Mon, 18 Oct 2021

UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 23 (Xinhua) -- UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday highlighted "three absolute priorities" in climate action in the context of climate and security.

Much bolder climate action is needed ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference (or COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland, this November -- with the Group of 20 largest economies in the lead -- to maintain international peace and security, said Guterres.

"Our window of opportunity to prevent the worst climate impacts is rapidly closing. No region is immune. Wildfires, flooding, droughts and other extreme weather events are affecting every continent," he told a Security Council high-level open debate on climate and security.

The effects of climate change are particularly profound when they overlap with fragility and past or current conflicts. It is clear that climate change and environmental mismanagement are risk multipliers. Where coping capacities are limited and there is high dependence on shrinking natural resources and ecosystem services, such as water and fertile land, grievances and tensions can explode, complicating efforts to prevent conflict and to sustain peace, he warned.

The threats are clear and present. But it is not too late to act to ensure that climate action contributes to international peace and security, he said, highlighting three priorities in climate action.

The first priority is unambiguous commitment and credible actions by all countries to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius to avert the most catastrophic impacts of climate change. He urged all UN member states to show more ambition in their Nationally Determined Contributions by the convening of COP26 and to translate their commitments into concrete and immediate action so that global greenhouse gas emissions can be cut by 45 percent by 2030.

The second priority is a breakthrough on adaptation and resilience to deal with the already dire impacts of climate disruption on the lives and livelihoods of people all over the world. The third priority is to make climate adaptation and peacebuilding reinforce each other, he said.

The open debate is a signature event in Ireland, which holds the Security Council presidency for the month of September. Scheduled to coincide with the high-level week of the UN General Assembly, the debate was attended by two heads of state, one head of government and several ministers. Irish Prime Minister Micheal Martin presided over the debate.

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