Fragile countries risk being ‘stuck in a cycle of conflict and climate disaster,’ Security Council told

OCHA/Otto Bakano
A family goes in search of water in Burkina Faso where more than 950,000 people are severely food insecure, notably in the conflict-hit northern regions.

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.

Climate change ­– and the shortages of water and food that come from it – is becoming increasingly linked to conflict, a senior United Nations official told the Security Council on Wednesday, warning that countries most vulnerable to drought and crop failure are also most vulnerable to conflict and fragility.

“Climate change is inextricably linked to some of the most pressing security challenges of our time,” said Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed during a debate intended to deepen understanding of climate-related security risks.

“Fragile countries are in danger of becoming stuck in a cycle of conflict and climate disaster. Where resilience is eroded, communities may be displaced and exposed to exploitation,” she added.

Ms. Mohammed is just back from her trip to Africa’s Lake Chad Basin with Margot Wallström, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Sweden, which chaired today’s Council meeting.

The region is “experiencing a crisis brought on by a combination of political, socio-economic, humanitarian and environmental factors,” Ms. Mohammed explained.

She noted that the drastic shrinking of Lake Chad by more than 90 per cent since the 1960s has led to environmental degradation, socio-economic marginalization and insecurity affecting 45 million people.

Exacerbated competition over scant resources and the vicious cycle of risk and vulnerability have decreased the resilience of populations to cope with humanitarian crises. Declining economic activity and agricultural loss have led to a lack of employment opportunities across the region.

The resulting socio-economic marginalization, she said, has exposed populations, in particular the young, to the risk of violent extremism and provided breeding ground for recruitment by groups such as Boko Haram.

The Boko Haram insurgency in north-east Nigeria and neighbouring countries of Cameroon, Chad and Niger, has left over 10 million people displaced and resulted in massive destruction of basic infrastructure, health and educational facilities, commercial buildings, private houses and agricultural assets.

“The multidimensional nature of this crisis underlines the complex relationship between climate change and conflict,” she stressed.

“We must understand climate change as one issue in a web of factors that can lead to conflict. Within this web, climate change acts as a threat multiplier, applying additional stress on prevailing political, social and economic pressure points,” she added.

The Deputy Secretary-General said that over the last 18 months, the Security Council has also recognized the adverse effects of climate change on stability in other geographical areas, including West Africa, the Sahel and the Horn of Africa.

The UN system is increasing climate-related security risk assessments and management strategies, she noted.

For example, the Secretary General’s forthcoming report on the UN Office for West Africa and the Sahel will report on recent developments involving the climate-security nexus in the region. The recalibrated UN Integrated Strategy for the Sahel is similarly climate-oriented, she said.

Ms. Mohammed also emphasized the importance of supporting programmes that place women and Youth at the heart of efforts.

“Desertification means women must travel larger distances to fetch water and food, forcing them to miss out on education and economic opportunities in the long term. Youth without jobs will take alternate route to terrorism,” she said.

In conclusion, she warned that climate change is moving faster than responses, urging the Security Council to do its part to help humankind keep pace.

Also addressing the Council was Hassan Janabi, Iraq’s Minister of Water Resources, who said that major river basins in Iraq and the rest of the region are subject to the greatest ever threat, resulting from climate change, as well as competition for shared water resources.

He said the absence of implementable bilateral and multilateral agreements or regional frameworks for the equitable use of shared water is contributing to potential conflicts that could and should be avoided.

Iraq fully supports diplomatic means to solve water scarcity issues, including through “water diplomacy” and similar initiatives intending to maintain the security of the planet with a view to creating an environment of trust and cooperation, he added.

Hindou Ibrahim, International Indigenous People Forum on Climate Change, said that the Security Council must address climate change as a security risk.

She said that in the Sahel, where 90 per cent of the economy relies on agriculture and pastoralism, a heat wave and drought has the potential to immediately hurt the economy and the people.

At the regional level, she added, climate change contributes to reinforcing terrorist groups as they take advantage of poverty to recruit the youngest and most fragile.

