World Leaders in General Assembly Stress Importance of Conflict Prevention, Mediation during High-Level Debate on Building, Sustaining Peace


24 APRIL 2018



Assembly President Calls for Coherence, Partnerships across United Nations Pillars

Member States must go beyond resolutions and statements and recommit to a new approach to peace, the General Assembly heard today during a high-level debate that explored opportunities for strengthening the United Nations work on sustaining peace.

The two-day meeting was convened by the Assembly President in line with General Assembly resolution 70/262 and Security Council resolution 2282 (2016), renewing the United Nations’ commitment to conflict prevention, as embodied in its Charter.  (For background, please see Press Release GA/12010).

In opening remarks, Assembly President Miroslav Lajčák (Slovakia) said that, while there had not been another world war since the founding of the United Nations, the Organization had not been there when people needed it.  “We could have done more to respond to conflicts and more to prevent them from happening at all,” he said.  With people facing unending conflict in parts of the world, a new approach was needed.  The signs were already there:  rising intolerance, hate speech and disregard for the systems that we had spent 70 years building.

Secretary-General António Guterres said that, two years after the General Assembly and the Security Council had adopted twin resolutions on sustaining peace, it was time to look at progress and forge a common path ahead.  Remarking that more countries were experiencing violent conflict than at any time in nearly three decades, he highlighted the record numbers of civilians being killed or displaced by violence, war and persecution.

Emphasizing the central message of his report on peacebuilding and sustaining peace, he said the coherence of international efforts to support Governments and their people must be enhanced.  But, without progress on financing, efforts could be futile.  Noting that $233 billion had been spent on humanitarian interventions, peacekeeping and hosting refugees, he said more must be invested in prevention — above all because it saved lives.

The need for prevention featured prominently throughout the discussion, with several speakers stressing that it must be at the core of multilateral efforts.

On that note, Ireland’s President said outbreaks and recurrence of conflict would only be prevented by addressing their root causes.  That demanded political imagination and financial commitment, which must be met with answerable determination by Member States.  Calling for investment in prevention as a matter of moral duty and financial prudence, he said conflict prevention would not only save lives, but also open possibilities for development and human flourishing.

Meanwhile, Albania’s Foreign Minister noted that human rights monitoring and analysis could provide crucial early warning signs of grievances that, if unaddressed, could lead to violent conflict.  Further, the Peacebuilding Commission was an important instrument for preventative action, he said.

Echoing that sentiment, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs and European Affairs of Croatia, said a solid prevention system — an approach supported by the peacebuilding review — could save Government resources that, in turn, could be invested in improving living conditions in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

In that connection, several speakers underscored that sustainable and inclusive development, with respect for human rights, was the best tool to prevent violent conflict and instability, pointing to the 2030 Agenda as a blueprint for more stable and resilient societies.

The King of Belgium said time was needed to heal the wounds caused by humiliation and violence, to bring perpetrators of serious abuses to trial, and to remember.  The United Nations’ failure in recent years to prevent wars or to swiftly end them should not overshadow its successes.  The scale, complexity and duration of many of today’s conflicts must encourage Member States to find other ways to create lasting peace.

In that vein, several speakers highlighted experiences in their own countries that provided hope about the prospects for ending even the most protracted conflicts.

While acknowledging that making peace was more difficult than making war, Colombia’s President said the most complex challenge was finding the proper balance between peace and justice.  Towards that end, his Government had placed victims at the core of conflict resolution in a process that involved truth, reparations and sanctions.  The success of such efforts was crucial to achieving a sustainable peace, he said.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina shared insights from more than 25 years of peacebuilding in his country, stressing that efforts must be carefully coordinated and introduced at an early stage, with a focus on rebuilding national institutions, including the rule of law and the security sector.

The Gambia’s President said partners were essential for providing material and financial support, as well as capacity‑building, technical cooperation and an exchange of ideas.  The Peacebuilding Support Office and the Peacebuilding Fund must be provided with financial resources so that timely interventions could be launched.

Similarly, Afghanistan’s Foreign Minister said his country’s strong partnership with the United Nations had helped it overcome security, social and economic challenges on its road to a sustained peace.

Also speaking today were Heads of State and Government, ministers and senior officials from the Central African Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Venezuela (on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement), Turkey (also on behalf of the “MIKTA” Group), Iran, Germany, Peru, Norway, Montenegro, Iceland, Sweden, Bangladesh, Ghana, Philippines, Poland, Kenya, United Arab Emirates, Republic of Moldova, Switzerland (also on behalf of the Human Rights and Conflict Prevention Caucus), United Kingdom, Maldives, Spain, Slovenia, France, Qatar, Greece, Latvia, Ukraine, Portugal, Bulgaria, Brazil, Czechia, Lesotho and India, as well as the European Union.

Michelle Yeoh, Actress, Producer and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Goodwill Ambassador; Ishmael Beah, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Advocate for Children Affected by War; Joy Onyesoh, President of Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, Nigeria; and Jayathma Wickramanayake, the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth also delivered remarks.

The General Assembly will reconvene at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, 25 April, to continue its high-level meeting and take action on a related draft resolution.

Opening Remarks

MIROSLAV LAJČÁK (Slovakia), President of the General Assembly, said peace was at the core of the founding of the United Nations, with its Charter endeavouring to save generations from the scourge of another war.  And while there had not been another world war, the United Nations had not been there when people needed it.  More could have been done.  That was why, in 2016, the Organization took another approach, adopting the sustaining peace resolution, which committed it to act earlier, faster and better to prevent the suffering that conflict brought.

However, the challenge was to make that approach a reality, he said.  The international community must assess its progress how it could do better going forward.  With people facing unending conflict in parts of the world, a new approach was needed now more than ever.  The signs were already there:  rising intolerance, hate speech, escalating rhetoric and disregard for the systems that we had spent 70 years building.  At the same time, prevention needed to be prioritized, with more mediation and diplomacy at the local, regional and international levels.

“We need a drive for diplomacy and the United Nations must be the engine room,” he said, adding that the world must not allow the incentives for violence to outweigh those for peace.  He called for more coherence across the United Nations three pillars, as well as partnerships to sustain peace, stressing that the United Nations must listen to national, regional and subregional actors.  Civil society was another key ingredient to sustaining peace, while innovative partnerships were also needed with the private sector and financial institutions.

