on the Role of Civil Society in Conflict Prevention
Opening address by H.E. Mr. Jan Kavan,
President of the 57th Session of the General Assembly
Thursday, 4 September 2003
I am pleased to welcome you all here today to discuss the role
of civil society in conflict prevention.
General Assembly, by adopting the resolution on the prevention
of armed conflict recognized the important supporting role of
civil society in the prevention of armed conflict and invited
civil society to continue to support efforts for the prevention
of armed conflict and to pursue practices that foster a climate
of peace, help prevent or mitigate crisis situations and contribute
to reconciliation. These are very concrete tasks specified and
agreed upon consensually during our discussion which led to the
adoption of the resolution on the prevention of armed conflict.
intention in organizing our open meeting today was to give Member
States an opportunity to concentrate on this important issue once
more, to use the momentum from the success of the General Assembly’s
resolution on the prevention of armed conflict and to explore
interactively the future role of civil society in conflict prevention
trying to define how best to link the work of civil society in
preventing armed conflict with the work of governments and the
I hope that the views presented during this discussion will help
us to understand better our possibilities and concretize future
achieve these goals, I asked you in my invitation letter to be
prepared for the discussion. We all agree that there are a lot
of questions which could be asked. Among them are the following:
What are the results and experience of civil society in conflict
prevention so far?
- Should civil society modify its activities in conflict prevention
- What else needs to be done so that we can achieve the UN goals
declared in the resolution on the prevention of armed conflict
sooner and more effectively?
- How do Member States react to the Secretary–General’s
initiative and the 2005 conference?
- What issues of concern for Member States need to be addressed
in this process and at the final 2005 conference?
am well aware of the fact, that there can be different views on
the role of civil society in armed conflict prevention but I believe
also that we are here not to blame each other but to try to find
solutions in order to help ourselves become more effective in
our important task as delegates of the Member States of the UN
obliged by the Charter to prevent conflicts.
This is one of my last initiatives as President of the Fifty-seventh
session of the General Assembly. I am very pleased that you have
responded positively to my invitation, and I hope that our discussion
will provide us with new interesting ideas and recommendations
which will enable us to fulfill expectations and become more effective
in preventing armed conflict.
am pleased to welcome here today our distinguished guests:
Jan Egeland Under Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs
Danilo Türk Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs
Paul van Tongeren Executive Director of the European Centre for
Andres Serbin from the Coordinadora Regional de Investigaciones
Economicas y Sociales (CRIES) in Argentina
Raya Kadyrova from the Foundation for Tolerance International
Emmanuel Bombande from the West Africa Network for Peace-building
(WANEP) in Ghana
Mary B. Anderson President of the Collaborative for Development
of you have received a printed programme of our open meeting with
the list of speakers, short annotations of speeches and expected
goals. Concerning the programme I suggest one small change that
is necessary due to a time limitation of H.E. Mr. Jan Egeland
so that we will start our interactive discussion immediately after
the first part of the programme approximately at 11:00 a.m. We
will have a coffee break at 11:30 a.m. when Mr. Egeland needs
to leave. This will give us an opportunity to ask Mr. Egeland
a few questions before he leaves and to continue in our interactive
discussion after the coffee break.
you and I give the floor now to Mr. Danilo Türk, Assistant
Secretary-General for Political Affairs.