Climate change a challenge to global peace and security - Uhuru

Says droughts, sea level, extreme weather patterns reversing economic growth.

In Summary

• Uhuru on Tuesday said it will become harder in the coming years if the threat of climate change is not addressed adequately.

• The head of state said this has resulted in increased fragility to instability and armed conflict that then comes to the attention of the Security Council.

President Uhuru Kenyatta during a public event over the weekend
President Uhuru Kenyatta during a public event over the weekend
Image: PSCU

President Uhuru Kenyatta has warned that climate change remains the main challenge to the UN Security Council's mandate of maintaining global peace and security.

Uhuru on Tuesday said it will become harder in the coming years if the threat of climate change is not addressed adequately.

Uhuru rallied the Security Council to support more mitigation and adaptation measures in Africa saying the effects of climate change are having adverse socioeconomic impacts on the continent.

"As a start, we can recognize that persistent droughts, constant sea level rises, and increasingly frequent extreme weather patterns are reversing economic growth and development gains achieved over decades," he said.

The head of state said this has resulted in increased fragility to instability and armed conflict that then comes to the attention of the Security Council.

"Rather than wait for a future tipping point, we must redouble the efforts to direct all the resources and multilateral frameworks of our rules-based international order to mitigate the effects of climate change," he said.

The President spoke Tuesday evening at State House, Nairobi during a virtual UN Security Council open debate hosted by the United Kingdom on the nexus between climate and security.

He reiterated Kenya's strong commitment to advancing Africa's agenda at UN Security Council especially on matters of climate change and security on the continent.

Uhuru said Africa will suffer the worst consequences of climate change and told the Security Council to make the continent a top priority in its climate and security strategies.

"Listen to us Africans when we tell you that the link is clear, its impact tangible, and the need for solutions urgent. Africa, unfortunately, will suffer the worst consequences of climate change despite being the least responsible for global greenhouse gas emissions," he said.

The head of state also identified climate, biodiversity and nature, and pollution and waste management as the three planetary crises that threaten the world's future.

Speaking in a separate event where he delivered the keynote address at the start of events to mark 50 years since the creation of the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP), Uhuru said adverse weather and climatic occurrences are a warning sign of a bleak future and proposed change of tact in addressing environmental matters.

"This commemoration is an opportunity for introspection and correction. We should take transformative remedial actions, make correct financial and social decisions and change course where necessary,"  he said.

Uhuru said the world must commit to the promotion of sustainable development and protection of biodiversity.

According to him, Kenya was a proud host of UNEP and assured the international community of the country's full backing of the global environment agenda.

"The environment holds and can provide solutions to most of the challenges we face as humanity. In this regard, Kenya has firmly anchored the environmental pillar in our Country’s blueprints for development; the Kenya Vision 2030 and the Big4 agenda,"  he said.