|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
6360th Meeting (AM & PM)
Presidential Statement Expresses Renewed Commitment as Security Council
Holds Day-Long Open Debate on Preventive Diplomacy in Africa
Members Highlight Importance of Preventive Diplomacy,
United Nations Cooperation with Regional Organizations, Security Sector Reform
The Security Council today renewed its commitment to preventive diplomacy, pointing to a need to build capability and cooperation at the national, regional and international levels for that purpose, and encouraging the Secretary-General to bring to its attention any matter that might threaten peace.
After a day-long open debate on “Optimizing the use of preventive diplomacy tools: prospects and challenges in Africa”, the Council noted that security sector reform, the strengthening of human rights, the rule of law and accountability, the protection of civilians, economic development, elections and democracy-building were particularly important on that continent.
In a statement read out by Council President Henry Odein Ajumogobia, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Nigeria, the Council recognized the importance of a comprehensive strategy for preventing armed conflict and encouraged the development of measures to address the root causes of conflict in order to ensure sustainable peace, reaffirming the central role of the United Nations in that effort. It reiterated its support for the efforts of regional and subregional organizations in conflict prevention, and stressed the importance of continually engaging them, as well as national Governments, in preventive diplomacy efforts.
The Council stressed the importance of enhancing coordination among bilateral and multilateral donors to ensure predictable, coherent and timely financial support in order to optimize conflict prevention tools, and pointed out the potential efficiencies that could be achieved through an integrated approach to preventive diplomacy.
Asha-Rose Migiro, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, speaking on behalf of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, underlined the case for preventive diplomacy on moral, political and financial grounds. That was particularly important in Africa, where the cost of war had cancelled out 15 years’ worth of development, according to recent studies. To address that, stronger policy frameworks favouring conflict prevention and operationally better equipped to respond had emerged in recent years, she said. The United Nations had set up regional diplomacy and peacemaking offices on the ground, and was helping Governments enact programmes to resolve disputes and tackle the structural causes of conflict.
Most Council-mandated missions today included an important mediatory role, she said, adding that the Organization was also cooperating more effectively with regional and subregional organizations. “Recent engagements in Guinea, Niger, the Comoros and Kenya have shown what we can achieve through partnerships that yield a combination of influence, impartiality, capacity and capability.” Diplomatic approaches and responses, when successful, were highly cost-effective, she said, calling on the international community to continue investing in prevention and, in light of the global economic crisis, to better use limited resources and capabilities, thus maximizing the impact of preventive action.
Sarah Cliffe, Special Representative and Director for the World Development Report on Conflict, Security and Development of the World Bank, said the international community devoted far fewer resources to conflict prevention in countries that had not yet experienced civil war. The cost of civil war was “enormous”, she said, noting that the average recovery time from that type of conflict was 14 years, making the costs of mediation seem small by comparison. Mediators often left too early following agreements, she said, calling for more to be done in fostering development, specifically to reduce the possibility of conflict.
Several speakers surveyed the wide range of preventive measures and peacekeeping initiatives undertaken by the African Union and subregional organizations on the continent, and called for continued support for joint efforts between the regional body and the United Nations, such as the African Union-United Nations 10-year Capacity-Building Programme.
Speakers also emphasized the need to generate the political will to promote preventive diplomacy, transform the Organization’s culture of “response after conflict” into a “culture of prevention”, and to ensure that its current cooperation with regional and subregional actors was carefully coordinated in order to integrate preventive diplomacy into the architecture of conflict prevention, peacebuilding and peacekeeping.
The Council heard statements by Maite Nkoane-Mashabane, Minister for Foreign Affairs of South Africa, as well as representatives of Brazil, Uganda, Japan, Mexico, China, France, Russian Federation, United Kingdom, Bosnia and Herzegovina, United States, Turkey, Lebanon, Gabon, Austria, Egypt (on behalf of the African Group), Germany, Ghana, Canada, Morocco, Gambia, Australia, Algeria, Republic of Korea, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Pakistan, Sierra Leone, Benin, Botswana, United Republic of Tanzania and Kenya.
Also speaking was a representative of the European Union.
The meeting began at 10:12 a.m. and suspended at 1:16 p.m. before resuming at 3:09 p.m. and ending at 5 p.m.
The full text of presidential statement S/PRST/2010/14 reads as follows:
“The Security Council reaffirms its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations. The Council recalls articles 33 and 34 of the Charter and reaffirms its commitment to the settlement of disputes by peaceful means and the promotion of necessary preventive action in response to disputes or situations, the continuation of which is likely to endanger the maintenance of international peace and security.
“The Security Council recalls that the prevention of conflict remains a primary responsibility of Member States. As such, actions undertaken within the framework of conflict prevention by United Nations entities must be designed to support and complement, as appropriate, the conflict prevention roles of national Governments.
“The Security Council notes that, consistent with its functions in relation to international peace and security, it seeks to remain engaged in all stages of the conflict cycle and in exploring ways of preventing the escalation of disputes into armed conflict or a relapse into armed conflict, and the Council recalls that, in accordance with articles 99 and 35 of the Charter, the Secretary-General or any Member State may bring to the attention of the Council any matter which is likely to endanger the maintenance of international peace and security.
“The Security Council recalls that early warning, preventive diplomacy, preventive deployment, mediation, practical disarmament measures and post-conflict peacebuilding are interdependent and complementary components of a comprehensive conflict prevention strategy. The Council notes the importance of creating and maintaining peace through inclusive dialogue, reconciliation and reintegration.
The Security Council reaffirms the important role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts and in peacebuilding, and reiterates its call to increase the equal participation, representation and full involvement of women in preventive diplomacy efforts and all related decision-making processes with regard to conflict resolution and peacebuilding in line with resolutions 1325 (2000), 1820 (2008), 1888 (2009) and 1889 (2009).
“The Security Council recognizes the importance of a comprehensive strategy comprising operational and structural measures for prevention of armed conflict, and encourages the development of measures to address the root causes of conflicts in order to ensure sustainable peace. The Council reaffirms the central role of the United Nations in this regard.
“The Security Council recalls its previous presidential statements concerning the various factors and causes that play a role in inciting, worsening or prolonging conflicts in Africa, and in particular the factors and causes that have been highlighted and addressed by the Council. The Council also notes that, especially in the context of Africa, implementation of effective security sector reform programmes, strengthening of human rights and the rule of law, protection of civilians, ensuring accountability, meaningful progress in sustainable economic development and poverty eradication, support for elections and the building of democratic institutions and effective control of small arms inter alia, have become important elements of conflict prevention.
