Multilateral engagement ‘crucial’ to tackle climate change: Ian Borg to OSCE forum

Chair-in-Office of the OSCE, Minister Ian Borg addresses preparatory meeting of Economic and Environmental Forum

Chair-in-Office of the OSCE, Minister Ian Borg
Chair-in-Office of the OSCE, Minister Ian Borg

Multilateral engagement in tackling the impacts of climate change is crucial, Foreign Minister Ian Borg said on Thursday.

“As we witness increasing climatic shifts, science is raising red flags, which we, as policy and decision-makers, must approach with utmost seriousness and responsibility. No country is immune to climate change,” the Chair-in-Office of the OSCE, Minister Ian Borg said during the second preparatory meeting of the OSCE Economic and Environmental Forum.

Thursday’s conference in Malta brought together delegations from the OSCE’s 57 participating States, paving the way for the final meeting of the OSCE Economic and Environmental Forum in September, in Prague.

“This is a collective undertaking requiring our joint engagement in good faith, emphasising the impact of climate change on social, economic and environmental stability, imperilling sustainable development and thus, adversely affecting security and stability in the OSCE area,” he said.

The Forum is spearheading the theme “Enhancing security and stability in the OSCE region through digital innovation, contributing to sustainable development and climate adaptation”. It is the first time in three years that the Forum is being held with a mandated agenda, after the 2024 Maltese Chairpersonship of this organisation succeeded in reaching a consensus among all participating States.

Referring to the ongoing Russian war of aggression in Ukraine, Minister Ian Borg said that “beyond the immediate destruction on the environment, economy, and society, this war also hinders us from addressing the most pressing environmental and economic threats of our time, including climate change.”

The OSCE Chair-in-Office also reminded that as a small island state in Mediterranean, one of the world’s most climate-vulnerable areas regions, Malta can attest to diverse environmental impacts, many of which are derived from climate change and are felt by other parts of the OSCE area.

In this regard, Malta’s Chairpersonship of the OSCE deliberately chose climate change as one of its priorities for 2024 with a view to strengthening the engagement among the OSCE and its participating States in finding innovative ways to address climate change, he explained.

“It is everyone’s moral and legal obligation to contribute towards a sustainable future,” Minister Ian Borg concluded.

Malta began its 12-month Chairpersonship of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in January, under the theme “Strengthening Resilience, Enhancing Security”, after it was unanimously elected to head this organisation for the first time in its history, in November 2023.