Fiji’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Dr Satyendra Prasad has called on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to better understand, interpret and respond to new drivers of conflict and insecurity.
Ambassador Prasad made the statement while addressing the UNSC at its “Open Debate on Mediation and the Peaceful Resolution of Disputes” at the UN Headquarters in New York this week.
According to Ambassador Prasad, Fiji and many other small island states had found themselves on the front-lines of climate change, however not at their choosing.
“The impacts of climate change are well understood. What is less well understood are its consequences for conflict. As crops fail, coastal lands become less fertile, excessive and frequent rains wash away livelihoods, competition for land and resources become more intense. Families and communities are on the move as a result.”
He said these fueled conflicts which were now becoming more intense and complex.
Ambassador Prasad added that marine resources was becoming scarce and conflicts between coastal communities, non-coastal communities and their governments was becoming prevalent and these always had the potential of creating conflict between States with women and children affected the most.
He requested the UNSC to acknowledge that climate and oceans stress had already become conflict drivers, that reforms were needed to position the UN in a way that enables it to bring systematic understanding of these conflict drivers and conflicts to the UN and that the UN system needed to reposition itself to play a pro-active preventive role in conflict prevention by supporting communities to mediate climate and oceans stress – induced conflicts.
Ambassador Prasad reiterated that business as usual cannot be an option adding that “re-framing the UN’s mediation perspectives is a starting point.”
“Strengthening UN capabilities and building an institutional architecture that can support mediation, conciliation and peace-building efforts in climate-oceans-water stress related conflicts, is overdue. Fiji stands ready to support the Secretary General’s efforts in this area.”
The special session mediation and peaceful resolution of disputes was presided by the United Kingdom’s Minister for Commonwealth and the UN, Lord Tariq Ahmad.
Also present at the invite of Lord Ahmad, was the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend Justin Welby.
The Most Reverend Welby made a special call to the Council for the UN to work closely with faith communities and civil society in trying to resolve conflicts across the world.
The UNSC debate on mediation and conflict resolution was first convened in 2007.