5 February 2001


Press Release

Security Council

4272nd Meeting (AM & PM))


Peace-building done well was a powerful deterrent to violent conflict, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said today, as the Security Council began a day-long debate on comprehensive approaches to the question.

The Secretary-General said peace-building was not a dramatic imposition of a grand plan, but a process of building pillars of peace from the ground up, bit by bit.

He said whether it started before, after or during the eruption of conflict, peace-building must be seen as a long-term exercise.  At the same time, there was an unmistakable element of urgency -- a need to achieve tangible progress on a number of fronts in a short time.

Among the major challenges of peace-building was the mobilization of sustained political will and resources on the part of the international community, the Secretary-General said.  A number of good ideas had been put forward in key areas, such as the implementation of peace agreements and the design of peacekeeping operations which the Security Council could incorporate into its future mandates.  Others could be expected from the two-day meeting between the Council and regional organizations which will begin tomorrow, he said.

The representative of the United Kingdom said that the current means of identifying and responding to crises tended to be superficial and haphazard.  Analysis must stretch beyond the immediate conflict into its roots.  Bringing together under one roof the range of skills available within the United Nations’ system, by establishing a team approach at Headquarters, would provide exactly the sort of comprehensive analysis of post-conflict situations that the Council and the Secretary-General so badly needed.   Conflict-prevention, peacekeeping and peace-building overlapped and required an integrated approach.  Rivalries and jealousies between different players in the United Nations system had to be broken down, and regional organizations and donor countries should be brought into the strategy. 

The Council authorized peacekeeping operations comprising elements of peace-building, but it was not empowered to be the “project manager”, the representative of France asserted.  On the other hand, it must ensure that its peacekeeping investments were not wasted.  An organic link between peacekeeping and peace-building had indeed surfaced over the past few years.  Peace-building elements were now included in peacekeeping mandates, and more ambitious operations often included provisions for restoring public authority and managing social and economic infrastructures.  Solving the dual problems of a lack of expertise in an emerging government and funding shortfalls required an early assessment of the peace-building requirements and the formulation of strategies to ensure the full

participation of all stakeholders, perhaps through the establishment of a long-term contract between the global community and the State.

Despite the best efforts of the United Nations and other regional organizations, the theatre of conflicts appeared to be growing, the Nigerian representative warned.  There had been a shift in the nature of the threats, as conflicts, once resulting from the ideological divisions of a bipolar world, were now fuelled by intolerance, political ambition and greed.  In view of those new challenges, the United Nations should adopt a holistic and multidisciplinary framework.  As soon as preparations for peacekeeping operations had begun, the Secretariat and the Council should consult with all partners, in order to devise appropriate peace-building strategies and the mobilization of resources.  The present reality made the participation of State and non-State actors imperative.

The United States’ representative said he supported the efforts of the United Nations and all States and regional organizations to foster sustainability across the globe.  A Council mandate, however, should not focus on reconstruction and development.  At the same time, the complex nature of the path towards sustainable peace must be taken into account as peacekeeping operations were established.  That did not imply that it was the Council’s role to direct those involved in peace-building, but it must be aware that peacekeeping without peace-building held the potential for waste.  A decision should be made about where in the Secretariat a peace-building unit would reside, in order to put peace-building on the “right track right away”.

The representative of India presented a different view by insisting that it had not followed that, where the United Nations had been asked to monitor peace agreements negotiated by others, it must take on the work of economic and social reconstruction, or that the Council should ask it to do so.  Much had been said today about how the new peacekeeping was completely different from the old, but that had ignored the facts.  The majority of peacekeepers were still comprised of groups of observers or formed contingents observing a truce.  Major operations might contain thousands of troops, but those were deployed in thin bands across a border to monitor a withdrawal and ceasefire.  Even new operations within a single country had scant information about what was happening in the rest of that country.  They, thus, found it difficult to discharge even their military mandates and would be in no position to do anything else.

Today’s debate was initiated by Saïd Ben Mustapha (Tunisia), the Council President for the month of February.  In his speech, he underscored the need to place the subject of peace-building high on the international community's agenda.  The evolving approach must be anchored in a comprehensive and integrated strategy which should involve all partners and address such issues as the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of former combatants, the eradication of poverty, and the promotion of good governance and human rights.

Statements were also made by the representatives of Jamaica, Singapore, Colombia, China, Russian Federation, Ireland, Norway, Ukraine, Mali, Bangladesh, Mauritius, Sweden on behalf of the European Union, Algeria, Republic of Korea, Egypt, Senegal, Guatemala, Iran, Japan, Romania, Mongolia, Argentina, Malaysia, New Zealand, Croatia and Nepal.

The meeting was convened at 10:29 a.m. and suspended at 1:20 p.m.  It resumed at 3:20 p.m. and was adjourned at 6:58 p.m.

Council Work Programme

As it met to debate the topic “Peace-building:  towards a comprehensive approach”, the Security Council had before it a 25 January letter from its current President, Saïd Ben Mustapha (Tunisia) (document S/2001/82), which calls for an integrated strategy for tackling the causes of conflicts and their prevention.

An annex to the letter, which the President says could serve as a working paper on the topic, asserts that the Council’s debate would provide an opportunity for work on a comprehensive strategy for peace-building and conflict prevention in which the United Nations and regional organizations can play complementary roles.

The document defines the concept of peace-building as embodying a range of actions to identify, establish and support structures for strengthening and consolidating peace.  It states that the concept has been the subject of intense debate within the United Nations since the publication of An Agenda for Peace (June 1992) and the Supplement to an Agenda for Peace (January 1995).

It outlines a number of areas the debate can focus on, including: disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of former combatants; refugees and displaced persons; poverty eradication and promotion of sustainable development; and strengthening the rule of law and democratic institutions.

Concerning the role that the Security Council can play, the document states that as soon as preparation for a peacekeeping operation begin, consultations should be held among the principal organs concerned to devise a peace-building strategy and to mobilize the necessary resources.  Such consultations should:  specify the responsibility of each participant; ensure close coordination among all actors; establish a timetable for the implementation of programmes; ensure the availability of funding; and incorporate the necessary peace-building components and ensure the smoothest possible transition between the peacekeeping and peace-building phases.

Today’s debate precedes the two-day Fourth United Nations/Regional Organizations High-Level Meeting, which begins Tuesday, 6 February. 


Secretary-General KOFI ANNAN said that peace-building done well was a powerful deterrent to violent conflict.  It was the sum of many initiatives, projects, activities and sensibilities.  Peace-building was not the dramatic imposition of a grand plan, but the process of building the pillars of peace from the ground up, bit by bit.

