Statement delivered by the Permanent Representative of Italy to the United Nations, Ambassador Maurizio Massari, at the Security Council Open Debate on “Maintenance of International Peace and Security: Peace and security through preventive diplomacy: security in the context of terrorism and climate change.” —
Members of the Security Council,
First of all, I would like to express my solidarity in support to Niger and to G5 Sahel Joint Forces for the terrorist attacks perpetrated last Sunday and my deepest condolences to the families of the peacekeepers, victims of yesterday’s terrorist attack to MINUSMA.
Italy thanks Niger for convening this timely debate and aligns itself with the statements delivered by the European Union, as well as by Germany, on behalf of the Group of Friends on Climate and Security.
The adverse effects of climate change are posing a serious threat to international peace and security. We all need to double our efforts and heighten the Council’s attention to the climate and security nexus, as well as to its implications on terrorism.
Climate change is a threat multiplier, which has negative environmental and economic impacts, aggravating existing social vulnerabilities. More intense and frequent extreme weather events in many parts of the world are reducing the capacity of populations, especially those in situations of armed conflict, violence or fragility, to cope with climate shocks, with dramatic humanitarian consequences.
Furthermore, climate change often exacerbates internal conflicts and induces part of the population to migrate. These phenomena, even when they are not directly linked to international terrorism, contribute to creating fertile ground for violent extremism.
There is, therefore, an undeniable link between climate change and rising insecurity. In many areas of the African continent and the Middle East, climate change already has serious security implications. Terrorist activities are becoming more frequent in countries experiencing desertification and environmental degradation.
To counter the root causes of terrorism and their ever-growing negative consequences in regions affected by climate change, it is vital to strengthen international cooperation, particularly in areas of conflict or post-conflict situations, to support the provision of essential services to local populations.
Italy contributes to several international programs aimed at building the resilience of the communities affected by terrorism, such as the Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund, which supports local initiatives to address the drivers of violent extremism.
Moreover, we strongly believe that the role of UN peacekeeping missions cannot be limited to the military perspective. In the formulation of mandates for UN peacekeeping missions, we must pursue a holistic approach, ensuring that peace operations perform in the field in an efficient and sustainable way, also in terms of environmental impact.
For this reason, in February 2018, we launched, together with Bangladesh, the Group of Friends on Leading on Environmental Management in the Field which focuses on mitigating the environmental footprint of UN peacekeeping missions.
In conclusion, I wish to share Italy’s support for a strengthened cooperation on climate change, security and counter-terrorism, within all the organs of the United Nations, starting with the Security Council, which has the primary responsibility for international peace and security.
I thank you for your attention.