Statement from the UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed for the BCSC 2020

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"Excellencies, distinguished ministers, ladies and gentlemen, thank you for this real opportunity to share the United Nations’ perspective on the fundamental issues of climate change and security. The Covid-19 pandemic has driven home how quickly a sudden crisis can disrupt lives and take away livelihoods, exposing the fragility of our world.

This fragility is also evident in the inadequate multilateral response to the climate crisis and to preventing an end to violent conflict, which are strongly linked. Of the 15 countries most susceptible to climate risks, eight already host a United Nations Peacekeeping or Special Political Mission. I have seen for myself, how in the Sahel, the Lake Chad region, the Horn of Africa and the Middle East climate change exacerbates pressing security challenges - the burden of which falls on the shoulders of women and girls.

The United Nations has been working for more than a decade on the nexus between climate and security, from competition over resources to volatile food prices and migration. Our teams around the world support the efforts of member states to prevent and reduce climate-related security risks by strengthening data collection and analysis to identify the drivers of conflict and the solutions to address the crisis. In high-risk regions we help to build the resilience of communities and states.

Our support plan for the Sahel establishes six priority areas, including climate action and renewable energy, for ten countries across the region. As you deliberate today, please consider these three priorities: First, investing in adaptation and resilience, especially at the community level which is critical to conflict prevention. Second, investing in new technologies to improve climate risk forecasting. Very few countries affected by conflict have the tools to anticipate and prevent climate stress. Third, we cannot eliminate climate-security risks without urgent climate action.

The UN Secretary General’s Climate Action Summit coalitions provide an entry point to invest in sustainable solutions and I urge all countries to adopt pandemic recovery strategies that are aligned with the Secretary General’s six climate positive principles and to commit to high-quality Nationally Determined Contributions, consistent with the 1.5 degree Celsius and adaptation goals of the Paris agreement.

One of the great injustices of the climate crisis is that countries most affected by it did least to cause it. Excellencies, we need your leadership today more than ever to right the wrongs and address climate justice for future generations. Thank you."
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