Statement by Nathalie Broadhurst, Deputy Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations, Chargé d’Affaires, at the UN Security Council Ministerial Meeting on Climate, Food Security, and Conflict

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13 February 2024

Mr. President,

I would like to thank you and congratulate you for having taken the initiative of organizing this debate on the theme of “climate, food security and conflict”. This is an important subject to be addressed within the framework of the Security Council.

I would like to thank the briefers for their very enlightening briefings.

We all know that climate change exacerbates volatile contexts, and is often one of the root and sometimes immediate causes of armed conflict. These conflicts remain the primary cause of food crises. They also have an impact on the environment as well as on climate change and the loss of biodiversity. Of the twenty countries most affected by conflict in the world, twelve are among those most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, while of the ten most sensitive to these risks, nine are in a situation of food insecurity. Stability, peace and security, food security and climate change are intrinsically linked. No one can or should ignore this any longer. And that’s why it’s so important for our Council to address this chain of causes and consequences seriously.

This Council knows: Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine has seriously exacerbated the global food crisis. By attempting to prevent the passage of foodstuffs, by destroying the Ukrainian agricultural system, Russia is doing so at the expense of the countries suffering most from this food crisis.

This Council knows it too: we are still a long way from the goal we set ourselves in 2009, in General Assembly resolution 281, which called on the United Nations to redouble its efforts to address the impact of climate change on international peace and security. And it is essential that we fully implement Resolution 2417.

It’s time to move from words to deeds. This requires the full mobilization of this Council. We must be able to better assess, anticipate and prevent the impact of climate change on international peace and security, particularly in the area of food security.

We must also systematically call on all parties to conflicts to respect international humanitarian law, which prohibits the use of hunger as a weapon of war.

Mr. President,

I would like to make three proposals:

Firstly, the Council must be kept briefed in detail on the impact of climate and food crises in the most vulnerable regions. We call on the Special Representatives, in particular, to give us precise information during their briefings, and to make recommendations for targeted actions in certain areas, especially Africa, where ambitious initiatives such as the Great Green Wall are taking shape.

Secondly, our Council must focus more on risk prevention. We must bolster the mandates of UN Missions, so that they can support the most vulnerable countries in terms of risk assessment and management, and propose concrete actions.

Finally, we must continue to support the work of the United Nations on the ground. The Climate, Peace and Security Advisors deployed to certain UN Missions play a very useful role. They assist countries in building their risk assessment and management capacities, and also work to strengthen partnerships with local and regional stakeholders. France is working towards this end, in particular through the United Nations Office in Central Africa (UNOCA).

We also encourage the United Nations, in line with troop-contributing countries, to pursue the implementation of environmental strategies within peacekeeping operations themselves.

We call on member states to join the collective effort by acceding to the United Nations Inter-Agency Mechanism on Climate, Peace and Security, whose goal is to integrate climate change in a cross-cutting way into the various UN work relating to peace and security, through a field-oriented and integrated approach. France is also actively committed to this effort.

Mr. President,

We must act together without delay in all these directions, and step up our collective efforts to implement the Paris Agreement and to meet the challenge of climate change. The Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs of France is carrying out an ambitious climate diplomacy. For our development, for peace and security, and for our collective survival.

Thank you.

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