SECURITY COUNCIL EXPRESSES COMMITMENT TO PURSUE CONFLICT PREVENTION ‘BY ALL APPROPRIATE MEANS’

30 August 2001
SC/7131

SECURITY COUNCIL EXPRESSES COMMITMENT TO PURSUE CONFLICT PREVENTION ‘BY ALL APPROPRIATE MEANS’

30/08/2001
Press ReleaseSC/7131

Security Council

4360th Meeting (AM)

SECURITY COUNCIL EXPRESSES COMMITMENT TO PURSUE CONFLICT PREVENTION

‘BY ALL APPROPRIATE MEANS’

Unanimously Adopts Resolution 1366 (2001)

The Security Council this morning, reiterating the shared commitment to save people from the ravages of armed conflicts, expressed its determination to pursue the objective of prevention of armed conflict as an integral aspect of its responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security.

By unanimously adopting resolution 1366 (2001), the Council expressed its commitment to take early and effective action to prevent armed conflict, and to that end to employ all appropriate means at its disposal including -- with the consent of the receiving States -- its missions to areas of potential conflict. 

At the same time, the Council stressed that the essential responsibility for conflict prevention rested with national governments, and that the United Nations and the international community could play an important role in support of national efforts for conflict prevention and could assist in building national capacity in that field.

The Council thus reiterated its call to Member States to strengthen the capacity of the United Nations in the maintenance of international peace and security.  In that regard, it urged them to provide the necessary human, material and financial resources for timely and preventive measures including early warning, preventive diplomacy, preventive deployment, practical disarmament measures and peace-building.

Further, the Council called upon Member States as well as regional and subregional organizations and arrangements to support the development of a comprehensive conflict-prevention strategy, as proposed by the Secretary-General.

In a related provision, it supported the enhancement of the Secretary-General's role in conflict prevention.  The means to achieve this would include increased use of interdisciplinary fact-finding and confidence-building missions to regions of tension, developing regional prevention strategies with regional partners and appropriate United Nations organs and agencies, and improving the capacity and resource base for preventive action in the Secretariat.

The Council expressed its willingness to give prompt consideration to early warning or prevention cases brought to its attention by the Secretary-General.  It encouraged him to convey to the Council his assessment of potential threats to

international peace and security, with due regard to relevant regional and subregional dimensions.

The Council undertook to keep situations of potential conflict under close review as part of a conflict-prevention strategy, and expressed its intention to consider cases of potential conflict brought to its attention by any Member States, or by a State not a Member of the United Nations, or by the General Assembly, or on the basis of information furnished by the Economic and Social Council.

The meeting began at 10:29 a.m. and was adjourned at 10:32 a.m.

Resolution

The full text of Security Council resolution 1366 (2001) reads as follows:

“The Security Council,

“Recalling its resolutions 1196 (1998) of 16 September 1998, 1197 (1998) of 18 September 1998, 1208 (1998) of 19 November 1998, 1209 (1998) of 19 November 1998; 1265 (1999) of 17 September 1999, 1296 (2000) of 19 April 2000, 1318 (2000) of 7 September 2000, 1325 (2000) of 31 October 2000 and 1327 (2000) of 13 November 2000,

“Recalling also the statements of its President of 16 September 1998 (S/PRST/1998/28), 24 September 1998 (S/PRST/1998/29), 30 November 1998 (S/PRST/1998/35), 24 September 1999 (S/PRST/1999/28), 30 November 1999 (S/PRST/1999/34), 23 March 2000 (S/PRST/2000/10), 20 July 2000 (S/PRST/2000/25), 20 February 2001 (S/PRST/2001/5) and 22 March 2001 (S/PRST/2001/10),

“Having considered the report of the Secretary-General on the Prevention of Armed Conflict (S/2001/574) and in particular the recommendations contained therein relating to the role of the Security Council,

“Reiterating the purposes and principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations and reaffirming its commitment to the principles of the political independence, sovereign equality and territorial integrity of all States,

“Mindful of the consequences of armed conflict on relations between and among States, the economic burden on the nations involved as well as on the international community, and above all, the humanitarian consequences of conflicts,

“Bearing in mind its primary responsibility under the Charter of the United Nations for the maintenance of international peace and security and reaffirming its role in the prevention of armed conflicts,

“Stressing the need for the maintenance of regional and international peace and stability and friendly relations among all States, and underlining the overriding political, humanitarian and moral imperatives as well as the economic advantages of preventing the outbreak and escalation of conflicts,

“Emphasizing the importance of a comprehensive strategy comprising operational and structural measures for prevention of armed conflict; and recognizing the ten principles outlined by the Secretary-General in his report on prevention of armed conflicts,

