Delivered by H.E. Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, UAE Special Envoy for Climate Change & Minister of Industry & Advanced Technology
Your Excellencies, colleagues,
It is indeed with great pleasure and great honor to chair this meeting, and I would like to thank the members of the UN Security Council and the distinguished briefers and guests for their participation.
We are convening at an important moment, in which geopolitical tensions challenge international peace and stability.
At the same time, while we deal with these challenges, we should not lose sight of other existing and emerging threats that undermine our collective security.
The fact is, as this Council has already acknowledged in a number of countries, climate impacts are a matter of peace and security.
These impacts are likely to drive significant displacement and competition over resources, and- if not addressed, could be the source of many future conflicts.
The latest IPCC report highlights the scale of the challenge, stating that up to 3.6 billion people are now highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change, particularly in fragile states.
Critically, it concludes that we are reaching the limits of adaptation, especially in parts of the world least able to cope – notably countries suffering from conflict as well as small island developing states.
Having said that, the report also provides a blueprint for how we can protect and strengthen our most vulnerable communities, and it acknowledges some encouraging signs of progress to build on in the months and years ahead.
Most importantly, COP 26 aligned 90% of the global economy on a net zero development pathway.
We now urgently need a similar step-change on adaptation – particularly for communities most at risk.
Climate finance is one of the most important tools to manage climate risks. Yet, the international community continues to fall short of the 100-billion-dollar climate finance pledge made to developing nations over a decade ago.
Many countries on the Council’s agenda, as well as countries affected by rising sea levels, emphasize this amount alone will not and cannot be sufficient.
So today, I would like us to focus on the climate solutions that reinforce peace and security, and discuss the financing options that will translate strategies on paper into results on the ground.
Our discussions should build on the Security Council’s previous resolutions and statements on addressing climate risks.
Robust, sustained, and ambitious climate finance is a critical enabler of continued climate progress and risk reduction.
Greater access to guaranteed finance is critical.
The UAE has long believed that climate finance can enable sustainable economic growth, while promoting peace and stability.
We have taken a partnership approach focused on projects in countries most exposed to climate risks, because we know that local resilience builds global resilience.
We have provided over $1 billion in climate aid to more than 40 countries, with a special focus on island and least-developed nations.
We have also provided several billion dollars in recent years in disaster and conflict relief, where climate impacts are a contributing factor.
This experience underscores that, where appropriate, viewing climate action through the lens of international peace and security can aim finance at priority sectors such as food and water security.
That is one of the goals of the Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate, an initiative that the UAE launched last year along with 38 countries to scale up investments in agriculture innovation from drought resistant seeds to water-efficient vertical farming.
When financing projects, I would like to emphasize the need for an inclusive approach that empowers women, an approach that ensures climate finance contributes to equitable sustainable development. As we heard yesterday at the open debate, gender equality is one of the best investments for peace and recovery.
Fair and balanced climate finance will make all communities more resilient in the short term and will deliver a dividend of peace well into the future.
We know that climate is not always a factor in security. But we also know that the more we can align security and climate strategies in fragile countries facing climate risks, the more we can mitigate those risks, reinforce resilience and accelerate sustainable economic growth.
I look forward to constructive deliberations ahead that will build on the progress made in Glasgow, increase momentum going into COP 27, and raise ambitions in advance of COP 28.
As the proud hosts of COP 28, in 2023, the UAE will apply the same consultative and inclusive approach focused on practical results.
And in our meeting today, let us match our passion for climate action with concrete solutions that can empower – through finance – efforts to ensure climate progress and peace and security.