The instruments of peace-building were as varied as the United Nations system itself.  Indeed, virtually every part of the United Nations system, including the Bretton Woods institutions, was currently engaged in one form of peace-building or another. The activities included:  disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of former combatants; human rights education; the repatriation of refugees; the promotion of conflict resolution; and reconciliation techniques.  The United Nations was also promoting cultural exchanges designed to link States in networks of enterprise and opportunity, not in webs of mutual antagonism.  To ensure the coherence of those efforts, the Organization was also trying to improve its own internal arrangements, so that peace-building was not only comprehensive, but done in an integrated way.

With an increasing number of United Nations entities establishing peace-building units and funds, he said a major effort of coordination would be needed if efforts were to be reinforced and duplication and confusion avoided.

Noting that peace-building was thought of as taking place primarily in post-conflict settings, he said he also saw it as a preventive instrument, which could address the underlying, root causes of conflict and which could also be used before the actual outbreak of war.  A society on the brink of breakdown was as much in need of them as one where disaster had already struck, he said.  Their timely deployment at that stage could save many lives and avoid much misery.  The political, economic and human logic of such an approach was impeccable.  The problem was prevention was not practised as often as the international community could or should.

Whether started before, after or during the eruption of conflict, peace-building must be seen as a long-term exercise, he said.  At the same time, there was an unmistakable element of urgency -- a need to achieve tangible progress on a number of fronts in a short period of time.  Peace-building must be, above all, the work of the society which was threatened by conflict or had succumbed to it.  International efforts to promote peace or development must support -- and not supplant -- national ones.

He said peace-building was an extremely difficult undertaking and that, all too often, countries emerging from prolonged conflicts were starting almost from ground zero, under clouds of bitterness and loss.  It required persistence and vision, as well as the courage to pursue reconciliation in societies still fractured by suspicion and mistrust.

Turning to the political character of peace-building, which made it distinct from normal development activities in non-crisis situations, he said the needs of a country sliding into conflict, or emerging from war, were qualitatively different from those of a stable society.  That required a reordering of normal developmental, humanitarian and other activities, to contribute to the paramount goal of preventing the outbreak or recurrence of conflict.

He said that during the last decade, both the General Assembly and the Security Council had recognized the importance of peace-building, and the need to work with a range of partners, including non-governmental organizations and the private sector.  The Council had rightly emphasized that peace-building could be a vital component of peacekeeping missions, and that it needed to include such preventive tools as early warning, diplomacy, preventive deployment and disarmament.

In countries as diverse as Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cambodia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Liberia and Mozambique, peace-building had helped to smooth the implementation and prevent the breakdown of peace agreements.  In countries like Haiti, Guinea-Bissau or the Central African Republic, peace‑building activities had contributed to the maintenance of fragile stability. 

In response to growing demand, he said the United Nations had opened, on a pilot basis, peace-building support offices in the Central African Republic, Guinea‑Bissau, Liberia and Tajikistan.  Although those outposts were relatively new, and were constrained by limited resources, they had helped governments to destroy weapons, build institutions and mobilize international support for their societies' needs.  The Organization was now exploring the possibility of establishing a peace-building presence in Somalia.

The Security Council had a prime role to play.  Among the major challenges of peace-building was the mobilization of sustained political will and resources on the part of the international community.  A number of good ideas had been put forward in key areas, such as the implementation of peace agreements and the design of peacekeeping operations, which the Council could incorporate into its future mandates.  Further contributions could be expected from the meeting with regional organizations tomorrow and Wednesday.  He welcomed the fact that the Presidents of the General Assembly, the Security Council, and the Economic and Social Council would be attending that event, and he was confident that the Council would want to lend its full support to the outcome.

Noting that peace-building presented complex and diverse challenges, he said he would do his utmost operationally -- to improve the peace-building projects the Organization was engaged in, and to exploit to the best possible effect the expertise that existed in the United Nations system and among its many partners.  He asked the membership to do more politically -- to give peace-building a higher priority and a higher profile, by bringing it closer to the forefront of their awareness.

Peace-building must not be seen as an add-on or afterthought, something to save for later when conditions or resources or politics permitted, he said.  It was a central tool of proven worth.  He urged the membership together to pledge to develop and improve it, and then to use it in good time.

JEAN-DAVID LEVITTE (France) said the experience of the past decade had shown that peace-building was closely linked to the very concept of peacekeeping.  The organic link had surfaced over the past few years in several ways, either by the inclusion of peace-building elements in the mandate for an operation in which the principal objective was peacekeeping; or because the mandate of the peacekeeping operation was more ambitious and included an important component for restoring public authority.  That link was also evident when offices or missions for peace-building programmes were following up a peacekeeping operation.

He said that the problems of peace-building fell into two categories:  institutional and financial.  The Council authorized peacekeeping operations comprising elements of peace-building, but it was not empowered to be the “project manager”.  On the other hand, it must ensure that there was no gap and that the investment in a peacekeeping operation was not wasted.  In addition, the multiplicity of actors involved in peace-building had resulted in different priorities, with criteria devised and implemented by each actor.  That diversity complicated the task of formulating a peace-building strategy in a given country and of carrying out programmes built into those strategies.

The government that had emerged from the peace agreement and, often, from subsequent elections was the natural authority with which to discuss peace-building, he continued.  In practice, however, such authorities often lacked the minimum of expertise and the requisite material and financial resources.  Further, their legitimacy and authority might be challenged by rebel groups that had remained outside the peace agreement, or by parties to the agreement who violated their commitments.  In extreme cases, such as in East Timor and Kosovo, the authorities simply had not existed.  Thus, the first task of the international community was to establish them in a democratic way.

There were also the financial problems, he went on.  Obtaining financial resources could be a rather slow and very unequal process.  That slow pace conflicted with the urgency perceived on the ground, namely, that the international community must quickly intervene to produce tangible improvements in the daily lives of the population.  The solution to those two problems –- a lack of expertise and funding -– was to assess the requirements for peace-building as far ahead as possible and formulate strategies that would ensure full participation of the agencies, funds, programmes and relevant banks involved in peace-building. 

He said that the reintegration aspects of disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration perfectly illustrated the difficulty of satisfactorily linking peacekeeping, peace-building and development assistance.  There might be no real demobilization, or lasting demobilization, unless the demobilized found a viable alternative to the status and life of the soldier.  Peacekeeping operations played a key role in the phase after a peace agreement had been signed, but their purpose was not to continue indefinitely as the sole guarantor of public order.  That had to be founded on local, reliable and impartial capabilities.  Thus, it became necessary to reform, reorganize and instruct police forces and courts.  That function had been part of the mandate of many operations and had been central to the operation in such cases as Haiti and Bosnia.  Often, however, it was a long-term undertaking exceeding the duration and resources of a peacekeeping operation.