“The Security Council also recognizes the increased material, human and financial resources required by peacekeeping operations over the last decade. Accordingly, the Council acknowledges the potential benefits and efficiencies that could be achieved through an integrated approach to preventive diplomacy efforts similar to the approach to peacekeeping and peacebuilding methods, which underscores the interrelationship between political, security, development, human rights and rule of law activities.
“The Security Council encourages the development of peaceful settlement of local disputes through regional arrangements in accordance with Chapter VIII of the Charter, and reiterates its support for the efforts of regional and subregional organizations, in particular the African Union, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the East African Community, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) as regards conflict prevention. The Council acknowledges the need for closer and more operational cooperation between the United Nations and regional and subregional organizations in Africa to build national and regional capacities in relation to the preventive diplomacy tools of mediation, information gathering and analysis, early warning, prevention and peacemaking, and in this context the Security Council recognizes the important role regional United Nations offices, such as the United Nations Office for West Africa (UNOWA), can play and stresses the valuable contribution of mediation capacities such as the Council of Elders, the Panel of the Wise and good offices of the Secretary General and his special envoys, and of regional and subregional organizations, to ensuring the coherence, synergy and collective effectiveness of their efforts.
“The Security Council underlines the importance of continually engaging the potential and existing capacities and capabilities of the United Nations Secretariat, regional and subregional organizations, as well as national Governments in preventive diplomacy efforts, including mediation, and welcomes the promotion of regional approaches to the peaceful settlement of disputes.
“The Security Council further reiterates its support for the work of the Peacebuilding Commission (the Commission) and recognizes the need for greater coordination with the Commission. The Council further recognizes the need for greater coherence with all relevant United Nations entities in relation to the most effective use of preventive diplomacy tools at their disposal. The Council recognizes the important role of the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Offices in supporting national efforts to prevent conflicts and in addressing cross-border threats. The Council also recognizes the value the Ad Hoc Working Group on Conflict Prevention and Resolution in Africa continues to add to the process of embedding preventive diplomacy practices into the Organization’s conflict management architecture. In this connection, the Security Council recalls the role of the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Prevention of Genocide in matters relating to the prevention and resolution of conflict. The Council emphasizes the need for the full engagement of all relevant actors, including civil society, to sustain the momentum and perspective for a meaningful preventive diplomacy framework.
“The Security Council recognizes the importance of enhancing efforts, including coordination among relevant bilateral and multilateral donors, to ensure predictable, coherent and timely financial support to optimize the use of preventive diplomacy tools, including mediation, throughout the conflict cycle.
“The Security Council requests the Secretary-General to submit, within 12 months of the adoption of this statement, a report making recommendations on how best to optimize the use of preventive diplomacy tools within the United Nations system and in cooperation with regional and subregional organizations and other actors.”
For today’s open debate on “Optimizing the use of preventive diplomacy tools: prospects and challenges in Africa”, the Security Council had before it a concept paper annexed to a letter dated 9 July 2010 from the Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General (document S/2010/371).
The paper notes that a comprehensive policy and strategy for preventive diplomacy has yet to be articulated as a complement to the current peacekeeping model. Preventive diplomacy tools — such as conflict prevention, mediation, good offices, fact-finding missions, negotiation, special envoys, informal consultations, peacebuilding and targeted development activities — can be more useful and cost-effective, as well as being less risky than military activity, in delivering desired peace dividends.
According to the paper, cultivating peace and fulfilling the aims of Chapter VI of the United Nations Charter requires the promotion of strategies involving early identification and appropriate intervention in conflict situations, in order to build confidence and trust, and, above all, preclude the onset of violence between opposing parties. Interventions should present the peaceful alternative as a more attractive prospect or a less costly way of achieving a given end. Such interventions might range from promoting intercultural dialogue to more coercive techniques, like targeted sanctions.
Effective preventive diplomacy should include a cooperative approach to relevant regional and subregional organizations, the paper says. In that area, the direction offered by the Security Council should be delivered with specificity, clarity and in a manner that supports, encourages and respects the roles of relevant actors, including national Governments, the African Union, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), as well as the interests of neighbouring States.
The paper says that challenges — including the mobilization of reliable funding for preventive diplomacy and building capacity and expertise nationally, regionally and within the United Nations machinery — must be met in a way that best harnesses the capabilities of the United Nations Development Group, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Peacebuilding Commission, the Department of Political Affairs and the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, including its Security Sector Reform Unit.
Cooperation between the United Nations and regional and subregional actors must be carefully orchestrated to integrate initiatives into the architecture of conflict prevention, peacebuilding and peacekeeping, the paper states. Above all, it is necessary to muster the requisite political will to promote preventive diplomacy as a veritable tool for the maintenance of international peace and security. Such diplomacy must be employed as a matter of course in crisis situations, particularly in Africa.
In today’s debate, the paper suggests, the Security Council should consider what might be the most appropriate preventive diplomacy tools in the face of conflict in Africa, and how agreement might be reached on a coherent policy strategy as well as better strategies to fund preventive diplomacy activities. It also poses the question of whether it would be useful to update the Secretary-General’s 2008 report on conflict prevention in Africa, possibly with an annex, reporting on relevant situations on the Security Council’s agenda and other potential crisis situations.
The paper also suggests that the Council consider how best to use its Ad Hoc Working Group on Conflict Prevention and Resolution in Africa, and how best to draw upon the resources and know-how of relevant United Nations agencies and regional authorities. Finally, it asks how best to convert Africa’s current peace and security challenges into opportunities to partner with local actors, including civil society and women’s organizations, in developing and implementing comprehensive and realistic preventive diplomacy programmes.
HENRY ODEIN AJUMOGOBIA, Council President and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Nigeria, said it was an auspicious time to revisit the concept and practice of preventive diplomacy, which would augment heavily burdened peacekeeping capabilities and maintain the momentum of advances made in conflict prevention over the past 10 years. Affirming the urgent need to quell crises and surveying recent United Nations conflict-prevention activities, he said it was time to take stock, adding that the potential savings for humanity made a compelling case for enhancing the preventive diplomacy toolkit.
