Statement from the Foreign Minister of Germany Heiko Maas for the BCSC 2020

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"Distinguished colleagues,
Deputy Secretary-General Mohammed,
Ladies and gentlemen,

For most of us, exponential growth was an abstract concept - until the COVID-19 pandemic hit us. In the past weeks, we all learned about its potentially catastrophic effects.

The pattern is the same for climate change, even though it happens in slow motion. And the consequences are equally severe – for human lives and as a source of future conflicts.

Foreign and security policy must reflect this and finally embrace a new concept of security. Today we know: Not a single shot must be fired to throw entire regions into turmoil. A long drought can have an equally destructive effect.

Climate change has become one of the key risks to global peace and stability. Against this backdrop, Germany has decided to put the impacts of climate change on peace and security at the heart of its membership of the UN Security Council. Addressing them must become a daily routine in its work.

During our Presidency of the Council in July, we will organize a high-level debate on the topic. We want to make progress – despite clear reluctance by some members of the Council.
But we can count on the support of the vast majority of its members, the Group of Friends on climate and security, and the United Nations family as a whole.

And what is equally important: We can rely on scientific evidence and on our strong partnership with civil society.

One product of this partnership is the “Global Risk and Foresight Assessment” that Germany will be launching today. It is a state-of-the-art report on climate and security, composed by leading scientific institutions, that provides concrete solutions for decision makers.

Our hope is that it will become a global reference document in the future. And I am glad that Prof. Edenhofer will tell us more about this project later.

Ladies and gentlemen,
The COVID-19-pandemic taught us about exponential growth. But it also showed us what we are capable of as humans. We flattened the curve of the pandemic. We even saw what was deemed unbelievable a few months ago: clean canals in Venice and a clear sky over Beijing.

So, let us build on that experience. And let us work together to flatten not only the curve of the pandemic, but also the curves of rising emissions and of growing climate-related risks to international peace and security.

Climate change does not take a break in times of COVID-19. Neither should we.

Thank you."
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