It was essential, therefore, for the main agencies involved in peace-building to be consulted as soon as possible, from the start of the peacekeeping phase, he said.  The Council might also contact those agencies directly, in a process that should take place sufficiently early so that there was time to work out a peace-building strategy and obtain the necessary resources.  A long-term contract should be established between the international community and the authorities of a State emerging from conflict.  Peace-building strategies should be formulated; and stable, predictable financing should be obtained.  The coordinating role of the Secretary-General and his representatives should be defined, and the Council should conduct regular briefings on the progress and difficulties

M. PATRICIA DURRANT (Jamaica) said it was not her intention today to repeat what everyone had already recognized as the root causes of deadly conflicts.  The international community, through a myriad of studies and analyses and through practical experiences, had formed widely held conclusions.  The Council should set out today to ensure that the paths chosen towards peace-building had the requisite elements for success.  She would examine when and where the United Nations should engage in peace-building; by whom and how peace-building should be applied; and what were some of the instruments that might be successfully employed.

She said that by failing to address the causes of deadly conflicts, situations developed that might otherwise be prevented.  Peace-building could and should be employed in conflict prevention.  Eradicating the causes of conflicts necessitates building societies to:  respect the rule of law; adhere to international norms of human rights and humanitarian law; and promote economic and social development to eliminate human suffering.  Those were among the many challenges facing societies in pre- and post-conflict situations.  For those and many other reasons, the international community must view peace-building in that context. 

By being proactive in dealing with conflicts, rather than responding to conflicts after they had occurred, she said, the world community could have spared the lives and suffering of millions of people worldwide.  Furthermore, the resources used in reconstruction and rehabilitation could have been channelled into meaningful programmes aimed at sustainable economic and social development.  While the United Nations and its partners pursued peacemaking in conflict situations, the peace dividends must be clearly enunciated to the warring parties.  Peace-building strategies should be introduced during the negotiating process and become imbedded, at the outset, in peace agreements.  By so doing, the world community would demonstrate to the warring parties that peace dividends would benefit them, thus, providing a further inducement for the peaceful settlement of disputes. 

She highlighted some of the “indispensable” elements for successful peace-building.  Those included the promotion of democratic governance and the rule of law, by ensuring that United Nations programmes developed respect for human rights, minorities, and peace with justice.  It must also be ensured that the world community assist long-term economic prosperity and social development.  International financial and developmental agencies must be strengthened, and attention should focus on peace-building measures at all stages of a country’s “flirtation” with conflict.  Adequate resources should be provided to regional organizations, so that they might become proactive at the pre- and post-conflict stages in peace-building efforts.

A nation should also be secure in the understanding that the international community would provide the necessary support for its security and territorial integrity, she went on.  Programmes designed in a post-conflict situation should contain adequate provisions for disarming former combatants, their rehabilitation and, most importantly, their reintegration into society.  The natural resources of a country should not be exploited, and the “corrupt” members should not be supported.  Such actions would eliminate a formidable obstacle to peace-building.  A lack of political will on the part of the involved parties, and of the full commitment of the international community, would destroy all such efforts.  An integrated and consistent approach would achieve the successful results that had so far been elusive.

JAMES B. CUNNINGHAM (United States) said that peace-building was a multi-faceted challenge that required strengthening the rule of law and promoting democratic institutions.  Also important were:  the provision of food and medical supplies; disarmament, demobilization and reintegration; the successful repatriation of refugees; and the reconstruction and restoration of economic institutions and processes.  All were critical in moving from a post-conflict State to lasting stability.  He supported the efforts of the United Nations and all States and regional organizations to foster sustainability across the globe.

He said that development assistance had remained an important part of his Government’s foreign policy.  Its role in peace-building and post-conflict was critical.  His country had been active worldwide in that regard through a variety of mechanisms.  While it was true that conflicts had underlying structural causes, their immediate causes were often individual ambition and greed.  Some conflicts had taken place not in the poorest countries, but in places rich in resources.  The movement towards sustainable peace was not linear, but inherently complex.  It must be taken into account as peacekeeping operations were established.  That did not imply that it was the Council’s role to direct those involved in peace-building, but it must be aware that peacekeeping without peace-building held the potential for waste.

In the past, he continued, the Council had agreed that certain peace-building measures fell within its purview, such as disarmament, demobilization and reintegration, as well as the rebuilding of indigenous police forces, which facilitated the effective implementation of peacekeeping operations.  In that connection, he had strongly supported an increase in the United Nations’ capacity to field effective civilian police forces.  Lakhdar Brahimi had proposed the establishment of a judicial unit, which would greatly assist in that regard. Nevertheless, a Security Council mandate should not focus on reconstruction and development.  The question concerned the role of the Council in peace-building.  All United Nations elements should work together, as well as with regional organizations, donors and non-governmental organizations.

He said it was absolutely clear that better coordination was needed.  The Council should encourage, even insist on, clarity on that issue.  Otherwise, the full potential of the best conceived Council action would not be realized.  Other questions revolved around who should direct peace-building initiatives and what kind of bridges needed to be built to connect the players.  Finally, where in the Secretariat did one place a peace-building unit?  That decision should be made in order to put peace-building on the “right track, right away”.  All United Nations agencies and Member States should support maximum consultation, so that the Council and all involved had the best possible understanding of steps on the ground and of the relationship of those steps to an overall strategy for creating and building long-term peace and security.

Sir JEREMY GREENSTOCK (United Kingdom) said he fully subscribed to the statement to be made on behalf of the European Union.  He had argued for some time that the United Nations should take a more integrated approach to tackling conflicts at their roots, but the task went beyond the ability of the Council or of the Organization, as a whole.  The entire international system must improve its professionalism in order to make a difference.  At tomorrow’s meeting, decisions should be taken on how the regional organizations could develop their key role.  Cooperation should start with the essential business of sharing information and analysis.  The capacity of regional organizations should be extended, along with other measures, such as the “double-hatting” of special envoys and the exchange of staff with the Secretariat

He said that in making the paradigm shift to a more integrated approach among the international institutions, it had to be accepted that the distinction so frequently drawn in recent months between development and security was a false one.  Conflict and poverty fed off each other; so must conflict management and development.  Comprehensive and integrated policies were needed which recognized the links between resolving conflict, building peace, reducing poverty, promoting education and improving health.  In that context, he warmly welcomed the Secretary-General’s decision to appoint a special representative in Sierra Leone, both to oversee the economic and social aspects of the peacekeeping programme and to act as the United Nations’ resident coordinator.

