The Permanent Representative of Romania to the United Nations, Ambassador Ion Jinga, delivered a statement on Friday, 25th of January 2019, in the Security Council open debate on the “Maintenance of international peace and security: addressing the impacts of climate related disasters on international peace and security”. The meeting was chaired by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Dominican Republic, country which holds the presidency of the UN Security Council during the months of January 2019. The meeting was also attended by the Foreign Ministers of Germany, Belgium, Indonesia, Hungary, Kuwait, Guatemala, Philippines, Haiti. the Minister of Environment and Climate Change of Canada, the Minister of State for the Commonwealth of Great Britain, the Minister for Economy, Civil Service, Communication and Climate Change of Fiji, state ministers of Somalia, Nicaragua and state secretaries from Poland and Maldives.
In his intervention, the Romanian ambassador pointed out the consequences that climate change could have on international peace and security, stressing that although it is not an immediate cause of disrupted peace, “climate change embodies the crisis to come, whose slow progress often escape our attention but can be just as dangerous as open conflict”.
Expressing concern regarding the impact climate change has on vulnerable regions, as the Sahel (Africa), Central Asia, Middle East, the Caribbean region or the Pacific Islands, he stressed that for the small insular states it became an existential issue, because of the rising sea levels and of the more and more frequent hurricanes, which determine major natural disasters: “Climate change impacts directly on the number of displaced populations, food insecurity, lack of water, drought, or rising sea levels. It can thus be a threat to regional stability by creating political and diplomatic tensions between neighboring countries, internal clashes between farmers and herders, and big displacement of populations. According to a recent report by the World Bank, 140 million people are expected to be displaced by 2050 to avoid the impact of climate catastrophes”.
Speaking on the importance of prevention and of developing resilience, as concrete solutions to these threats, he exemplified with the event „Strengthening preparedness against natural disasters”, organized by the Permanent Mission of Romania to the United Nations at the beginning of December 2018, with the participation of Raed Arafat, Secretary of State within the Romanian Ministry of Internal Affairs.
Ambassador Ion Jinga reiterated that Romania is fully full committed to the international legal framework developed by the United Nations – the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Paris Agreement, and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) – which put climate change at the top of the UN agenda. He pointed out Romania’s participation to COP24 (UNFCCC) in Katowice (Poland) and the signing, with this occasion, of the Ministerial Declaration on Forests for Climate, and the Silesia Declaration on Solidarity and Just Transition.
Reiterating the importance Romania gives to tackling humanitarian crisis and their impact on the international security, the ambassador said: “During Romania’s presence in the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti and its successor mission, we witnessed a humanitarian crisis having at its core climate-related security risks. Romania stood by its friends in the Caribbean region by offering financial support to Dominica, Antigua and Barbuda and Saint Kitts and Nevis, right after the devastating hurricanes Irma and Maria”.
Noting that the two working visits in the Sahel in 2018 allowed him a better understanding of the multidimensional root causes of insecurity in the region, the Romanian diplomat underscored that as Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) Romania took the initiative to propose as topic of the joint PBC – ECOSOC meeting on 13 November 2018 the „Linkages between climate change and challenges to peacebuilding and sustaining peace in the Sahel”.
At the same time, as part of its commitment to maintaining, developing and achieving sustainable peace and development in an inclusive manner, Romania joined recently the Group of Friends of Climate and Security, newly created at the United Nations, in New York.