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Joint Nordic statement at the UN Security Council Open Debate on terrorism and climate change

Joint Nordic Statement delivered by Ambassador Anna Karin Eneström on behalf of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden at the High-Level Open Debate of the UN Security Council on the maintenance on International Peace and Security. Security in the context of terrorism and climate change, New York, 9 December 2021

Mr President,

Members of the Security Council,

I have the pleasure to deliver this statement on behalf of the Nordic countries: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden.

I thank the President of Niger, His Excellency Mr Mohamed Bazoum, for convening this timely meeting.

The recent COP26 meeting highlighted the urgent need of halting climate change to avoid disastrous consequences in the very near future. Without countermeasures, nature’s hand will shift from benevolent to malevolent. There will be no place to hide, and no society will be exempted.

Climate change, biodiversity loss and environmental degradation have severe impacts on the availability of and access to natural resources such as water, food, forests and land. These changes can increase competition over natural resources. This competition can in turn escalate into violence, in particular in areas that have already experienced conflict and where certain groups are excluded from natural resource management.

Today, transnational environmental crime generates an estimated 38 percent of the financing for illegal, non-state armed groups, including terrorist groups, representing their largest source of income.

Armed groups increasingly capitalize on climate-related disasters and livelihood losses to increase their recruitment pool. They can use the impacts of climate change to position themselves as alternative service and relief providers, where government efforts are insufficient or unresponsive.

Mr President,

We have since long reached a point where we must move from words to action. UN Missions and UN Resident Coordinators must play an active role in addressing local climate and security-related risks as well as in reporting to the Security Council. This work needs to be supported by the UN Agencies that make up the UN Climate Security Mechanism. In this, they need to build on local expertise.

Interventions should be based on the best available science. To understand the security risks of climate change we need to look at a longer-term timescale. Simply dealing with current variability in climate is not enough. Close cooperation with national weather services, regional climate centres, and the WMO is of essence.

The Peacebuilding Commission, with its emphasis on local ownership and inclusion should  address these risks. The PBC should also advice the Security Council on these matters.

Six of the ten largest UN missions operate in countries that are among those most exposed to climate change. Research from SIPRI, NUPI and others has showed the importance of integrating a climate change lens into peacekeeping and peacebuilding.

The debate today, the continuing increase in  members of the UN Group of Friends on Climate and Security, and the recent OSCE landmark decision on climate change are testaments to the demand for more systemic global action.

A recurrent report from the Secretary-General on the security implications of the adverse effects of climate change could form the basis of regular debates in the Security Council.

We strongly support the adoption of a resolution by the Security Council to this end next week.

To conclude Mr. President,

How we decide to act today on the risks of climate change, biodiversity loss and environmental degradation will determine the prospects for peaceful societies and human security for millions of people in the coming decades. Common challenges need a common understanding, solidarity, and strong multilateral institutions for a secure and sustainable future.

Thank you.


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