Putting that new approach to work required deepening the analysis, he went on.  The current means of identifying and responding to crises tended to be superficial and haphazard.  Analysis must stretch beyond the immediate conflict into its roots.  That was why Mr. Brahimi’s proposal for an information and strategic analysis Secretariat was correct.  That would bring together a range of skills available within the United Nations system under one roof, providing exactly the sort of comprehensive analysis that the Council and the Secretary-General so badly needed.  The coming months should be used to put in place a properly conceived structure, with a logic and a cost that could win everyone’s support.

He said that such an integrated approach must apply to the critical work of the United Nations agencies and their partners in the field.  Of particular interest was accelerating work on how to reconstruct the rule of law in conflict-torn countries.  It was essential to get the police and the judiciary functioning quickly, and to bring to justice those who had committed atrocities.  Coordination on the ground should be matched by coordination at the centre.  A key recommendation of Mr. Brahimi’s report was to draw up a comprehensive plan for strengthening the peace-building capacity of the United Nations.  The Council today should be giving its views on what might go into that plan.

The essential foundation was a continuum of activities, he went on.  Conflict prevention, peacekeeping and peace-building were not separate activities.  They crossed over and interacted with each other.  Rivalries and jealousies between different players in the United Nations system had to be broken down, and regional organizations and donor countries should be brought into the strategy.  It would make sense, for instance, to establish a team approach at Headquarters, which brought all the main actors together operationally.  He, thus, supported the concept of Integrated Mission Task Forces, also contained in the Brahimi Report.  Unfortunately, the Secretariat had not yet found an opportunity to set one up, despite endorsement by the Council and the General Assembly.

The Council, by adopting resolution 1338 last week extending the mandate of the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET), “set in train” the process of planning the United Nations’ support for East Timor a year from now, when the peace-building elements of UNTAET’s work would come increasingly to the fore.  That was a rare example of the United Nations system “thinking beyond” the immediate problems to the difficulties to be faced over the next hill.  It had also signalled the beginning of a realization that tackling conflict was a long-term and broad-based commitment.  The lesson from East Timor was that the work of the World Bank, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), UNTAET’s governance experts and the peacekeepers had all been targeted and complementary. 

KISHORE MAHBUBANI (Singapore) said there was still confusion about the term peace-building, despite the vivid examples of East Timor and Kosovo.  There should be a distinction between three stages of work in the area of peace-building.  The first stage was the establishment by the Organization of a peacekeeping operation, followed by the insertion of a peace-building component to ensure that peace took root.  If the two stages succeeded, there would be a third stage in which the country concerned could return to nation-building on its own, with the help of the development community.  He said Cambodia and Mozambique provided the best examples of relatively successful nation-building after the end of United Nations peace-building.

He said that at the operational level, peace-building could be both messy and difficult.  Given the difficulty, Singapore had tried to make a modest contribution by organizing in November 1999 a conference on the nexus between peacekeeping and peace-building.  He said the main theme of the remarks of all the principal speakers at that conference was that, for the United Nations to be successful in its peace-building efforts, it had to put into place the conditions for both peace and development.  Only then could it exit from the scene knowing that the job was done, and done well.

Several other speakers at that conference emphasized the need for all members of the United Nations family involved in peace-building to work together. The President of the International Peace Academy echoed the same concerns and noted that the world of peace-building was increasingly characterized by a multiplicity of factors, with overlapping and sometimes contradictory mandates all competing for scarce resources and each seeking a central role and profile.

The co-chairs of the conference had stressed the need for the adoption of an integrative approach to the design and architecture of the United Nations, including both peacekeeping and peace-building components.  The representative of his own county at the conference said that all the major multilateral institutions must learn to work together as a team under United Nations leadership, if the international community was to succeed in peace-building.  If they learned to cooperate, the foundations for closer and broader cooperation could be laid in other areas, too.

ALFONSO VALDIVIESO (Colombia) said the peace-building process had become complex and required painstaking and patient efforts.  There was a close connection between conflict-prevention and peace-building, and they must be studied together.  He noted the considerable progress made in the various initiatives taken to prevent conflicts.  Despite those efforts, there were elements in the efforts at prevention that had to be considered.  They included political dialogue involving all protagonists, international mediators and those directly involved.

Experience had shown that rebuilding societies that had been subject to strife and social trauma required long-term efforts, he continued.  Sustainability and political will were required to ensure the success of the peace-building efforts.  He recalled that the efforts of the Security Council in such areas as Namibia, El Salvador, Mozambique, and East Timor had included a holistic approach. All the missions shared similar tasks, including police training, reform of the judicial system, formulating local norms, monitoring elections, provision of food and water, and monitoring human rights.  He wondered whether the Security Council had been right in promoting such a holistic approach.

He proposed that the presidential statement to be adopted at the end of the debate should consider the following proposals:  peace-building required long-term effort; the principal executor of peace-building should not necessarily be the United Nations, but a regional body; a compendium of lessons learned should be compiled by the United Nations; a strategy for peace-building should also include the provision of resources; the Secretary-General should identify the objective factors of mediation; and there must be a conducive national and international environment to facilitate peace-building. 

SHEN GUOFANG (China) said peace-building would be impossible without achievements in development, while development, in itself, was part of any peace-building effort. The root causes of armed conflicts were diversified, but the most fundamental one lay in extreme poverty. The core issue of concern on the Council’s agenda should be how to prevent armed conflicts and ensure a durable peace.

Preventive measures, such as pre-conflict mediation and good offices, were essential and could sometimes play an important role, he continued.  To uproot the causes of conflicts, the developing countries, especially the least developed ones, must be helped in their effort to achieve economic development, eradicate poverty, curb disease, improve the environment and fight against social injustice. A focused effort of post-conflict peace-building helped to prevent the recurrence of conflict and pave the way for a durable peace.  The international community should have the patience and the resolve to help the conflict-afflicted countries and regions tackle those problems.

He said the short-term objectives of peace-building were:  early realization of the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of ex-combatants; and the promotion of the repatriation, resettlement and economic recovery of refugees and displaced persons.  The long-term ones were:  the eradication of poverty; and the development of the economy, as well as a peaceful and rewarding life for people in the post-conflict countries and regions.  Those objectives could not be realized without the support of the international community, he said.

