8243rd Security Council Meeting: Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace

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25-Apr-2018 02:19:40
Briefing Security Council, Secretary-General calls for ‘Quantum Leap’ in funding activities to prevent conflict, address root causes at 8243rd meeting.

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With the adoption of landmark resolutions on the concepts of peacebuilding and sustaining peace imminent, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres urged Member States to strengthen their focus on conflict prevention, address its root causes and embark on a “quantum leap” in funding those critical activities, in a briefing to the Security Council this afternoon.

“Building and sustaining peace requires addressing the roots of conflict, which often lie in poverty, exclusion, inequality, discrimination and serious violations of human rights,” Mr. Guterres told the 15-member organ. The General Assembly’s adoption on Thursday of the draft resolution formally titled, “Follow‑up to the report of the Secretary-General on peacebuilding and sustaining peace” — to be followed by an identical text in the Council — would outline a joint path forward, allowing it to track the United Nations progress towards implementing the recommendations outlined in his report. Urging States to build upon positive examples seen in the work of the Peacebuilding Commission — established in 2005 to support peace efforts in conflict‑affected countries — he said sustaining peace required support for inclusivity and a firm rooting in respect for human rights.

Dan Neculăescu (Romania), Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission, said the resolutions to be adopted by the Assembly, and subsequently by the Council, provided opportunities for Member States to demonstrate their commitment to the concepts of peacebuilding and sustaining peace. The Commission would, in turn, provide a forum for related discussions and play a bridging role to enhance partnerships with actors beyond the United Nations, including civil society, international financial institutions and the private sector. Citing several examples, he said the Commission had supported more coherence in the United Nations work in the Sahel region, and assisted national authorities to develop a peacebuilding plan and carry out successful elections in Liberia.

Also briefing the Council today was Smail Chergui, Commissioner for Peace and Security of the African Union, whose presence was cited by many Council members as a strong signal of the United Nations deepening collaboration with regional organizations. Emphasizing that peace could not be achieved without development nor development without peace — and that neither would thrive without human rights and good governance — he said that approach underpinned the African Union’s work from the Central African Republic to Somalia to the Lake Chad Basin region. He cited several important lessons learned, including the need incorporate local perspectives and empower marginalized communities. Spotlighting his organization’s expanding financial responsibility, he expressed hope that the Council would also provide assistance. Funding Africa’s peace operations should be a collective priority in today’s complex and interconnected world, he said.

Council members — including several ministerial-level representatives — took the floor following those briefings, roundly voicing support for the Secretary‑General’s efforts to bolster the United Nations conflict prevention and peacebuilding activities. Many speakers called for more coherent, inclusive and transparent approaches to the Organization’s peace and security activities, while others warned against the temptation to apply one-size-fits-all approaches to the many diverse conflicts around the world. Still others cautioned against relegating peacekeeping — long the flagship activity of the United Nations — to the background as attention shifted to prevention.

Margot Wallström, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Sweden, said the Secretary-General’s report offered a clear road map forward, and “we must move to action”. Boosting equality and inclusive national ownership were essential, as were improving early warning systems and commitments to preventive actions. The Council must establish a practice of addressing situations of concern with a view to preventing conflict. Other essential elements were targeting and addressing the drivers of conflict, ensuring cross-pillar cooperation and a system-wide approach and closer work with regional partners, she said.

Marcel Amon-Tanoh, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Côte d’Ivoire, shared his country’s experience, noting that concerted efforts had helped the Government to calm the security situation following its 2011 elections. International support had also helped it advance reconciliation efforts, identify vulnerable groups and draft a plan of action to consolidate peace. Côte d’Ivoire’s spectacular economic growth was leading to post-conflict progress, improved social cohesion, national reconciliation and reconstruction, he said, calling on developed countries, multilateral partners and the private sector to provide the Peacebuilding Fund with the resources needed to more effectively help post-conflict countries to truly ensure peace was sustained.

France’s representative noted that “the United Nations was born of the goal of prevention”, but said that goal had been side-lined for too long. The Council, for its part, should be better able to pre-empt crises. Vulnerable countries must be assisted in developing the capacities necessary to stave off weaknesses, he said, emphasizing that, when prevention failed, it remained the United Nations’ responsibility to intervene. Indeed, peacekeeping operations remained a critical tool, but their mandates should be tailored to specific contexts and should prioritize political solutions. Now that the links between peace and development had become evident, it was up to the international community to act.

The representative of Bolivia, meanwhile, said sustaining peace should be approached through tools and policies based on dialogue and negotiated political solutions. That meant working to reach common ground and taking into account the perspective of all parties. Calling for strict adherence to the principles of the United Nations Charter, she emphasized that breaking the vicious cycle of conflict required tackling its structural roots. States must avoid interventionist approaches that had historically led to chaos, destruction and terrorism which were still being felt today.

Also speaking were the representatives of Peru, Netherlands, United Kingdom, Kuwait, China, Equatorial Guinea, Poland, Kazakhstan, United States, Russian Federation and Ethiopia.

The meeting began at 3:06 p.m. and ended at 5:27 p.m.
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