Mr. President

Thank you for organizing this debate. The consequences of climate change on international peace and security are profound. They can provoke conflicts or aggravate existing ones. During my visit to several West African countries earlier this month I could see the effects of climate change with my own eyes. The Sahel region, for example, is warming faster than the global average. Switzerland has just adopted its first foreign policy strategy for sub-Saharan Africa. Our country thus confirms the growing importance of the African Continent, in all its diversity. The consequences of climate change make us want to strengthen the resilience of the population. In West Africa - as in the Middle East and Central Asia - we further promote, for example, the Blue Peace initiative. Good joint management of water resources reduces tensions and promotes stable relations between states.

We therefore call on the Security Council to strengthen its efforts in the following three areas:

Firstly, conflict prevention. The implementation of the Paris Agreement is a priority. We welcome the fact that all members of the Council are parties to that Agreement. We must achieve carbon neutrality. Our government has set this objective for 2050.

Secondly, the integration of climate change risks into its decisions, including the mandates of peace missions. As Chair of the Group of Friends of the Protection of Civilians, Switzerland calls on the Council and member states to strengthen the protection of the population also in conflicts caused by climate risks. Together with its partners, Switzerland published in New York the results of a digital project to visualize the links between climate change and conflict in West Africa. This type of scientific innovation can better guide the Council's action. 

Thirdly, the integration of recommendations from other UN bodies, stakeholders and civil society. The Peacebuilding Commission plays an important advisory role. Switzerland is proud to promote dialogues between actors, particularly in Geneva. I am thinking here of the Geneva Peace Week and any initiative that integrates environmental and climate issues into peace projects and vice versa.

Switzerland is active in all three areas to mitigate the risks associated with climate change. And we would also do so as a member of the Security Council, for which our country is a candidate for the very first time.

Mr. President,

In conclusion, I would like to welcome the opportunity to provide this video statement, which enables the direct participation of non-member states of the Security Council in these times of the pandemic. Switzerland calls on the Council to continue this practice and is committed to improving the Council's working methods.

Thank you.


The recorded video statement by Mr. Ignazio Cassis, Head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, can be seen here.