The Security Council should provide political guidance and coordination, he said.  Under certain circumstances, the Security Council should tailor tasks for peace-building.  However, during the planning, establishment and implementing phases of a peacekeeping operation, the Council should consider how to transform peacekeeping into peace-building.

He said such issues as economic and social reconstruction in the peace-building process should be the main tasks of the special agencies of the United Nations, the international financial bodies or relevant regional organizations. The country affected should be at the core of all peace-building efforts.  Its own people must eventually handle internal matters.  The international community should, therefore, focus on helping the people realize their independence and self-reliance, so that their dependence on external assistance would gradually decrease.  The people should be encouraged to play a leading role during the peace-building process.

GENNADI M. GATILOV (Russian Federation) said that without a comprehensive approach, there could be no lasting peace in a post-conflict country.  The peace-building process could succeed only through strict compliance with a peace settlement.  An integral part was the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of ex-combatants.  Efforts should also focus on solving the root causes of conflict.  Those were beneath the surface of social and economic problems, and often compounded by religious, ethnic and other disagreements.  There was no single recipe, but the most widespread solution would provide far-reaching reforms in land and property, and taxation, among other areas, aimed at promoting the establishment of fair rules.

He said that honest and fair elections, by themselves, did not safeguard social peace.  What was needed was a fundamental restructuring of an entire political structure in a country emerging from conflict.  In the final analysis, all efforts must be directed towards a society with political pluralism and strong State institutions.  That might require legislative reforms, including the possible adoption of a new constitution.  The independence activities of the court system must safeguard such ongoing reforms.  The existing judicial structure might, itself, require reforming.  Other key aspects involved law enforcement, secret service and the army, as well as the establishment of good-neighbourly relations and the integration of the post-conflict country into the existing political, economic and regional structures.

The world community and the United Nations must play an adequate role in lending assistance to post-conflict peace-building, he said.  In that connection, it was exceedingly important to respect a country’s sovereignty and its national circumstances as it emerged from conflict.  The Council had an important role in smoothing the transition from peacekeeping to peace-building.  The General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council and specialized United Nations agencies also had key roles to play.

RICHARD RYAN (Ireland) said his country’s own national experience had taught it that problems could often seem intractable and that differences could run deep.  While it would not wish to be over-prescriptive, Ireland had been witness to the need for courage, compromise and the support of the international community in building peace out of violent conflict.  It agreed that poverty and underdevelopment were major contributing factors to conflict.  In most cases, populations in countries experiencing conflict were denied basic human rights; governance was either bad or non-existent, and the right to development was without practical recognition.  Conflict prevention and peace-building clearly called for emphasis on the full range of human rights, including civil, political, economic, social and cultural.

He said peace-building programmes could draw on past processes, such as:  the evident, demonstrated centrality of the United Nations system to major peace-building challenges; the direct relationship between the success of peace-building programmes and the adequate commitment of financial and political resources by the international community; and the political rhetoric and on-the-ground political obstructionism, which had exacerbated the failure of leaders to respond to peace-building efforts.

He also highlighted the need to ensure the development of local capacity to manage differences without violence; and the UNDP role as capacity-builder in the governance area and in the context of the resident coordinator system.  It was crucial that the structures set up by the United Nations mutually reinforce and complement each other, he said, adding that coordination must begin in the field and immediately after cessation of hostilities.

Ireland strongly endorsed the Security Council’s decision that those that would be responsible for implementing a peace agreement should be present during the negotiation phase.  That was essential for the credibility and workability of an agreement and for the integrity of the United Nations when it entrusted an operation to a regional organization.  Long-term peace-building strategies should be a feature when Security Council-mandated operations and missions were drawn up, he said.

OLE PETER KOLBY (Norway) said he would welcome a strengthened peace-building cooperation between the United Nations and regional bodies, both in developing mutually supporting mechanisms and in addressing concrete conflict situations.  Peace-building was an important part of the Report of the Panel on United Nations Peace Operations -- the Brahimi Report -- and he looked forward to the follow-up reports on peace-building and conflict-prevention now in preparation. 

Peace-building had a fundamental political character, and the need to address root causes must never be forgotten, he continued.  Political efforts at peace-building had much less chance to succeed in situations of mass poverty and despair.  The falling trend in official development assistance (ODA) not only undermined efforts to reach international development goals, but it also jeopardized peace-building efforts.  Also, women could have a particularly important role in peace-building efforts. 

His country had supported a strengthening of the Secretary-General’s capabilities to prevent conflicts and to build peace for many years, and had supported the proposals in the Brahimi Report to that effect, he said.  Those proposals needed to be integrated and coordinated closely with the work of the Organization on development issues.  The key challenge now was implementation.  Capacity on the ground, knowledge and shared analysis was key to enhanced coherence and to dealing with the security concerns of the parties involved.  The widening of the scope of peace-building also underlined the crucial need for coherence over time.  The vicious circle, where declining media-attention often resulted in dwindling international financial support, must be broken.  An atmosphere of impunity could be a major hindrance to true peace-building.  Early establishment of the International Criminal Court would be an important contribution to international peace-building efforts.

VALERI KUCHYNSKI (Ukraine) said a common approach to peace-building should be defined and a universally agreed strategy adopted for it, as well as for conflict prevention.  The implementation of such a comprehensive strategy would require effective interaction between all United Nations bodies and agencies, as well as input from Member States, regional organizations, international financial institutions, non-governmental organizations and local stakeholders.  The United Nations should be the primary coordinator of those activities.

Effective implementation of programmes of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of ex-combatants were critical to peace-building, he said.  Attention should be drawn to the issue of combating the illicit traffic in arms, which had a direct impact on the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration process.  He hoped the forthcoming conference on the problems of the illicit traffic in small arms and light weapons would strengthen international efforts in that field.  He said the practice of including child protection adviser in missions should be made permanent.

He said the Security Council could play a catalytic role in peace-building, particularly post-conflict peace-building.  Bodies such as the UNDP should be given the role of coordinating further international efforts in the long-term stage of preventive peace-building.  There should be regular consultations between the Council and regional bodies such as the one planned for this week, he said.

SEKOU KASŚE (Mali) said the root causes of conflicts should be dealt with. Concerning the need for disarmament, demobilization and reintegration, he said attention should also be given to the problem of the circulation of small arms and light weapons.  Such weapons were responsible for about 90 per cent of the wars in small States.  He hoped the international conference on small arms and light weapons, to be held next July in New York, would provide the means for dealing with the problem in a transparent manner.

