Climate change is the defining issue of our time, and the UAE commends the UK for their continued leadership in climate action and for keeping this issue central to the Security Council’s agenda.
Almost five years since signing the Paris Agreement, our efforts to keep global warming in check are facing many challenges. Environmental crises are worsening and temperatures around the globe continue reaching records each year. Droughts, tsunamis, and floods, amongst other climate-induced disasters, are negatively impacting health, food availability, housing, and ultimately the safety of millions of people across the globe. These trends have a ripple effect, potentially driving migration patterns or conflicts due to scarcity of resources.
There is a growing recognition by the international community of the impact of climate change as a contributing factor to conflict and instability. But mere recognition is no longer enough. It is time for the Security Council to identify actionable areas where it can contribute to alleviating the negative impact of climate change on global stability and security. The UAE would like to outline four recommendations in this regard.
First, UN peacekeeping operations should shift towards increased reliance on renewable and sustainable energy in carrying out Security Council mandates. It is important for the UN to set an example and not exacerbate worsening environmental conditions. The UAE commends the leadership of the UN Secretariat in committing to 80 percent renewable energy usage by 2030, notably through the second phase of the UN Department of Operational Support’s (DOS) Environment Strategy for Field Missions, but hitting this target will not be feasible without ramping up the use of renewables in peacekeeping missions that constitute the lion’s share of energy use by the UN.
Second, climate change generates particular security risks for women and girls, but in order for us to better understand the specific impact it has on women and girls, the UAE believes its crucial for the UN and Member States to ensure climate-risk analysis is gender-sensitive. An early awareness of the crucial role of women in peacekeeping has been one of the drivers for the UAE to pursue its Women, Peace and Security training programme for women peacekeepers through the Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak WPS Initiative, developed in partnership with UN Women. Mainstreaming women’s perspectives in all aspects of peace and security remains a key priority for the UAE.
Third, climate change-induced hardships in vulnerable countries need to be considered as security risks, and should be prioritized by the international community. Small Island Developing States as well as many Least Developed Countries are on the frontlines of the fight against climate change. Addressing hardships caused by climate change, particularly as part of peacekeeping efforts, is essential in successfully carrying out Security Council mandates.
Fourth, scientific models using geo-spatial imaging and other cutting edge technologies are already being used to predict where climate disasters are likely to occur. The renewal of mandates of peacekeeping and special political missions should be informed by such forecasts. This would allow the Council to truly move from reactive measures into proactive measures. Additionally, we encourage peacekeeping operations to assist, as appropriate, host governments and UN system to undertake risk assessments and risk management strategies related to climate change.
Taking action against climate-related risks to international peace and security will require bold, innovative thinking by the Council. We are encouraged by the fact that a growing number of Council members acknowledge the intersection of climate change and international peace and security. During its term on the Council in 2022-2023, the UAE is committed to advocating for practical and actionable steps the Council can adopt to address the impacts of climate change on international peace and security.