Remarks by H.E. Mr. Peter Thomson, President of the UN General Assembly, delivered by H.E. Mr. Masud Bin Momen, Acting President of the General Assembly and Permanent Representative of Bangladesh, at Seminar of the Group of Friends of Security Sector Reform (SSR)
11 May 2017
I would like to thank the co-chairs of the Group of Friends, South Africa and Slovakia, for inviting the President of the General Assembly at this important event. He has not been able to participate in person, but he has asked me to represent him here today and deliver these brief remarks on his behalf.
In the past decade, the United Nations has made significant strides in the area of security sector reform, the importance of which has become more than evident in the framework of efforts to overcome fragility in a number of countries struck by conflict.
Indeed, it is now widely recognized that security sector in post-conflict environments is critical to the consolidation of peace and stability, to the reduction of poverty, to the promotion of rule of law and good governance, to the creation of legitimate and accountable State institutions and to the prevention of relapsing into conflict.
An effective and accountable security sector provides a solid building block for peacebuilding efforts and for sustainable economic development. On the other hand, it has been proved, time and again, that security institutions lacking legitimacy and accountability can be a source of protracted violent conflicts.
The General Assembly has regularly acknowledged the critical importance of SSR in addressing the root causes of conflict, including in the framework of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping (C-34).
The challenge now is to further refine the United Nations support to security sector reform so that it may have stronger impact at the national, regional and international levels. The Secretary-General’s emphasis on conflict prevention and on the importance of accountable and effective security institutions is another welcome development. The General Assembly must bring this issue to the forefront of its agenda and contribute to the effectiveness and the efficiency of the United Nations’ efforts in this regard.
In recent months, the United Nations and its Member States have taken a new approach to peace and security, through the concept of ‘sustaining peace’, which recognizes that it is not possible to achieve lasting peace without inclusive sustainable development, equitable economic opportunity, and human rights protections for all.
In recognition of the fundamental interlinkages between implementing the 2030 Agenda and the concept of Sustaining Peace, in January 2017, I convened a High Level dialogue on “Building Sustainable Peace for All: Synergies between the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustaining Peace Agenda”.
During this event, many Member States highlighted the need for the protection of human rights, for the promotion of justice and the rule of law, and for effective and accountable institutions, including the security sector, in support of sustainable peace and development. This is not just about achieving SDG16, but rather a golden thread running through the implementation of all 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
I look forward to hearing about the concrete recommendations on how to best enhance the impact of security sector reform efforts and contribute to developing comprehensive SSR strategy in all its aspects that will be discussed during this seminar today.