Early warning and early action were particularly important, as were efforts to establish trust between all actors before situations deteriorated, he said. It was crucial that the United Nations harness the expertise of such bodies as the African Union Peace and Security Council, ECOWAS, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
He said the Department of Political Affairs was well placed to steer such an initiative, and would benefit from having its capacities strengthened through the Council’s work in mobilizing political will and generating preventive diplomacy strategies. “The time has now come for the United Nations to use its resources to act as an ex ante as well as an ex post facto agent for peace,” he said, adding that the Council was honour-bound to throw its full weight behind the preventive diplomacy initiatives contained in today’s presidential statement.
ASHA-ROSE MIGIRO, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, on behalf of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, said preventive diplomacy was an old art, but it faced new and evolving challenges, and there was a pressing need to re-evaluate how to use limited resources and capabilities to maximize the impact of preventive action. Since the coining of the term “preventive diplomacy” by former Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld, the good offices of his successors had helped in the peaceful resolution of inter-State wars, civil conflicts, electoral and border disputes, questions of autonomy and independence, as well as a range of other problems, she said. In today’s fluid geopolitical landscape, it must evolve to deal with increasingly complex civil wars, organized crime and drug trafficking, in addition to other transnational threats.
In recent years, stronger policy frameworks had emerged, particularly in Africa, favouring conflict prevention and with a growing capacity for operational response, she continued, noting that preventive diplomacy was increasingly conducted by a broader array of actors, using a wider range of tools, than in the past. That made it possible to consider multifaceted preventive strategies of a kind that had previously not been an option. Over the past three years, there had been efforts to strengthen the Department of Political Affairs to enable it effectively to carry out its lead role in that area, she said, pointing out that in the past year alone, the United Nations had supported, often in partnership with others, more than 20 peace processes and responded to many more disputes that did not reach that level.
She went on to say that the Organization had improved its response capacity at Headquarters; established regional diplomacy and peacemaking offices on the ground; and cooperated more effectively within the United Nations system and with regional and subregional organizations. With the support of Member States, it was continuing to professionalize its mediation support capacity, which was seen as an increasingly valuable resource within the system and by its partners. Furthermore, the United Nations had attempted to develop new tools, including the use of investigative mandates, to help defuse tensions in judicial cases with political implications, she said, noting that it was helping national authorities to build capacity for dispute resolution, as well as development programmes to address some of the structural causes of conflict.
Most Council-mandated missions today included an important mediatory role, typically carried out by the Head of Mission, in recognition of the fact that the need for diplomacy persisted throughout the conflict cycle, she said, adding: “All of this holds promise for our preventive diplomacy in Africa.” There was a need to focus on four fronts in particular. Among them was the continued strengthening of partnerships, she said, pointing out that successful peace processes required contributions by a range of actors, on both the regional and international levels. The Dakar-based United Nations Office for West Africa (UNOWA) had forged innovative working relations with the African Union and ECOWAS in addressing political crises throughout the subregion, a model that could usefully be replicated elsewhere, she said.
“Recent engagements in Guinea, Niger, the Comoros and Kenya have shown what we can achieve through partnerships that yield a combination of influence, impartiality, capacity and capability,” she continued, emphasizing also that the United Nations must be prepared to persuade. Effective preventive action depended critically on the will of the parties to conflict. “The better we understand motives, calculations and incentives to use violence, the better we can target our response,” she said. There must be willingness to use all available leverage to persuade key actors that it was in their own interest to accept diplomatic assistance to avert conflict. Neighbouring countries and subregional organizations, who were closest to events on the ground and may have unique influence, could be key allies in that regard, she noted.
Calling upon the international community for continued investment in prevention, she said the global economic crisis had put new pressures on resources, and there was an overall trend towards doing more with less. Diplomatic approaches and responses, when successful, were highly cost-effective, she noted. There was also a need to do more to support and encourage the role of women in prevention. Time and again, women in Africa and elsewhere had demonstrated a strong commitment to working for sustainable peace, she said, pointing out that Council resolution 1325 (2000) reaffirmed their important role in the prevention and resolution of conflicts and in peacebuilding. However, women were still underrepresented in the formal stages of conflict prevention, she said, emphasizing: “We can and must do better.”
According to recent studies, 15 years’ worth of development aid to Africa had been effectively cancelled out by the cost of war on the continent, she said, stressing that the case for preventive diplomacy was compelling on moral, political and financial grounds. “We have improved our ability to detect warning signs of impending crises, and have at our disposal a growing range of tools and instruments to address them,” she said. “We must now set our sights on building our capacity for international preventive diplomacy, so that when called upon, we can respond reliably and promptly. We must now set our sights on building an international preventive-diplomacy capacity that can respond reliably and promptly when asked to do so.”
SARAH CLIFFE, Special Representative and Director for the World Development Report on Conflict, Security and Development of the World Bank, said conflict prevention was a central message of the Report owing to the proliferation of renewed civil wars and fighting in the aftermath of political or peace settlements. There were also high levels of crime and violence following settlements, she said, adding that weak national institutions were the common element of such recurring violence.
The international community had devoted far fewer resources to conflict prevention in countries that had not yet experienced civil war, she said, pointing to the “enormous” costs of civil wars. The average recovery time was 14 years, making the costs of mediation seem small by comparison. Mediators often left too early following agreements, she said, adding that it was also important to consider what more could be done in the area of development specifically to reduce the possibility of conflict. As for conflicts brewing in border areas, she said it was important to consider whether regional structures should be put in place to address the prevention of border and regional conflicts specifically.
MARIA LUIZA RIBEIRO VIOTTI ( Brazil) said the role of regional and subregional organizations in preventing conflicts could not be overemphasized, and cited the ECOWAS early warning system and the African Union’s Panel of the Wise as examples of mechanisms which engaged in serious preventive diplomacy. The Conflict Prevention Framework had guided the actions of ECOWAS in preventing disputes from escalating into conflict and in addressing the causes of conflict. ECOWAS had helped prevent a serious political crisis in Niger from turning violent in 2009, she recalled, adding that, in coordination with the United Nations and the African Union, the subregional body had helped stem the escalation of problems in Guinea. Such success stories showed that enhancing the Organization’s support for the preventive capacity of African regional and subregional bodies was fully warranted.
