A call for action towards responding effectively in addressing climate emergencies has been made at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Debate on Women, Peace and Security held this week at UN in New York.


The United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, in his address to the UN Security Council called on members for far greater support to implementing the Women Peace and Security agenda. In 2020, the UN will be marking 20 years since the approval of the historic Resolution 1325 which, brought women into the center stage of the peace and security agenda. 


While addressing the UNSC in a debate on Women, Peace and Security, Fiji’s Permanent Representative to United Nations, Ambassador Satyendra Prasad said that UN Peace operations will need to respond to climate emergencies.


Ambassador Prasad told the United Nations Security Council that the climate crisis is triggering new conflicts or transforming existing conflicts across so many of the World’s conflict affected regions.  He said that water stress, desertification, collapse of fishing resources in coastal areas, extreme weather events were all having traumatic impacts across so many countries. All of these have adverse impacts on women and girls first and foremost.


Ambassador Prasad called for member states to provide “firmer financial support for implementing the women, peace and security agenda. Conflicts across the world are becoming more global and more intense. The impacts of conflict on women are becoming more severe and brutal. Food, health care humanitarian assistance are all becoming weaponized in conflict areas. Women and girls bear the brunt of the suffering and brutality of this”.


Ambassador Prasad said that “UN peace operations will need to become more responsive to climate induced conflicts. More women in UN police and UN peacemaking is an important starting point. He told the UN Security Council that Fiji was proud that around 40 percent of Police in its UN police operations were women. He said that Fiji will continue to increase women’s participation in peacekeeping and its progressing well towards achieving the United Nations 18 percent of women in peacekeeping target.


He said that both the Fiji Military and Police Forces are undertaking sustained efforts to increase the recruitment and promotion of women domestically. 


“This was a part of a broader national trend as well. There were more women in Fiji’s parliament and more women in senior roles in the civil service than ever before. But Fiji is going much further.”


Ambassador Prasad told the UNSC that women need to be at the “heart and not on the margins of decision making – from mediation, to peace building,  to peacekeeping to post conflict reconstruction. When women are involved “at all levels, there is a greater chance that peace will be enduring and will survive future stresses”. 


Fiji’ Ambassador said that the UN “cannot be behind the curve. Already a majority of UN peace operations are in regions that are severely exposed to the climate crisis – facing water stress, fires, droughts and more intense extreme weather events. Operations need to be better prepared; they need new capabilities and they need to be better supported in order to integrate humanitarian, peacekeeping and development investments”.