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Feb 24, 2021 / 11:47

Climate change threatens world security: UN Security Council meeting

Vietnam said the UN Security Council needs a comprehensive and balanced approach when dealing with the thorny issues.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has warned world leaders that climate change is a threat to security of all nations at a high-level UN Security Council online conference on February 23 with the participation of Vietnam.

 World leaders at a high-level UN Security Council online conference on February 23. Photo: Quang Hieu/VGP  

“Whether you like it or not, it is a matter of when, not if, your country and your people will have to deal with these security impacts of climate change,” he warned leaders at the meeting on climate-related risks to international peace and security.

Chairing the meeting of the UN’s most powerful body during the UK’s presidency this month, Johnson urged the council to demonstrate leadership to protect global peace, security and stability.

He pointed to the 16 million people displaced by weather-related disasters each year, some becoming easy prey to violent extremists, farmers losing another wheat harvest because of drought and switching to growing opium poppies, and girls forced to drop out of school to search for water becoming prey to human traffickers.

He also cited the impacts of changing sea levels and wildfires.

Meanwhile, Secretary-General António Guterres urged a greater focus on reaching the Paris goals, calling for a dramatic increase in investments to protect countries, communities and people.

Well-known British broadcaster and naturalist David Attenborough said in a video message that “if we continue on our current path, we will face the collapse of everything that bring us our security” including good, water, habitable temperatures and food from the oceans.

 Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc attends the meeting. Photo: British Ambassador to Vietnam's twitter 

Speaking at the meeting, Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, who is the first Vietnamese leader making a speech at a UN Security Council meeting, said the Security Council needs a comprehensive and balanced approach when dealing with these issues.

More efforts to eliminate the root causes of conflicts such as poverty, inequality, political power and interference, and unilateral imposition must be made.

Phuc called for better implementation of the UN Charter in international relations and climate adaptation. He expected the UN Security Council to improve capacity in warning, mediation, conflict prevention and resolution; to ensure respect for national sovereignty and autonomy; put the community and people, especially vulnerable groups, at the center in national and global climate change response strategies.

At the 2021 Climate Adaptation Summit (CAS 2021) held by the Netherlands on January 25-26, the Vietnamese government leader said the country needs an approximate US$35 billion to cope with climate change in the 2021-30 period, adding that the country can affort roughly one third of the required amount and calling for the support of different stakeholders.

He affirmed that climate adaptation will be further mainstreamed into the national strategies and planning.