“Noting with satisfaction the increased recourse, with consent of receiving Member States, to Security Council missions to areas of conflict or potential conflict, which among others, can play an important role in the prevention of armed conflicts,

“Reiterating that conflict prevention is one of the primary responsibilities of Member States,

“Recognizing the essential role of the Secretary-General in the prevention of armed conflict and the importance of efforts to enhance his role in accordance with Article 99 of the Charter of the United Nations,

“Recognizing the role of other relevant organs, offices, funds and programmes and the specialized agencies of the United Nations, and other international organizations including the World Trade Organization and the Bretton Woods institutions; as well as the role of non-governmental organizations, civil society actors and the private sector in the prevention of armed conflict,

“Stressing the necessity of addressing the root-causes and regional dimensions of conflicts, recalling the recommendations contained in the report of the Secretary-General on Causes of Conflicts and the Promotion of Durable Peace and Sustainable Development in Africa of 13 April 1998 (S/1998/318) and underlining the mutually supportive relationship between conflict prevention and sustainable development,

“Expressing serious concern over the threat to peace and security caused by the illicit trade in and the excessive and destabilizing accumulation of small arms and light weapons in areas of conflict and their potential to exacerbate and prolong armed conflicts,

“Emphasizing the importance of adequate, predictable and properly targeted resources for conflict prevention and of consistent funding for long-term preventive activities,

“Reiterating that early warning, preventive diplomacy, preventive deployment, practical disarmament measures and post-conflict peace-building are interdependent and complementary components of a comprehensive conflict prevention strategy,

“Underlining the importance of raising awareness of and ensuring respect for international humanitarian law, stressing the fundamental responsibility of Member States to prevent and end impunity for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, recognizing the role of the ad hoc tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda in deterring the future occurrence of such crimes thereby helping to prevent armed conflict; and stressing the importance of international efforts in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations in this regard,

“Reiterating the shared commitment to save people from the ravages of armed conflicts, acknowledging the lessons to be learned for all concerned from the failure of preventive efforts that preceded such tragedies as the genocide in Rwanda (S/1999/1257) and the massacre in Srebrenica (A/54/549), and resolving to take appropriate action within its competence, combined with the efforts of Member States, to prevent the recurrence of such tragedies,

“1.   Expresses its determination to pursue the objective of prevention of armed conflict as an integral part of its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security;

“2.   Stresses that the essential responsibility for conflict prevention rests with national Governments, and that the United Nations and the international community can play an important role in support of national efforts for conflict prevention and can assist in building national capacity in this field and recognizes the important supporting role of civil society;

“3.   Calls upon Member States as well as regional and subregional organizations and arrangements to support the development of a comprehensive conflict prevention strategy as proposed by the Secretary-General;

“4.   Emphasizes that for the success of a preventive strategy, the United Nations needs the consent and support of the Government concerned and, if possible the cooperation of other key national actors and underlines in this regard that the sustained political will of neighbouring States, regional allies or other Member States who would be well placed to support United Nations efforts, is necessary;

“5.   Expresses its willingness to give prompt consideration to early warning or prevention cases brought to its attention by the Secretary-General and in this regard, encourages the Secretary-General to convey to the Security Council his assessment of potential threats to international peace and security with due regard to relevant regional and subregional dimensions, as appropriate, in accordance with Article 99 of the Charter of the United Nations;

“6.   Undertakes to keep situations of potential conflict under close review as part of a conflict prevention strategy and expresses its intention to consider cases of potential conflict brought to its attention by any Member State, or by a State not a Member of the United Nations or by the General Assembly or on the basis of information furnished by the Economic and Social Council;

“7.   Expresses its commitment to take early and effective action to prevent armed conflict and to that end to employ all appropriate means at its disposal including, with the consent of the receiving States, its missions to areas of potential conflict;

“8.   Reiterates its call to Member States to strengthen the capacity of the United Nations in the maintenance of international peace and security and in this regard urges them to provide the necessary human, material and financial resources for timely and preventive measures including early warning, preventive diplomacy, preventive deployment, practical disarmament measures and peace-building as appropriate in each case;

“9.   Reaffirms its role in the peaceful settlement of disputes and reiterates its call upon the Member States to settle their disputes by peaceful means as set forth in Chapter VI of the Charter of the United Nations including by use of regional preventive mechanisms and more frequent resort to the International Court of Justice;

“10.  Invites the Secretary-General to refer to the Council information and analyses from within the United Nations system on cases of serious violations of international law, including international humanitarian law and human rights law and on potential conflict situations arising, inter alia, from ethnic, religious and territorial disputes, poverty and lack of development and expresses its determination to give serious consideration to such information and analyses regarding situations which it deems to represent a threat to international peace and security;