Emphasizing the need for improved coordination between the Council and regional and subregional bodies, she said coordination and coherence were key elements of successful conflict prevention strategies. The United Nations system should act in tandem in order effectively to address the root causes of conflict. In Africa, that meant redoubling efforts for the full implementation of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), in addition to support for the Millennium Development Goals, the rule of law and African Union efforts to address unconstitutional changes of Government on the continent. The Secretary-General should make full use of Article 99 of the Charter and resolution 1625 (2005), she said, adding that further recourse to fact-finding missions and confidence-building measures in the early stages of dispute could foster the peaceful settlement of conflict.
RUHAKANA RUGUNDA ( Uganda) said it was better and cheaper to prevent and solve conflicts, and much more difficult and costly to keep the peace and deal with disputes after they degenerated into war. There were great benefits in optimizing the use of preventive diplomacy through such tools as early-warning mechanisms and peacemaking. Conflict prevention was a key component of peacebuilding, he said, stressing that more effective use of diplomatic tools to prevent relapses into conflicts was more important than ever. By making its early-warning system operational in concert with subregional groups, the African Union was able to provide analysis and facilitate decision-making on the most appropriate continental or regional response.
The African Union had shown its commitment to promoting and upholding constitutional order, good governance and the rule of law for sustainable peace and development, he said, noting that it was making use of. It was using the Panel of the Wise and the Panel of Eminent Persons. While national authorities and actors were primarily responsible for preventing conflicts, initiatives by regional or international partners should be aimed at supporting national efforts in a well-coordinated manner, he stressed.
Three key challenges must be addressed in order to make optimal use of conflict prevention tools, he continued, stressing the importance of timely and robust preventive responses and actions. Warning signals were often given, but not matched with prompt action due to political sensitivities, vested interests, or a lack of adequate capacity. There was greater willingness to allocate funding for peacekeeping, but not for conflict prevention and peacebuilding, he noted, emphasizing that that must change. More must be done to address the root causes of conflict, particularly the proliferation of small arms, bad governance, human rights violations, marginalization, high unemployment, resource scarcity and poor resource management.
YUKIO TAKASU (Japan), welcoming the World Bank’s attention to the nexus of security and development, said an integrated approach including both areas was crucial for conflict prevention, stressing also that primary responsibility lay with Africans themselves. He welcomed the increased focus by Governments and regional organizations on preventive diplomacy, saying the international community should strengthen capacity-building programmes for those efforts, and enhance the good offices of the Secretary-General with experienced and well-trained mediators.
Noting that UNOWA had proven useful on cross-cutting issues, he said the Council should approve a similar subregional office for Central Africa without further delay. The United Nations should make more effective use of its convening power, and the Security Council should encourage and support the efforts of the Secretary-General, the African Union and subregional organizations. The key question for the Council was how early it should engage in supporting preventive diplomacy, he said, emphasizing the critical importance of early-warning and information mechanisms in developing crises. The Council should focus as much on preventative and anticipatory measures as it did on reactive measures, he said in conclusion.
CLAUDE HELLER (Mexico) said the Council should use all means at its disposal to help countries avoid the scourge of war. Dialogue, consultation and the peaceful settlement of disputes were the most important tools in conflict prevention. In that context, it was important to implement resolution 1625 (2005), and to forge more effective partnerships between regional organizations, civil society and financial institutions. Early warning, regional and international mediation, and addressing root elements such as the rule of law were critical, he said.
Greater technical cooperation was needed with regional organizations, as were greater promotion of human rights and the building of networks to anticipate situations and help minimize emergencies, he said, adding that the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide was a good model for creating expertise in prevention. Fostering respect for international law was crucial, and therefore a focus of the discussion held during Mexico’s presidency of the Council, he said, calling for more effective use of the Secretary-General’s good offices and the advisory function of the International Court of Justice. Coherence and integration between development and peacebuilding strategies was particularly necessary.
LI BAODONG (China) said the nature of conflict was undergoing profound changes in today’s world. New situations posed new challenges and required a bolstering of international input. It was necessary to strengthen the concept of prevention, paying early attention as a priority. There was a need to take rational and legitimate action in the early stages to avoid spending more to remedy conflicts after they erupted. That approach could save resources towards more efficient peacekeeping and ensuring the rule of law. It was necessary to strengthen the concept of prevention, he said, adding that the Council must study the root causes of conflict and propose appropriate action to address them. It must also strengthen its work with other agencies.
Crisis management alone was not enough, he cautioned, adding that it was necessary to help conflict-prone countries develop their economies and eradicate the socio-economic causes of conflict. In recent years, the African Union and its constituent subregional organizations had engaged actively in mediating African conflicts with achieved positive results, he recalled, urging the United Nations to fully motivate the African Union and other regional organizations to commit themselves to preventive diplomacy. The Council should provide more assistance and help them strengthen their capacities. In addition, the Council, the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council and the Peacebuilding Commission should strengthen exchanges and foster synergies.
GÉRARD ARAUD ( France) said that, in the context of budgetary austerity, the cost of peacekeeping was increasingly difficult to manage. The Council must receive regular briefings, including from the Secretariat, on fragile areas in order to be in a position to use all available tools in a coordinated manner, such as good offices, mediation, condemnation and sanctions, which had proven effective in avoiding outbreaks of conflict. He pointed to successful efforts to resolve the border dispute between Nigeria and Cameroon, among other disputes. African ownership of strategies for conflict prevention and dealing with challenges in peace and security was gaining ground, he said, citing the success of efforts by ECOWAS in Togo in 2005, the African Union mediation in Madagascar and Sudan, and the action by African Union forces in Guinea after the 28 September 2009 massacre.
Various targeted international initiatives had helped prevent conflict in Africa, he continued, adding that the United Nations sanctions regime could help reduce the number of weapons in use. Disarmament, demobilization and reintegration made it possible to reduce the number of combatants and were essential to reducing arms trafficking. The European Union had supported at least three recent operations in Africa in support of security sector reform, and was providing active support to strengthen African capacity while maintaining peace and stability. France had supported the creation of the Kimberley Process to set up a mechanism to certify the origin of diamonds, as well as the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative aimed at ensuring that Africa’s mineral wealth benefited local communities, he said.
VITALY CHURKIN (Russian Federation) said effective conflict prevention called for efforts to address political and socio-economic problems made worse by transnational challenges such as terrorism, organized crime, drug trafficking and the spread of weapons of mass destruction. The complexity of preventing conflict required an integrated approach, with States at the forefront. Investment in early prevention and effective early warning was critical, and strong regional organizations were also necessary.
