Statement by H.E. Rabab Fatima, Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the United Nations at the Security Council Open Debate on “Maintenance of international peace and security: Climate Security” 23 February 2021

I thank the UK Presidency for convening today’s high-level open debate of the Security Council on “Maintenance of international peace and security: Climate security.” I also thank the UN Secretary General for sharing his important insights on this issue.

Mr. President,

Bangladesh contributes the least to the global GHGs. Yet, we feature among the most climate vulnerable countries in the world. According to German Watch’s climate risk index, Bangladesh is the 7th worst hit nation due to extreme weather events. Amid the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, we were battered by super cyclone Amphan and recurrent monsoon floods.  Climate change is indeed an existential issue for us. Just one-meter rise in sea level can inundate one-fifth of Bangladesh.

We have recently taken over the Presidency of the 48-member Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF). As its President, we expect to make progress on the vital issues for CVF countries in COP-26 in Glasgow.

Bangladesh is of the firm view that climate change and related disasters is a development issue and must be addressed in the context of international development cooperation. Big emitters need to go for rapid mitigation of GHGs. Also, there should be adequate resources and technology support to the most vulnerable countries to address the challenges.  Climate financing remains woeful, especially to the most vulnerable countries.  The 2030 Agenda, the Paris Agreement and the Sendai Framework must be implemented in their true letter and spirit.

We acknowledge the multifaceted risks posed by climate induced disasters, especially in cases of large-scale population displacement. In this context, we underscore the need for establishing evidence-based nexus between climate change and international peace. The IPCC Fifth Assessment Report specifies that “the evidence on the effect of climate change and variability on violence is contested.” It, however, recognizes the impacts of climate change on human security, especially for those who are already marginalized.  We need to be cautious about espousing an “alarmist” approach to this issue.

Let me share a few specific thoughts in this regard:

First, we see climate change as a risk multiplier that may affect various dimensions of human security in climate vulnerable countries. It may create new risks or exacerbate existing ones by undermining food security, water security, energy security, livelihood security, etc. It is imperative to create opportunities for alternative livelihoods and encourage localized solutions to such pressing problems, especially to prevent or minimize population displacement.

Second, we need to factor in climate change impacts on sustained livelihoods, population displacement, and socio-economic shocks with the help of development and human security lens. The UN must take an evidence-based approach drawing on national and subnational sources of information to act appropriately.

Third, in a conflict situation, the impacts of climate change may interact with other drivers of fragility to further exacerbate human security challenges. The PBC with its mandate of peacebuilding and sustaining peace can play a crucial role in such contexts. Prevention at the source will be the key.

Fourth, it is important to leverage on the synergies among the peace-development and humanitarian actors. The twin resolutions on peacebuilding and sustaining peace stress on such a cross-cutting approach. Over-securitization of climate change discourse must be avoided. It is imperative not to divert any resources from global efforts of mitigation and adaptation.

Finally, the 2020 QCPR encourages the UN to mainstream the implementation of Paris Agreement in the strategic plans of the funds and programs. It is, therefore, imperative to include the key components of the national Governments’ climate priorities including INDCs in UN’s in-country planning.

I thank you all.