High Level Meeting of the Group of Friends on Climate and Security, German House, New York

  • Hon Aupito William Sio
Pacific Peoples

I wish to extend thanks to the organisers of today’s High Level Meeting.

In 2018, New Zealand’s Defence Assessment identified climate change is one of the most significant security threats of our time. The Pacific Island Forum’s Boe Declaration expands on this definition.

New Zealand is pleased that the links between climate change and security are increasingly being recognised, including through the good work of this Group of Friends. We add our voice to Germany and others to call on all big industrial nations to pick up the pace.

In our region, the Pacific Leaders have explicitly recognised climate change as the “single greatest threat to the livelihood, security, and wellbeing of Pacific people”. There is increased food and water scarcity, malnutrition, health issues, competition for resources – fishing rights, mineral rights, and potential land disputes.

Pacific-SIDS are fighting for their right to life, their right to their homes – especially Tuvalu, Kiribati, Tokelau and the Marshall Islands.

We are already seeing the effects. Security impacts happen rapidly as in the case of cyclones or droughts.

But they also arise from slower onset disasters which can be equally as devastating. Like sea-level rise, and ocean acidification.

In order to address these issues, we must work together for an integrated and comprehensive response.

The UN has a crucial role to play. We welcome the proposal for enhanced reporting from the UN on climate related security risks and continue to encourage UN agencies to coordinate closely on this issue.

Thank you.