More broadly, the international community was not investing enough in prevention, he said, noting that the Peacebuilding Fund was struggling to meet its $500 million target.  Highlighting the need for inclusion, he noted that the power to make and build peace was currently held in the hands of very few people — mainly men.  When it came to peace, more actors at the table were needed — not simply for the optics, but for adding value to discussions.

In 2016, he said the international community had made a strong commitment with the sustaining peace resolution and another resolution would be introduced this week to keep up the momentum.  But, that was not enough, as the stakes were too high and the effects of war too inhuman.  He urged Member States to go beyond resolutions, statements and words and to recommit to a new approach to peace.

ANTÓNIO GUTERRES, Secretary-General of the United Nations, said that, two years after the General Assembly and the Security Council had adopted twin resolutions on sustaining peace, it was time to look at progress and forge a common path ahead.  While no one could doubt the many benefits of globalization, in some fundamental ways, the world had moved backwards, with more countries experiencing violent conflict that at any time in nearly three decades.  Record numbers of civilians were being killed or displaced by violence, war and persecution.  There were also horrific violations of human rights, rising nationalism, racism and xenophobia, while inequalities were increasing.

Those events all indicated the need for greater unity and courage to ease people’s fears, set the world on track for a better future and lay the foundations for sustainable peace and development, he said.  Emphasizing the central message of his report on peacebuilding and sustaining peace, he said the coherence of international efforts to support Governments and their people must be enhanced.  That required strengthening partnerships throughout the peace continuum.  Highlighting the work of his High-Level Advisory Board on Mediation and the Action for Peacekeeping, he said the United Nations sought to give more support to the Peacebuilding Commission and to revitalize the Peacebuilding Support Office, increasing its capacity to facilitate transition in post-conflict situations.

Citing by way of example the transition under way in Liberia from a peacekeeping operation to a United Nations country team, he said much remained to be done.  “Sustaining peace will only be realized through committed, inclusive national ownership that considers the needs of the most marginalized, including women, young people, minorities and people with disabilities,” he said, underscoring his strong commitment to women’s participation in peacebuilding.  Welcoming the newly released Progress Study on Youth, Peace and Security, he said it was beyond time to recognize the major contribution that young people could make to peace and security, and asked Member States to support his reforms in that area.

Above all, sustainable and inclusive development, deeply rooted in respect for human rights, was the best tool to prevent violent conflict and instability, he said.  The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was a common blueprint for more peaceful, stable and resilient societies.  He said he was determined to prepare the United Nations for the world of tomorrow, but without progress on financing, efforts would run the risk of being futile.  Noting that $233 billion had been spent on humanitarian interventions, peacekeeping and hosting refugees, he said more must be invested in prevention — above all because it saved lives.  He asked that Member States to provide $500 million per year to the Peacebuilding Fund, stressing that he had proposed increasing by 50 per cent the number of posts in the Peacebuilding Support Office.  Appealing for strong support from the Security Council and the Assembly, he said he hoped for continued discussion on strengthening the peacebuilding architecture.

MICHELLE YEOH, Actress, Producer and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Goodwill Ambassador, recalled how in the latter role she had met many people who had been forced from their homes, struggling to make ends meet and who had been left behind.  Many times, their hardship had been the result of conflict, which had become deadlier over the years.  Indeed, millions of people around the world were being displaced from their homes, primarily due to violence.  More than half of the world’s refugees were children, often separated from their parents.

By 2030, the target year of the Sustainable Development Agenda, more than half of the world’s poor would be living in countries plagued by violent conflict, she said.  Meanwhile, women and girls were falling prey to gender-based violence, with devastating long-term effects.  The human cost of war was too high, and the financial costs wide-reaching.  To date, most international efforts had focused on crises that had already broken out, rather than on preventing conflicts in the first place, which could save countless lives and billions of dollars.

However, the United Nations had begun shifting its efforts towards prevention, she said, noting that the resolution had emphasized prevention, inclusion and women’s essential role in the peacebuilding process.  Indeed, inclusive and sustained peacebuilding required the full participation of women, who should be agents of that that work and not merely its beneficiaries.  Gender equality contributed to durable peace and sustainable development.

Looking forward, funds were needed to advance gender equality, especially in peacebuilding contexts, she said.  Building and sustaining peace was at the core of the United Nations:  to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, sustainable development was needed.  In fact, sustainable development and sustainable peace must be achieved in concert.  In that light, the United Nations needed the time, space and resources to pursue long-term strategies that yielded long-term results, she said.

ISHMAEL BEAH, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Advocate for Children Affected by War, said that embarking on peacebuilding without children would mean failure for all efforts to create a future the world could be proud of.  It was worrying and disturbing to think of the current state of the world, in which children were under attack on a shocking scale as parties to conflict ignored international law and other instruments meant to protect them.  From Syria to South Sudan and Myanmar to Yemen, children were being targeted and exposed to attack in their homes, schools and playgrounds.  “We cannot become numb” to their plight, he said, adding that such levels of brutality must not become the new norm.

Amid the horrors, there were moments of hope, such as the recent release or 200 armed children from armed groups in South Sudan, he said, adding, however, that much remained to be done.  Emphasizing UNICEF’s call for an end to violations against all children, he said the international community had come a long way since the Graça Machel report in 1996 on the impact of armed conflict on children.   There was no shortage of policies and ideas, but there was a lack of commitment among nations to put them into effect.  He recommended that delegations read a recent study by the United Nations University on radicalization and de‑radicalization in several conflict areas, including Syria, Iraq, Mali and Nigeria.  It described how the criminalization of association with terrorist groups and violent extremism had led to the detention and prosecution of juveniles who should instead be rehabilitated and reintegrated into society.  The best way forward was to address underlying issues, not to hold children accountable.  Everyone realized the need for security, but in building peace, the principles of human dignity must not be violated, he added.

JOY ONYESOH, President, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, Nigeria, recalled one her visits to Borno State in which she met Amina, a woman at a camp for internally displaced persons who had been separated from her children as they fled violence in that region.  That was one of the human costs of conflict, she said, calling for a shift from crisis response to active conflict prevention.  That shift, she said, required women’s meaningful participation and the examination of the root causes of conflict.  Women like Amina were one of many that faced the reality of armed conflict.  If the international community wanted to support the participation of marginalized communities, a commitment to gender analysis was needed.  What was required went beyond token numbers, she said, calling for targeted interventions that were contextually appropriate.  Creating an enabling environment for the work women were doing on the ground was key.