MARK LYALL GRANT ( United Kingdom) said powerful preventive diplomacy meant using the proper United Nations resources in the earlier stages of a conflict. Evaluation of efforts was important and a genuine culture of prevention must be engendered, including by gathering information on situations not already on the Council’s agenda. For that reason, interaction with the Secretary-General, regional organizations and units across the system must be made more effective. Dialogue with regional and subregional organizations must be strengthened, he said, welcoming efforts to create a joint African-United Nations mediation support unit and adding that more could be done in that area.
MIRSADA ČOLAKOVIĆ (Bosnia and Herzegovina) emphasized the role of intercultural and interreligious dialogue in advancing regional cooperation and preventing armed conflict. Conflict prevention should address the root causes of conflict in a comprehensive manner, including the promotion of sustainable development, good governance, the rule of law, national reconciliation and poverty eradication. She also underlined the importance of building capacity through expertise, and of enhanced cooperation between regional organizations and the United Nations.
She urged the United Nations to increase its engagement in the 10-Year Capacity-Building Programme for the African Union in order to make the regional African Peace and Security Architecture fully operational as soon as possible, with African Union ownership of the process. The Council should invest more in conflict prevention through fact-finding missions, mediation and confidence-building measures. Regional conflict management structures should provide the Council with timely and rapid information to facilitate adequate and proper decision-making. Among other factors, particular attention should be paid to disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programmes for former combatants.
BROOKE ANDERSON ( United States) called for continued improvement of early warning capabilities, including enhanced intelligence gathering and analysis, and understanding local contexts and culture. While information gathering had improved, significant gaps remained in ground reporting. There was a need for better coordination on the ground, as well as for closer cooperation between the United Nations and early warning systems such as the one being developed by the African Union. International mediation and preventive diplomacy was among the most effective ways to prevent violence, she said, adding that her country was working to advance multilateral diplomatic initiatives.
The United Nations had set up a mediation support unit in the Department of Political Affairs, but it was not used enough and lacked sufficient resources, she said. For many years, the Secretary-General had used his good offices, but regional and subregional organizations also had important roles to play. Women must be included in peace processes, she said, stressing that mediation processes that excluded them could hamper national peace efforts.
She called for strengthening the international community’s ability to support peace in fragile States, noting that peacekeepers could help prevent violence, but only with adequate resources, proper training and clear mandates. The Organization must work with local Governments and regional organizations to ensure they had the political will and logistical capacity to deploy quickly, she said, calling for more flexible development funds and international support for national efforts to reinforce the rule of law, demobilize ex-combatants and support State security services.
FAZLI ÇORMAN ( Turkey) said a policy of doing nothing in the face of deadly conflict simply deferred the problem to a later date, when the level of destruction and the costs of intervening were higher. However, undertaking preventive actions without due regard for their legitimacy could provoke resentment and escalate conflict. Such actions must support the efforts of sovereign Governments, although third parties could not remove the underlying causes and perceptions of a conflict. They could, however, undertake and encourage measures to set relations between the conflicting parties on a new course.
No single agent was likely to be adequate to the complex task of conflict prevention, he cautioned, stressing that civil society, State coalitions, regional and subregional organizations, and finally the United Nations must work cooperatively. It was particularly important for mediation efforts to be implemented in a coherent manner through such cooperation and coordination, he said, urging stronger operational cooperation between the United Nations and African regional organizations, as well as the strengthening of local and national conflict-prevention capacities. System-wide strategic leadership should also be strengthened in the United Nations system, to ensure better coordination with international financial institutions.
CAROLINE ZIADE (Lebanon) said that, as peacekeeping faced increasing challenges, it was important to augment it with efforts to build peace and prevent conflict, particularly while Africa continued to represent 65 per cent of the Council’s agenda. The United Nations should therefore move from reaction to action. The complexity of today’s world required an integrated and comprehensive strategy to detect, intercept and prevent sources of tensions, she said, describing the mediation support provided by the Department of Political Affairs and efforts under the Secretary-General’s good offices as steps in the right direction, . However, much more support, particularly financial support, was critical, she said.
Governments must take primary responsibility for detecting and reducing tensions, she said, adding that the role of the United Nations was to assist them by providing expertise and sharing lessons learned. In the event of sudden crises, it was important for the Organization to attune its actions to the environment that had shaped the particular crisis, and to intervene accordingly and in a timely manner. An integrated approach should draw upon the respective expertise of the Security Council, the Department of Political Affairs, the Peacebuilding Commission, UNDP, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and other specialized agencies. All efforts should be coordinated with regional and subregional organizations.
EMMANUEL ISSOZE-NGONDET (Gabon) said it was important to create a true preventive culture in the United Nations and to encourage the Council to adopt a conflict-prevention strategy. The mandates of the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT), the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO) and the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) had been inspired by the multidisciplinary approach referred to in the Secretary-General’s 2008 report, on the basis of cooperation with the Governments concerned, the African Union and ECOWAS, he noted, adding that those advances should be highlighted and welcomed.
He said that by working to eliminate poverty, sustain development, reform the security sector, uphold the rule of law, ensure respect for human rights and more greatly involve women in peace process, United Nations missions were working more effectively to end and contain conflicts. But the broad development of realistic strategies for early warning mechanisms would make the United Nations even more effective. Challenges in Africa should be viewed as opportunities to strengthen the Organization’s cooperation with the African Union and other regional organizations, he said.
For organizations to carry out their role fully, they must be substantially supported by the United Nations, he said, calling for better implementation of the African Union-United Nations 10-Year Capacity-Building Programme adopted in November 2006. He called for enhancing the African Union’s peace and security architecture, adding that, instead of deploying more peacekeeping missions in Africa, the United Nations should enhance its presence through the work of its regional offices. Central African countries needed United Nations support in their efforts to set up conflict-prevention architecture around rapid response systems for peace and security.
THOMAS MAYR-HARTING (Austria) said that, in light of limited human and financial resources for peacekeeping, preventive diplomacy and conflict prevention must be given more international attention. Conflict prevention was more cost-effective than other forms of engagement, such as large-scale intervention and post-conflict reconstruction. All prevention efforts must ensure respect for the rule of law and human rights, he stressed, expressing support for efforts to step up cooperation with regional and subregional organizations, particularly the African Union, ECOWAS and SADC. African capacities should be used and further developed in line with the African Union-United Nations 10-Year Capacity-Building Programme, he said, emphasizing the importance of a strategic partnership between the United Nations and regional and subregional organizations in maintaining global peace and security.
