8413rd Security Council Meeting: Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace

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05-Dec-2018 03:11:10
National ownership, economic investment, key to post-conflict peacebuilding efforts, president tells Security Council at 8413th meeting.

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Building and sustaining peace after the end of conflict requires holistic responses characterized by national ownership, economic investment and inclusive efforts to repair torn social fabrics, the President of Côte d’Ivoire told the Security Council today, as members discussed peacebuilding and sustaining peace in the context of post‑conflict reconstruction, security and stability.

“For more than a decade, Côte d’Ivoire was the recipient of unprecedented support from the international community,” said President Alassane Ouattara, whose country holds the over the Council presidency for December. While the civil conflict formally ended in 2011, Côte d’Ivoire’s situation remained highly fragile after the conflict amid widespread economic insecurity. Basic public services, for example, were in a dismal state.

“This situation could have compromised my country’s return to peace and stability in the long term,” he continued. However, holistic strategies for economic recovery and development — implemented from the very start of the post‑conflict phase — averted such a relapse. Calling attention to the private sector’s role , he said it transformed Côte d’Ivoire’s economy, driving its annual growth rate up to a high of 9 per cent.

He went on to state that a vast disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programme allowed for the reintegration of some 65,000 former combatants, to whom decent jobs were provided. Governance reforms, anti‑corruption measures and efforts to boost social cohesion were also successful. “Ivoirians are [now] living in peace and in tolerance,” he said, noting that the country’s experience can serve as a case study for the Council’s work going forward.

Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission, stated: “Côte d’Ivoire’s experience is an eloquent demonstration that peace is within reach” when actors are determined to turn commitments into action. Countries in which recurrent conflicts persist would do well to learn from its experience, he said. Welcoming recent diplomatic progress in the Horn of Africa, he recalled that, similarly, Côte d’Ivoire’s political agreement extended a hand to “the enemies of yesterday”.

The United Kingdom’s delegate declared: “Too seldom do we hear success stories in the Council.” Applauding Côte d’Ivoire’s many ongoing reforms, she said that while it can be extremely difficult to be magnanimous in the aftermath of conflict, it is also critical. She recalled her country’s experience in Northern Ireland, where accommodating the interests of diametrically opposed armed groups within the political process led to peace. She also highlighted the “virtues of patience”, noting that, according to the World Bank, meaningful institutional change can take a decade to bear fruit.

Secretary‑General António Guterres, delivering opening remarks, said that merely reacting to crises entails huge human and financial costs, emphasizing that the United Nations must refocus on prevention in the spirit of his Action for Peacekeeping initiative. Calling for holistic approaches, he emphasized the crucial importance of tackling inequality, climate change, corruption and cross‑border crime, which means investing in basic services and social cohesion. The United Nations must also adapt to the needs of host countries, help to mobilize marginalized groups, youth and the private sector, while enhancing partnerships with both regional and subregional organizations.

As the floor opened for the debate, many delegates noted that the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) — first deployed in 2004 — was able to formally withdraw in 2017, in contrast to other missions the mandates of which have lingered for decades. Some speakers expressed concern that serious and evolving terrorist threats in West Africa and the Sahel may jeopardize today’s efforts to recover from recovery conflict. Several called for stronger United Nations support for peace operations, spearheaded by the African Union, while others supported mandating the “Group of Five” (G‑5) Sahel joint force — currently combating extremists in that region — under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter.

Equatorial Guinea’s delegate stressed the importance of ensuring justice for victims in order to quell the desire for revenge. Creating a safe environment in which African socioeconomic development can thrive will require significant international support. He said that his delegation is currently participating in negotiations on a draft resolution intended to provide predictable and sustainable financing for peacekeeping operations in Africa through the United Nations regular budget.

Sigrid Kaag, Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation of the Netherlands, called for integrated approaches to post‑conflict recovery, saying they should include sustainable, inclusive social and economic development. The Netherlands has invested in risk analysis related to climate change and human rights violations, she said, adding that such studies are needed to help prevent conflict and ensure sustainable transitions from conflict to peace. She also spotlighted the need to protect agriculture‑based livelihoods — thereby securing the means to produce food during conflict — saying that, in turn, requires innovative partnerships among the private sector, financial institutions and other key actors.

Paul Robert Tiendrebeogo, Burkina Faso’s Minister for African Integration and Burkinabe Abroad, recalled that his country overcame a national crisis in 2014 and 2015 with support from the United Nations Peacebuilding Fund, regional and subregional organizations as well as neighbouring States. It then adopted a National Plan focusing on good governance, developing human capital and eradicating the root causes of crises. Since then, however, Burkina Faso and other States in the region have faced recurrent terrorist attacks which now hinder their progress, he said. Outlining Government efforts to root out the drivers of terrorist recruitment, he called for stronger United Nations support for, and coordination with, the G‑5 Sahel joint force working to combat terrorism.

Rwanda’s delegate declared: “While the balance sheet of Africa’s peace and security dividend is not where we could like it to be, there are major positive developments that point to a bright future for the continent.” Sharing three core pillars from the reconstruction period following the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, she underlined the importance of security, peace and stability; building institutions; and the development dividend. Reconstruction efforts should be fully inclusive, with women engaged in the entire process, and Governments must ensure that citizens feel the impact of development in meaningful ways, she added.

Also speaking today were representatives of China, United States, Bolivia, Peru, Russian Federation, Poland, Kuwait, France, Sweden, Kazakhstan, Ethiopia, Japan and Senegal.

At the meeting’s outset, delegates observed a moment of silence in honour of the late George H.W. Bush, former President of the United States.

The meeting began at 10:18 a.m. and ended at 1:29 p.m.

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