She commended the growing number of civil society speakers at the Security Council, and the efforts of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict.  Nonetheless, structures in place continuously excluded women.  She highlighted the limited funds that had been allocated to support the promotion of gender equality, adding that national budget cuts were further contributing to that trend.  Overall, prioritizing women’s participation and rights was at the centre of conflict prevention and sustaining peace.  She called for gender analysis across the United Nations system based on women’s perspectives, and financing that scaled up funding for gender-focused programmes.  At the same time, political will was needed to challenge gender narratives and power.  “The United Nations is a beacon of hope to men and women and we should keep that flame of hope burning,” she concluded.

JAYATHMA WICKRAMANAYAKE, the Secretary‑General’s Envoy on Youth, said that, if any generation knew the value of peace, it was hers, and it was determined not to repeat the mistakes of the past.  Emphasizing the importance of tapping into the potential and creativity of youth, she noted that 408 million young people were today living amid violence and armed conflicts.  Greater support must be given to those working on peace and stability in their communities, often with little funding or support, and sometimes under personal threat.  She also encouraged delegations to read the Progress Report on Youth, Peace and Security.

She said two key issues must be immediately addressed:  a growing mistrust among youth in political institutions and their exclusion from political and economic life.  Meaningful youth participation contributed to conflict prevention.  For too long, young people had been calling on the United Nations to go beyond the immediate needs of war-torn countries by giving more attention to sustaining peace.  The Organization must build on the youth, peace and security agenda set out in Security Council resolution 2250 (2015), which was intended to ensure that young people were listened to and taken seriously, not called upon to wave flags or cast ballots when their votes were needed.  Financing for sustainable peace should be substantially increased, including the youth instrument of the Peacebuilding Fund.  Concluding, she said young people must be seen as partners in peacebuilding, not as a problem to be dealt with, and reminded delegates that a generation was counting on them to make the right decisions.


King PHILIPPE of Belgium, recalling that his country for centuries had been “a land of battlefields”, noted that Europe was built on profound reconciliation and gradual rapprochement.  Lasting peace was more than the absence of war, but also the fashioning of a framework that was respectful of human dignity.  Lasting peace was also the ultimate purpose of the United Nations Charter, he said, describing the 2030 Agenda as a key instrument for conflict prevention, as well as development.  He went on to say that, while peace was forged through action, it needed time to take hold.  “Human relationships are not decreed; they are built, or rebuilt, patiently, through trust,” he said.  Time was needed to heal wounds caused by humiliation and violence; to demobilize, disarm and reintegrate; to bring perpetrators of serious abuses to trial; and to remember.   he failure of the United Nations in recent years to prevent wars or to swiftly end them should not overshadow its successes.  Rather, the scale, complexity and duration of many of today’s conflicts must encourage Member States to find other ways that would bring lasting peace closer.

JUAN MANUEL SANTOS CALDERÓN, President of Colombia, said making peace was more difficult than making war.  In Colombia, it was not enough to end its conflict.  The most complex challenge was finding the proper balance between peace and justice.  Towards that end, his Government had placed victims and their rights at the core of conflict resolution, resorting to transitional justice.  Both parties to the conflict had agreed on a system of justice and adhered to it in line with the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.  That process involved full truth, reparations and sanctions.  Above punishing those responsible, victims yearned for the truth about what had happened to their loved ones.  The success of such efforts was crucial to achieving a sustainable peace.  His Government was working to return land to those who had lost it in the violence, and was prioritizing the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of combatants.  However, without training and long‑term projects for combatants, reintegration could fail and lead to violence.  Further, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) was now a legal political party trying to win over citizens with words instead of arms.  More broadly, his Government was clearing its countryside of anti-personnel mines, with the goal of complete elimination before 2022, and addressing coca leaf production through a crop substitution and forced eradication programme.  However, the war on drugs had not been won:  a strategy of prohibition and suppression had only produced more criminals, making drug trafficking the biggest threat to peace.  He called for a change in the global strategy to combat drugs.  While 2017 had been Colombia’s most peaceful year to date, with the lowest homicide rate in 40 years, the challenge was to sustain peace.  Colombia had shown that finding paths to understanding was possible.  He reiterated that ending even the most protracted conflicts was possible.  With international support, Colombia had made the impossible possible.

MICHAEL D. HIGGINS, President of Ireland, said:  “It is an affront to humanity that, at a time when we have the capacity to abolish all forms of human poverty, we share a planet with hundreds of millions who are, even as we speak here today, deprived of their most fundamental rights.”  The objectives of sustaining peace, in their scale and ambition, confirmed the enormity of the task; however, that task must be achieved.  Ireland knew from its own history that peace would not come without engaging with the other.  The Northern Ireland Peace Agreement, signed 25 years ago, had included such crucial elements as direct engagement by the parties, strong support from the European Union and the generous and patient backing of Member States around the world.  Noting that Ireland was reminded daily of the challenges of sustaining peace, he said outbreaks and recurrences of conflict would only be prevented by addressing their root causes.  That demanded political imagination and financial commitment, which must be met with answerable determination by Member States.  Calling for investment in prevention as a matter of moral duty and financial prudence, he said conflict prevention would not only save lives, but also open possibilities for development and human flourishing.  Member States must discard narrow and cynical thinking, he concluded, emphasizing that the world’s youth were appalled that the “strut of the powerful” should remain the prevailing norm in the main organs of the United Nations.

FAUSTIN ARCHANGE TOUADERA, President of the Central African Republic, detailed steps taken in his country to re-establish peace since he took office in March 2016.  Those included constitutional measures, legislation to establish gender parity and a frank and sincere dialogue with armed groups aimed at bringing them into society.  Out of 14 identified groups, 12 were participating in that process.  Young people were, meanwhile, making a significant contribution.  At the same time, the Government was making headway in restoring State authority and security, implementing the rule of law, and establishing a truth, justice and reparations commission.  But, many challenges remained, he said, thanking the United Nations and the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) for providing security and protecting civilians.  Appealing for that Mission’s staffing to be bolstered, he said he hoped his country would be a model for international efforts to build and sustain peace.

ADAMA BARROW, President of the Gambia, underscored national achievements in security sector reform, economic growth and the rule of law.  “Our overarching goal is to build and sustain the peace that we have won,” he stressed, commending regional and international partners for their continued support to peacebuilding efforts.  The Gambia would remain focused on investing in economic growth and creating an enabling environment that encouraged constructive criticism.  Still, challenges persisted, including a revival of the economy, and reforms to laws and administrative institutions.  Partners remained essential in providing material and financial support, as well as capacity‑building, technical cooperation and exchange of ideas, he said, stressing that the Peacebuilding Support Office and the Peacebuilding Fund must be provided with financial resources so that timely interventions could be launched.

