 14 reflected small islands’ participation in addressing matters related to oceans, seas and marine resources.

RON PROSOR (Israel) said it was not the size of the country but the bravery and determination of its people that would make the difference.  One example was Palau, which had announced it would establish the world’s first nationwide marine sanctuary by designating its entire ocean territory as a regenerative zone for sharks, whales, tuna and other precious species.  The international community had no choice but to stand with the small island developing States to protect “our oceans” and combat climate change.  Israel was a small island of sorts, a State in the midst of an often “turbulent sea” of hostility.  It faced important challenges to peace and security.  In its early years, the primary threat to the country was scarce water supply and the challenge of developing agricultural infrastructure — issues still plaguing many small islands.  Israel’s experiences had contributed to small island developing States partners in their path to development, peace and security.

MOTOHIDE YOSHIKAWA (Japan) said that many countries at the Council’s Arria Formula meeting on climate change last month had pointed out that climate change could be a threat multiplier to natural disasters and other phenomena, especially for small island developing States.  The rise of sea levels could pose a threat to a nation’s very existence, which should be regarded as an issue of national and regional security.  It was also important to address other concerns, such as development, disaster risk reduction and the illicit exploitation of natural resources.  For its part, Japan had supported a number of efforts, including a pledge to train 5,000 experts from small island developing States and a 55 billion yen commitment to address similar concerns stemming from discussions at the seventh Pacific Island Leaders Meeting in May.  At the first Japan-CARICOM Summit Meeting in 2014, his country had announced a grant of 1.5 billion yen to address climate change challenges for eight nations in the region in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

MARLENE MOSES (Nauru), associating with the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) and the Pacific small island developing States, urged the Council to consider the root causes of conflict, not simply situations in which violence emerged.  It was important to consider challenges facing small islands in the context of global environmental, economic and security governance, as deficiencies in those areas were at the root of security problems faced by them and other vulnerable developing countries.  How those inter-related systems were reformed would have an “enormous” influence on whether small islands thrived or languished.  In examining the numerous threats to their survival, the international community could not ignore the wider global context in which those States were forced to operate.

GONZALO KONCKE (Uruguay) said the international community had recognized the special vulnerabilities of small island developing States faced in social and economic development.  In recent times, how those vulnerabilities could affect international peace and security also had acquired greater attention.  The international community must mobilize all resources at its disposal to address those challenges and issues in the common interest of humanity.  To that end, it must use all forums creatively to come up with effective solutions and practices.

LAURA ELENA FLORES HERRERA (Panama) said the search for solutions to the challenges faced by small island developing States and addressing their impact on global peace and security required the international community to think outside the box.  The 52 nations and territories scattered around the world disproportionately faced impediments and obstacles to their development.  Their voice needed to be enhanced in the search for solutions, she said, stressing the need for reforming the Council in a way that ensured greater representation of those States.

PAWEL RADOMSKI (Poland) supported the idea of discussing climate and security issues in the Council while pursuing an agreement on the new global climate protection regime at the UNFCCC.  Those two forums could work concurrently, using their respective resources to raise awareness of the problem.  Poland saw the climate change conference in Paris as an excellent occasion to draw the attention of both the leaders and civil society on climate change as a threat multiplier.  Apart from developing a broad research and international response system, there was a need for concrete solutions for the small island developing States, including separate financing for them through the Green Climate Fund.

PASCAL BUFFIN (Belgium), noting the existential threat to small island developing States due to climate change, reiterated wholehearted support to the European Union’s engagement in developing an effective agreement in the coming conference in Paris, as well as its goals to surpass reductions of greenhouse gasses by 2020.  Following the outcome of the Samoa conference, he encouraged small islands to continue to raise their profiles and to continue to drive inclusion of important factors in the post-2015 development agenda such as protections for the oceans.

DEBORAH BARKER-MANASE (Marshall Islands) said that, in 1969, responding to the impacts of nuclear testing, the top diplomat of a major global power had stated: “there are only 90,000 people out there.  Who gives a damn?”  Some 45 years later, the world had changed dramatically and yet her country’s baseline was fragile.  The cumulative impact of domestic instability within fragile nations was a long-term threat to international security.  The mineral resources of some islands could be seen as mere possessions readily available for the highest bidder or the strongest military force, with growing rivalries between major powers.  In addition, her country had limited capacity to monitor and address transnational organized crime, in particular illegal fishing.  Finally, as a low-lying nation, the impacts of climate change posed not only severe development challenges but also threatened the habitability of her country’s land and raised questions over political boundaries.  She asked for the Council’s direct action in addressing small low-lying island States within its formal agenda.

JANE J. CHIGIYAL (Federated States of Micronesia), aligning with the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the Pacific small island developing States, said that States such as her country were inherently exposed to factors outside of their control and were the most vulnerable group of countries.  “This Security Council cannot close its eyes to the challenges facing the small island developing States, most especially the existential threat posed by climate change,” she said.  Indeed, the Council had a moral imperative to act.  Challenges facing her country included the criminal act of illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing and the issue of sovereignty over its exclusive economic zone.  Natural disasters and undeterred global warming would have no lesser effect than causing her country’s disappearance from the planet.  She therefore urged the international community and Council members to commit to and adopt an ambitious and legally binding agreement at the COP21 in Paris later this year.

