“Arria Formula” informal meeting: Statement by Ambassador Berger on Climate Security

Feb 15, 2013

(Statement as prepared for delivery by Ambassador Berger in an “Arria Formula” informal meeting of members of the Security Council on Climate Security)

"Honourable Minister, Excellencies, dear colleagues,

At the outset, I would like to thank Pakistan and the United Kingdom for initiating this debate. 18 months ago, in July 2011, the Security Council discussed the security implications of climate change in a formal meeting at the initiative of Germany. This resulted in a presidential statement expressing the Council’s concern about the possible adverse effects of climate change on international peace and security. We are happy to see the Council again taking up this important issue in today´s informal meeting.

Let me join previous speakers in thanking the keynote speakers for their valuable thoughts and the Secretary-General for his presence in this debate.

Germany aligns itself with the statement made by the European Union.

Colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Prof. Schellnhuber eloquently presented the alarming findings of recent climate research: It is not just facts, it is threats – be it to food and water security in Pakistan, to social stability in the Sahel, to the inhabitants and infrastructure of coastal cities or to the very existence of some small island states.

With the current trends of CO2 emissions, climate change will continue and lead us into a 4 degrees scenario with devastating consequences – with a high risk to economic growth and a grave threat to peace and security.

Therefore, each UN member state should take responsibility for climate and human security and become engaged at national and international level.

Colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would like to emphasize 3 points:

1. Avoiding dangerous global warming by taking action to curb emissions is the best way to address the obvious security implications of climate change. The international community has committed itself to adopting a climate protection protocol, another legal instrument or an agreed outcome by 2015 with legal force for Parties. Let me stress: We must take action today to avoid the worst effects of climate change happening to our children and grandchildren – but also in our lifetime. More than ever, climate diplomacy is one of the key challenges for foreign policy in the 21st century. It should be a priority for all UN member states.

2. The UN has a pivotal role to play. The UNFCCC remains the key forum for addressing climate change. However, in accordance with UNGA resolution 63/281, all relevant UN organs, including the Security Council, need to intensify their efforts to combat climate change, including its possible security implications. In this context, the request to the SG to ensure that his reports to the Security Council contain contextual information on the possible security implications of climate change remains important.

We should also consider whether a UN Special Envoy on Climate and Security could help us to tackle the foreign and security policy implications of climate change.

3. In Rio, our Heads of State and Government agreed on a vision for the future we want. In New York, we are now embarking on a number of processes in which we will work out the details. Let us not forget: Climate change and its security implications will shape tomorrow’s world in a way that is almost impossible to overestimate. This is why the transformation of our economies into low-carbon economies is so important. This is why we cannot and must not continue to fuel our economies with fossil resources. This is why it is time now to move towards a green economy and truly sustainable development, in order to create the future we want – and to avoid a future we should all fear.

I thank you."

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