JÜRI RATAS, Prime Minister of Estonia, said the current multilateral system must remain strong, with the United Nations working in a more integrated, flexible and coordinated manner while placing prevention at the core of its efforts.  But, the world could not rely only on the United Nations, as sustaining peace was the primary responsibility of Member States, which must also have the will to operationalize adequate policies to implement the Sustainable Development Goals.  In addition, Member States must invest more in prevention, peacebuilding and peacekeeping, he said, noting Estonia’s involvement with the Peacebuilding Commission and United Nations missions.  Estonia had also contributed to the Peacebuilding Fund, which was an effective instrument for providing fast and flexible assistance, and was fully committed to implementing the new agenda for sustaining peace.

MIKHEIL JANELIDZE, Vice-Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Georgia, recalled that his country — which had struggled with foreign occupation, conflict-driven violence and forced displacement for more than 25 years — had required international engagement to address ethnic cleansing, violations of sovereignty and territorial integrity, mass expulsions and grave human rights violations in the occupied regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali.  The United Nations Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG) had played a key role in achieving security since 1993.  However, the cessation of the Mission’s mandate by a veto in the Security Council — following military aggression by the Russian Federation in 2008 — had created a vacuum of international presence in the occupied regions, where arbitrary detentions, abductions and killings were the norm.  No progress had been made since, and in March, a Georgian internally displaced person who crossed the occupation line was detained and killed by the occupying Power.  Emphasizing the link between ensuring justice and sustaining peace, he expressed hope that Member States would continue to call on the Russian Federation to abide by its international obligations, adding that Georgia — despite those provocations — continued its efforts to build confidence, enhance economic ties and foster people-to-people contacts across the dividing lines.

MARIJA PEJČINOVIĆ BURIĆ, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs and European Affairs of Croatia, aligning herself with the European Union, said peacebuilding was among the most important and complex challenges in contemporary international relations.  To address those challenges, a parallel focus was needed on all political, security, developmental, environmental and human rights issues.  As a victim of aggression during the last decade of the twentieth century, Croatia had gained first-hand knowledge of peacebuilding and post-conflict recovery, and stood ready to share that valuable knowledge with others.  Stressing that flexible, tailor-made approaches were the productive way forward, she expressed support for improved data-gathering and analysis within the United Nations Secretariat.  In addition, she welcomed the approach supported by the peacebuilding review, which emphasised prevention.  Indeed, a solid prevention system could save Member States’ resources that could be invested in improving living conditions in line with the 2030 Agenda.  She went on to highlight the need for a deep understanding of the causes of crises, noting that reading early warning signs and a readiness to act without hesitation were essential.

JORGE ARREAZA MONTSERRAT (Venezuela), speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said complex global security challenges must be addressed multilaterally within the framework of international law.  Preserving, promoting, achieving and maintaining peace and security must remain a priority on the United Nations agenda.  Likewise, preventing the outbreak of crises was primarily a national responsibility that could benefit from United Nations support.  He stressed the importance of non-interference in the internal State affairs before emphasizing that all segments of society should be included in the peace process.  He highlighted the role of women and young people in the resolution of conflicts and building resilient societies. For its part, the Movement was committed to promoting the peaceful dispute settlement in accordance with Chapter VI of the United Nations Charter, and looked forward to engaging in in-depth discussions on all proposals in preparation of the 2020 Peacebuilding Architecture Review.  In that connection, he called for redoubled international efforts and improved synergies between peacekeeping and peacebuilding activities.

MEVLÜT ÇAVUŞOĞLU, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Turkey, said Member States had agreed on the parameters needed to address the high number of conflicts around the world.  Those included addressing root causes; achieving the sustainable development; ensuring regional and national ownership of settlements; the wider use of mediation; and building and sustaining peace.  However, while those basic principles had been identified, nations had not yet succeeded in achieving a more peaceful world, largely because they were selective in their responses.  “We all react” when the regime of Syria’s President used chemical weapons to kill women and children, but States were silent when it used conventional weapons to the same ends.  Indeed, when the five permanent Security Council members agreed, international law could be enforced; when they failed to do so, the system remained locked.  Citing several examples of inconsistent approaches — such as major media coverage of terror attacks on Western capitals, but none for those carried out in the Middle East or Africa — he asked:  “Is human life more valuable in certain regions?”  A better world could not be built against the backdrop of such hypocrisy and double standards, he stressed, calling for a paradigm shift acknowledging that the world was bigger than the Council’s five permanent members.

Mr. ÇAVUŞOĞLU, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Turkey, delivered a statement on behalf of the “MIKTA” Group— namely, Mexico, Indonesia, Republic of Korea, Turkey and Australia.  Noting that the Group strongly supported the concept of sustaining peace, which represented a paradigm shift in the United Nations system, he echoed the Secretary-General’s assertion that it must be assumed collectively, comprehensively and inclusively by all stakeholders.  Meanwhile, national Governments and authorities bore the primary responsibility for all relevant priorities, strategies and activities.  Spotlighting the key role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts and in peacebuilding, and reaffirming their role in decision-making, he also welcomed that the new procedural resolution on sustaining peace demonstrated Member States’ clear expectations of the United Nations Secretariat, funds, programmes and agencies, which should energetically and promptly advance the resolution’s elements that could already be implemented.

NEVEN MIMICA, Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development of the European Union, said sustaining peace was a joint responsibility of Governments and societies that also demanded the full use of the United Nations political tools, including preventive diplomacy and mediation.  For its part, the European Union was keen to exchange best practices with multilateral partners regarding inclusive economic development and strengthening resilience.  It also wished that the United Nations development system would enhance its capacity to address the root causes of instability and that efforts were made to strengthen the links among humanitarian, development and peacebuilding activities.  Outlining some of the bloc’s activities, he said members had adopted a strategic approach to resilience and conclusions on a framework for a more holistic engagement to external conflicts and crises when promoting human security.  Welcoming the emphasis on empowering women and youth, he also highlighted the need to work closely with key international and regional partners.  As the United Nations was meant to be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations in the attainment of peace, the European Union welcomed the Organization’s ambitious plan to lead in achieving that common goal.

