Minister Cannon T.D. remarks at meeting of the Friends on Climate & Security
Speech26 September 2018
To better understand the security-climate nexus, the global community needs more analysis and information upon which to draw. This must come from experts, drawing on physical and social science disciplines.
This must also be complemented by lived experience on the ground. We must hear the testimonies of those at the frontline if we are to understand the complexity of the linkages and how they vary across contexts.
There has been some good practice in addressing the threat of climate to security. We must work to identify this best practice where it exists. This could be good cooperation in managing scarce resources, or successful adaptation efforts that have transformed livelihoods in areas of high climate stress. Success factors can be replicated, and we must find a way to do this.
The UN and the Security Council in particular must find ways to work more systematically with regional and sub-regional bodies (for example IGAD, ECOWAS). These bodies have a wealth of different experiences, networks and perspectives that can help us understand the context better.
Within the UN system, the Council could work more effectively with the UN Framework Convention for Climate Change, specifically to address climate ‘hotspots’ and help accelerate support. Many of these climate- and indeed security- hotspots lie in least developed countries. Irish Aid works closely with the Least Developed Countries Expert Group, and provides funding for its activities. This helps the UNFCCC to address the needs of LDCs, and help them prevent conflict due to climate pressures.
Ireland’s own experience of conflict has taught us that the role of women must never be overlooked. This is particularly true when it comes to climate stress. Women are the most directly affected by climate change, but also the stakeholder group with the most to contribute to peace processes. Through our work with the Mary Robinson Foundation – Climate Justice and others, we have been able to get women’s voices heard in global fora- and help them influence key decisions. Women – particularly those at the frontline of climate and conflict-must have a stronger voice at the Security Council.
The efforts at UN System Wide Reform has a role to play here too. It is important that UN country teams are taking into account explicit security risks emanating from climate change and its stresses in their routine planning and engagement.
Ireland has provided some €66m this year in climate finance, a further increase on last year. This is mostly channelled to least developed countries, to help them to adapt to climate change. Efforts at targeting climate finance to the poorest will help address these stress factors, but will not be enough alone.
Ireland strongly supports the proposal for the Security Council to appoint a Special Representative on Climate and Security, to shine further light on this challenge of a generation.