Govt should declare climate change a threat to peace and security

The Green Party is calling on the New Zealand Government to use its presidency of the UN Security Council to introduce a determination, in the form of a presidential statement or resolution following the Open Debate, that climate change is a threat to international peace and security.

“New Zealand can use its UN Security Council presidency to highlight the threat that climate change poses to international peace and security,” said Green Party global affairs spokesperson Dr Kennedy Graham.

“There is a growing acknowledgement that climate change affects peace and security. For some years now the Council has, on occasion, had climate change as an issue before it.

“Last year the US Government released a defence report asserting that climate change poses an immediate threat to its national security.

“New Zealand has already made the security of small island states the subject of the Open Debate.

“The key security threat to most small island states is climate change. Indeed, some of our Pacific neighbours are small island nations whose very existence is threatened by sea level rise due to climate change.

“With the Open Debate, New Zealand, as president of the Council, has the opportunity to be a leader for the protection of small island states by highlighting the threat that climate change poses to their peace and security, and indeed to all countries. This could be achieved through a presidential statement or resolution.

“If the Council formally acknowledged the security risks of climate change, then its unique authority could be used to address this threat.

“I’m calling on the New Zealand Government to take a leadership role on climate change. We have both a responsibility and an opportunity to be a world leader in calling for climate action.

“New Zealand was the first country where women won the vote. We stood with our Pacific neighbours in rejecting nuclear testing. It’s time for us to do the right thing again, this time for the climate,” said Dr Graham.

Dr Kennedy Graham will be attending the Open Debate meeting of the UN Security Council, held in New York in late July.

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