Oct 19, 2021 / 22:12

Vietnam chairs UN meeting on sea-level rise

The UN members said this is an important topic concerning global efforts and actions, requiring a comprehensive approach.

A United Nations Security Council debate on sea-level rise was held today [Oct 19] by Vietnam to help the world’s countries address its impact on international peace and security.

Under the Arria-formula meeting, the informal consultations of the whole of the Security Council, the debate was co-organized and co-sponsored following Vietnam’s initiative by 10 members of the UN Security Council (UNSC) namely Viet Nam, Estonia, France, Ireland, Kenya, Niger, Norway, Saint Vincent & the Grenadines, Tunisia, the UK, and the US and co-sponsored by the Dominican Republic, Fiji, Germany, Guyana, Malta, Mauritius, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Romania, Saint Lucia, and Tuvalu.  

Khaled Khiari, Assistant Secretary-General for the Middle East, Asia and the Pacific in the Departments of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs and Peace Operations, Valérie Masson-Delmotte, Co-chair of Working Group I, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and Coral Pasisi, Senior Advisor to the Sustainable Pacific Consultancy from the Pacific Islands region, delivered speeches at the event.

The debate marked the participation of more than 40 members of the UNSC and the UN, hailing Vietnam’s initiative that is an important topic for the global community and contributions to the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) to be held in Glasgow, the UK in mid-November.

At the meeting, the countries expressed deep concern about risks posed by sea-level rise while calling for a comprehensive approach to climate change.

They said sea-level rise is a global phenomenon and thus creates global problems, affecting the international community as a whole. Therefore, it requires global solutions.

 Ambassador Dang Dinh Quy, Permanent Representative of Vietnam to the UN speaks at the event. Photo: MoFA

Delivering an opening remark, Ambassador Dang Dinh Quy, Permanent Representative of Vietnam to the UN, said Vietnam shared difficulties with small island states, littoral countries, the most exposed and vulnerable countries, and low-lying coastal countries.

He said that Asia, home to more than 70% of the global population, is most at risk of being impacted by sea-level rise. In which, the Mekong River Delta and Red River Delta of Vietnam are among the hardest-hit areas.

For that reason, Vietnam considers climate change, sea-level rise, and its impact on security and development as one of its high priorities during its UNSC non-permanent membership in 2020-2021.

Faced with increasingly clear evidence of global sea-level rise, the Ambassador affirmed Vietnam’s commitment to pushing the UNSC to contribute to the joint efforts of the international community in responding to vital challenges.

Sea-level rise in common concerns  

The IPCC Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate shows that 680 million people (nearly 10% of the global population in 2010) who live in low-lying coastal areas will be directly affected by sea-level rise.

More than 70 states are or are likely to be indirectly affected by sea-level rise. Another large number of States is likely to be indirectly affected, for instance, by the displacement of people or the lack of access to resources.  

The Arria-formula meeting of the Security Council provides an opportunity to enhance understanding of the phenomenon of sea-level rise and the nexus of sea-level rise and international and regional peace, security, and stability, given the latest scientific research and information on the evolution and impact of climate change.

The Security Council and the wider membership of the UN can exchange views on the best approach to integrate climate security risk in its activities and consideration. It is also a chance to also reflect on how to better support affected countries to mitigate these threats in a comprehensive manner.