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UN - climate change as a driver of terrorism

Environmental degradation is a factor that enables armed groups to expand their influence, the UN chief told a Security Council meeting on Thursday, stressing that initiatives to prevent armed conflict must take into account the risks of climate change.

In Iraq and Syria, Daesh has exploited the problem of water scarcity, which has enabled the terrorist organisation to take control of limited natural resources. In this way, Daesh has been able to impose its will on local communities, explained UN Secretary-General António Guterres during a debate on security in the context of terrorism and climate change. António Guterres highlighted the importance of his proposed "New Agenda for Peace" contained in the report Our Common Agenda, which presents a multidimensional vision of global security. Taking this into account, the Secretary-General outlined five areas where he believes the Council must take action:

  • Preventing the root causes of insecurity.

According to the UN chief, conflict and terrorism do not take place in a vacuum, but are the result of social inequalities such as poverty and human rights violations. Only the elimination of inequalities will ensure lasting peace.

  • Increase investment in adaptation and resilience.

Referring to the UN COP26 climate conference, Guterres recalled that developed countries have promised to provide at least 100 billion a year to developing countries for climate action.

  • Better analysis and early warning systems.

The UN chief stressed that understanding and anticipating the cascading effects of climate change strengthens all efforts to strengthen peace and security.

  • Development of partnerships and initiatives that combine local, regional and national approaches.

The Secretary-General urged countries to make the best and maximum use of knowledge and resources on the ground, while leveraging the political, technical and financial capacities of regional and international actors.

  • Sustainable investment.

Finally, the UN chief warned that African peacekeeping missions in places such as the Sahel and Somalia often have limited room for manoeuvre and face high funding uncertainty. He asked the Council to provide support for funding that is guaranteed by contributions.

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