Ministerial Meeting "GoF Climate & Security" - Belgian Intervention

Ministerial Meeting « GoF Climate & Security »

woensdag 26/9/2018, 16h30-18h
organisatoren: Duitsland, Pacific State of Nauru


Belgian intervention


In June Belgium was elected as non-permanent member of the Security Council for 2019-2020. Multilateralism and attention for the most vulnerable countries such as the LDCs and the SIDS are at the core of Belgium’s diplomacy. In this context we are strongly convinced about the need to address the link between the impact of climate change and security.  Very important work on climate and security has been launched in recent years by many present here at this event. This is something to be built upon.

Climate change is a threat multiplier. This is for many the point of departure. It interacts with other risks and threats with direct and indirect implications for international security and stability;

  • Rising sea-levels pose a direct threat to existence of the SIDS,
  • Climate change can exacerbate poverty as well as the displacement of populations as the land, lakes and rivers they have relied on dry up,
  • And climate related events like droughts, floods and crop disease outbreaks can devastate harvests and lead to volatile food prices, food shortages, and political upheavals with potentially global repercussions.

These impacts are by now all well documented and there is recently a broad political awareness on the nexus between climate and security. The upcoming IPCC special report on global warming of 1,5° C will certainly further demonstrate the urgency of the challenge ahead of us.

From the Belgian perspective we would like to stress 2 priorities on this crucial topic.

Firstly, we think the climate and security nexus needs urgently to evolve from a discussion about the evidence of the nexus, which is beyond any doubt by now, towards a more practical and operational level. We need to become action-oriented. This means that we need to look into very concrete options on how the debates on security threats in specific regions can also be informed by risk analysis with regard to climate impacts. Many international actors both from the UN system (IPCC, UNEP) as from outside the UN (World Resources Institute) have developed very useful analytical work and so the knowledge is available. What is missing is a way of providing the UN SC with such information. Also with respect to ways of managing these risks there is plenty of capacity available within the UN system for instance within UNDP or within the different implementing agencies. This is certainly not about creating new institutional layers but it is all about finding ways of bringing the know-how together and make it available when addressing security threats. This is fully compatible with a one UN approach.

Secondly, we need to further raise the political attention for tackling climate change and for increasing resilience to the impact of climate change. A successful outcome at Katowice end of this year adopting the Paris Work Programme would certainly be a major contributor to this, but as a next step the UN SG initiative for a Climate Summit in September 2019 is key because it is the moment we all should be in the phase of preparing for new ambitious climate actions implementing the Paris Agreement. It is particularly important that one of the six priority areas of the 2019 Summit is ‘resilience’. Building resilience means preventing conflicts!

In conclusion: to reach your end goal, you need a roadmap and you need to start moving, step by step. Countries in this room have already engaged in concrete steps including in the Security Council. Belgium will follow in their path and add more steps. We would welcome regular consultation between all of us. We are eager to learn from Sweden, The Netherlands and others, who are today on the Security Council, on how they managed to make progress. We are eager to work with Germany and the Dominican Republic and others to advance our common cause.

Thank you.