Sweden’s Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom chaired the debate.

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Commission presents guidance to strengthen the Code of Practice on Disinformation

Unemployment and immigrants haunt the EU; who can offer relief?

UN agency chiefs issue ‘call to action’ on behalf of refugee children

Why are Black people in the UK more at risk from COVID-19?

Empathic AI could be the next stage in human evolution – if we get it right

Climate change and health: public health awareness in an international framework

Syrian crisis: €5.3 billion mobilised by donors for 2021 and beyond at 5th Brussels Conference

With the right leadership, sustainable finance can help us shift to a low-carbon economy

Access still an obstacle to reaching stricken communities on Indonesian island: UN agencies

How the EU’s new data-sharing strategy could benefit companies

Human rights breaches in Nigeria and Burundi

Commission presents far-reaching anti-tax evasion measures

Why we need a Paris Agreement for nature

Successful third issuance of EU SURE bonds by the European Commission

Statement by Frans Timmermans, Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal, on the announcement to postpone the COP26

3 things to know about the fight against Alzheimer’s

Scores killed in ‘barbaric’ attack on Mali village, UN chief urges restraint, calls for ‘dialogue’ to resolve tensions

Business leaders must now turn positive ESG talk into long-term results

UN chief praises Africa for keeping ‘hearts and borders open’ in refugee crisis

Charges against Baha’i in Yemen must be dropped: UN experts urge release of detainees

Companies can help solve water scarcity. Here’s how

Is the ECB ready to flood Eurozone with freshly printed money?

West Darfur tensions could see 30,000 flee across Sudanese border to Chad: UN refugee agency

Ebola outbreak in DR Congo conflict zone ‘remains dangerous and unpredictable’ – UN chiefs

These Harvard scientists think we’ll have to socially distance until 2022

How Europe’s science offers hope in tackling the climate emergency

Cybersecurity Act: build trust in digital technologies

COVID 19 and the consequences in the fight against HIV

Aviation Safety: Commission adopts new EU Air Safety List

Investing in working conditions and quality jobs

How income-sharing agreements can improve access to education

Climate emergency: City mayors are ‘world’s first responders’, says UN chief

Historian Niall Ferguson on what the pandemic means for the global economy, geopolitics – and parties

The 8 pieces of digital DNA we need to thrive in the AI age

Decade ending 2019 likely to be hottest on record

Vĕra Jourová, European Commissioner in charge of Justice

The New EU-US “Shield” for data privacy is full of holes

3 things to know about our Sustainable Development Impact Summit

A fundamental transport transformation: Commission presents its plan for green, smart and affordable mobility

World must do more to tackle ‘shadowy’ mercenary activities undermining stability in Africa, says UN chief

Where EU air pollution is deadliest

It’s not summer holidays what lead to the bad August of the German economy

How people without running water can wash their hands

Pharmaceuticals spend millions to push TTIP while consumer groups spend peanuts

Team Europe launches new financing platform to support health security and resilience in Africa

4 key steps to support cross-border payments and digital trade growth

Nicaragua: MEPs demand an end to repression of political opponents

Why schools should teach the curriculum of the future, not the past

This unique, 20-year study followed the lives of 12,000 children in the developing world. Here’s what it discovered

The New Year 2016 will not be benevolent to Europe

Do not take the EP’s consent on MFF for granted, says Budget Committee Chair

Why 2020 is a turning point for cybersecurity

EU budget: Commission takes steps to make €11.5 billion available for crisis repair and recovery in 2020

Currency Union might not let an independent Scotland join the EU as the “Yes” front now leads

The EU Commission predicts a decimated growth in the next years

Human Rights and Democracy: striving for dignity and equality around the world

5 times people predicted the future and got it really wrong

MEPs adopted measures to reconcile work and family life

LGBTQI+ and medicine: are we prepared to deliver dignified and non-discriminatory health care?

We need to build a quantum security coalition. Here’s why

Recovery and Resilience Facility: Cyprus submits official recovery and resilience plan

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s