Mr President,

Switzerland would like to thank Saint Vincent and the Grenadines for organising this debate and the speakers for their contributions.

The situations on the Security Council's agenda highlight the negative impact of contemporary challenges such as COVID-19 and climate change on international peace and security. It is necessary that the Council recognise these linkages and strengthen its engagement as part of a holistic approach, which engages the three pillars of the United Nations, in order to be able to address the root causes of conflicts and insecurity.

The following three areas of action call for an increased engagement by the Council:

First, the effects of climate change pose a challenge to peacebuilding efforts and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals in various contexts where high levels of inequality and vulnerability are present within the population. Climate change and natural disasters can result in the displacement of persons and contribute to exacerbating tensions between different communities. Prevention is key in dealing with disasters and food insecurity. This is why Switzerland assists, for example, communities in Somalia in the implementation of an early warning network. A systematic analysis of climate change risks must inform the Council's decisions, particularly in relation to the mandates of peace missions. We call on the Council to make full use of existing resources within the UN system, including the climate security mechanism that brings together the UNDP, UNEP and DPPA, and field structures to this effect. Switzerland appreciates the commitment of the Group of Friends on Climate and Security and the establishment of the Informal Expert Group of the Security Council on this subject.

Second, as the Security Council affirms in its resolution 2532, the COVID-19 pandemic threatens to reverse the peacebuilding and development gains made by countries in transition and post-conflict countries. An inclusive approach, anchored in human rights, must guide the efforts to build back better in the aftermath of the pandemic. The Peacebuilding Commission is ideally placed to promote a coherent, coordinated response of the three pillars of the United Nations system and its principal bodies, while respecting the priorities defined by the Member States at national level. We invite the Council to take full account of the Commission's contributions in its work.

Third, the common challenge posed by the current crises also opens up opportunities. The Blue Peace initiative launched by Switzerland is such an example. The common management of shared water resources makes it possible to reduce tensions and to promote stable relations between different states or stakeholders. Several specific programmes have been implemented on the ground in the Middle East, Central Asia and West Africa. The Security Council's support for preventive diplomacy, through United Nations special political missions and in collaboration with regional and subregional organisations, is based on a similar approach and has significant further potential for development.

The linkages between peace, development and humanitarian action are central to Swiss foreign policy, including in its role as vice-president of ECOSOC, as a member of the Peacebuilding Commission next year and, once elected, as a non-permanent member of the Security Council in 2023–24.

I thank you.