M. JAVAD ZARIF, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iran, said conflict prevention meant focusing on root causes, including occupation, foreign intervention and extremism.  It also meant addressing hegemonic attempts to achieve security at the expense of others through exclusions and blocs which led to destructive arms races.  It was crucial to shift to a new paradigm, one based on joining forces and creating strong regions through security networking.  It was imperative to move away from the zero-sum paradigm of seeking regional hegemony and exclusion in Iran’s immediate neighbourhood, he said, proposing a regional dialogue forum for the Persian Gulf that would address the challenge of building and sustaining peace.  He invited Iran’s neighbours to join that endeavour, adding that Iran expected the United Nations to lend its assistance through arrangements set out — but never implemented — in Security Council resolution 598 (1987).

HEIKO MAAS, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Germany, urged the international community to rethink its approach for the future.  Member States must seek dialogue instead of confrontation, invest in disarmament instead of rearmament and focus on prevention instead of intervention.  “We cannot only address conflicts once they are on the front pages of the newspapers,” he added.  Noting the example of the Sahel region, where there were several peace and training missions, he said such measures would only succeed if peace and reconciliation processes were brought to a conclusion accepted by all.  He expressed support to the Secretary‑General’s focus and emphasized that modern peace policy must be funded in the right way.  It was not efficient if peacekeeping missions costing billions were followed by peacebuilding plans that lacked funds.  For its part, Germany had more than tripled its budget for crisis prevention and humanitarian aid in 2017.

NÉSTOR FRANCISCO POPOLIZIO BARDALES, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Peru, welcomed efforts under way to bring about the holistic and multidimensional vision that peacebuilding and sustaining peace required.  Peru had tackled terrorism and built peace and stability through a broad national consensus on the need to strengthen institutions, promote the rule of law and fight poverty and inequality.  Peruvians were approaching their bicentenary with optimism.  However, the country remained vulnerable to climate change, natural disasters and corruption.  Noting that Peru was President of the Security Council for April, he said urgent responses were needed to conflicts in the Middle East and Africa, as well as the threat of weapons of mass destruction.

INE ERIKSEN SØREIDE, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Norway, expressed concern that, in less than a decade, the number of major violent conflicts had tripled, their nature becoming ever more complex and protracted.  Peace could never be imposed from the outside, she stressed, emphasizing that national ownership was critical to achieve sustaining peace.  “Peace and development are two sides of the same coin,” she added, welcoming the agreement on the procedural resolution on sustaining peace.  She used Colombia as an example, underscoring that implementing the peace agreement in that country would not just create peace but also more inclusive development.  Schools were now open in areas previously torn apart by conflict.  While that may look like small progress, it was a clear example of how peace and development were explicitly interlinked.

SRDAN DARMANOVIĆ, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Montenegro, aligning himself with the European Union, said the effects of conflicts around the world would be felt for years to come.  Member States had a shared responsibility to address those challenges more decisively, he said, noting that peace as a policy was underrecognized, underprioritized and underresourced.  That was especially true for conflict prevention, she said, underlining the importance of early detection and early warning mechanisms.  In that regard, shifting from a perception of a “failure to act” to a culture of prevention was essential, and required political will and leadership from all actors.  At the same time, investing in conflict prevention was considerably less expensive than reacting to crises.  Mediation must also receive greater attention and resources, he said, adding that it was among the most cost-effective tools.  Montenegro was an example of how a country’s independence could be achieved in a peaceful manner.

GUDLAUGUR THÓR THÓRDARSON, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iceland, said it was difficult to discuss peace and security without mentioning disappointment with the work of the Security Council regarding Syria.  “The world body responsible for ensuring peace is hampered by its inability to agree and move forward on the most urgent issues,” he stressed.  Still, he pointed to progress, particularly under the leadership of the Secretary-General.  The last five years had seen important growth at the policy level, which had shaped the concepts on sustaining peace and peacebuilding.  “Prevention is better, cheaper and saves more lives,” he emphasized, underscoring that the 2030 Agenda was the most powerful framework for peacebuilding.  Action was critical also “not only when conflict has broken out, but long beforehand”.  That included addressing the root causes, including human rights and governance rights.

DITMIR BUSHATI, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Albania, said there had been many times when the international community had responded to crises insufficiently, as evidenced by the war in Syria.  Thus, he highlighted the importance of prevention and the need for the United Nations to establish mechanisms to identify potential signs of conflict.  Implementation of the 2030 Agenda was the best way to address the common causes of conflict, while human rights monitoring and analysis could provide crucial early warning signs of grievances that, if unaddressed, could lead to violent conflict.  Further, the Peacebuilding Commission was an important instrument for preventative action, while partnerships were also essential, he said, stressing the need to draw on the expertise and experience of reginal and global actors, as well as financial institutions, civil society and the private sector.  Meanwhile, women and young people were real asset for peace.  He recalled that the Western Balkans had been a theatre of major conflict but that, through genuine political will, dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia had helped narrow divisions and mistrust.

SALAHUDDIN RABBANI, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan, expressing support for the Secretary-General’s reform agenda, said his country’s strong partnership with the United Nations had helped it overcome security, social and economic challenges on its road to a sustained peace.  “We can say from experience that international engagement in conflict or post-conflict settings should endure until the fundamental factors of instability are resolved and the situation is fully stabilized,” he said.  The peace offer made by the President of Afghanistan in February offered new incentives for a political settlement, while incorporating the principles of national ownership and leadership, and the proactive role of women.  He urged all stakeholders, including countries in the region, to contribute to that Afghan-led peace process and help generate an enabling environment for direct and results-oriented talks.

IGOR CRNADAK, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina, sharing insights from more than 25 years of peacebuilding in his country, said efforts must be carefully coordinated and introduced at an early stage, with a primary focus on rebuilding national institutions, including the rule of law and the security sector.  It took years, even decades, to build legitimate and effective institutions, with the European Union and the United Nations acting as major partners.  The process of European Union integration, meanwhile, contributed to strengthening institutions and better regional cooperation and dialogue.  However, international intervention and assistance must eventually transition to support and partnership.  At that point, citizens who were open to dialogue and respectful and supportive of each other would be the backbone of peacebuilding.  In essence, he added, only citizens themselves could be the keepers of their country’s peace and prosperity.

