Close to 3.5 billion people live in ‘climate hot spots,’ which put them at serious risk of peace and security.
That’s according to UN Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix, who warned that the situations for these people will be exacerbated by climate change and global warming.
“Cross-border challenges, environmental degradation and extreme weather events, amplified by climate change, are increasingly challenging our ability to implement our mandates. We already see a strong correlation between Member States facing fragility and those facing climate change,” he said.
He explained to the Security Council that the world needs to continue to adapt to protect these people from the impacts of climate change that “fuel conflict” and lead to “dwindling resources.”
Due to climate change, most UN peacekeeping operations have been met with more danger and political problems, Mr Lacroix stressed.
Afghanistan, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti, Mali, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan and Yemen are the nine most climate vulnerable nations that already have a UN field mission ongoing.
The Under-Secretary-General said the UN was looking to play its part aside from quashing conflict: “Guided by the Environmental Strategy for Peace Operations, the UN is progressively introducing renewable energy solutions, reducing our environmental footprint while also minimising the security risk for fuel convoys.”
The decision to change was made after it was revealed that throughout 2021-2022 only 6% of the electricity used by UN peace operations was renewable.
Former Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, who was present at the speech, added: “There cannot be peace without sustainable development and there cannot be sustainable development without peace. It’s as simple as that.
“We need bold policy action. We must redouble our efforts not only in mitigation and adaptation but in nature-positive solutions including conserving high-integrity forests, peatlands, coral reefs and other ecosystems that provide humanity with clean air, clean water.”