At a Special Debate at the United Nations Security Council on the 75th Anniversary of the UN Charter, Fiji’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Satyendra Prasad, spoke on the significance of the Security Council’s 75-year history and its role in addressing the climate crisis.
“The UN Security Council has influenced international peace and security since its founding. When it acts with speed, it prevents conflicts; when its Members act in concert it saves many lives – thousands of lives. When this Council fails to agree, conflicts become protracted; women and children suffer most; many lives are lost. The peace and security ambition, the aspiration, the expectations of the Charter sits with the Council. We feel that weight. I am certain that you its members feel it far more forcefully – day in and out.”
Ambassador Prasad pointed to the worsening ravages of the climate emergency, which bear intrinsic similarities to war, as the gravest challenge faced by humanity and, as a result, why climate action must emerge as the Security Council’s most urgent priority.
“The climate crisis calls upon all of us at the UN, across all its organs; the General Assembly, ECOSOC and Agencies and most importantly this august Council to rise to meet this grave challenge. The majority of UN peace operations are already in regions that face one or other type of climate induced stress. Water stress; food insecurity; destroyed livelihoods – all consequences of climate change, fuel state and inter-state conflicts. It does not take rocket science to tell us that stresses caused by the climate crisis whether on land or seas are fuel for international terrorism; for extremists; for populists. These are the same forces that work to undermine multilateralism and a rules based international system.”
Ambassador Prasad also stressed the role of regional organisations in assisting with the peace and security responsibilities of the Security Council given their knowledge of local dynamics.
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also identified the climate crisis as a great test of the multilateral system. In his remarks, he spoke to the general effectiveness of the Security Council in maintaining peace and security.
“The climate crisis is now upon us with ever-growing fury, sparing no one. International cooperation is at a crossroads. All of this presents a grave test to multilateralism. It poses a challenge for the Security Council, which under the Charter has primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security. And it underscores, more than ever, the focus of today’s meeting: upholding the United Nations Charter.”
Delegates at the debate unanimously stressed the importance of upholding the Charter, signed in June 1945 by 50 nations.
2020 as the 75th anniversary of the United Nations, is a landmark year for international diplomacy, particularly with regards to environmental protection and sustainable development, international expectations for the quality of Fiji’s leadership remain high. Under the leadership of the Honourable Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama, Fiji plans to continue championing the causes of climate action, oceans preservation, environmental and biodiversity protection, and sustainable development for the benefit of all people.