February 5, 2023

UAE STATEMENT AT THE UN SECURITY COUNCIL MEETING ON CLIMATE AND SECURITY IN AFRICA

Thank you, Mr. President,

 

I would like to begin by thanking Ms. Martha Pobee, Assistant Secretary-General for Africa, Mr. Tanguy Gahouma, and Mr. Patrick Youssef for their insightful briefings.

 

I would also like to thank you, Your Excellency, Foreign Minister Michael Moussa Adamo, for convening this very important debate and for Gabon’s leadership on climate security and action. Your President’s call at Africa Climate Week for innovative, concrete, and sustainable solutions led by African nations could not be timelier with COP27 just weeks away and this Council facing a deluge of security issues worsened by climate change. Your statement, Mr. Foreign Minister, starkly highlights the link between climate change and peace and security, and the Security Council has discussed this nexus since 2007. You’re also right that it has failed thus far to address it, as Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield has so eloquently outlined. In the intervening period, the list of countries and regions destabilized by unprecedented droughts, heat waves, floods, and other extreme weather events has grown exponentially. North, West, East, and Southern Africa all feature aspects of climate stress manifested in humanitarian and security crises. As the Secretary-General mentioned in this chamber yesterday, the fact that Africa has contributed so little to the cause of climate change yet suffers so significantly from its impacts is a textbook example of moral and economic injustice. Moreover, climate finance flows to African countries account for only 4% of the global total – a stark deficiency. Many African countries – notably the most fragile – receive less than $2 per capita of climate finance. This is 80 times less than other developing countries, which already receive insufficient climate finance.

 

While there may not be agreement within this Council, yet, on a framework to address the links between climate change and security, we can all acknowledge the urgency and wisdom of lifting investment to prevent climate impacts from escalating into security situations. The UAE believes there is significant potential for the Council and other UN organs to take practical steps in partnership with national governments to make a real difference for the prosperity and security of frontline communities. In this context, I would like to highlight three areas of action for this year.

 

First, climate finance for fragile countries in Africa must sharply increase. The commitment at COP26 to double climate finance for adaptation is a much-needed step forward. But we would like to see additional commitments by climate finance providers made at COP27 and across other fora to eliminate the gap in their investments in fragile settings, without withdrawing financing from other developing countries. African countries and regional and sub-regional organizations like the African Union and ECOWAS have already done the hard work of identifying the priority investments, from food and water resilience to early warning systems. We commend the COP27 presidency’s Climate Responses for Sustaining Peace initiative to drive progress on this front and match funds with African-led solutions.

 

Second, anticipatory action must be a priority. Many climate impacts on security are now highly predictable. Studies by OCHA and the Central Emergency Response Fund indicate that twice as many people can be served at the same cost when resources are dispatched in advance on the basis of locally approved, scientifically credible forecasts. The Council should send a clear signal on the security value of expediting such processes and help shift the institutional mindset from reaction to prevention.

 

Third, the data. The Council needs more systematic and standardized reporting on climate security risks. Such analysis should be impartial, rigorous, and focused on presenting the Council with recommendations on how to react to security threats. We appreciate the work of the Climate Security Mechanism in this regard, as well as the growing number of climate security experts embedded with peace missions and institutions in Africa. This number should increase. We encourage further emphasis on analysis and reporting by the UN system, especially through collaboration with African regional bodies.

 

Mr. President,

 

Climate change is a defining challenge of our era. Next month’s COP27 is a key opportunity to rebalance the global conversation and focus on investment in African countries, and especially fragile communities. As the incoming president of COP28, the UAE commits to ambitious climate action, with a special focus on addressing fragility to further our commitment to empowering the Global South.

 

African stakeholders did not create the problem of climate change. But time and again, African countries have shown leadership to develop strategies to combat climate security risks and to be part of the solution. The rest of the world needs to listen and respond to their proposed solutions, working with them accordingly. A Gabonese proverb states that he who asks questions cannot avoid the answers. Africa has answered and the Council should listen.

 

Thank you, Mr. President.

 

Source: UAE Mission to UN