He said the European Union cooperated closely with the African Union through the Africa-European Union Strategic Partnership. The African Union-European Union Road Map of the Peace and Security Partnership, agreed in October 2009, underlined both organizations’ commitment to deepen cooperation. The Council could examine the merit of expanding the network of the United Nations integrated peacebuilding offices, he said, adding that the potential of the various United Nations field presences in Africa for conflict prevention and early prevention should be improved and used fully. Prevention measures should be aimed at addressing cross-border and transnational threats to stability, such as drug and human trafficking, proliferation of small arms and light weapons, and organized crime.
MAITE NKOANA-MASHABANE, Minister for Foreign Affairs of South Africa, said that the African Union mechanisms for both preventive diplomacy and post-conflict reconstruction and development bore testimony to the region’s commitment to addressing peace and security challenges in a comprehensive manner. The SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security, in particular, had undertaken mediation efforts to quell potential conflicts, and the subregional body had launched the SADC Brigade, comprising military, police and civilian capabilities, as part of the African Union Standby Force.
She said the Secretary-General’s good offices also played an important role in mediation efforts, as did the Mediation Support Office and the early-warning capacity of the Department of Political Affairs, which would help provide coordination, communication, support and guidance to partners in conflict prevention. Cooperation between the United Nations and the African Union was particularly important in that context, she said. Socio-economic development was at the heart of preventive diplomacy, and success in that area depended on the involvement of non-State actors, such as community organizations.
MAGED ABDELAZIZ (Egypt), speaking on behalf of the African Group, surveyed the wide range of preventive measures and peacekeeping initiatives undertaken by the African Union and subregional organizations. He said there was a need for a comprehensive, integrated approach to conflict prevention that made use of the synergies between peacekeeping and peacebuilding, and focused on strengthening regional organizations such as the African Union, always keeping national ownership in mind.
He said regional organizations must provide input to all United Nations initiatives in preventive diplomacy, with the Department of Political Affairs continuing to play a central role in early warning and mediation. It was particularly important to address development challenges in order to prevent conflict, and it was critically important to continue strengthening the African Union through full implementation of the 10-Year Programme for that purpose, he stressed.
PETER WITTIG (Germany), hailing the commitment of African nations to bolstering efforts to prevent and resolve conflicts, said the resolution of the long-running dispute between Nigeria and Cameroon over the Bakassi peninsula and the Abyei Arbitration on border delimitation in Sudan were models in that regard. The African Border Programme for conflict prevention was another success story with which Germany was associated, he said.
The strengthening of conflict-prevention partnerships between the United Nations, the African Union and its constituent subregional organizations should remain high on the agenda, he stressed. As a contributor of troops and police to the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) and the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID), Germany placed great weight on the early resolution of the Darfur conflict and full implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement between the formerly warring northern and southern parts of Sudan. Germany was ready to give assistance in State-building and constitution-building, he added.
He recalled that, during his country’s chairmanship of the Peacebuilding Commission, it had particularly emphasized the role of women in peacebuilding and cooperation with regional organizations such as the African Union. He commended NEPAD for promoting sustainable growth and development based on good governance, human rights and conflict resolution, and stressed that greater coherence on the part of the United Nations development system could enhance the chances for sustainable development. Germany welcomed efforts towards system-wide coherence, he added.
LESLIE KOJO CHRISTIAN ( Ghana) said the resolution of many conflicts in Africa presented an opportunity for its people and Governments to partner with the United Nations in preventing conflict in the first place and from relapsing into conflict after a settlement. Conflict prevention was a development imperative in Africa, and a main priority of the African Union Peace and Security Council. The international community, including the United Nations and Africa’s development partners, must sustain and intensify their engagement with Africa in order to strengthen preventive diplomacy through such frameworks as NEPAD, its African Peer Review Mechanism, and the African Union Framework for Post-Conflict Construction and Prevention.
He emphasized the importance of relentless action to promote constitutional democracy, respect for human rights, free and fair elections, social justice, deepening of national integration and harmonious ethnic relations. The role of women and civil society in peacebuilding processes must be encouraged, as should African initiatives and practical arrangements such as the African Standby Force. The international community must give priority attention to global conflict prevention, especially in Africa, he said, adding that it was time to see the value of preventive diplomacy as compared to the cost of doing little, which undermined overall development. It was also time to embrace a shift in thinking towards the responsibility to protect, he said.
JOHN MCNEE (Canada), surveying African peacebuilding, peacekeeping and conflict-prevention initiatives, welcomed the commitment by Heads of State of the African Union Peace and Security Council to building a continent not only at peace with itself but also with the rest of the world. The Council must continue to support those efforts and fulfil its own responsibility in preventive diplomacy by paying greater attention to the relationship between early warning, analysis and policy direction. He called on the Security Council to play a greater role in “proactive action” — including the deployment of missions with political mandates and the use of targeted sanctions to deter or impede parties to conflict — more consistently and with greater conviction.
He welcomed recent improvements in the United Nations system on integrated, coherent action, recognizing the importance of collaboration between the Department of Political Affairs and UNDP in jointly deploying peace and development advisers, and the positive role that the Organization’s Mediation Support Unit was playing in supporting country teams. It was only by bringing the full resources of the United Nations system to bear on volatile situations, in a coherent manner, that the potential of preventive diplomacy would be realized, he said, emphasizing also that regional and subregional capacity must also be bolstered, since solutions to African challenges were best found in Africa.
PEDRO SERRANO, Acting Head of Delegation of the European Union, outlined the extensive cooperation between the regional bloc and the African Union in conflict prevention and welcomed the latter’s growing role in mediation and conflict prevention. While international contact groups were good examples of coordinated efforts between such organizations in tackling crisis situations, relations could be strengthened still further through the development of a methodology for jointly identifying and addressing emerging conflicts. In that light, he described joint African Union-European Union-United Nations lessons learned exercises, workshops and exchanges of staff.
MOHAMMED LOULICHKI ( Morocco) said that crisis management and the settlement and transformation of conflicts required skilful use of preventive diplomacy tools such as negotiation. However, nothing could replace a policy of anticipation and prevention of conflicts. In that effort, diplomacy must be augmented by structural prevention actions addressing development and other factors, he said, noting that the Peacebuilding Commission was well placed to help coordinate such functions.
