Enhancing Cooperation Between United Nations and Regional and Subregional Organizations in Enhancing Confidence-building and Dialogue in Conflict Prevention and Resolution - Security Council Open Debate

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19-Apr-2021 03:03:17
In times of global crises, collaboration between regional organizations, United Nations has ‘grown exponentially’, Secretary-General tells Security Council.

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In the face of increasingly complex and urgent global crises, high-level speakers stressed to the Security Council today that cooperation between the United Nations and regional and subregional organizations is more critical than ever.

Secretary-General António Guterres, addressing the debate, held in a videoconference format, on “Enhancing cooperation between the United Nations and regional and subregional organizations in enhancing confidence-building and dialogue in conflict prevention and resolution”, noted collaborative effort with those bodies “has grown exponentially” since 1945 on a roster of crucial issues from counter-terrorism and the women, peace and security agenda to urgent efforts to confront the COVID-19 pandemic over the past year.

He cited multilateral efforts in hotspots worldwide, highlighting how in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the United Nations worked with the European Union, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and the Council of Europe to advance dialogue, trust-building and reconciliation. Following the 2020 military coup in Mali, the United Nations worked with the African Union to support the efforts led by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) towards establishing a transitional Government, and collaborated with the African Union in supporting Libyan-led efforts there to establish a ceasefire and promote national reconciliation. In Bolivia, the United Nations worked with the European Union and the Episcopal Conference of Bolivia in finding a peaceful solution to the crisis following the 2019 general elections, proving how working together and supporting complementarities helps drive political solutions.

The United Nations has been working closely with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) since 2011, he said, a relationship more crucial than ever in light of the crisis in Myanmar, requiring a robust international response to “help find a peaceful way out of the catastrophe”. Stressing his vision of multilateralism, he said that he remains committed to promoting even greater efforts in conflict management and resolution.

Echoing concerns over the crisis in Myanmar, the former Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-Moon, stressed that today’s meeting is well-timed as all parties have a “fleeting window” to cooperate through strong action to halt atrocities in that country and prevent the escalation of violence. Condemning the violence since the February military coup, in which security forces have killed 700 people including 50 children, he called it a “pivotal moment” in the urgency of cooperation in preserving peace and security and saving human lives.

He also emphasized the regional importance of ASEAN, noting that he was able to gain entry into Myanmar in 2007 and meet with the country’s military leaders. That was only possible thanks to the bloc’s full engagement in the process. However, the ASEAN response to the current emergency has been divided, and he appealed to its leaders to step up and help Myanmar now. ASEAN must make clear to Myanmar that the situation is so grave it cannot be considered an internal matter, as the violence is inconsistent with the Association’s charter and violates international law. Calling for the bloc to insist that a high-level delegation visit the country, he added that the Security Council must move beyond statements to concrete action to halt the bloodshed, given its responsibility to protect Myanmar’s civil population in a context where violence may constitute crimes against humanity.

As conflicts continue to emerge and deepen worldwide, he stressed that the United Nations cannot deal with such crises on its own. In recent times, multilateralism has faced immense difficulties in holistically addressing such crises as some States prioritize nationalism and isolationism. Regional and subregional organizations have unique roles to play in enhancing dialogue in conflict prevention and resolution, he said, noting his extensive efforts during his decade as Secretary-General to enhance cooperation between the United Nations and all of those blocs.

In the ensuing debate, Heads of Government and State, representatives and speakers for five regional groups agreed on the importance of stepping up all multilateral and multi-organizational efforts to prevent violence and resolve conflict in global crisis points. Speaking in his national capacity, the President of Viet Nam and Council President for April noted conflicts have claimed 500,000 lives worldwide in the past five years, amid waning trust between States and in multilateral institutions, making greater international unity more crucial than ever. Other speakers noted that that regional and subregional organizations often know best how to mitigate tensions and to deal with the aftermaths of bloody conflicts, with the President of Estonia adding “And for that, they must not stay silent when freedoms are suppressed.” Collaborative efforts are also crucial in the wake of environmental or natural hazards, such as the volcanic eruptions that devastated Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, forcing a massive evacuation of nearly one-fifth of the country’s main island. Without effective cooperation between the country, the United Nations and regional and subregional organizations, the country’s Prime Minister stressed, “our life and living would have become wholly unbearable,” urging the international community to help the country “in its hour of midnight need”.

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