Discorso pronunciato dall’Ambasciatore Stefano Stefanile, Vice Rappresentante Permanente dell’Italia presso le Nazioni Unite, al meeting in formula Arria in Consiglio di Sicurezza su Acqua, Pace e Sicurezza —
Thank you very much, Madame Chair,
as it is been said by previous speakers and is also recalled in the Concept Note that you circulated before this meeting Today’s discussion follows a series of meetings of various nature organized by Security Council members, since 2007, on the increasing interrelation between climate and security. Italy did its part in 2017, by organizing an Arria Formula meeting on the security implications of rising temperatures, and we very much appreciate that the Netherlands, are now carrying on the discussion with a focus on security risks related to water stress in the context, as you said, of our split term in the Council. We also commend many other Member States represented in this room that having been proactive, over these years, in bringing these topics to the attention of the Council. We hope that future Council members will take the baton as Continuity is indeed key.
Water stress is not due exclusively to climate change and climate change is not reflected only in water scarcity or increasing floods. There is no doubt, however, that the two phenomena are closely linked to each other, in a cause-effect interrelation.
The latest IPCC Report contains an authoritative wake up call for the international community: on the current path, the world is not on track to limiting global temperature rise to 1.5°C, Although the Report does not explicitly focus on security impacts of climate change, it clearly underscores that a warming world, especially about a 1.5°C increase, will increase the risk of state fragility and instability.
In light of this scenario, the underlying point in our discussion is the need for intensifying and accelerating the international action against climate change. Responding to the recent call of the Secretary General, we should double our efforts in ensuring a prompt and effective implementation of the Paris Agreement, starting with a successful COP 24 in Katowice and aiming at a renewed political commitment at the Climate Summit in September 2019.
Focusing on water-related security risks, like the Indonesian Ambassador we also believe that the 3Ps formula that you put on the table this afternoon – Predict, Prepare and Prevent – exemplify very effectively what needs to be done and with your permission I will borrow it to highlights few concepts of our own.
First of all, in order to be able to predict we need adequate technical capacity to anticipate the most serious impact of climate change, including in the forms of water stress; in this regard, we have to notice that much progress has been made over the years, notably through the deployment of satellite technology. Good examples are the Galileo and Copernicus Programs, created by the EU to which Italy actively contributes. Through these new means there is nowadays the possibility to better monitor rainfall patterns, soil moisture, humidity, glacier-mass balance and river flows, thus being able to detect the early signs of water depletion or water changing patterns. And this is indeed essential for early warning.
Preparedness requires that we use this available information to strengthen risk analysis and risk assessment. We heard Mr. Turk suggesting a strengthening of the analytical capacity of the UN Secretariat and Mr. Jenča elaborating on what DPA is already doing in that respect and we encourage them to proceed in this direction. Preparing also means incorporating risk assessment of climate-related threats into strategic level policy decisions – at multilateral, regional and national level – mapping the areas where risks are higher and trying to routinize, institutionalize, integrate and elevate the response. Our Arria formula meeting last year was mostly dedicated to this dimension. We were also particularly active on these aspects in the course of our 2017 G7 Presidency, when we presided over the G7 Working Group on Climate and Fragility.
Finally, preventing means being pro-active in de-activating climate-related threats; in other words passing from risk identification and risk assessment to action and this is by far the most difficult and most challenging part, as it requires the capacity and willingness to invest resources in a long-term perspective, addressing the root causes of conflict. But this is, on the other end, exactly the message contained in the Secretary General’s strategy on the prevention of conflicts, And we strongly support this approach, which should apply, in our opinion, also to security risks related to water stress..
In conclusion, Italy recognizes the need for a more comprehensive and concerted international action with a clear role also of the Security Council to address water-related security aspects prevention of conflicts passes also through water diplomacy. In the same time we believe that emphasis should be put on the potential of water diplomacy not only to prevent the deflagration of conflicts, but also to trigger positive dynamics in terms of poverty reduction, economic growth and sustainable development.
Thank you very much.