Statement by H.E. Muhammad Abdul Muhith, Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the UN in New York on Security Council Open Debate on: Threats to international peace and security: Sea-level rise: implications for international peace and security, 14 February 2023, UN Security Council Chamber of the United Nations Headquarters

Madame President, 

I congratulate your delegation on your assumption of the Presidency of the Security Council. I thank your delegation for convening this very timely debate.

As a low-lying coastal country, sea-level rise poses an existential threat to the lives and livelihoods of the coastal population of Bangladesh. Just 1-meter rise in sea level rise could result into inundation of a large area of Bangladesh, and could potentially displace more than 40 million people by the end of this century.

To address the multidimensional threats posed by climate change and sea level rise, we have adopted comprehensive national policies and strategies. However, these measures at the national level will have no minimal real impact if the global response to sea level rise and its diverse implications remains slow and inadequate.

Allow me to share a few specific thoughts on today’s topic:


First, we see sea-level rise as a risk multiplier that may affect various dimensions of human security, especially in climate vulnerable countries. It may create new risks or exacerbate existing ones by undermining food, energy and water security and even cause the loss of national territory.

Broad understanding and recognition of the implications of the sea-level rise to peace and security are critical for taking appropriate action at the national, regional and global level in the spirit of solidarity and international cooperation.


Second, among others, displacement of affected persons comes as a great security threat from sea level rise. In Bangladesh each year, on an average 110 thousand people are being displaced from the low-lying areas. Due to sea level rise and its multidimensional adverse impacts on water, soil, flora and faunas.  This exacerbates the existing social challenges including in population management, housing and social security architecture in the affected countries. Presence of 1.2 million Rohingya in southern part of my country has further aggravated the situations in an already land scared Bangladesh.

We need a concrete legal framework and effective response mechanisms to address the issue of forced displacement of people. Secretary-General’s Action Agenda on Internal Displacement is an important opportunity to step up collective action and resolve to address climate change related internal displacement.


Third, the risks and vulnerabilities emanated from climate change and sea level rise need to be addressed in a holistic manner including through measures that contribute to mitigation and adaptation. In this regard, climate finance, technology transfer and capacity building are crucial. Developed countries must fulfill their commitments to strengthen the supportive measures of the vulnerable countries.

We welcome the Loss and Damage Fund established at the COP27 to support the global response to the adverse impact of climate change including sea-level rise.


Madame President

Despite repeated calls from the scientists, policy makers and the people affected by the climate change, actions to avert climate catastrophe remains seriously inadequate. Most unfortunately, there is a persistent denial mood – while countries like Bangladesh, with no historical role in climate change or factors that contribute to sea level rise, continues to suffer the worst consequences.

Against this backdrop we believe the upcoming resolution in the General Assembly seeking advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice on the legal implications of climate change is a critical step for securing climate justice and equity for our people. We urge all member States to extend their support to this historic initiative.

I thank you all.