MARGOT WALLSTRÖM, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Sweden, said the real test now was to transform the sustaining peace resolutions into change on the ground in fragile contexts, which required strong political commitments at the highest level from all countries.  Highlighting ways to operationalize the agenda, he said efforts must focus on economic development, sovereignty and conflict prevention.  Investing in economic development had vast returns, with the 2030 Agenda offering an integrated framework to address the economic and social drivers of conflict while building stable societies and the Peacebuilding Fund providing catalytic functions.  To create such societies, equality must remain at the forefront of efforts that should also strengthen sovereignty and inclusion.  Beyond that, political will must guide progress, he said, emphasizing that the United Nations could not do the job alone and Member States must shoulder their immense responsibilities in pursuit of peace.

ASADUZZAMAN KHAN, Minister for Home Affairs of Bangladesh, said that his country’s history of war explained why it had opened its doors to more than 1 million people displaced from Myanmar’s Rakhine State.  That massive influx of people had a huge socioeconomic and environmental impact on Bangladesh.  Unless resolved, the Rohingya crisis could have a far-reaching effect on peace and security in that region and beyond.  He called for increased and predictable financing for United Nations peace operations, without any diversion of resources.  “There could be no peace without development, and no development without peace,” he continued, underscoring the importance of combating poverty, scaling up human development and promoting inclusive and sustainable growth.  For its part, Bangladesh had mainstreamed the Sustainable Development Goals into its national development strategies.  Recognizing those efforts, the United Nations had declared that country eligible for graduation from the least developed country category.  Overall, the Secretary‑General’s vision for reform on peacebuilding and sustaining peace was a step in the right direction and Bangladesh would continue to promote that agenda.

SHIRLEY AYORKOR BOTCHWEY, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration of Ghana, said:  “‘Sustaining peace’ reinforces the fact that peace, security, development and human rights are closely interlinked and mutually reinforcing.”  Calling for well-targeted actions and efforts to address the roots of conflicts, she said prevention — including strengthening the rule of law, building accountable institutions, ensuring access to justice and respect for and protection of human rights — should be at their core.  The 2017 United Nations‑African Union Framework for Enhanced Partnership in Peace and Security was a good example of the United Nations critical cooperation with regional and subregional organizations, she said, also citing the Organization’s strategic partnership with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which had resulted in several successful preventative and peacebuilding interventions.  Noting that Ghana contributed troops to various United Nations peace operations, she called for the adequate resourcing of the peacebuilding components of relevant operations, as well as special political and drawdown missions and emphasized the importance of women in their peacebuilding work.

JESUS DUREZA, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process of the Philippines, said President Duterte was working to address several important national challenges including those posed by drugs, criminality and conflict.  Recalling that he had recently delayed his scheduled negotiations with the New People’s Army, he said those talks were under way “as we speak”.  The Government had also signed a new agreement with the Bangsamoro people in the south.  Underlining the important nexus of peace and development, he said one could not come before the other.  Peace could not be achieved only by addressing those who fought against the State, he said, emphasizing that law-abiding citizens also deserved the attention of Governments.  The Philippines, as a highly diverse country, respected all the individual identities of its minority groups.  “We must accept that we are different”, but remain united in the effort to bring about a sustainable peace.  Spotlighting the important role played by United Nations mediators, he said rebel groups were less likely to walk away from the negotiating table when foreign mediators were present.  Citing a recent incident of violent extremism in the southern city of Marawi, he said the Government was still learning from that tragedy.  While buildings could be reconstructed, he said “it is harder to put back together the social structure”, and welcomed the United Nations redoubled emphasis on conflict prevention.  Now was the time to be proactive in weaving peace into all interventions, he said, adding that “our foresight alone is important in making sure that conflicts such as Marawi no longer happen.  Peace by piece, we will succeed.”

JACEK CZAPUTOWICZ, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Poland, associating himself with the European Union, said that preventing conflicts and building sustainable peace was a difficult task for all.  “We need a wide spectrum of activities and committed actors,” he added.  Peacebuilding and sustaining peace activities must encompass the following three pillars:  peace and security, development and human rights.  Current conflicts posed a threat to the universal commitment grounded in the United Nations Charter to save future generations from war.  International and internal security were linked, he continued, emphasizing that improvement at the local or national level improved the overall health of international security.  In the same vein, the responsibility for preventive action fell on States, he said, underlining the importance of strengthening transparent and accountable State institutions, promoting good governance and fighting corruption.  “We should strive to use all instruments in an effective way,” he said, pointing to Liberia and Côte d’Ivoire as positive examples of ensuring peace.

MARGARET KOBIA, Minister for Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs of Kenya, associating herself with the Non-Aligned Movement and the Group of Friends of Sustaining Peace, underscored the need to prioritize responses towards prevention.  Sustaining peace required adequate and predictable financing.  It was therefore important to use all avenues, including resource mobilization platforms of the Peacebuilding Commission, to further consider the proposed financial options and their implications on service delivery at the ground level.  For its part, Kenya had set out to transform the economic and social conditions of its youth.  Kenya had also recognized the crucial role of women in preventing conflict and achieving the 2030 Agenda.  On peace operations, she noted Kenya’s contribution both regionally and internationally, particularly underscoring her country’s contribution to the reconstruction process of Somalia.

ZAKI ANWAR NUSSEIBEH, Minister for State of the United Arab Emirates, stressed that peacebuilding was not one-time action.  His country had become an active contributor to regional security and was the only Arab country to have participated in six international coalitions, including in Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia, Bosnia-Kosovo, and the 1990-1991 Persian Gulf War.  He also highlighted the United Arab Emirates’ financial and humanitarian contributions to Yemen, Syrian refugees and to rebuilding Iraq.  His country remained deeply committed to political resolutions and United Nations-led processes in Libya, Syria and Yemen.  He underscored the need to empower women and young people in decision-making.  The United Arab Emirates, as a progressive and modern Arab country that empowered women and young people, would continue to serve as a unique model for developing peaceful societies.

TUDOR ULIANOVSCHI, Minister for Foreign Affairs and European Integration of the Republic of Moldova, associating himself with the European Union, said the United Nations had expanded into one of the world’s most intricate networks even as conflicts continued to escalate.  Far too often, countries found that the Organization had grown inefficient, trapped in rigid formalities that drew it further way from achieving its original goals.  “It is time to reverse that trend,” he said, adding that “we cannot afford to stay idle at a time when countries and regions are consumed by hostilities” and protracted conflicts continued unabated.  One such conflict existed in the eastern part of the Republic of Moldova in the form of an illegal military presence.  Emphasizing that such issues required more direct attention by the United Nations, he said sustaining peace was not the sole prerogative of one body or institution but the shared responsibility — and shared interest — of all parties.  Welcoming the Secretary‑General’s ambitious reform proposals as an attempt to break the strings of institutional restraints preventing the Organization from taking a more proactive approach, he said States should build on the draft resolution to be adopted and explore all relevant recommendations.

