Security Council’s Open Debate on “Peace and security challenges facing small island developing States”, in connection with the agenda item “Maintenance of international peace and security”
United Nations, 30 July 2015
Let me begin by congratulating you and the New Zealand delegation for successfully accomplishing this month’s presidency of the Security Council, and for convening this Open Debate on the peace and security challenges faced by Small Island Developing States. This meeting could not have been more timely as we approach the first anniversary of the adoption of S.A.M.O.A. Pathway, a blueprint for sustainable development for SIDS, while in September a historic summit will take place at the UN for the adoption of a universal Post 2015 development agenda that would call for global action towards inclusive sustainable development and universal prosperity in a peaceful, safe and just world.
The Republic of Cyprus aligns itself with the statement delivered by the European Union, and would like to make the following comments in its national capacity.
The international community has well recognized the particular needs and challenges faced by SIDS especially through the outcome documents of international conferences such as the Barbados Program of Action (BPoA), the Mauritius Strategy of Implementation (MSI) and most recently the S.A.M.O.A. Pathway. Their small size, limited nature of their economy, their lack of capacity and resources, geographical isolation, and exposure to natural disasters render them more vulnerable to subsequent threats that affect adversely their economy and society. Such challenges are, among others, lack of human capacity, land degradation, weak infrastructure, food insecurity, brain drain due to migration, organized crime including trafficking of drugs, small arms and persons as well as piracy, and most importantly the adverse effects of climate change. The 2012 World Bank Report entitled “Turn Down the Heat”, warns that if current commitments and pledges are not fully honoured, a warming of 4°C could occur as early as the 2060s and associated sea-level rise of 0.5 to 1 meter or more by 2100 will threaten the very existence of entire countries and many SIDS. Needless to say, all these grave challenges have a serious accumulative impact to the stability and peace of many SIDS.
Following the Security Council’s recent Arria formula meeting on the role of climate change as a threat for global security and especially for SIDS, this debate is an excellent opportunity for member states to further contribute to the discussion on how we can collectively address the peace and security challenges related to climate change that small island states have to face. Climate change, as the greatest threat multiplier for global security, can be considered the root cause of many of the various challenges that threaten SIDS and make them socially, environmentally, and economically more susceptible. Eco-systems and marine biodiversity are also susceptible to the aggressive changes of the environment, something that directly affects coastal and marine resources, and eventually tourism, and fisheries. Climate change can lead to or enhance structural adversities and increase communicable and non-communicable diseases. It deepens social and economic disparities as “climate-induced” migration portrays.
Cyprus as a small island state in the Mediterranean, is familiar with these issues. Our small size, geography, limited natural resources such as water scarcity, render us exposed and vulnerable to many of the challenges faced by the SIDS. That is why we have always maintained the view that the interests of Small Island States can best be served and protected collectively within the framework of the UN.. It must be emphasized in this context that building alliances and partnerships between SIDS and all relevant actors including regional organizations, global financial institutions, the private sector and civil society, are crucial in order to address the numerous and diverse challenges of small island states. SIDS rely on the support and solidarity by the international community. Cyprus, both nationally and as member of the EU is supports and contributes to the realization of many shared objectives with SIDS including that of addressing climate change globally.
Development, peace and security go hand in hand. The Sustainable Development Goals which our leaders will adopt next September are promised on the understanding that peace and security cannot exist without development, and development cannot be achieved without peace. International cooperation, and effective collective measures to remove any threats to peace, lie at the core of our preventive actions, and with the involvement of all actors, governmental and nongovernmental, and all other stakeholders we can help SIDS build resilience, a more prosperous and sustainable living. It is in our collective interest to do so. And it is in the interest of global peace.