“11.  Expresses its intention to continue to invite the Office of the United Nations Emergency Relief Coordinator and other relevant United Nations agencies to brief its members on emergency situations which it deems to represent a threat to international peace and security and supports the implementation of protection and assistance activities by relevant United Nations agencies in accordance with their respective mandates;

“12.  Expresses its willingness to consider preventive deployment upon the recommendation of the Secretary-General and with the consent of the Member States concerned;

“13.  Calls upon all Member States to ensure timely and faithful implementation of the United Nations Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects (A/CONF.192/15) adopted on 20 July 2001 and to take all necessary measures at national, regional and global levels to prevent and combat the illicit flow of small arms and light weapons in areas of conflict;

“14.  Expresses its willingness to make full use of information from the Secretary-General provided to him inter alia, under paragraph 33 section II of the Programme of Action in its efforts to prevent armed conflict;

“15.  Stresses the importance of the inclusion, as part of a conflict prevention strategy, of peace-building components including civilian police within peacekeeping operations on a case-by-case basis to facilitate a smooth transition to the post conflict peace-building phase and the ultimate conclusion of the mission;

“16.  Decides to consider inclusion as appropriate, of a disarmament, demobilization and reintegration component in the mandates of United Nations peacekeeping and peace-building operations with particular attention to the rehabilitation of child soldiers;

“17.  Reiterates its recognition of the role of women in conflict prevention and requests the Secretary-General to give greater attention to gender perspectives in the implementation of peacekeeping and peace-building mandates as well as in conflict prevention efforts;

“18.  Supports the enhancement of the role of the Secretary-General in conflict prevention including by increased use of United Nations interdisciplinary fact-finding and confidence-building missions to regions of tension, developing regional prevention strategies with regional partners and appropriate United Nations organs and agencies, and improving the capacity and resource base for preventive action in the Secretariat;

“19.  Endorses the call of the Secretary-General for support to the follow-up processes launched by the Third and Fourth High-level United Nations-Regional Organizations Meetings in the field of conflict prevention and peace-building, and to provide increased resources for the development of regional capacities in these fields;

“20.  Calls for the enhancement of the capacity for conflict prevention of regional organizations, in particular in Africa, by extending international assistance to, inter alia, the Organization of African Unity and its successor organization, through its Mechanism of Conflict Prevention, Management and Resolution, as well as to the Economic Community of West African States and its Mechanism for Prevention, Management and Resolution of Conflicts, Peacekeeping and Security;

“21.  Stresses the need to create conditions for durable peace and sustainable development by addressing the root-causes of armed conflict and to this end, calls upon Member States and relevant bodies of the United Nations system to contribute to the effective implementation of the United Nations Declaration and Programme of Action for a Culture of Peace (A/53/243);

“22.  Looks forward to further consideration of the report of the Secretary-General on Prevention of Armed Conflict by the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council, as well as other actors including the Bretton Woods institutions and supports the development of a system-wide coordinated and mutually supportive approach to prevention of armed conflict;

“23.  Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.

Background

The Security Council met this morning to follow up consideration of its role in the prevention of armed conflict.  It first considered the subject in a two-day debate on 29 and 30 November 1999, and again on 20 July 2000.  At the end of that discussion, it issued a Presidential statement (document S/PRST/2000/25) recognizing that peace was not only the absence of conflict, but required a positive, dynamic, participatory process where dialogue was encouraged and conflicts were solved in a spirit of mutual understanding and cooperation. 

The Council met again on the subject on 21 June 2001, for which it had before it a report of the Secretary-General (document A/55/985-S/2001/574) containing 29 recommendations aimed at instituting a culture of prevention throughout the United Nations system.  The report was again before the Council at today's meeting.

At the outset of the report, the Secretary-General states that “perhaps the most pitiful lesson of the past decade has been that the prevention of violent conflict is far better and more cost-effective than cure”.  The challenge, he writes, is to apply that lesson so that prevention exists not just at the rhetorical level but also practically.

This is easier said than done, the report continues.  Existing problems usually take precedence over potential ones and, while the benefits of prevention lie in the future and are difficult to quantify, the cost must be paid in the present.  On the other hand, the costs of not preventing violence are enormous.  In that regard, the report cites, among other situations, the genocide in Rwanda.

The Secretary-General writes that the basic premise for his examination of the issues is that the primary responsibility for conflict prevention rests with national governments and other local actors.  He also notes that for early prevention to be effective, the multi-dimensional root causes of conflict need to be identified and addressed.  He adds that an investment in long-term structural prevention is ultimately an investment in sustainable development.

