Mr. President, dear colleagues,

With global temperatures rising to 1,1 Celsius, rapid changes to the climate system, such as rising sea levels and rapidly melting sea ice, are already underway. Human-made climate change is causing weather and climate extremes across the globe. We need urgent, systemic transformations to secure a climate-resilient future.

It is not new information that climate change causes severe losses and damages to nature and people. Vulnerable people, such as the disabled, children, and refugees, are disproportionately affected in disasters. Nearly 3.6 billion people live in countries that are highly vulnerable to climate impacts. In these regions, conflict, existing inequalities, and development challenges increase the sensitivity to climate hazards and limit communities’ capacity to adapt.

Türkiye and Syria experienced a horrible natural disaster in February 2023, when an earthquake claimed over 50,000 lives. My deepest condolences. Countries facing disasters need urgent, medium- and long-term assistance to survive. In Türkiye and Syria it is crucial to investigate why and how the infrastructure collapsed so badly, to prevent and especially prepare for future natural disasters. We must be able to move from humanitarian assistance and development aid to other support forms and back again according to the need.

According to Mr Moutquin’s report, investigations into the flooding in Germany in 2021 found several weaknesses in the flood risk management system. The disaster was worsened by soil sealing and saturation, which led to funnel effects. I strongly agree with the rapporteur’s proposal to invest in prevention strategies and adapt regulations to climate change, combat corruption in the construction sector, and improve global cooperation to ensure greater complementarity when managing and preventing natural disasters.

Future effects of climate change are unavoidable can be limited. Prevention is key and preparedness is a necessity. Governments should develop national, regional, and local strategies to increase disaster resilience. International cooperation is crucial. Our choices and actions today will have an impact tomorrow and for thousands of years to come.

Euroopan neuvoston yleiskokouksen sivut (englanniksi)