Fiji’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Dr Satyendra Prasad has called on the United Nations Security Council to recognise that climate change poses growing threats to international peace and security.Speaking on behalf of the Fijian Prime Minister, in a special UN Security Council meeting Chaired by Germany’s Foreign Minister Mr Heiko Maas on 24 July, Ambassador Prasad said that the growing security dimensions of climate change remains to be systematically addressed by the UN.

“As the organ that is primarily responsible for peace and security, this responsibility falls on the UN Security Council,” he said.“Fiji supported peace operations in the world, and they will tell you that climate change compound conflicts.“Climate change makes competition for resources more intense and makes conflicts more protracted, and they make political solutions more difficult to achieve”.

Ambassador Prasad also highlighted that climate change is an existential crisis for Pacific Small Island Developing States.

“The impact of the climate crisis is deep and far-reaching for all Pacific island economies. It undermines our societal cohesion, harms food security, and creates deep anxiety in the populations across the Pacific,” he added.“Fiji and all Pacific Island leaders have said to the global community that rising sea levels must not have consequences for the maritime boundaries of our ocean states.

We did not cause the sea-level rise. Sea level-rise must not threaten, erode, or limit our national sovereignty.“As a large ocean state, we depend on our oceans for our livelihoods. Warming oceans have triggered a large-scale displacement of migratory fish stocks from our Exclusive Economic Zones into cooler waters of the Eastern Pacific.

”The loss to Pacific Islands in just this one situation, Ambassador Prasad said is in excess of $1 billion per year – almost twice as much as the total ODA to the Pacific States each year.“The annual cost to Pacific Islands of repairs to their wharves, jetties, airstrips, roads, bridges that arise from slot onset and climate catastrophes nearly 50 percent of the total borrowing from IFS’s every year already in the order of 500 million each year.

It is a devastating blow to the small economies island states and to their stability. We did not cause these but we bear the burden of this, mostly alone.”“We have the tools and the frameworks we need to win the fight against climate change.

The world community must now ask if we have the necessary institutional architecture and the will”.Representing the Prime Minister’s urgent plea, Ambassador Prasad told the Council that “it is my hope that the Governments of the US, China, Russia,France and the UK – the Permanent Members of the Security Council, will hear our call”.“This is the war of our time, we don’t have the luxury of choosing to ignore the climate crises while we tackle the COVID crisis.

“The UN Security Council must “accept that accelerated progress in implementing the Paris Agreement is fundamental to maintaining international peace and security. The Paris Agreement is the single most important weapon that we have if we are to win this war of our generation”.   

At the meeting,  Fiji called on the Council to  work with all UN organs and the UN systems to ensure that the peace and security dimensions of climate change is systematically mainstreamed and integrated across UN agencies, programs; funds and across peace operations. 

Fiji also urged the UNSC to work with member states to prepare and better position our peace operations to operate in growingly complex and climate-stressed peacekeeping contexts. 

Fiji’s Prime Minister has also called on the UN to convene a Global Summit on Peace and Security Consequences of Climate Crisis and on the UN’s response at the earliest possible time.  

Meanwhile, Fiji supported the call by Mr Maas, the UK Minister for Commonwealth Lord Ahmad and many other countries that the UN should now appoint Special Envoy to the UN on Climate and Security.

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