Arria Formula Meeting on Water, Peace and Security

Intervention H.E. Karel van Oosterom, Permanent Representative of the Netherlands, 22 April 2016


Monsieur le Président, distinguished delegates,

Votre Excellence Macky Sall, je vous remercie pour votre vision et leadership en mettre ce thème sur l’agenda du Conseil de Sécurité.

Mon pays vous soutient de tout coeur en ce matière;

Nous sommes convaincu que les limitations de nos réseaux hydrographiques seront les défis plus pertinents pour la paix dans le future même prochain.

Mr. President, distinguished delegates,

I would like to highlight three particular issues within the context of this debate:

-   Planetary Security as an integrated approach to development and security

-   The need to raise political awareness of water sustainability

-   The need to facilitate access to financial support for LDCs and SIDS

Planetary Security

Mr. President, as the concept note so eloquently indicates, addressing root causes of conflict is not just about rule of law or security sector reform, but also about food, climate and water.

For this reason, the Netherlands launched the Planetary Security Initiative last November as a platform for the global community to address the security, or conflict impact of climate change, including water.

The annual Planetary Security conference aims to enable policy makers and experts to ‘future proof’ our foreign and security policies from a climate change perspective.

Next conference planned on 5-6 December, again at the Peace Palace in The Hague. Its specific angle open for suggestions.

Water is an important element of this discussion as a potential driver of conflict, a potential cause of disaster and an essential precondition for development.

At diplomatic level a lot remains to be done to include and highlight this climate security lens. E.g. in the Paris agreement there is virtually no mention of the conflict potential of climate change and water.

As a strong proponent of integrated approaches, the Netherlands is active on water, not only from a development perspective but also diplomatically.

For instance, through promoting water diplomacy - last March we organized a seminar in Khartum for diplomats in all the riparian states of the Nile basin, to further constructive approaches in preventing conflict over water.

But also, through working with intergovernmental organisations, such as the OMVS for the Senegal River. Since 2006, we collaborate successfully with OMVS on the equitable distribution of the benefits of shared waters: between the riparian countries,  and between water use sectors.

HL Panel on Water

As indicated in the concept note, each of the last 3 Secretary-Generals has urged the world community to act, but up until now we have insufficiently responded to this call as international community.

It is high time to raise the political commitment to urgently address this issue.

To accelerate this, the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and World Bank Group President Jim Kim have convened a High Level Panel on Water. Our Prime Minister, Mark Rutte, is honoured to be on this panel, together with among other eminent persons H.E. Macky Sall.

The Panel will champion a comprehensive, inclusive and collaborative way of developing and managing water resources, and improving water and sanitation related services. In this context, the OMVS is an inspiring example. The PanelIt will also advocate the availability of the necessary financial means.

[The Swiss-Senegalese initiative of a Panel on Water, Peace and Security is equally timely, and we look forward to working with you to ensure the appropriate linkages.

We also call upon the UN system to ensure it is ready to provide support and advice on integrating sustainable water management into country development strategies.

This to make sure to address potential root causes of conflict related to water at an early stage.

Capacity to prevent water conflicts through mediation and other political means also needs to be strengthened.]

SIDS and financial acces

Finally, I would like to highlight the special situation of SIDS – of which we have several in our Kingdom of the Netherlands.

Security for them means dealing with an immediate threat to their survival due to rising sea levels, but also increasing droughts and extreme weather events. For many LDCs the latter issues are also of immediate impact.

This requires much better access to available funds for adaptation projects for both SIDS and LDCs. For if such projects do not get developed and implemented in the next decade or two, adaptation might no longer be an option for many communities.

The Kingdom of the Netherlands has advocated a special window for project preparation under the new multi-donor trust fund of the WB Water Global Practice.

Mr. President, M. le President,

Once again I thank you for putting this issue on our agenda – we cannot stress enough the importance of dealing with it in an integrated manner, throughout the pillars of the UN.

The Kingdom of the Netherlands will continue to be your partner to make this a reality.