Sustainable development important to conflict prevention: UN Secretary-General

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UN Secretary-General António Guterres at the Munich Security Conference. Source: Video screen capture.

The UN Secretary-General has emphasized the need for more preventive diplomacy in a world where conflicts are multiplying and increasingly interlinked, including to the new threat of global terrorism.

António Guterres was speaking on Saturday at the Munich Security Conference, an annual forum held in Germany that brings together world leaders and other decision-makers.

Mr Guterres also highlighted the role of inclusive and sustainable development in preventing conflicts.

Dianne Penn reports.

The nature of conflict today represents "a huge threat" to global security, the UN Secretary-General stated.

From Nigeria to Mali, or to Libya, Israel and Palestine, Syria, Somalia, Yemen and Afghanistan, he said it is clear that all these crises are connected to each other.

The fragility of states underlies many of these conflicts, he added, reiterating his call for "a surge in diplomacy for peace."

"It will not be easy.  We will also need a lot of preventive diplomacy, a lot of efforts in mediation, and we especially need to have a strategy to address the root causes of these kinds of conflicts in the world. There are things that are obvious: the alignment of the sustainable and inclusive development with the sustaining peace agenda. It is clear that development is an important element in the prevention of conflicts, especially if it is inclusive and sustainable."

Mr Guterres also emphasized how climate change, population growth and lack of resources such as water and food, can also fuel conflict.

He said it was "absolutely essential" that countries stick to the Paris Agreement on climate change, which seeks to limit the global temperature rise to below two degrees Celsius.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 1’17″

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