PASCALE BAERISWYL, State Secretary of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland, speaking on behalf of the Human Rights and Conflict Prevention Caucus, said human rights must lie at the heart of conflict prevention and sustaining peace.  All human rights were universal, indivisible, interrelated, interdependent and mutually reinforcing, and should be treated in a fair and equal manner on the same footing and with the same emphasis.  Human rights violations and abuses could be both causes and consequences of violent conflicts, as well as indicators of potential instability or the escalation of a conflict.  The United Nations’ human rights tools — such as monitoring, reporting and analysis — could provide key early warning signals and help identify and address root causes of conflict.  Emphasizing that the Human Rights Council could play a more important role in conflict prevention and sustaining peace, she called on Member States to foster and enhance communication and exchanges between that body and the rest of the United Nations, including the Security Council and the Peacebuilding Commission.

Speaking in her national capacity, she said that sustained peace required the development of a common vision of society.  Quoting Albert Einstein, she said peace could only be achieved through understanding.  The best way to prevent conflict was respect for universally agreed norms, including the United Nations Charter, Universal Declaration of Human Rights and international humanitarian law, she said.  At the multilateral level, there must be greater coherence within the United Nations system, with a strengthening of the role of resident coordinators and better financing of their work.  On partnerships, she held up the Gambia as an example of joint efforts at the national, regional and multilateral levels to achieve a peaceful political solution.

TARIQ MAHMOOD AHMAD, Minister of State for the Commonwealth and United Nations at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the United Kingdom, welcoming the Secretary-General’s vision, said sustaining peace should be a shared priority across the United Nations system.  Diversification, development, diplomacy and delivery were the key elements required to sustain peace.  Priorities should include a stronger partnership for peace between the United Nations and the World Bank, encouraging more preventative diplomacy within the Organization, and ensuring smoother transitions to and from peacekeeping missions.  He underscored the importance of United Nations efforts to tackle sexual exploitation and abuse and sexual violence in conflict, as well as of the Organization’s wide reform agenda.  Looking to the future, he said, more creative ways must be found to broaden the donor base for peacebuilding and to deliver more thorough partnerships between the United Nations and other organizations.

MOHAMED ASIM, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Maldives, said that conflicts did not begin with killings, but rather with hate speech and the demonization of one side by the other.  Preventing conflict required building bridges across religious and cultural divides.  It was also essential to address extreme poverty, ignorance, disillusion and hopelessness.  Peacebuilding and sustaining peace was a collective responsibility, which must be shouldered by States, civil society and international organizations.  He noted that small States received a very narrow space to participate in making the key decisions of the United Nations.  Maldives would change that pattern if it was elected to the Security Council for the term 2019‑2020.  If elected, Maldives would prioritize preventive diplomacy, he said, emphasizing the need for small States, small island developing States and the entire United Nations membership to work together.

ILDEFONSO CASTRO LOPEZ, Vice‑Minister for Foreign Affairs of Spain, said that to live in peace was to live in freedom of exclusion and the promise that dignities of the individual would not be violated.  Peace would only be possible if it was inclusive.  “To be inclusive is neither easy nor clean cut,” he added.  Spain had given priority to women and youth, which were now both considered key factors in resolution and post-conflict rebuilding.  He said his Government was taking specific measures to ensure that young people had the necessary tools to contribute to peace and security.  Rule of law in Spain ensured the separation of powers and the protection of human rights, both key to sustaining peace.  He noted several initiatives designed to deal with the prevention of conflict and protection of medical facilities and schools from military attack.

ANDREJ LOGAR (Slovenia) commended the Secretary-General’s tireless efforts to strengthen the Organization in a more efficient, effective and impactful way.  When the United Nations worked together across all three of its pillars, a meaningful difference could be made in people’s lives.  Concerning prevention, he said that, if Member States thought the cost of it was too high, they needed to remember that no cost was greater than that of human lives.  In that respect, Member States could play an indispensable role in preventative diplomacy by addressing the role of water, especially in cross-border cooperation.  Indeed, the global water challenge was not only about development and human rights, but also about peace and security.  Building resilience was another way to approach sustainable peace, he said, adding that only societies resilient to internal and external pressures could provide a stable and peaceful environment for development.  Highlighting Slovenia’s post-conflict peacekeeping experience in the Western Balkans, he said that stability, reconciliation and sustainable development were impossible to achieve without a positive agenda for young people.

JEAN-BAPTISTE LEMOYNE, Minister of State attached to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs of France, said “we are far from the time when the United Nations was only interested in crises through its peacekeeping operations”.  While those missions continued to be important tools, as well as core symbols of the Organization, the world now understood that many conflicts evolved from issues related to development and governance.  Addressing their root causes was critical, he said, citing the successful example of the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI), which had completed its mandate in 2017.  In Liberia, a Peacebuilding Plan developed with the help of the Peacebuilding Commission had supported the democratic transition of power, as well as the drawdown of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL).  Vulnerable countries must be assisted to develop the capacity needed to “nip fragilities in the bud”, he said, adding that the situation in Syria demonstrated that no peace could be reached without an inclusive political process.  Outlining France’s support to its development partners — including countries in the Lake Chad, Sahel and Middle East regions — he said such efforts as technical cooperation and bolstering the contract between the State and society could help them build peace.  “We are at a watershed,” he concluded, calling on Member States to put their words into action.

SULTAN BIN SAAD AL-MURAIKHI, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Qatar, said his country had a global vision and a number of priorities, particularly focused on “organized, systemized” prevention.  “We try to support all organizations which can foster peace,” he added, emphasizing the important role of education.  Qatar had provided educational services to tens of millions of children worldwide.  Education must be strengthened to stand up to extremism, he stressed.  Current global crises and conflicts stemmed from a lack of the rule of law, violations of State sovereignty and corruption.  He also underscored the role of United Nations entities, and regional non-State organizations in combating sources of conflict.

TERENS NIKOLAOS QUICK, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Greece, said that the conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and the Democratic Republic of the Congo had continued to threaten a rules-based global system.  He stressed that prevention and an integrated approach to conflict and crisis management must surface as the main tools to ensure peace.  Associating himself with the European Union, he emphasized the need for peacekeepers to stay on the ground to ensure that peace takes root.  Prevention required that Member States assumed leadership and ensured the United Nations system was given the trust, as well as the operational, political and financial support it needed.  “World peace is everyone’s business,” he stressed.  Emphasizing that human rights and fundamental freedoms must be fully respected and protected, he also underscored the potential of women and young people in the peacebuilding process.

