Deputy Secretary-General: Statements
New York, 24 June 2016 - Deputy Secretary-General's Remarks to the Joint Meeting of ECOSOC and Peacebuilding Commission [as prepared]
Ambassador Oh Joon, President of ECOSOC,
Ambassador Macharia Kamau, Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I thank Ambassadors Oh and Kamau for organizing this joint meeting and, by that, for taking an important step towards the implementation of the General Assembly and Security Council resolutions on sustaining peace. You are doing this by focusing on the need for strategic and operational coherence both among Member States and within the UN system.
A central aspect of the concept of sustaining peace is the recognition that peacebuilding is not only a post-conflict activities, but also steps that needs to be taken before, during and after conflict.
The resolutions explicitly state that we need to prevent the outbreak, escalation, continuation and recurrence of conflict.
In our peacekeeping operations and humanitarian action, the international community and the UN focus primarily on the acute phase of conflicts.
However, we need to pay more attention to the periods both before the outbreak of violence and at the end of violent conflicts.
During these periods, the UN is mostly represented by Country Teams, consisting of the agencies, fund and programmes of the UN system. We should note that the recent General Assembly and Security Council resolutions assign clear responsibility to sustain peace to the entire UN system.
This is why the topic of today’s meeting is so important, connecting peacebuilding and sustainable development.
Let me mention a few areas where I see a strong relationship between the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the new peacebuilding resolutions.
First, both recognize that each country has primary responsibility for implementing the 2030 Agenda and sustaining peace.
Second, both emphasize the importance of preventing violent conflict and of building peaceful societies.
Third, both strongly stress the interdependence of the challenges we are confronting and the comprehensive approaches we need to address them.
Complex tasks – whether promoting sustainable development or sustaining peace – cannot be divided into silos, be compartmentalized. If problems are connected, then the solutions must be as well. Peace and security, development and human rights are inextricably linked and mutually reinforcing.
Fourth, let us recognize that there are various drivers of violent conflicts. Several of them are of socio-economic and environmental character, such as economic, social and environmental inequalities, lack of jobs, poor natural resource management and lacking adaptation to climate change.
Fifth, inclusive, effective and accountable institutions and the rule of law are fundamental to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and to sustaining peace.
Institutions strongly determine the allocation of resources, the functioning of markets, the delivery of social services and the management of natural resources. Equally, they often determine the mitigation of and solutions to conflicts, access to justice and protection of human rights.
Sixth, and finally, Agenda 2030 and the peacebuilding resolutions recognize that we need to work collectively as “one” across the UN system. This we must do in order to provide coherent support to Member States in their efforts to meet the targets they have set for themselves.
This work should be based on joint analysis, covering development, human rights, peace and humanitarian issues and should be driven to achieve collective outcomes.
Conflict-affected countries were lagging significantly during the MDGs process. Extreme poverty has increasingly been concentrated in countries facing conflicts.
The Sustainable Development Goals will, in my view, not be reached if we are not able to sustain peace.
Nor will we be able to sustain peace if we do not address the drivers that are related to the achievement of the SDGs. We need to place a focus on conflict-affected countries if we are to leave no-one behind.
The World Humanitarian Summit has challenged us all to develop systemic responses to transcend the development-humanitarian divide.
Requests for more resources and more coordination are not enough to achieve this objective. We need to focus on coherent institutional responses across the three pillars and work to change our mind-sets.
The UN presence on the ground – in mission, as well as non-mission, settings - should aim to respond strategically and operationally to the new challenges set by the 2030 Agenda and the sustaining peace resolutions.
We need to be adequately resourced to invest in sustaining peace before, during and after conflict. And we need to provide support in a coherent manner from the leadership of all parts of the UN system.
The ongoing discussions – like this one today – on the long-term positioning of the UN Development System and the overarching framework of the United Nations operational activities are important opportunities to address these crucial issues.
I look forward to a broader and deeper exchange of views on our common important challenges. I wish you a productive meeting.
Statements on 24 June 2016