The impacts of climate know no geographical boundaries. They affect people around the world and are felt particularly keenly where livelihoods are seriously threatened. At the same time, extreme weather events, droughts, water and food shortages and rising sea levels are exacerbating numerous conflicts in different regions of the world, thereby threatening global peace, security and stability. Addressing global security issues therefore also requires tackling climate change.
The security implications of climate change are also discussed in the UN Security Council. The United Nations body that debates key issues around global security and peace policy held a virtual meeting on 23 February 2021, under the chairmanship of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, to discuss the impact of climate change on international security. During this debate, which was open to non-UN Security Council members, Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis spoke by video about the importance of joint efforts to combat climate change: "Climate change has profound implications for international peace and security. Its consequences can cause conflicts and exacerbate existing conflicts," said Cassis.
One of the instruments Switzerland is employing to help defuse potential conflicts is water diplomacy – the Blue Peace Initiative – aimed at ensuring the equitable and sustainable use of water resources. "Good joint management of water resources reduces tensions and promotes stable relations between states," stressed Cassis.
Switzerland also promotes the use of modern technologies to achieve this objective. Under the 'Tech4Good' banner, Switzerland's international cooperation programmes promote, develop and support projects that use new technologies worldwide to generate added value for businesses, the environment and above all for people. Swiss expertise in modern technologies thus brings long-term improvements to the lives of millions of people, not only through climate change mitigation, but also in areas such as agricultural technology, healthcare, disaster resilience and the construction sector.
This was Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis' first statement to the Security Council. When the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, the UN Security Council required non-members to submit their contributions in writing. This is the first debate where they have been given the opportunity to participate by video recording. In his statement, Mr Cassis also spoke about Switzerland's candidacy for a non-permanent seat on the Security Council.
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