His first recommendation is that the General Assembly consider a more active use of its powers –- in accordance with the relevant Article of the United Nations Charter –- in the prevention of armed conflicts.  He also recommends that it consider ways to enhance its interaction with the Security Council on conflict prevention, particularly in developing long-term conflict-prevention and peace-building strategies.

He encourages the Security Council to consider innovative mechanisms, such as establishing a subsidiary organ, an ad hoc informal working group or other informal technical arrangement to discuss prevention cases on a continuing basis, particularly with regard to periodic regional or subregional reports that he intends to submit to the Council, as well as other early-warning or prevention cases brought to its attention by Member States.

The Secretary-General suggests that a future high-level segment of the annual substantive session of the Economic and Social Council be devoted addressing the root causes of conflict and the role of development in promoting long-term conflict prevention.  He then urges Member States to resort to the International Court of Justice earlier and more often to settle their disputes in a peaceful manner and to promote the rule of law in international relations.

Among his other recommendations are ones aimed at enhancing his own role in conflict prevention.  These are:  increasing the use of United Nations interdisciplinary fact-finding missions to volatile regions; developing regional prevention strategies; establishing an informal network of eminent persons for conflict prevention; and improving the capacity and resource base for preventive action in the Secretariat.

He also encourages Member States and the Security Council to make more active use of preventive deployments before the onset of conflict, as appropriate.  He urges the Council to support peace-building components within peacekeeping operations, as relevant, and to strengthen Secretariat capacity in that regard.

Further, he urges the General Assembly at its forthcoming special session on HIV/AIDS to examine how strategies for the prevention of the disease can be broadened to take into account the important contribution that they can make to conflict prevention, particularly in seriously affected regions such as sub-Saharan Africa.  He urges Member States to support policies and resources that target the needs of children and adolescents in situations of potential conflict, since this is an important aspect of long-term conflict-prevention strategy.

The Secretary-General concludes his report by proposing 10 principles to guide the future approach of the United Nations to conflict prevention:

-- Conflict prevention is one of the primary obligations of Member States set forth in the Charter of the United Nations, and United Nations efforts in conflict prevention must be in conformity with the purposes and principles of the Charter.

-- Conflict prevention must have national ownership.  The primary responsibility for conflict prevention rests with national governments, with civil society playing an important role.  The United Nations and the international community should support national efforts for conflict prevention and should assist in building national capacity in this field.  Conflict-prevention activities of the United Nations can, therefore, help to support the sovereignty of Member States.

-- Conflict prevention is an activity best undertaken under Chapter VI of the Charter.  In this regard, the means described in the Charter for the peaceful settlement of disputes are an important instrument for conflict prevention, including such means as negotiation, enquiry, mediation, conciliation, arbitration, judicial settlement or other peaceful means, as set forth in

Article 33 of the Charter.  It must also be recognized that certain measures under Chapter VII of the Charter, such as sanctions, can have an important deterrent effect.

-- Preventive action should be initiated at the earliest possible stage of a conflict cycle in order to be most effective.

-- The primary focus of preventive action should be in addressing the deep-rooted socio-economic, cultural, environmental, institutional, political and other structural causes that often underlie the immediate symptoms of conflicts.

-- An effective preventive strategy requires a comprehensive approach that encompasses both short-term and long-term political, diplomatic, humanitarian, human rights, developmental, institutional and other measures taken by the international community, in cooperation with national and regional actors.  It also requires a strong focus on gender equality and the situation of children.

-- Conflict prevention and sustainable and equitable development are mutually reinforcing activities.  An investment in national and international efforts for conflict prevention must be seen as a simultaneous investment in sustainable development, since the latter can best take place in an environment of sustainable peace.

-- The preceding suggests that there is a clear need for introducing a conflict-prevention element into the United Nations system’s multifaceted development programmes and activities, so that they contribute to the prevention of conflict by design and not by default.  This, in turn, requires greater coherence and coordination in the United Nations system, with a specific focus on conflict prevention.

-- A successful preventive strategy depends upon the cooperation of many United Nations actors, including the Secretary-General, the Security Council, the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council, the International Court of Justice and United Nations agencies, offices, funds and programmes, as well as the Bretton Woods institutions.  However, the United Nations is not the only actor in prevention and may often not be the actor best suited to take the lead.

Therefore, Member States, international, regional and subregional organizations, the private sector, non-governmental organizations, and other civil society actors also have very important roles to play in this field.

-- Effective preventive action by the United Nations requires sustained political will on the part of Member States.  First and foremost, this includes a readiness by the membership as a whole to provide the United Nations with the necessary political support and resources for undertaking effective preventive action in specific situations.

* *** *

For information media. Not an official record.