Speech minister Kaag on the occasion of the start of the Netherlands’ term on the UN Security Council

Speech minister Kaag on the occasion of the start of the Netherlands’ term on the UN Security Council, Peace Palace, 22 December 2017

The defining threat of our times. This is how SG Gueterres recently characterized the phenomenon of climate change....

I could not agree more.

On the evening news. Or our IPhones we might be confronted with the devastating reports of human suffering, the destruction of entire cities all in one sweep....historically high numbers of people on the move, fleeing conflict, hunger or natural disasters. The impact of climate change is the constant theme in this regard.

Poor or failing governance, human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law further produce untold suffering, marginalization and compound already fragile situations. We cannot pretend not to know let alone chose to not notice.

In this bleak summing up, there is of course also some good news: extreme poverty has plummeted, we have yet unknown opportunities through the fourth industrial revolution (a Force for Good as SG Gueterres has recently stated) which creates the space to transform societies, to act and to anticipate and above all to PREVENT.

We cannot pretend not to know let alone chose to not notice. With knowledge comes an even greater responsibility to act, share in the responsibility to seek redress or provide durable solutions. This is why we remain strongly committed to the Paris agreement and more broadly the multilateral system, also in its process of smart reform as envisaged by the SG.

The development and implementation of national disaster risk reduction plans helps address the growing challenges of climate change, environmental degradation and urbanization and population growth.

Investing in the collective well-being of others, is after all also reinforcing a collective sense of security.

The Secretary General’s Agenda on sustaining peace connects to a broader approach on prevention through our joint efforts to achieve inclusive development, the realization of human rights coupled with political action to prevent conflict long before we are confronted with situations of acute crisis or war.

We have the means alongside the political will. This is part of responsible membership of the Security Council. As a former envoy of the UN I know the immeasurable impact and potential of the SC when it speaks with One Voice and sustains Unity of Purpose.

As the Netherlands we will make use of the entire spectrum of instruments, sustaining peace requires investments in sustainable developments, to help achieve the SDGs... this is a response to the impact of climate change, to mitigate and to adapt and to anticipate but above all to prevent.

Ministry responsible