Open debate on the Impact of Climate Change and Food Insecurity

Statement by H. E. Ambassador Sanja Štiglic, Deputy Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of the Republic of Slovenia and State Secretary for Political and Multilateral Affairs and Development Cooperation at the UN Security Council Open Debate on the Impact of Climate Change and Food Insecurity on the Maintenance of International Peace and Security

Thank you, Mr President,

Let me congratulate you on assuming the Presidency of the Security Council and thank you for convening the open debate on the highly pressing topic of climate change and food insecurity. The Council’s role in advancing prevention and sustaining peace in a world with a rapidly changing climate is essential.

I would also like to thank the briefers for highlighting the complexity of interdependence of climate change, food security and peace.

Mr President,

Climate change induced weather extremes, such as droughts and floods, lead to natural resource shortages and food insecurity. Already fragile communities are usually hit the hardest. Slovenia follows with great concern how climate change has exposed millions of people in the Horn of Africa to acute food insecurity.

Conflict risks escalate amid food and water scarcity. The growing gap between water supply and demand might lead to even more conflicts over water resources, arable land and food, as we see across the Sahel.

On the other hand, armed conflicts also often lead to the devastation of food systems. The war in Sudan has disrupted the crops and has left the food markets empty. The war in Gaza has devastated water infrastructure and natural environment, considerably adding to the extreme suffering of civilian population already facing severe food shortages. Slovenia is gravely concerned about the impact of war in Ukraine and its long-term consequences on global food supply chains.

Compliance with international humanitarian and human rights law is of paramount importance.

Finally, armed conflicts affect the human and natural environment long after the guns go silent. Soil degradation, water pollution, habitat destruction, and dangers posed by landmines and unexploded ordnance hinder recovery and restoration of food systems after the war.

Mr President,

The UN system must use all tools at its disposal, including the full, equal and meaningful participation of women in addressing climate change and food insecurity. This is key to boosting inclusive, sustainable development and building resilience of affected societies.

Millions around the world are bearing the brunt of the changing climate, with women, children and older persons hit the hardest. Eating last and eating least is a daily reality of mothers in the most fragile communities.

Emergency humanitarian relief and development cooperation in the field of climate adaptation and mitigation must be complemented with endeavours for peace and security. And the UN Security Council must play its part.

Climate change is a defining challenge of our time. It poses direct existential threat to many UN Member States and it can act as a driver of conflicts. The transboundary nature of climate change and food insecurity demands the response of the international community as a whole.

We, as the members of the Security Council have a challenging task ahead of us – preserving peace and security in the context of addressing issues related to effects of climate change that are relevant to our mandate.

We can do that by looking at all situations on the Security Council agenda through a climate-sensitive lens. Climate Security Mechanism and its network of climate security advisors can significantly contribute to that end.

We can also tap into the potential of new technologies and early warning systems. Satellite imagery and Artificial Intelligence, as examples, revolutionised the way we predict climate threats, and their impact on food and water security and migration patterns to identify potential conflict triggers before they escalate. Prevention is key.

Mr President,

As this debate shows, there is a strong need for the Council to address the adverse effects of climate change and food insecurity on peace and security. Slovenia stands ready to take part in all such efforts.

Thank you.

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