Remarks by Ambassador Ferit Hoxha at the UN Security Council Open Debate on Climate Change, Peace and Security

Must read

13 June 2023

Thank you, Mr. President,

We thank the UAE for calling this meeting as a genuine effort to keep this issue on the Council’s agenda and explore concrete ways to contribute in promoting resilience in face of multiple vulnerabilities, growing humanitarian needs, and security threats caused by climate change.

I thank USG Lacroix, President Santos and Ms. Kadry for their remarks.

Last week, heavy and dangerous smoke of Canadian forest fires was all over the city and the East Coast. It was an alert of a connection between climate change and the increased number and severity of wildfires worldwide, one of the consequences of breakdown of climate.

Millions of people are already suffering the devastating consequences of climate change, with floods, droughts, suffocating heat. Last year, which ranked among the hottest on record, the WHO estimated that Europe – one of the most developed part of the world – saw 15,000 heat related deaths – compared to 6,701 deaths globally from terrorist attacks. Millions lose their lives globally.

Climate change is already causing famine, displacement, unrest, and instability. It can exacerbate grievances and increase the risk of insecurity and violent conflict, when its impacts interact with social, political and economic stresses to compound vulnerabilities.

We are used here to discuss about various threats, in different countries and various parts of the world. Yet, climate change is the most existential threat to our continued existence on this planet. It is already hitting hard some regions but it does not stop at any border, and it will not spare any corner of the world.

Mr. President,

Despite the threat bells ringing incessantly, there is not yet agreement on the need for this Council to address climate change and its impact on our security.

This is not a mere environmental problem; this is not a simple development issue; science tells us that this is not a recurring hazard and we, humans and our behavior, are to blame.

It is a profound dangerous disruption with serious security implications and it generates consequences that reach the very heart of the security agenda.

Rising sea levels, desertification, and extreme weather events can displace large numbers of people from their homes. This can lead to increased migration, both within countries and across borders, straining social and political systems.

Let’s not forget: only an increase of less than two feet in sea level would put at risk the very survival of population in many Pacific Islands.

Climate change can contribute to political instability and conflict. In regions already struggling with poverty, weak governance, and ethnic tensions, climate-related impacts can amplify existing grievances. Disruption of livelihoods, water scarcity, and food insecurity can fuel social unrest and increase the risk of violence and terrorism. The very nature of the interconnected world means that events in one region have the potential to impact others.

The Security Council cannot remain indifferent to the security implications of climate. Failing to recognize the profoundly disruptive effect of climate on the security landscape will not be the solution and ignoring this existential threat should not be the way ahead. For us, there is no doubts that it is an cute matter of collective security in a fragile and increasingly interdependent world.

Including, as we heard, for the UN peace operations, which remain underprepared and ill-equipped in face of growing challenges.

I would like to also underline the disproportional impact of climate change, especially toward women and girls, in conflict zones and beyond.

Climate and environmental action and disaster risk reduction need to be gender-responsive, value and promote women and girls as well as the youth as agents of change and directly address the specific risks they face.

In this spirit, Albania joined a Statement presented this morning, on Joint Pledges on Climate, Peace and Security by UAE, Switzerland, Gabon, Malta and Mozambique.

Mr. President,

The goals have been set and the roadmap is clear: the world must remain united in efforts to reduce carbon emissions;  we need to reach carbon neutrality by 2050; we need to stick to keeping the limit of 1.5 degree temperature rise; we need to secure appropriate funding. This is the path, this is our lifeline.

The urgency of the climate crisis demands that we unite in a common cause, transcending political divisions and partisan differences.

The risks posed by climate change to peace and security, prosperity and well-being are multiple, and the magnitude and immediacy of the challenges require action now.

As Secretary Kerry said it earlier, in clear terms, it is about keeping the promises with everyone doing its part.

We may choose to continue debating among us, kicking the can down the road but the price we will pay will only be higher, especially for our children and the generations to come.

Thank you!

More articles

Latest article