Neil Bush, the UK Ambassador, expressed his appreciation for the proposals put forward by Secretary General Helga Schmid to advance the efforts towards climate and security at the OSCE.
Delivered on: 2 March 2023
Transcript of the speech, exactly as it was delivered:
Thank you, Secretary-General. I would like to share a few brief reactions to your report.
Firstly, we share your widely-held view that climate change is one of the defining challenges of our time, and the urgency with which it needs to be addressed is only becoming more pressing. The security implications of climate change reach right across the OSCE’s comprehensive concept of security. From shrinking glaciers, to increasing aridity, wildfires, droughts and floods, the OSCE region is vulnerable to the impacts of climate change; tackling these risks will require dialogue and transboundary co-operation which in normal times should be intrinsic to this organization.
We thank you and the OCEEA for progressing OSCE’s work on climate change throughout a challenging year, and for your consideration of what more the OSCE could do to advance co-operation in addressing climate-related risks. We welcome your proposals for taking this work further in future.
First and foremost, we share your concern with the devastating impacts that Russia’s brutal war of aggression against Ukraine continues to have on people, environment and climate action; and we welcome the Chatham House analysis commissioned on the impact of the war. We support your proposal to learn from and act on the war’s consequences, including how vital climate action can become a victim of war. We support your proposal to look more closely at the risks that tensions and conflicts pose to climate action and climate security, and promote the development of complementary approaches between climate and conflict that recognise the underlying drivers of fragility for climate-vulnerable populations.
We support your idea to bring a climate and security perspective into the climate policy-making, including in strategies and planning for climate finance. And finally, we praise the particular attention the OSCE’s activity pays to the needs of women and their active involvement in work on climate change and security.
Thank you, Secretary-General, for the report and I look forward to the deliberations it has started, including at the rescheduled high-level meeting on climate change.