JUAN CARLOS MENDOZA-GARCÍA (Costa Rica) said his country fully empathized with the peace and security challenges facing small island developing States and consistently underscored the need for the international community to address them urgently.  Moving ahead, a strong strategy to strengthen the Samoa Pathway was needed through a new process of negotiations related to sustainable development and financing for development.  Such a comprehensive approach, including regional and subregional organizations as well as interested stakeholders, stood the best chance of providing lasting solutions.  The Paris conference must address the concerns expressed during the debate.

DENIS RÉGIS (Haiti) said small island developing States were a special case in terms of sustainable development because of the critical structural handicaps they confronted.  As a country in that category, Haiti was grappling with a host of challenges stemming from a lack of resources, exposure to natural disasters and adverse external economic pressures, among others.  The situation of Haiti reflected the link between peace, security and development.  A decade ago, the international community responded robustly to the national crisis, and the people today were able to take back their destiny in their hands.  While the progress attained was significant, it could not hide the scale of the challenges Haiti still faced.  A comprehensive and sustained approach to addressing such vulnerabilities was critical to maintaining international peace and security.

AKAN RAKHMETULLIN (Kazakhstan) said that the negative effects of climate change, conflict, organized crime, cybercrime, human trafficking, terrorism, disease and epidemics posed threats to all vulnerable States, which must be urgently assisted to face them.  With their most fragile economies, small island developing States needed support for capacity-building and technology transfer in order to overcome crises.  Climate change was already having serious impact, he stressed, pointing out that just a few days ago melting glaciers had caused a flood in his country’s former capital, Almaty.  Describing Kazakhstan’s mitigation efforts, he called for strong international initiatives to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, pledging his country’s continued work on sustainable development, humanitarian assistance, disaster risk reduction and resilience building in Central Asia, which, he added, it would share with small island developing States.

AMR ABDELLATIF ABOULATTA (Egypt) said that, as small island developing States remained a special case for sustainable development, the United Nations system and the international community must undertake their responsibilities in supporting those countries to overcome their vulnerabilities in order to maintain international peace and security.  The Samoa Pathway outlined a series of threats affecting peace and security as well as the challenges faced by those States.  It further identified an action plan to respond to those concerns.  The mission of the international community was to guarantee implementation and to turn political commitments into concrete policies and actions, he concluded.

MARIO OYARZÁBAL (Argentina), expressing solidarity in relation to the challenges and vulnerabilities facing small island developing States, called for support by the Security Council on their problems that had implications for international peace and security.  Affirming the link between peace and development, he urged greater assistance for the islands to overcome their challenges within the context of the post-2015 sustainable development agenda.

OMAR HILALE (Morocco) hoped that the debate would generate tangible steps to remedy the security challenges of small island developing States, consistent with the Mauritius Programme of Action and other previous outcomes.  Enumerating the problems of those island States, including climate change and vulnerability to price fluctuations, he said that those countries needed significant support from official development assistance and other international cooperation, building on the Rio+20 and Financing for Development conferences.  His country shared aspirations with the small islands and was convinced increased South-South cooperation would benefit all stakeholders.

LEVENT ELER (Turkey) said his country had become increasingly active in sharing its own development experiences and in contributing to international development cooperation efforts in countries in special situations, including small island developing States.  Small island developing States faced a wide range of challenges in pursuing sustainable development and Turkey believed the G20 — whose presidency it currently holds — had an important contribution in building resilience in those countries.  In that capacity, his country, among other things, aimed to facilitate the access of least developed countries to climate funds.  The first World Humanitarian Summit to be held in May 2016 in Istanbul would provide a valuable platform to discuss those issues at length.

MAHLATSE MMINELE (South Africa) Security for small island developing States was a multidimensional concept, he said, calling on the international community to fulfil their commitments to assist those countries to push back against the challenges identified in today’s debate.

KAHA IMNADZE (Georgia), associating himself with the European Union, said the concept of security in today’s world could not be related to the absence of military threats.  The multifaceted dimensions of the interrelated challenges that posed a threat to international peace and security required a comprehensive and collective response.  By placing the issue on its agenda, the Council had encouraged Member States to explore ways of addressing those challenges in the common interest of humanity.  Although not an island, Georgia shared many of the vulnerabilities faced by small island developing States, which encouraged it to focus on sustainable development in the interest of building a peaceful and secure world.

SUNEMA PIE SIMATI (Tuvalu) said climate change was a security, development and environment issue and was noted to be a cross-cutting issue during the discussions of the Open Working Group on the Sustainable Development Goals.  As such, it could not be considered in a “subject silo” or in an “institutional silo”.  She recalled the urgency of the Ebola epidemic and that many of the United Nations institutions, including the Council, had collaborated to address the issue as a security threat.  The same attention and urgency was needed with regard to climate change effects.  Since 2000, four small islets of Tuvalu had disappeared, two of which during the recent tropical cyclone Pam, she said, emphasizing that the Council must recognize climate change as a global security threat and permanently place it on its agenda.

PAIK JI-AH (Republic of Korea), acknowledging the special challenges faced by small island developing States, said her country was involved in partnerships to address their needs through various means.  It was working with Pacific islands towards the sustainable development of marine and fishery resources.  Her country was committed to international efforts to establish a new climate regime.  As an example of a least-developed-country-turned-donor, her State was sharing its experiences and resources through initiatives such as the Korea-Pacific Island Cooperation Fund and an annual partnership forum.  Given the scope of the problems, it was essential that the entire international community seek solutions to the problems at hand.

 

 


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