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United Nations Secretary Antonio Guterres stated the sense of urgency regarding climate change while addressing members of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) during a high-level open debate on Thursday in New York City.
"The effects of climate change are particularly profound when they overlap with fragility and past or current conflicts. It is clear that climate change and environmental mismanagement are risk multipliers," warned Guterres during the meeting, ahead of the UN Climate Change Summit (or COP26) in Glasgow in November this year.
He explained that climate-related disasters relocated more than 30 million people last year and that 90 percent of asylum seekers come from countries least able to adapt to the climate crisis.
"Although some may see these risks as new, for us in Niger and the Sahel region this is a reality which has already had real security and humanitarian consequences on our population, and this undermines our development efforts in a context already made more difficult by the pandemic," stated Niger’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Hassoumi Massoudou.
The US has pledged to cut its emissions by 50 percent below 2005 levels by the end of this decade, and China said it would not build new coal plants abroad.
Irish Prime Minister Michael Martin stressed the importance of agreeing on a resolution that links climate change with global security.
"Climate change was accepted as a universal issue facing humankind. So, it makes sense that at the very high level of diplomacy, the Security Council, the highest level, should engage and deal with this issue," stated Martin.

SOT, Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary-General: "The effects of climate change are particularly profound when they overlap with fragility and past or current conflicts. It is clear that climate change and environmental mismanagement are risk multipliers. Where coping capacities are limited and there is high dependence on shrinking natural resources and ecosystem services, such as water and fertile land, grievances and tensions can explode, complicating efforts to prevent conflict and to sustain peace.”

SOT, Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary-General: "Last year, more than 30 million people were displaced by climate-related disasters. Ninety percent of refugees come from countries that are among the most vulnerable and least able to adapt to the effects of climate change. Many of these refugees are in turn hosted by countries that are also suffering the impacts of climate change, compounding the challenge for host communities and national budgets.”

SOT, Hassoumi Massoudou, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Niger (French): "Although some may see these risks as new, for us in Niger and the Sahel region this is a reality which has already had real security and humanitarian consequences on our population. This undermines our development efforts in a context already made more difficult by the pandemic. At this very time in the Sahel where agriculture is a pillar of the economy, where more than 80 percent of the people depend on agriculture and natural resources for their subsistence, climate change has intensified the competition for forage and hydric resources causing the resurgence of intra-communal conflicts among farmers, undermining peace consolidation efforts and development in the region.”

SOT, Zhang Jun, Permanent Representative to the United Nations, China (Chinese): “We must uphold the convention and the Paris Agreement as the main channels and respect the right to speak on an equal footing by all countries on climate change issues. It would be inappropriate for the Security Council as a forum to replace the collective decision making by the international community.”

SOT, Michael Martin, Irish Prime Minister: “The obvious linkage now between climate and security and the impact on people on the ground, the impact on our peacekeepers, and the link to conflict, and as a factor in conflict, not the only factor, but as a factor in conflict. Climate change was accepted as a universal issue facing humankind. So, it makes sense that at the very high level of diplomacy, the Security Council, the highest level, should engage and deal with this issue.”

#UNGA #ClimateChange #COP26

Video ID: 20210923-050

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