Statement by Minister of Environment, H.E Rene Kokk at UN Security Council High-Level Open Debate on Climate and Security

Thank you, Mr. President!

Thank you, briefers, for your detailed reports.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is presenting challenges in many places around the globe. It shows clearly the need for our continued coordination to tackle climate change, including climate related security risks.

Human insecurity almost never has a single cause, but comes from different factors. Climate change is an important factor – it increases instability, existing tensions and poses a real threat to international peace and security. These risks are present.

Estonia is not in the center of climate change disasters. Still, we see the negative effects to our biodiversity, agriculture and forestry sectors. In many places around the world, however, the effects go far beyond.

It is clear that climate change poses growing pressure globally. That is why we must take immediate action. The scale of climate related security risks are underestimated. It is known, that climate change intensifies important drivers of conflict and fragility, and challenges the stability of states and societies. So, it is crucial for the Council to take a systematic approach to address climate related security risks.

First, it is important to improve the United Nation’s capacity to minimize security risks from climate change. For example, appointing a Special Representative for Climate and Security would help better coordination between relevant United Nation entities.

Secondly, we need reliable and accurate information and data to better understand the conflict drivers and the implications for stability. We need to improve the collection, monitoring and analyzing the data. Systematic reporting by the Secretary-General to the Security Council on climate-related security risks should be a part of such an approach.

As climate change brings competition for natural resources and energy, it is our key goal to mitigate climate change. We need to invest in green and sustainable technologies. Estonia is moving towards the development of hydrogen and other renewable energy technologies and innovative solutions. These green solutions are important part of a stable and peaceful security environment. We invite all countries to cooperate and share best practices with Estonia and with other international partners on this matter.

Finally, addressing the threats of climate change should be an important part of the Council’s work. We need to focus on prevention tools and strategies instead of dealing with consequences later.

It is our common responsibility to minimize the climate-related security risks and prevent conflicts. Without relevant action taken by the international community and especially the Security Council in particular, climate change will mean more fragility, less peace and less security.

Thank you!