Statement by John Sammis, Deputy U.S. Representative to ECOSOC, regarding "Climate change and its possible security implications," in the General Assembly

U.S. Mission to the United Nations 
New York, NY
June 3, 2009


Mr. President, members of the General Assembly,

The United States applauds the adoption today of the resolution “Climate change and its possible security implications” and is pleased to join the list of co-sponsors that includes the original proponents of the resolution, namely the Pacific Small Island Developing States.

We are encouraged by the General Assembly’s ability to achieve broad consensus on a resolution concerning the urgent issue of climate change, particularly in these crucial remaining months leading to the 15th meeting of the Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Copenhagen.  We therefore express gratitude to the Pacific Small Island Developing States and to all of our other negotiating partners for this collective negotiating effort in the General Assembly.

This past April, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton addressed representatives at the first preparatory session of the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate in Washington, DC.  At that meeting, Secretary Clinton noted that:

“The crisis of climate change exists at the nexus of diplomacy, national security and development. It is an environmental issue, a health issue, an economic issue, an energy issue, and a security issue.... It threatens lives and livelihoods. Desertification and rising sea levels generate increased competition for food, water and resources. But we also have seen increasingly the dangers that these transpose to the stability of societies and governments. We see how this can breed conflict, unrest and forced migration. So no issue we face today has broader long-term consequences or greater potential to alter the world for future generations.”

Climate change is among the highest priorities for the Obama Administration, and Ambassador Rice has made advancing the climate change agenda one of her top priorities at the United Nations.

The resolution adopted today reinforces the member states’ recognition that global climate change poses serious challenges for our planet, requires an urgent response and the widest possible cooperation by all countries, as well as intensified efforts by the United Nations System.  The United States reaffirms its commitment to leadership in this global endeavor.


PRN: 2009/115