He suggested the creation of a high-level group on conflict prevention, which would include the Department of Political Affairs and other relevant Secretariat units. Noting the proliferation of non-State actors, including political movements and illicit drug purveyors, he said his country had backed many independence movements in Africa. However, it had also contributed greatly to United Nations peacekeeping and performed mediation functions. It was incumbent upon the international community to keep building its abilities to prevent conflict and build a culture of peace, he said in conclusion.
SUSAN WAFFA-OGOO ( Gambia) said that the synergies between Member States, the United Nations and African regional conflict-prevention arrangements must be reinforced by all stakeholders, with all institutions enhancing their mediation and preventive diplomacy capacities by generating a cadre of practitioners and support teams using knowledge-based approaches or early-warning and early-awareness mechanisms for settling disputes before they erupted into deadly conflicts.
She said peaceful and credible elections engendered security and stability, so it was important for the United Nations and regional stakeholders to act in concert to support efforts by Member States to ensure that local disputes were settled and contained. In addition, the international community should support ECOWAS in tackling security-sector reform and illicit drug trafficking, and pay greater attention to preventive diplomacy in the context of the United Nations-African Union 10-Year Capacity-Building Programme.
ANDREW GOLEDZINOWSKI (Australia) expressed concern that the Organization’s conflict-prevention work was funded by voluntary contributions, when it was central to the United Nations mandate. There should be a redoubling of efforts to strengthen the ability of the Department of Political Affairs to respond rapidly to conflict prevention, while the Council supported the preventive diplomacy efforts of regional organizations. Systems for early conflict resolution and better systems for raising early warnings of emerging crises could often be more alert and robust at the regional level, he said. A strong relationship between the United Nations and regional organizations was essential for global and regional approaches to conflict prevention, he said.
He said he supported ongoing African Union efforts to develop strategic and operational conflict-prevention and peacekeeping capacities, and hailed the recent decision to create a United Nations Office to the African Union in Addis Ababa, which should create greater synergies and efficiencies. Following last September’s events in Guinea, ECOWAS, the African Union, the Council and the United Nations had responded more broadly in unison, effectively defusing tensions and restoring that country to a democratic path, he recalled.
That was a telling example of how the system could work in effectively preventing the escalation of tension, he said, emphasizing that the Council must open itself up more to briefings on unfolding situations from the Department of Political Affairs and other Secretariat units, he stressed, adding that the broader United Nations membership must support such engagement. Despite some improvements, the Council too often still appeared deaf to calls for briefings on such situations. If it was over-conservative in its approach to threats to global peace and security, it would relegate itself to responding to conflict rather than seeking to prevent it, he said.
MOURAD BENMEHIDI ( Algeria) said there had been a considerable increase in the resources allocated to preventive diplomacy, even though peacekeeping operations remained the most visible aspects of the Organization’s work. The work of the United Nations and that of regional organizations was mutually complementary, he said, noting that Africa had made several conflict prevention efforts. Eminent African leaders were spearheading mediation efforts. The establishment of the African Union Peace and Security Council was part of the collective awareness that peace and security governed societies, and that there was a need to address the root causes of conflict.
There were still significant risks of crisis in countries with rampant forms of insecurity, he said. To address such situations, it was necessary to tackle the structural causes of conflict through global coordinated approaches. Action would be ineffective as long as parties to conflict refused to engage in dialogue or mediation. Regarding pre-conflict peacebuilding, he said preventive development was a necessary complement to preventive diplomacy, but it needed more financing. It was a clear challenge to persuade the international community that the cost of peacebuilding was a fraction of that of peacekeeping operations after conflict, he said in conclusion.
KIM BONG-HYUN (Republic of Korea) said it was very difficult to find out what worked and why in the case of preventive diplomacy, noting that successful conflict prevention had an “invisibility problem” of being neither seen nor heard. Nevertheless, it was an important element of maintaining the peace, he said, noting with satisfactions the various efforts made by regional and subregional organizations in Africa. He emphasized the importance, in particular, of early warning and mediation in preventing conflicts, applauding the advances made by the Secretariat in that area.
Effective resource allocation was key, he said, suggesting an examination of the plausibility of allocating a portion of the peacekeeping budget to preventive-diplomacy efforts. He expressed hope that the United Nations and Member States would henceforth work closely with regional and subregional organizations, as well as relevant non-governmental organizations, so that the ideas proposed today could be turned into concrete action. The Republic of Korea would exert its utmost efforts towards that end, he said.
PAUL BADJI ( Senegal) said preventive diplomacy had saved many thousands of lives and could save many more if applied more effectively. For that reason, the United Nations should place preventive diplomacy at the very heart of its activities. Appropriate financial and human resources should be allocated to it, and cooperation with regional and subregional organizations should be strengthened to increase the momentum of preventive action.
Awareness of developing tensions must be communicated, he stressed, noting that prevention was a multidimensional effort that should include all United Nations bodies and specialized agencies. The African Union was in the forefront in that area too, with its peacebuilding structures. The President of Senegal had contributed greatly to mediation and reconciliation activities, he said, expressing hope that joint conflict-prevention actions by all stakeholders would finally mitigate the great cost of war and peacekeeping operations.
MICHEL KAFANDO ( Burkina Faso) underscored the importance of conflict resolution and preventive diplomacy in Africa, where crises threatened peace and security. The United Nations, as well as subregional and regional organizations, must sustain and strengthen prevention efforts, he said, welcoming actions by the African Union, ECOWAS and SADC in implementing provisions on preventing internal conflict. It was necessary to strengthen the mediation capacities of regional and subregional organizations, in line with Chapter VIII of the Charter, he stressed, hailing the creation of the joint African Union-United Nations mediation support team.
On optimizing diplomatic channels, he said it was important to sensitize and involve national actors, and to use existing capacities, particularly in terms of ongoing mediation and good offices efforts. There was a need for the United Nations and the African Union to develop a common strategic vision to better coordinate action on conflict prevention and resolution. The Council should sustain and coordinate action between United Nations entities in preventive diplomacy, while drawing on lessons learned from strategic partnerships with the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in the context of the Peacebuilding Commission, he said.
