United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Tuesday listed four priority areas for the international community to address the risks that climate crisis poses to peace and security, including putting a greater focus on prevention through strong, ambitious climate action.
“First, we need a greater focus on prevention through strong, ambitious climate action,” the UN chief told the Security Council high-level videoconference open debate on climate and security, the Xinhua news agency reported.
“We must get the world on track to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement and avoid climate catastrophe,” said Guterres, adding that “we must create a truly global coalition to commit to net-zero emissions by the middle of the century.”
On the second priority, the top UN official said that “we need immediate actions to protect countries, communities and people from increasingly frequent and severe climate impacts.”
“We need a breakthrough on adaptation and resilience, which means dramatically raising the level of investments,” he added.
“Third, we need to embrace a concept of security that puts people at its center,” Guterres said.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has shown the devastation that so-called non-traditional security threats can cause, on a global scale,” he added.
Talking about the last priority area, Guterres said that “we need to deepen partnerships across and beyond the United Nations system.”
“We must leverage and build on the strengths of different stakeholders, including this Council, the Peacebuilding Commission, international financial institutions, regional organisations, civil society, the private sector, academia and others,” said the secretary-general.
“The Climate Security Mechanism, which brings together the Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, the United Nations Development Programme and the United Nations Environment Programme, is a blueprint for such collaboration within the United Nations System,” the UN chief added.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson presided over the meeting, representing the first time a British prime minister has chaired a Security Council meeting since John Major in January 1992. A youth climate activist briefed the virtual gathering. Several heads of state and of government attended.
China’s special representative on climate change affairs Xie Zhenhua delivered a speech.