A global strategy for peace-building was needed, and international institutions must provide assistance, he continued. The strategy should include provisions for disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of ex-combatants. The question of child soldiers should also be considered.  Conflict prevention and peace strategies must be carried out in conjunction with regional bodies, who should be consulted regularly.  He welcomed the two-day consultations to be held between the Council and those bodies, beginning tomorrow.

ANWARUL KARIM CHOWDHURY (Bangladesh) said that, in the past decade, the overarching theme of peace and its multifaceted relation to development had influenced the Council’s thinking.  Throughout the years, keeping peace had been a major and recurrent preoccupation of the United Nations as conflicts kept breaking out and peacemaking succeeded or failed.  In numerous forums, while discussing conflict-prevention and peacekeeping, the concept of peace-building had also been addressed.  Peace-building was closely linked with peacekeeping and conflict- prevention.  In An Agenda for Peace, it was termed the counterpart of preventive diplomacy, which sought to avoid the breakdown of peaceful conditions. 

He said that peace-building was a stage in a continuum, embracing a series of activities aimed at sustaining peaceful conditions to prevent the recurrence of conflict, on the one hand, and the construction of a new environment restoring confidence and well-being, on the other hand.  The demanding nature of specific situations must be a determining factor in designing activities in the areas of: disarmament, demobilization and reintegration; small arms control; institutional reform; improved police and judicial systems; human rights monitoring; electoral reform; and economic and social development.  In addition, a comprehensive approach was needed.  Many such activities fell under the purview of the United Nations system.  The Council and the Assembly would also have to engage in greater coordination from the planning phase of a peacekeeping operation.

In designing and executing peace-building projects, he said, it was important to instil in the populations a sense of “ownership” of those activities.  The local stakeholders should be engaged from the outset in a consultative mechanism.  Of paramount importance was addressing the immediate needs of the stricken population.  Among others, poverty eradication and employment generation were critically important.  Effective and high-visibility projects that made a real difference should be high on the list of peace-building initiatives.  In a welcome development, one ongoing United Nations mission had made arrangements to put in place a micro-credit mechanism, and efforts were under way to put such a system in place in another country.  Recent experience had shown that external actors, such as regional or subregional organizations, and non-governmental organizations played a crucial role in peace-building activities. 

ANUND PRIYAY NEEWOOR (Mauritius) said that the United Nations Charter spoke of war, aggression, disputes and conflicts involving two or more sovereign States.  In such situations, United Nations peacekeeping operations would normally function along the international frontiers of the opposing sides to keep peace between them.  There was no provision for a larger United Nations role in conflict situations of that kind.  Since the Charter was written, however, the world had changed dramatically.  The Organization had been drawn into conflicts to stop the fighting, prevent genocide, deal with massive humanitarian situations and, in some cases, provide interim administration, such as in East Timor and Kosovo. 

He said that peacekeepers and peace-builders were, indeed, inseparable partners.  Civil wars usually left populations bitterly divided.  New political processes often needed to be created for the emergence of a credible government; law and order needed to be fully restored; and institutions had to be built that ensured proper governance.  Human resources had to be developed through training, and infrastructures damaged during the conflict had to be rebuilt.  Those activities could occur in a post-conflict situation only through the “massive” support of the international community.  Following the first Security Council Summit in 1992 and the subsequent publication of An Agenda for Peace, there had been a greater engagement by the United Nations in post-conflict peace-building operations.

The Council’s renewal last week of UNTAET’s mandate and the role of the Mission in training the East Timorese to take charge of their administrative machinery, he said, had demonstrated the resolve of the United Nations for a comprehensive approach towards peace-building.  The success of a peace-building operation lay, to a great extent, on the sense of security felt by a country’s citizens.  The training and restructuring of local police forces was very important.  There should, indeed, be a doctrinal shift in the use of civilian police and human rights experts in complex peacekeeping operations, with a view to strengthening the legal institutions and improving human rights.

He said that the rehabilitation and resettlement of the local population after conflict were the central objectives of any peace-building undertaking.  Efforts should be focused on creating the conditions conducive for sustainable economic growth.  Although United Nations agencies, regional and non-governmental organizations were already heavily engaged in reconstruction activities, more timely efforts should be applied towards the construction of basic physical infrastructures, proper transportation and telecommunications, schools, and public health facilities as part of the reconstruction programme.  Education would provide youth with technical and professional training, which were essential for the acquisition of skills.  Those important elements would eventually lead to job creation and, consequently, enhance the quality of life.

The meeting was suspended at 1:20 p.m.

When the Council reconvened at 3:20 p.m., PER NORSTROM (Sweden) spoke on behalf of the European Union and the associated States of Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Cyprus, Malta, Iceland and Liechtenstein.  He said they welcomed today’s debate as a sign of an increasing awareness of the importance of linking together the range of measures for building peace.  They also welcomed the emphasis in the Brahimi Report on addressing the root causes of conflict.  It appreciated the fact that the report presented conflict-prevention, peacekeeping and peace-building as a continuum of measures aimed at the building of a solid foundation for peace.

The European Union believed that the concept of peace-building must encompass concrete measures targeted at preventing conflict from turning into violence, he continued.  Combating the illicit trade in small arms or conflict diamonds could contribute to preventing conflicts and building sustainable peace. Peace-building efforts should include confidence-building measures and the promotion of national reconciliation, as well as for the demobilization, disarmament and reintegration of former combatants.  Such a comprehensive approach was also needed to ensure an effective response to the suffering and insecurity caused by, for example, small arms and light weapons and the use of child soldiers.

The Union attached particular importance to integrated and effective measures to achieve sustainable post-conflict repatriation and reintegration of refugees and other displaced persons.  Attention must also be given to the effects on the stability of the host country or surrounding areas of refugees in temporary settlements.  Sustainable development was an essential factor in peace-building. Combating poverty and promoting an equitable distribution of resources were vital elements in preventing conflict and consolidating peace.

The European Union was in the process of reforming its external aid to make it more coherent in its approach to third countries, more focused on clear policy objectives, more flexible in responding to a rapidly changing international environment and more consistent in its implementation.  The European Council would, next June, consider a programme aimed at strengthening the preventive capacities of the European Union.

The Union recognized the need for close cooperation and dialogue in a mutually reinforcing manner between United Nations bodies in support of an effective peace-building and noted the important function of the General Assembly, as well as the Economic and Social Council, in the areas of rehabilitation and reconstruction.  The roles of the Secretary-General and the Secretariat were crucial.  They particularly recognized the importance of strengthening the information-gathering and analytic capacity of the Secretariat.  Adequate resources and support must also be ensured to enable the Department for Political Affairs to perform effectively its role as focal point in peace-building and conflict-prevention.

