Climate change: Italy, “a challenge to peace and security especially for Sahel, SIDS”

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NEW YORK, JULY 24 – Today at the United Nations Security Council’s open debate, Italy highlighted the impact of climate change on peace and security and the multidimensional challenges it poses, especially to most vulnerable countries and regions such as the Sahel, Lake Chad basin, and the Small Island Developing States (SIDS).

“Climate change hasn’t paused because of COVID-19”, said Italy. Instead, while there are no known direct links between climate change and COVID-19, an increase in the spread of vector-borne diseases is likely as climate change intensifies. An accelerated and intensified international climate action is urgently needed, through mitigation, adaptation, resilience efforts, in order to avert security consequences as well as health related risks: “Concerted, coordinated world action is key to predict, prevent and prepare against global threats”.

The climate-related multidimensional challenges are exponentially more difficult in particular areas of the world. Africa is responsible for a just 4% of global carbon emissions. Yet, 57 % of the countries facing climate exposure and political fragility risks are located in sub-­Saharan Africa. The Sahel and the Lake Chad basin are a glaring example of how the climate change impacts on security, Italy pointed out: “The shrinking of the Lake by 90% since 1960s has increased the competition for water and scarce resources, fueling mass migration, trafficking and terrorism, with a multiplying effect that risk destabilizing the Sub-Saharan and Mediterranean region”. Another example are the Small Islands Developing States: “Climate hazards such as tropical storms and hurricanes, sea level rise and ocean acidification are risks that when superimposed on existing economic and security vulnerabilities can lead to crises well beyond the capacities of governments to manage”.

Addressing the Council, Italy stressed that climate-related threats accrue also direct health related threats to humans. Epidemics and pandemics are a trigger for increased instability. In light of this scenario,  “climate mitigation, adaptation and resilience efforts are increasingly urgent”, Italy argued, looking forward to a prompt and effective implementation of the 2015 Paris Agreement by effectively promoting ambitious Nationally Determined Contributions on the road to the Pre-CoP in Milan – from September 30 to October 2 2021 – and a successful CoP26 in Glasgow in November 2021. (@OnuItalia)