Check against delivery.
I would like to thank Viet Nam and the co-organisers as well as the briefers for today’s important discussion.
Sea-level rise presents an unequivocal threat to international peace and security, undermining the very existence of some small island developing states and coastal regions. It behooves the Security Council to take and endorse preventative action in coordination with the wider UN system.
Climate change has already been documented to both shrink and expand land mass, and climate modeling scenarios suggest possible mass submersion of low-lying areas around the globe. These consequences raise critical international law questions around statehood, international boundaries, territorial sovereignty, law of the sea, and movement of persons. They also open the door to disputes and conflicts.
At the same time, many coastal communities suffer displacement, resource competition, and societal stress from sea-level rise impacts like saltwater contamination and altered ocean patterns, worsening or paving the way for conflict. These impacts – along with broader climate drivers of fragility from ocean acidification to droughts – will also intensify over time.
The UAE would therefore like to highlight four areas for action, noting that Member States must advocate for climate security across UN entities to ensure a holistic response.
First, we should proactively consider the possible fall-out from sea-level rise on international law and accelerate work to fully understand the implications. The UAE therefore welcomes the International Law Commission’s work and its study of relevant State practice in this regard.
Second, we must ensure the Security Council receives high-quality and prioritized information on the security threats of sea-level rise and other climate impacts. The proposals by the Group of Friends for Climate and Security in last month’s open debate – especially for systematic reporting – would be a starting point.
Third, we need to increase multilateral investment in climate-vulnerable countries. A spending target may be warranted, and climate adaptation for food producers should be a top priority.
Lastly, achieving the Paris Agreement remains the most powerful and sustainable contribution to international peace and security. The UAE is proud to have announced its initiative to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, and we believe an enhanced focus on the economic case for climate action – such as low-cost renewable energy – can deliver the emissions reductions that underpin security.
We look forward to developing these proposals and other interventions across the UN system, including when the UAE joins the Security Council in January and assumes the presidency of COP28 in 2023. The security consequences of sea-level rise and other climate impacts require proactive action now.