United Nations Welcome to the United Nations. It's your world.

UN Security Council High Level Debate on Maintenance of international peace and security: Security in the context of terrorism and climate change

Thursday, 09 December 2021
H.E. Ambassador Enrique A. Manalo, Permanent Representative, Permanent Mission of the Republic of the Philippines to the United Nations in New York
UN General Assembly Hall, United Nations Headquarters, New York


Mr. President

We congratulate Niger for assuming the presidency of the Security Council.

As an archipelagic state, the Philippines considers the climate-security nexus as a vital existential issue. We have numerous low-lying coastal areas and communities that are constantly threatened by weather disturbances due to climate change.

Addressing terrorism is an immense challenge by itself. Climate change combined with terrorism can worsen long existing tensions and exacerbate traditional drivers of conflict such as poverty, political instability, ill-conceived domestic policies, and foreign interference. Climate disasters can weaken states, a situation that terrorists can seize to advance their goals.

I would like to highlight the following points:

First, developing better risk assessment and mitigation strategies is important for climate- related disasters. While the Philippines emits less than half of one percent of global emissions, we had set the boldest national goal at the recent COP26 by committing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 75 percent in 2030. Also, we are implementing and continuously improving a comprehensive National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Plan.

Second, international cooperation is indispensable. Climate change knows no boundaries and we have no control of the actions and inaction beyond our borders. Stronger synergies among states through deeper international cooperation is imperative. Regionally, the Philippines participates in the ASEAN Humanitarian Assistance that has strengthened its cooperation in line with the One ASEAN One Response approach. Globally, we are committed to the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

Third, there is a need to harness international law. The impact of climate change on statehood and security is far-reaching. It includes loss of territory, displacement of populations, and the attendant tensions over access to resources, livelihoods, and services. In terms of sea level rise, the Philippines supports the work of the International Law Commission particularly on the principle of uti possidetis juris, a doctrine that favors permanent maritime boundaries. The legal stability, security, certainty, and predictability in international law is a welcome approach.

Fourth, climate-vulnerable countries like the Philippines should receive needed support and resources from those most responsible for the climate crisis, so that these countries can allocate more of their national resources towards addressing the more traditional drivers of conflicts.

Lastly, there is a need to fortify structures and correct vulnerabilities that are first impacted by climate-related events, non-state actors such as terrorists may take advantage of. Counter-terrorism strategies and plans of action at the national, regional or global level must include aspects of climate change.


Mr. President,

I wish to emphasize that the Security Council should focus on considering security issues that result from climate change and terrorism and refrain from considering climate issues being addressed by fora such as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

There is a need for the Council to carefully examine the dynamics between climate change and terrorism. In addressing climate-related security risks, it is also critical that all Member States be involved in deciding any mechanisms and legal frameworks which may be put in place by the UN. Any Security Council action on the issue under consideration should consider these points.

Thank you, Mr. President.