Statement by Vassily Nebenzia, Permanent Representative of Russia to the UN, at the VTC of UNSC members “Climate and Security”
We thank Mr.Jenča, Colonel Seydou Magagi, and Ms. Pasisi for their briefings.
We agree that security and stability in individual countries and regions may be affected by adverse impacts of climate change as one of the multiple factors.
But the root causes of conflicts are much more complex where climate change may be one of the factors, country or region specific. We strongly disagree that climate is a generic security issue.
Creating climate-change-related mandates for the Security Council and relevant instructions to peacekeepers would have a number of harmful consequences. First, it will result in diverting time and resources from addressing the root causes of conflicts. Second, the division of labour between main UN organs in line with its Charter would be violated. Third, dubious and vague interpretation of risk factors could only lead to false conclusions and, as a result, failure to provide effective solutions. There is no conclusive, universally recognized and scientifically substantiated evidence that climate change has an impact on armed conflicts. In this respect, we find it inappropriate to involve political experts in drawing conclusions related to essentially scientific domain.
Climate change itself is, indeed, one of the greatest challenges of our time. Collective efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to ensure effective adaptation measures are part of the achievement of sustainable development in its three dimensions – economic, social and environmental. This has been confirmed by major international documents on the subject, including the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Our task is to scale up specific practical actions in line with intergovernmentally-agreed instruments. In the case of climate change – it is the UNFCCC and the Paris Agreement.
This is why we are concerned about continuous efforts to use the Security Council to steer the discussion on climate change away from its adverse impacts on development. At the end of the day, it will be detrimental to those most vulnerable, in particular the least developed countries, landlocked developing countries and small island developing States and countries suffering due to unilateral coercive measures who are experiencing even bigger problems as a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic. It seems to us that some donor countries are trying to pull out this “security card” to cover up their lack of action to scale up climate financing and technology exchange in line with their previous commitments and render sufficient practical assistance to those who need it here and now.
As for practical input of the UN system to addressing climate-related challenges – it is the UN Development System at large and the Resident Coordinators in particular who play a critical role in coordinating development efforts on the ground, including climate projects that may contribute to greater stability in addition to their specific objectives.
So we should not “reinvent the wheel” but simply leave climate expertise within this expert domain.