The Union recalled the importance of mobilizing all actors responsible for peace-building in a coordinated manner, particularly United Nations funds and programmes, the international financial institutions and bilateral donors, to ensure their full and early participation in formulating comprehensive peace-building strategies.  A key element was closer cooperation between the United Nations and its regional partners in tackling the challenges of peace.  It also pointed to the valuable contribution civil society often made, including non-governmental organizations and the private sector, in the field of peace-building.

ABDALLAH BAALI (Algeria) said that today’s theme was timely, since it came in the wake of the rich discussions at the Millennium Summit and those prompted by the Brahimi Report.  Peace-building should immediately follow the restoration of peace.  A global and integrated strategy was needed for long-term organization, effective coordination, strict follow-up and adequate financing.  The processes should involve all actors, including the Council, the General Assembly and Economic and Social Council, as well as the funds and agencies of the United Nations system and the Bretton Woods institutions, without whose support any such effort would be doomed to fail. 

He said that States of the region, and regional, subregional and civil society organizations must also be involved, as those often had a sharper knowledge of events on the ground.  The causes of conflicts should be seriously addressed, in order to prevent their recurrence.  Those often related to poverty, but a lack of democracy and poor administration was another factor.  In Africa, the root causes were also the consequences of injustices created by brutal and often disrespectful colonization.  Poor choices made during those countries’ emergence from colonialism had also contributed to instability.  A peace-building strategy must offer the populations of the country or region concerned a real chance to assume a normal life, in peace and order.

Disarmament, demobilization and reintegration were fundamental elements in the peace-building process, he said.  The proliferation of internal conflicts, in which governments were often faced with an armed rebellion, had mean that the task of demobilizing yesterday’s rebels into today’s partners in peace was daunting.  Disarmament, demobilization and reintegration processes should be included in peacekeeping mandates and financed through an overall budget for any given operation, as had been proposed by the General Assembly when it studied the causes of conflict in Africa.  Reintegrating former combatants, so that they did not yield to the temptation of taking up weapons once again, was a complex and highly risky operation.  Moreover, the international community must truly deal with the child victims of war.

A most tragic consequence of conflicts were refugees, he said.  Their reintegration must allow them the steady resumption of a normal life.  Genocide required implacable justice, or an iron fist, which must be accompanied by a bold and determined effort to mend the broken fabric of the nation and rebuild channels of expression and communication.  The international community must encourage, facilitate and support such efforts by providing political, logistical and financial support.  Further efforts should be made in the financial arena, particularly with respect to Africa, where it was especially important that programmes be specifically tailored to the needs of the country concerned.

ARTHUR C.I. MBANEFO (Nigeria) said that the recommendations contained in the Brahimi Report and the report of the Special Committee for Peacekeeping Operations could not be overemphasized, particularly in view of the fact that, despite the best efforts of the United Nations and other regional organizations, the theatre of conflicts appeared to be growing.  Although sustaining peace and security for all had remained the central objective of the United Nations in the new millennium, there had been a shift in the nature of the threats since the end of the cold war.  Conflicts had moved from inter-State wars to intra-State wars.  Conflicts, once resulting from the ideological divisions of a bipolar world, were now fuelled by intolerance, political ambition and greed. 

He said that those conflicts were often exacerbated by the illicit traffic in arms, gems and drugs.  In view of the complexities of the new challenges facing the Organization, there was a need to adopt a holistic and multidisciplinary framework to tackle those challenges.  The conflict-management strategy must include a pre-conflict, intra-conflict and post-conflict framework.  The tendency to act before comprehending the dynamics of a conflict often exacerbated it.  An intervention strategy must be multi-level and multidimensional, and must include proactive measures, such as the establishment of early warning systems.  It must also include peacekeeping and post-conflict peace-building strategies such as disarmament, demobilization and reintegration. 

Although a universal or global system of early warning was unlikely to emerge, the net should cast as wide a field as possible to attract all levels of inputs into the early warning system, he said.  The multidimensional and multilateral character of conflicts required the involvement of various sectors of society, because there was no hegemonic power or universal institution with the autonomy, resources and motivation adequate to meet all of the demands faced by the managers of international peace and security.  In order for peacekeeping and peace-building to achieve their main objectives, negotiations must include a comprehensive effort to support structures that would sustain peace and create confidence in post-conflict situations.

He said that the focus should be to address the socio-economic and political roots of a conflict, achieve a practical reconstruction of the State and the revitalization of the institutions of government.  Economic, social and development tools should be integrated into a coherent political agenda.  That strategy was particularly important in countries with problems of ethnic marginalization such as Liberia, where the United Nations opened its first post-conflict peace-building office in 1997, Guinea-Bissau and Central Africa.  As soon as preparations for peacekeeping operations had begun, the Secretariat and the Security Council should hold consultations with all partners, aimed at devising appropriate peace-building strategies and the mobilization of necessary resources.

Moreover, he said that the Council should hold consultations with such partners as the international financial institutions, regional and subregional organizations, so that the role of each participant could be identified.  That would facilitate close coordination among all actors.  Although the Council had the primary responsibility for maintaining international peace and security, the current reality made it clear that other State and non-State actors were also essential to the effective achievement of international peace and security.  The present level of cooperation among stakeholders should be sustained. 

SUN JOUN-YUNG (Republic of Korea) said conflict-prevention, peacekeeping and post-conflict peace-building were interlinked and more effective if pursued simultaneously, rather than sequentially. Accordingly, disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of former combatants were prerequisites for immediate post-conflict stability.  Peace, security, and economic and social development were also closely interlinked, and protection of refugees and internally displaced persons was an essential part of modern peace-building measures.

Mandates for peacekeeping operations should always be realistic and cost-effective, he said.  Availability of financial and other resources needed for a long-term strategy was a key factor for successful peace-building.  Enhancing the preventive capacity of the United Nations was the most cost-effective strategy.  The direct involvement of the Council and an enhanced role for the Secretary-General should be further encouraged for effective management of conflicts at all levels.  Various actors, such as the United Nations system, international financial institutions and regional organizations, should further enhance their efforts to systematically coordinate an integrated response.  A strengthened partnership with non-governmental organizations would contribute positively to aggregating the support needed.

He stressed the importance of the role of regional organizations and neighbouring countries in peace-building.  Success for any peace-building operation became elusive without strong political will and support of the Member States.  A more pro-active engagement on the part of countries and organizations in the affected region was crucial.  Given the complexity of coordination among different players, and the difficulty in mobilizing a full-scale intervention by the international community, regional entities and countries, should be encouraged to take the initiative.

