8414th Security Council Meeting: Maintenance of International Peace and Security Part 1

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06-Dec-2018 03:42:52
Speakers in Security Council call for robust, coherent United Nations cooperation with regional bodies as global challenges grow increasingly complex at 8414th meeting.

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Robust and coherent cooperation among the United Nations and regional and subregional organizations will be key in tackling increasingly complex global challenges, delegates stressed in the Security Council today, with many expressing support for a proposal to formally finance African Union-led peace operations with United Nations assessed contributions.

Opening the day-long debate, Secretary-General António Guterres warned that modern-day threats are increasingly multidimensional, interlinked and unpredictable. “We have the obligation to act — not in isolation, but collectively,” he said. Noting that he has prioritized the prevention of conflict since taking the helm of the United Nations in 2017, he said the international community still overwhelmingly manages conflicts and crises rather than investing in prevention. Meanwhile, redoubled efforts and stronger partnerships are needed to tackle the root causes of conflict, from competition over resources to inequality, to poor governance and the exploitation of ethnic and religious divisions.

Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission and one of several regional leaders briefing the Council today, agreed that the world currently faces grave threats, citing climate change, migration and the rise of xenophobia, as well as transnational crime and terrorism – all of which can turn latent tensions into open conflict and are particularly acute in Africa. Emphasizing that the Council’s credibility and legitimacy depend on its ability to deal effectively with such crises, including through sustained preventive action, he cited the reluctance of some Member States ‑ perceiving early intervention as a breach of sovereignty ‑ as a major obstacle.

Jean-Claude Kassi Brou, President of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission, outlined the challenges confronting that body, including the devastating civil wars in Liberia and Sierra Leone. They led ECOWAS to shift its mission towards the prevention, management and containment of crises, in addition to providing assistance to States in post-conflict recovery, he said. The Community now employs an “Early Alert and Response” system and, when preventive diplomacy fails to yield the desired results, works with political actors to defuse crises through mediation, as it has done in Togo, Guinea-Bissau, Côte d’Ivoire and the Gambia.

More than 60 speakers took the floor to share their experiences with, or future visions for, structured cooperation between the United Nations and regional and subregional organizations. Many hailed success stories, including the 2017 ECOWAS intervention that helped to avert a potential crisis in the Gambia, and the counter-terrorism efforts currently pursued by the “Group of Five” (G-5) Sahel joint force. In addition, some speakers expressed support for a draft resolution, currently under negotiation by Council members, that would use United Nations assessed contributions to finance African Union-led peace operations.

Ethiopia’s representative ‑ one of three African Council members helping to drive negotiations on that text ‑ expressed hope that today’s debate will build the momentum needed for its adoption. The need for predictable, flexible, and sustainable financing of Council-mandated operations led by the African Union has long been recognized, he said, emphasizing that the timing is perfect for a decisive step forward. He added that the African Union has demonstrated a real commitment to sharing the burden by injecting $75 million into the African Union Peace Fund - with the ultimate goal of $400 million by 2021 ‑ while also demonstrating determination to fulfil the Council’s conditions relating to conduct, discipline and the prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse.

Marcel Amon-Tanoh, Côte d’Ivoire’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and Council President for December described the Council’s openness to considering the proposed draft resolution as a “step in the right direction”. Emphasizing that no single organization can bear the full burden of managing threats to collective global security, he called for a more inclusive approach, bringing together a wide array of actors. He cited Côte d’Ivoire’s own experience of rebuilding after civil conflict as a positive example. In 2013, he recalled, the ECOWAS intervention in Mali, with support from French military forces, successfully prevented terrorist groups from capturing Bamako, the country’s capital.

China’s delegate also expressed full support for the draft resolution, noting that the United Nations has steadily enhanced its cooperation with regional and subregional organizations. However, many such organizations are dogged by inadequate capacities and lack funds, he pointed out. “Cooperation should yield win-win results, both multilaterally and bilaterally,” he said, calling for a recommitment to multilateralism. The United Nations, for its part, should make better use of the resources at its disposal, including by providing more training, logistical support and funding to other organizations, he added.

However, several speakers advocated a more cautious approach to partnerships, emphasizing the need for clearly maintained divisions of labour and separate financing streams. The representative of the United States said regional and subregional organizations have the potential to step up their good work independently of any Council discussion of new funding modalities. Sometimes, “all that is needed is political will and an invitation”, he added. Expressing regret that no consensus has been reached on the proposed draft resolution on financing African Union-led peacekeeping missions, he stressed that the Council must always remain autonomous and the text should therefore reflect both its primacy and its oversight functions.

The Russian Federation’s representative, recognizing the need for a conversation about predictable and sustained financing in African peace operations, nevertheless expressed concern about the current draft resolution. He emphasized that his delegation will not support non-consensual elements, including a declaration of shared commitments, warning the international community not to equate the protection of civilians with human rights. He went on to state his delegation’s opposition to “robust” peacekeeping mandates, emphasizing that the United Nations cannot afford involvement in such scenarios.

Other speakers shared experiences from Europe to Latin America to the Middle East. Lebanon’s representative described her country as a concrete example of successful multi-level cooperation. Enormous effort is required to preserve peace, forge national reconciliation and solidify the foundations of democracy following civil turmoil, she said, noting that Arab assistance and international support proved indispensable for Lebanon. The situation in the country’s southern region remains generally calm, thanks to the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), she added.

Katherine Zappone, Ireland’s Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, recalled that her own country’s locally-led peace process benefited hugely from the sustained support of the European Union. Ireland’s membership in the bloc later helped to end a protracted and violent conflict, she said, highlighting the crucial role that women can play in such efforts. “If women are included in peace processes, the agreements they reach are more durable.”

Striking a similar tone, Liechtenstein’s representative recalled Europe’s successful political and economic integration following the Second World War. Today, however, tensions are rising and the bloc’s security situation is deteriorating, he noted. Regional efforts to defuse conflicts in Ukraine, Georgia and elsewhere should continue, even as the region “seems to drift further apart from a consensus on the fundamental principles of our common European security”, he said. Spotlighting the recent dangerous escalation of tensions in eastern Ukraine, he called upon the parties to exercise utmost restraint, while expressing strong support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Also speaking were representatives of France, Equatorial Guinea, Sweden, Peru, Kuwait, United Kingdom, Bolivia, Kazakhstan, Poland, Netherlands, Rwanda, Senegal, Japan, Colombia, Italy, Pakistan, Venezuela (on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement), Guatemala, Namibia, Portugal, Argentina, South Africa, Singapore, Germany, Norway (on behalf of the Nordic countries ‑ Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Sweden), Mali, Belgium, Kenya, Estonia, Morocco, Cuba, Slovakia, Iran, Indonesia, Ukraine, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Brazil, Ghana, Romania, Turkey, Canada, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Sudan, Republic of Moldova, Viet Nam and Nigeria.

An observer for the European Union delegation also delivered a statement.

The meeting began at 10:07 a.m. and ended at 5 p.m.

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