New York, 20 July 2011

¨Nothing can be gained from such a narrow approach, and many questions arise¨, said the Chairman of the Group of 77 and China.

Today, the Security Council of the United Nations held an open debate on the subject: "Maintenance of international peace and security: The impact of climate change". The debate was convened by Germany, which holds the Presidency of the Council for the month of July.

During the morning session, the Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, as well as the Executive Director of the UN Environmental Programme Mr. Achim Steiner, made statements, followed by all 15 members of the Security Council; the President of the Republic of Nauru, Marcus Stephen on behalf of the Pacific Small Islands Development States (Pacific SIDS); the Permanente Representative of Egypt, Ambassador Maged Abdelaziz on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM); the Permanent Representative of Argentina, Ambassador Jorge Argüello on behalf of the G77 and China; and the Acting Head of the Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations, Ambassador Pedro Serrano.

Ambassador Argüello, speaking on behalf of the G77 and China, reaffirmed the Group's position that the Security Council's responsibility in accordance with the Charter of the UN is the maintenance of international peace and security, while issues related to economic and social development, including climate change, are assigned to the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and to the General Assembly.

Ambassador Arguello expressed in the debate the solidarity of the Group with all developing countries affected by the adverse effects of climate change, addressing in particular the serious case of the challenges faced by small island developing states, and reminded the Security Council members that developing countries are at the same time the ones the least to be blamed for the current situation and the ones that are being more severily affected by climate change, and with fewer resources to combat it.

Speaking to the press, Ambassador Argüello added: "we strongly reject the consideration of human rights and development questions such as migration, refuge, food insecurity and poverty eradication as "security concerns". Nothing can be gained from such a narrow approach, and many questions arise. Can anyone seriously propose that the Security Council is the best tool that the United Nations can employ to address the loss of agriculture due to desertification or the salinization of soils? Or worse yet, that a social phenomenon such as migration needs to be met with a militarized response? Does it mean that we are thinking in a possible scenario for intervention of the Security Council? And if it was the case, what would be the real benefit for the victims?".

In his intervention, President Stephen of Nauru highlighted that many of the Pacific SIDS face the single greatest security challenge of all from the adverse impacts of climate change: "their survival"; and urged the Council to fulfill its mandate by dealing responsibly with the security implications of climate change.

The Ambassador of Egypt conveyed the NAM's message that the organ primarily responsible to deal with climate change is the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and that the outcome of this debate should not create a precedent that undermines the work that is being carried out in other competent fora. In this regard, the NAM also called the Security Council to avoid the encroachment and to abide by the norms of the United Nations Charter.

The representative of the European Union underscored that work on security implications must proceed in tandem with action to address climate change itself, and reiterated the EU commitment for global climate action, development, humanitarian aid, conflict prevention, crisis management and post-conflict reconstruction. In this regard, he stressed that the challenge of climate change can also act as catalyst for cooperation.

The Open Debate will continue this afternoon with the interventions of 43 countries inscribed to speak.

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