Statement by Turkey Executive Board of UNDP, UNFPA and UNOPS UNFPA Segment New York, 23 January 2019

Feridun Hadi Sinirlioğlu 25.01.2019
Mr. President,

At the outset, I would like to commend Dominican Republic’s efforts for bringing yet another critical issue to the attention of the Security Council. Climate change is an existential challenge and its adverse and transboundary impacts on the economy, health and environment pose major threats for future generations.

In the last decades, climate change-related disasters have become an underlying cause of social instability, by contributing to large scale displacements. The environmental degradation and competition over resources continue to play a critical role in conflicts in many regions. They also halt progress on security, stability and development. International Organization of Migration (IOM) estimates that the number of people that might be forced to migrate due to environmental degradation by 2050 could be as high as 200 million. In 2017 climate-related disasters caused thousands of deaths and incurred $320 billion Dollars loss. There is no doubt that these figures will put further pressure on host countries for the displaced and create new challenges for the existing legal frameworks for displacement and migration. These facts oblige us to reflect on the consequential economic and security implications of climate change.

The Caribbean and Pacific regions are heavily and increasingly affected by climate change and related security consequences, despite having had almost no contribution to the global warming. Slow-onset hazards such as increasing sea levels and extreme weather-related disasters endanger the very existence of Small Island Developing States (SIDS). These circumstances also have critical impacts on the sustenance of people, who are mostly engaged in fishing, forestry and agriculture.

There is an urgent need to adapt and establish systematic and comprehensive resilience-building tools for those countries. These mechanisms must address the risks of social and political instability and of conflicts that arise from the interaction of climate change and socio-political factors. Transfer of technology and know-how to these countries is an urgent necessity. The capacities of local populations and national governments should be strenghtened with policies and strategies which will enable them to better cope with the devastating effects of climate-related disasters. Turkey is willing and ready to contribute to such efforts.

Turkey, through its humanitarian and development agencies, prioritizes assisting countries that have been critically affected by extreme weather events and disasters which cause a heavy toll on people’s livelihoods, by delivering mobile hospitals, aid materials and deploying search and rescue teams.

Mr. President,

Turkey too is located in a vulnerable region with respect to climate change. The region is severely affected by the global warming, which caused a decrease in precipitation and a rise in drought and land degradation. 2017 was the driest year in the last 44 years. And consequently, Turkey is expected to become a water-stressed country by 2030.

Turkey has pursued a firm position on climate change. In an attempt to provide its citizens with low-carbon intensity environment, Turkey strives to integrate global climate change-related objectives in its development policies, disseminate energy efficiency, increase the use of clean and renewable energy resources and actively participate in the global efforts for tackling climate change.

As Secretary-General has been stongly warning, climate change is the defining issue of our time and “running faster than we are.” Combatting climate change and related disasters require global cooperation and equitable burden-sharing. The entry into force of the Paris Agreement and the approval of its rulebook are surely significant achievements. Turkey actively contributed to the negotiations with a view to reaching a successful agreement. Nevertheless, Paris Agreement can be successfully implemented only if it is based on principles of Common but Differentiated Responsibilities, Respective Capabilities, as well as equity. Turkey, as a country facing critical vulnerabilities related to climate change, remains committed to implementing the necessary measures to protect our planet and overcome these challenges on equal terms with the countries having similar development levels.

Today’s debate has reconfirmed the diverse linkages between climate change on one hand and peace and security on the other. No nation is immune from the related challenges. Hence we need to work in unity in facing them. We thank the Dominican Presidency for focusing on this important issue.

Thank you.