ABDULLAH HUSSAIN HAROON (Pakistan) said that 8,700 of the nearly 11,000 Pakistani peacekeepers in United Nations missions were in Africa, which had installed a solid peace and security architecture through regional and subregional organizations, with built-in conflict-prevention and mediation mechanisms. The region had resorted to measures envisaged in Chapter VI and other provisions of the Charter to prevent disputes and control existing ones. The rest of the world would do well to emulate Africa, he said.
The United Nations had had some success in using preventive diplomacy to solve conflicts in Africa and elsewhere, he noted. However, more must be done to strengthen and make full use of the comparative advantages of regional, national and local capacities in mediation, conflict prevention, reconciliation and dialogue. The Council must make wider and more effective use of the procedures and means for the peaceful settlement of disputes, particularly Articles 33 to 38 of the Charter, he said.
The injudicious use of Chapter VII in certain conflict situations merited due consideration, he said. It had damaged efforts for peaceful settlement and created an impression that non-Chapter VII resolutions were not equally binding. That did not auger well for international peace, he warned, adding that a proactive regional approach, with hands on the local pulse, could counter such trends. Large youth populations, the lack of employment, poverty, income inequality, food and water crises, and deficits in education and health were the root causes of conflict. To address that, the discourse must move beyond the security paradigm and traditional preventive diplomacy tools to areas like fair trade practices, food and environmental security, and investment in governance institutions.
SHEKOU TOURAY (Sierra Leone) said that preventing violent conflicts required the establishment of structural mechanisms at the international, regional and local levels with effective capability to monitor early-warning indicators and predict violent situations. When conflicts threatened, timely preventive measures could be applied and the root causes addressed. It was evident that many African conflicts had arisen because of the failure of States to fulfil their obligations to their citizens. For that reason, preventive diplomacy tools must include development and the promotion of human rights, as Sierra Leone had learned through its Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
He said the prevention of conflicts also required the application of varied normative mechanisms as well as the involvement of diverse stakeholders at the local, national, regional and international levels, with the critical cooperation of the Security Council with regional and subregional organizations, particularly in the areas of resource mobilization, enhancing national capacity to monitor frontiers and territorial waters, mediation and robust security-sector reform. At the national level, it was also important to support and collaborate with civil society and women’s organizations in developing and implementing conflict-prevention strategies.
JEAN-FRANCIS RÉGIS ZINSOU (Benin) said that, while States bore the primary responsibility for preventing conflicts, the outbreak of armed conflict in any country marked a failure not only of that country’s political class, but also a failure of the international community. A comprehensive conflict-prevention strategy for should include the strengthening of State capacity to settle internal disputes without recourse to violence, the development of an early-warning and response mechanism, the strengthening of cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations, and the mobilization of funding to put operational and structural prevention measures in place.
For those reasons, he called for an increase in the number of visits by the Secretary-General to fragile countries, as well as in bilateral exchanges between Security Council members and countries in difficulty. On the surge in post-election violence, he said it was important to guarantee the transparency of elections and to restore trust in dispute-settlement bodies. The international community should provide adequate assistance for the conduct of credible elections, including digitalized permanent electoral lists. Assistance should also be provided to alleviate unemployment and other factors that helped to cause conflict. In other areas, he said, the United Nations must use synergies with regional organizations, and for that purpose, international support for the implementation of recommendations under the framework of NEPAD.
CHARLES THEMBANI NTWAAGAE (Botswana) said that effective implementation of the Council’s noble mandate to maintain international peace and security hinged on the trust and support of Member States, cooperation with regional and subregional organizations, and persistent efforts to explore lasting solutions. It was the duty of all States to use peaceful means in settling any dispute likely to endanger international peace and security, he emphasized, welcoming the fact that a culture of prevention was indeed gaining ground in the United Nations.
He agreed with the concept paper that early warning, preventive diplomacy, preventive deployment, practical disarmament measures and post-conflict peacebuilding were interdependent components of a comprehensive conflict-prevention strategy. The sooner action was taken to prevent conflict, the greater the chances of success, he said, adding that his country was fully committed to all international instruments concerning the peaceful settlement of disputes. Botswana welcomed the building of the African Union’s conflict-prevention capacity, cautioning, however, that funding and other support for those efforts remained a challenge. In that regard, the 2002 Group of Eight (G-8) Africa Action Plan must be pursued vigorously, he said.
JUSTIN SERUHERE (United Republic of Tanzania) said his country had worked to prevent conflict in Africa by successfully mediating disputes, particularly in countries of the Great Lakes region, including Burundi, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Kenya. Preventive diplomacy could work well in such situations, but certain factors, such as poverty and unemployment, continued to perpetuate conflicts and must be addressed, he said, pointing out that unemployed youth became easy targets for transborder crime and recruitment to terrorism and other violence.
On the way forward, he said the international community and Africa must join hands and address, in a holistic but efficient and effective way, all the circumstances that might serve to perpetuate conflicts, instability and terrorism. While African States and regional organizations must maintain ownership, the United Nations must be given adequate support to play its leadership role in that effort. Donor nations stood to benefit in the long run as lives and resources were eventually saved and more nations emerged from conflict and became better trade partners, he said.
ZACHARY MUBURI MUITA (Kenya) said Africa had taken the lead in addressing conflicts on the continent and beyond by deploying peacekeeping and mediation missions to maintain peace and security while protecting civilians. But the region faced many challenges in implementing preventive diplomacy mechanisms, he said, adding that he was encouraged by the Secretary-General’s focus on forming a close strategic partnership between the United Nations and the African Union. UNOWA was a good example of that partnership, and the recently created United Nations Office to the African Union in Addis Ababa would go a long way in coordinating peace and security issues. There were many causes of conflict in Africa, but competition for scarce land, food and water resources were at the heart of conflict.
Inequality, ethnic tensions and shortcomings in governance also challenged peace and security in Africa, he said, noting that regional and subregional organizations had an invaluable role to play in preventing conflict. The East Africa Community, the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region, IGAD, SADC and ECOWAS had on various occasions intervened in a timely manner to avert potential disasters. Their role should be encouraged and nurtured. African leadership had evolved over the years to embrace democracy and good governance, core values that were prerequisites for sustainable peace and development, and which should continue to be promoted. Predictable and sustained resources were needed to ensure the success of African conflict-prevention mechanisms, he said, urging the United Nations and the international community to invest more in them.
* *** *For information media • not an official record