Delivered by: Her Excellency Lana Nusseibeh, Ambassador and Permanent Representative
I wish to thank the Secretary-General and President Rousseff and also Professor Sachs for their invaluable briefings today.
The United Arab Emirates thanks China for bringing this important topic to the Council’s attention.
China’s leadership on sustainable development and its impact on peace and security has made a difference worldwide. Spearheading global initiatives that have led to significant investments and enabled governments to overcome structural obstacles to development has promoted equality, stability, and prosperity at scale.
Poverty and inequality exacerbate the fragility and vulnerability of countries, and can lead to instability and conflict.
The erosion of the social fabric of communities can be exploited by actors with violent agendas. We see this time and again on issues on the Council’s agenda, from the Sahel to the Middle East.
Without developing an agile UN response plan that factors in economic livelihoods, social inclusion, and resilience strategies alongside robust political frameworks, we are always going to be plastering over the underlying peace and security issues.
Investing in development pays the dividends of peace.
Yet the latest scorecards for the Sustainable Development Goals show us that we are far from the desired results, as only 15% of the targets are on track, and 48% are moderately or severely off track.
If we are indeed convinced of the links we are confidently discussing here today, a radical change in approach is needed.
The UAE would like to make three recommendations today to that effect.
First of all, we accept that the science is clear: the relationship between vulnerability, climate change, and armed conflict can form a destructive cycle, and should be addressed as such.
This is a daily lived reality in many conflict settings around the world: of the 20 countries most vulnerable to climate change, 15 are classified by the World Bank as fragile or conflict-affected.
This Council should embrace innovative approaches to see conflicts through a climate-sensitive lens and do better to address this phenomenon. We welcomed the Council’s foresight in resolution 2677 by including a request for the Secretary-General to incorporate analysis of the risks associated with climate change that may adversely impact peace and security in South Sudan in his reporting on UNMISS.
We hope to see similar reporting requests in other mandate renewals when appropriate.
In a little over a week, the UAE will host COP28, where we are organizing a first-of-its-kind “Relief, Recovery, and Peace Day”. It will highlight the intersection of climate change, peace, and security, with a political spotlight on the importance of increasing climate funding to the communities on the frontlines of the climate crisis that are also experiencing conflict and fragility.
We have a window of opportunity to integrate climate action and development and it’s critical to seize this moment.
Second, we must ensure, as others have said, sustainable and equitable access to finance. This is key.
We cannot expect peace if we do not invest in it.
And there is no question that the current international financial architecture is not keeping pace with the challenges of the 21st century and its increasingly, in fact, acting as a barrier to development.
We need to ensure that developing countries have access to low-cost, long-term financing and that the needs of the most vulnerable countries are front and centre of our considerations, including for building the resilience needed for climate change.
This does require bold decisions on a reform of the international financial architecture approach.
The UAE welcomes the various reform initiatives that have been discussed on IFI reform to date, including the Bridgetown Initiative. These will also be an integral part of discussions at COP28. But we also need a quantum leap in climate financing. Expanding access to Special Drawing Rights, for example, could free up to 500 billion dollars in climate finance for the most vulnerable countries. For our part, the UAE has pledged 4.5 billion dollars in financing by 2030 for African climate projects.
Ultimately, sustainable development and peacebuilding go hand in hand. Supporting those efforts now is much more cost-effective than paying the price of conflict later.
Third, our policies, whether on development or peace and security, must be inclusive.
It’s simple: inclusive societies thrive. Every day that women and youth are excluded from development is a day that we hold ourselves back in the pursuit of our shared prosperity, peace, and security goals.
It is critical to ensure their engagement in the national strategies and measures aimed at building resilience to guarantee the stable, prosperous, and peaceful societies that we talk about here every day.
The full, equal, and meaningful participation of women is part and parcel of nation-building and all our efforts for security and stability must center around that inclusion.
It is a collective responsibility.
The international community must ensure that development programs mitigate climate, economic and social vulnerabilities in its pursuit of promoting peace and security.