Global sea levels are rising as a result of human-caused global warming, with recent rates being unprecedented over the past 2,500-plus years.

Sea level rise is caused primarily by two factors related to global warming: the added water from melting ice sheets and glaciers, and the expansion of seawater as it warms.

Rising sea levels create not only stress on the physical coastline, but also on coastal ecosystems.

Saltwater intrusions can contaminate freshwater aquifers, many of which sustain municipal and agricultural water supplies and natural ecosystems.

As global temperatures continue to warm, sea level will keep rising for a long time because there is a substantial lag to reaching an equilibrium.

The magnitude of the rise will depend strongly on the rate of future carbon dioxide emissions and future global warming, and the speed might increasingly depend on the rate of glacier and ice sheet melting.

However, the Philippines is expected to experience more frequent and severe flooding as a result of sea level rise and more frequent cyclones.

According to the World Bank, its urban population is expected account for 75% of the national population by 2035.

During a UN Security Council meeting on sea level rise and its implications for international peace and security held recently, Ambassador and deputy permanent representative Ariel Rodelas Peñaranda, chargé d’affaires of the Philippine mission to the United Nations, asserted that the convergence of scientific opinion should guide UN member states in pursuing a common security agenda on sea level rise.

“The nation’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, the people’s well-being, core values, and way of life, among others, are being threatened, especially those living in the coastal areas,” Peñaranda said.

The Security Council Open Debate is aimed at highlighting the risks to international peace and security posed by sea level rise, and exploring ways how the Council can address these risks in the global security architecture and invest in preventive mechanisms.