DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Her Excellency Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, the UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment, told delegates at a United Nations Security Council ministerial open debate that the UAE plans to introduce a “Relief, Recovery, and Peace” Day during 28th United Nations Conference of the Parties (COP28) Climate Change Conference.
The ministerial open debate under the agenda item “Threats to International Peace and Security” took place in New York, USA, during the UAE’s presidency of the UN Security Council in June. It was chaired by HE Mariam Almheiri and examined the impact of climate change on the roles and responsibilities of UN peacekeeping and special political missions. It also called for collaborative and responsive approaches to address the urgent connections between climate change and international peace and security.
HE Mariam Almheiri said: “At COP28 in Dubai later this year, the incoming UAE presidency plans to introduce a “Relief, Recovery, and Peace” Day. This is the first of its kind at any COP, and its purpose is to highlight the intersection of climate change, peace, and security — and propose practical solutions to prevent and address the climate burden on stability.”
She added: “We are therefore promoting an ambitious agenda at COP28 in response to the critical lack of accessible, affordable, and sufficient climate finance – particularly for countries and communities experiencing humanitarian and security crises. They receive in some cases 80 times less per capita than other developing countries, which already receive inadequate flows. The time is now to fully expose and better comprehend how these phenomena interact, what role the international community can play, and how we can collaborate to build more prosperous, climate-resilient, and peaceful societies.”
Security Council member states and leading international figures, including H.E. Juan Manuel Santos, Former President of Colombia, Nobel Peace Laureate, and Member of The Elders; Jean-Pierre Lacroix, UN Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations; and Salma Kadry, Climate, Peace and Security Specialist at CGIAR attended the meeting. Through their insights and diverse contributions, the debate provided a comprehensive view of the impact of climate change on peace and security.
During the debate, HE Mariam Almheiri highlighted the importance of integrating climate considerations into UN mandates and peacekeeping operations and showcased how climate action and finance can contribute to conflict prevention, resolution, and peacebuilding.
As Chair, HE Mariam Almheiri said: “While the impacts of climate change on peace and security are highly variable and context-specific, they should not be overlooked. Climate change and conflict are mutually reinforcing. The Security Council must approach conflict through a climate-sensitive lens. We must strengthen the capacity and mandates of relevant peace operations to incorporate climate change in their risk mitigation and adaptation strategies, as well as efforts in conflict prevention and resolution.”
She added: “We must strengthen the capacity and mandates of relevant peace operations to incorporate climate change in their risk mitigation and adaptation strategies, as well as efforts in conflict prevention and resolution.”
The open debate marked a significant milestone in the global recognition of climate change as an issue of profound dimensions, demanding an international and concerted effort. The participants engaged in a comprehensive dialogue on the impact of climate change in the context of the UN and discussed ways to enhance conflict prevention, peacebuilding initiatives, and resilience.
The UAE recently assumed the rotating presidency of the UN Security Council for June 2023. During its presidency and Council term, the UAE has committed to elevating the multifaceted issue of climate change.
The UAE also serves as a Co-Chair of the Informal Expert Group of Members of the Security Council on Climate, Peace and Security. It has named 2023 the Year of Sustainability and will host the 28th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28) in November 2023.