SECURITY COUNCIL DEBATE
Threats to International Peace and Security: Climate and Security in Africa
12th October 2022
Statement of Italy, delivered by Ambassador Maurizio Massari, Permanent Representative to the United Nations
Italy thanks Gabon for convening this timely debate and the briefers for their insightful remarks. While aligning with the statement by Germany, on behalf of the Group of Friends on Climate and Security, I would like to deliver the following remarks in a national capacity.
The two-way interaction of climate and security cannot be ignored. The adverse effects of climate change, coupled with other destabilizing factors such as extreme poverty, food insecurity, institutional fragility, and terrorism, are posing a serious threat to international peace and security.
At the same time, social tensions and conflicts can further reduce resilience to climate change, especially when communities largely depend on scarce natural resources for their livelihoods, hampering development perspectives.
African States and their most vulnerable populations, including women and children, are often among the world’s most impacted by the disruptions caused by climate change, which acts as a threat multiplier for violence and instability.
The ongoing severe droughts and heat waves in the Horn of Africa and the Sahel are displacing millions of people and fueling conflicts. This is not only an African problem: it is an alarm bell for all of us, requiring collective solutions to be found hand in hand with our African partners.
The 2021 State of the Climate in Africa, a report shared earlier this year by the African Union Commission and the World Meteorological Organization, reveals that high water stress is estimated to affect about 250 million people on the continent and displace up to 700 million individuals by 2030.
Italy therefore welcomes the efforts by the African Member States to bring to the attention of the Security Council and the entire UN Membership the links between climate change and security in Africa.
As a founding member of the European Union, Italy sees the benefit of a reinforced partnership between the United Nations and regional organizations. The climate change, peace and security nexus is indeed being mainstreamed across the joint UN-EU priorities.
In this vein, we encourage all Member States to back a strengthened partnership between the UN System and the African Union, to tackle together the risks to peace and stability posed by the climate crises that are affecting too many regions in Africa.
To tackle climate change we need to accelerate international climate action on all fronts: mitigation, adaptation and finance. An increased attention to the climate and security nexus must also be part of these efforts.
Stepping up climate finance is particularly critical. Financial flows should be oriented towards the design and implementation of projects in conflict-affected areas, where the negative consequences of climate change are most profoundly felt and aggravate insecurity.
Moreover, we believe that mitigation and adaptation should be further integrated 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. As the co-chair of the Group of Friends on Leading on Environmental Management in the Field, together with Bangladesh, Italy is particularly engaged in this area and will continue to provide its contribution.
At the national level, Italy – through the Carabinieri Corps – has set up an International Center of Excellence for the Environment, aimed at training military and police forces, as well as civilians, on environmental protection. We are looking forward to working with the UN System and all Member States on capacity building programs.
I thank you.