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Consiglio di Sicurezza – Dibattito Aperto su “Maintenance of international peace and security: Addressing the impacts of climate-related disasters on international peace and security”

Discorso pronunciato dall’Ambasciatore Stefano Stefanile, Vice Rappresentante Permanente dell’Italia presso le Nazioni Unite, al Dibattito Aperto in Consiglio di Sicurezza su “Maintenance of international peace and security: Addressing the impacts of climate-related disasters on international peace and security”—

Mr. President,

Italy welcomes this debate and aligns itself with the statement to be made by the European Union.
Today’s discussion follows a series of meetings of various nature organized by Security Council members since 2007 on the interrelation between climate and security. Italy has constantly contributed to this dynamic by regularly attending these meetings and by promoting, during its last term on the Council, in 2017, an Arria Formula meeting on the security implications of rising temperatures.

Therefore, we much appreciate the initiative of the Dominican Republic, which ensures continuity in this discussion and confirms that an increasing number of Member States are determined to keep the attention of the Security Council on a topic of the utmost relevance.

Mr. President,

as stated by the Secretary-General “climate change is the defining issue of our time” and it is also “a direct existential threat” to mankind and our planet. We are already witnessing the increasingly destabilizing consequences of climate change and climate-related disasters in vast areas of the world, from the Sahel to Central America and the Caribbean, from South-East Asia to the Pacific, as well as in the Mediterranean region.

Hurricanes, droughts, sea level rise and extreme weather conditions can be considered a new form of ‘natural hybrid threat’ to global security due to their devastating effects on water and food access, health conditions and socio-economic development in an increasing number of countries.

Some members of the International Community, such as the countries of the Sahel and the Lake Chad basin and the Small Island Developing States, are especially vulnerable to climate change and, therefore, more exposed to fragility risks. But the consequences of climate-related disasters in terms of humanitarian crisis, destabilization, resource-driven conflicts, forced displacement and migration flows, have an immediate, direct impact on the security of the entire planet.

The first dimension of intervention by the international community relates obviously to prevention and mitigation. Reducing the impact of climate-related disasters will largely depend on our capacity to contain global emissions within the targets of the Paris Agreement.

Notwithstanding the progress made at the CoP24 in Katowice, much remains to be done to achieve this crucial goal. The High Level Meeting promoted by the PGA on March 28 and the Climate Summit convened by the Secretary General on September 23 will be instrumental to intensify and accelerate the international action at all levels.

At the same time, it is essential to strengthen global efforts in terms of adaption, disaster prevention and emergency preparedness. The main policy document in this field is represented by the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, and the Italian Government is fully engaged in supporting its effective implementation.

Mr. President,

Italy is a high-risk country itself, exposed to frequent earthquakes, floods, landslides, volcanic eruptions and other dramatic events. Given this high vulnerability, Italy has developed a strong expertise in civil protection activities.,
We are eager to share our expertise and we are actively engaged in supporting local and international partners to build and develop national capacities in response to natural disasters.

As far as Africa is concerned, we operated in response to El Niño in Ethiopia, Mozambique, Malawi, Eswatini and Zimbabwe. In the Sahel area, Italy is strongly supporting the UN Integrated Strategy and, next Monday, it will launch in Rome, in cooperation with UNDP and FAO, the new Africa Center on Climate and Sustainable Development to facilitate assistance projects on food security, clean water and energy.

Italy has also established innovative Partnerships with the PSIDS, the CARICOM and the AOSIS countries, focusing on the reinforcement of national capacities on climate related issues.

Mr. President,

While being mindful of the contents and characteristics of its mandate, we believe that the Security Council too should also play its part and systematically incorporate the security dimension of climate-related impacts in its analysis and deliberations, including on country specific situations, in coordination with the wider UN System.

We have before us a global and multi-dimensional challenge. Therefore, all relevant international actors and institutions, as well as national authorities and the private sector, must adopt a coordinated and inclusive approach to provide the most effective response.

I thank you.