ANDREJS PILDEGOVIĆS, State Secretary for Foreign Affairs of Latvia, associating himself with the European Union, said conflict prevention was an effective tool to protect those who needed it most.  Calling on the international community to ensure that all peacebuilding, sustaining peace and development fully respected human rights and international law, he voiced support for good governance, strong democratic institutions, the rule of law and inclusive economic development as key priorities.  Also expressing support for efforts to modernize the public sector of the European Neighbourhood Policy countries, Central Asia and the Western Balkans, strengthen the United Nations cooperation with regional mechanisms and enhance the latter’s role in delivering on sustainable development and preventing conflict, he said Latvia — as a member of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIL [Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant/Da’esh] — supported the Government of Iraq in its fight against international terrorism.  It also participated in various peacekeeping operations.  Underlining the special responsibility borne by permanent members of the Security Council — including the veto — he said those countries had not always lived up to that responsibility, thereby hampering peacebuilding efforts.

SERGIY KYSLYTSYA, Vice‑Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, associating himself with the European Union, said the speed and determination of United Nations actions were critical to preventing conflicts and gross human rights violations, recalling that, in 1994, the Organization had failed to react promptly to prevent genocide.  In 2014, the Security Council had been unable to stop the Russian Federation’s military aggression against, and occupation of, Crimea and Donbas.  Citing positive interventions in Colombia and Liberia, he said the conflict in Syria continued to unfold while one Council member — the Russian Federation — protected that country’s regime and ISIL/Da’esh from accountability.  “Impunity breeds only impunity,” he said, emphasizing that the Russian Federation’s aggression there and elsewhere was unprecedented since the Second World War.  “The long‑overdue reform of our Organization must be accomplished in order to maintain its once unquestioned credit of trust” and restore its ability to take prompt preventative measures, he said, calling for action to end the Russian Federation’s military aggression and its violations of the rule of law.

TERESA RIBEIRO, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Portugal, cited several complex emerging challenges — including climate change, food insecurity, pandemics, terrorism, cyberattacks and illicit trafficking in people, weapons, narcotics and others — currently faced by the international community.  Multilateralism was needed today more than ever, as history had shown that transnational threats could not be countered alone.  Noting that peace agreements and elections did not necessarily mean that a sustainable peace had been achieved, she said the international community’s continuous and unwavering attention was critical, and post-conflict transitions were fragile moments when spoilers could mobilize into action.  Peacebuilding was a long-term endeavour requiring efforts to address the root causes of conflict, including underdevelopment and inequalities.  Expressing support for the principles of conflict prevention, early warning, the primacy of politics, the resurgence of diplomacy and gender balance, she said peacekeeping operations should have realistic and feasible exit strategies which should be implemented in parallel with the work of the Peacebuilding Commission, the Peacebuilding Support Office and the Peacebuilding Fund.

YURI STERK (Bulgaria), aligning himself with the European Union, said sustainable peace required an integrated approach using linkages in United Nations peace, development, human rights and humanitarian action.  For its part, Bulgaria was contributing to the United Nations Mediation Trust Fund and towards operationalizing the humanitarian-development and peace-development nexuses.  He expressed hope that the General Assembly would maintain a comprehensive approach to financing the sustaining peace resolution and the follow-up process it would establish and that the world body would discuss all aspects of sustaining peace rather than one particular set of proposals.

FERNANDO SIMAS MAGALHAES, Under-Secretary for Multilateral Political Affairs, Europe and North America of Brazil, said that it was essential to avoid a false correlation between poverty and conflict.  Conflict prevention was not a task only for the developing world, as current tensions in different parts of the world had demonstrated.   “We should not forget that, 72 years ago, this Organization was created in the aftermath of a destructive conflict between the most developed countries at the time,” he said.  The concept of sustaining peace was a new one, he added, emphasizing that its implementation would require bringing a variety of strategic partners together.  Cooperation among regional and subregional organizations, financial institutions, the private sector and non-governmental organizations was essential.

KATEŘINA SEQUENSOVÁ, Junior Deputy Foreign Minister of Czechia, associating herself with the European Union, said that sustaining peace must be at the very center of all United Nations activities.  “Where there is no development and no human rights, there is also no peace,” she stressed.  United Nations assistance to Member States must contain three aspects:  reinforcing national ownership of the process, developing countries’ contextual responses and ensuring the effective delivery of results on the ground.  Fostering cooperation with international, regional, subregional and national partners was crucial.  Innovative partnerships with international and regional financial institutions could provide additional support, including new sources of financing.  She also underscored the relationship between gender equality and conflict prevention.

HALEBONOE JAMES SETSABI (Lesotho), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, called for closer cooperation between the United Nations and regional and subregional organizations at strategic and operational levels.  Such an approach had led to improvements in the political and security situation in Lesotho, which had recently approved a road map for national reform.  Underlining States’ responsibility for peacebuilding and sustaining peace, he called for increased participation of women and youth in related processes and for the involvement of other partners, such as civil society organizations and international financial institutions, to share their insight and expertise.  As more funds were spent trying to end rather than prevent conflict, he called for financial investments to help Member States build systems that fostered peace.  However, until the Security Council underwent reform, the peace and security architecture would be constrained, he said, calling for action in that regard.

GITESH SARMA, Additional Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs of India, said that, while peacekeeping had been largely successful in containing inter‑State conflict, it faced limitations in tackling intra-State conflicts.  Peacebuilding, however, still struggled from a lack of adequate funding that betrayed a lack of genuine political will.  Sustaining peace required a comprehensive understanding of both challenges and opportunities, as well as serious international efforts to ensure greater peace and prosperity.  Concrete action would also require a much greater commitment and longer-term political engagement and investment, including financial contributions to activities that helped build and sustain peace.  The funds available for the United Nations peacebuilding work did not represent even 1 per cent of the Organization’s peacekeeping budget, he said, calling for a serious examination of the specific financing options presented by the Secretary-General.  Outlining India’s various contributions to United Nations peace operations, he said it had deployed the world’s first all-women formed police unit to UNMIL in 2007.  India also continued to expand its development partnerships to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and climate action targets.


For information media. Not an official record.

This article was originally publiched in Meeting Coverage