AHMED ABOULGHEIT (Egypt) said the issue of peace-building was important and vital, and that its complexity was such that no one entity alone, including the Security Council, could handle it.  The involvement of the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), the Security Council, and the Secretariat, led by the Secretary-General, was necessary.  Each of those entities should work within its mandates and competences.  In addition, all the funds and programmes of the Organization should also be involved.

A strategy for peace-building should be created, he said, noting that each operation had its own specificity.  Egypt believed in flexibility in handling all conflict situations.  The Council should approach issues before it without double standards, particularly in the implementation of its resolutions.  It was unacceptable that the Council should fail to tackle issues recognized as falling within its mandate.

The Council could adopt a coordinating role, as the Secretariat did with its agencies concerned with refugees and displaced persons, he said.  He could not overlook the issue of Palestinian refugees and the importance of the settlement of that refugee question within the context of the Middle East peace process.

He said it should be remembered that peace was a difficult objective to achieve.  The Council had not given proper attention to Somalia.  Angola had returned to violence after four years of calm.  The international community looked to the Security Council to deal decisively with the many conflicts in the world.

IBRA DEGUÈNE KA (Senegal) said post-conflict peace-building would entail implementation of preventive measures to ensure peace arrangements were not jeopardized.  Long-term policies should include assistance to countries affected by conflict.  Peace-building strategies should also include an assessment of the underlying causes of conflict, such as poverty and the colossal foreign debt problem.  He expressed regret that governments and the international community had not responded adequately in countries such as Guinea-Bissau and Sierra Leone.

He recalled the Tunisian document on today’s debate which said that peace-building called for an integrated strategy comprising a series of actions on various fronts:  political, military, diplomatic, economic, social and institutional.  He said strong political will was required to meet those challenges.  The question of weaknesses of institutions and resulting power struggles should be considered in mapping out an integrated strategy for peace-building.  The international financial institutions should be involved, with a balance struck between implementation of macroeconomic policies and resource requirements.

Programmes for disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of former combatants should be implemented, he said, and referred to the situation in Guinea-Bissau and Sierra Leone as an example of areas where such programmes had not been effectively implemented.  The problem of small and light arms and the plight of the displaced and refugees should also be considered.  A culture of peace was needed for peace-building to be sustained.  Peace-building required a multidimensional effort.  The Security Council must carry out fully its primary responsibility of maintenance of international peace and security.

GERT ROSENTHAL (Guatemala), sharing some lessons learned from his country’s post-conflict peace-building and peace-consolidation efforts, said that, first, the Guatemalan peace process was not imposed from outside, but rather reflected the genuine will of the parties to the conflict and the Guatemalan population, in general, to put an end to war.  “The Guatemalans were in the driver’s seat”, he said.  That was unquestionably a prerequisite to the success of any effort towards the consolidation of peace.

Another lesson was that the series of negotiated agreements addressed the principal sources of dissatisfaction among many Guatemalans, he said.  Some of those agreements dealt with the issues of:  human rights; the establishment of the Historical Clarification Commission; identity and rights of indigenous peoples; social and economic aspects and agrarian reform; strengthening of civil society; the role of armed forces in a democratic society; and constitutional reforms and the electoral regime.  International support, particularly that of the United Nations, had been useful, and regional bodies, in particular the Organization of American States (OAS), also played an important role in the process.

In the case of Guatemala, it was usually said that the application of the peace agreements was irreversible, he said.  But that was not necessarily so.  If the people of Guatemala, for instance, did not perceive that their level of material and spiritual well-being had improved as a result of those agreements, it was still plausible that a retrogression might occur.  In other words, “were we to fail in consolidating peace, this would surely reflect the fact that the age-old economic and social inequities observed in my country were not properly addressed”, he said.  “This circumstance would, once more, testify to the unavoidable interrelationship between peace and development.”

HADI NEJAD HOSSEINIAN (Iran) said that the complexities of post-conflict peace-building, and the challenges it posed to the United Nations and the international community, deserved thorough consideration.  In the post-cold-war period, the dimension of United Nations activities had changed significantly.  Of the 27 major conflicts recorded in 1999, 25 were civil wars which generated a wide variety of problems for civilians.  In a civil war context, peacekeeping operations meant more than the provision of a buffer between two combating countries and the reporting of ceasefire violations.  In such an environment, peacekeepers had to undertake a wide variety of complex tasks.

He said that, in the process of dealing with the new and extremely complex situations, concepts such as preventive diplomacy, post-conflict peace-building and peace enforcement had emerged.  The past decade had shown that a ceasefire was insufficient to ensure peaceful development in a war-torn society, and that even a successful peacekeeping operation did not completely prepare the ground for, or satisfy the requirements for, building peace once the conflict had ended.  Too often, hopes for a better future were shattered, and too often, the vicious cycle of violence proved to be stronger than aspirations for peace.

Experience had also shown that there was a need to ensure that even after the conflicts ended, certain conditions were met, he said.  Every measure should be taken to strengthen confidence among former parties to a conflict through dialogue, and a favourable climate should be created to encourage national reconciliation.  The resumption of economic and social activities should also be encouraged, as that would address the underlying causes of conflict and improve the daily lives of the affected population.  Topping the list of key principles with general application, in post-conflict peace-building, was the timeliness of the response. 

He said that peace-building measures should be designed and implemented in close cooperation with those directly concerned, taking into account the specific conditions and needs of each situation.  Post-conflict peace-building activities should be carried out in full respect for the United Nations Charter.  Also, the international community should give particular attention to financing economic recovery as part of post-conflict peace-building.  The early involvement of the local population in the reconstruction processes and the building of local capacity would sustain peace in fragile conditions characteristic of a post-conflict period.

Disarmament, demobilization and reintegration were among the most challenging tasks in peace-building, and one of the major keys to avoiding a recurrence of violence, he said.  Demining was also an essential component of post-conflict peace-building.  There was also the urgent need to help local communities revive and/or strengthen the rule of law.  The re-establishment of a basic civil administration and a functioning legal system in a post-conflict environment were among the necessary steps towards shaping and building effective civilian governance.  Peace-building required the United Nations to play an integrated, multifaceted and more action-oriented role, in order to create a climate conducive to political and economic stability.  In that regard, close coordination between the General Assembly and the Security Council was important.

YUKIO SATOH (Japan) said it was important that issues relating to conflict- prevention and peace-building be discussed regularly in open meetings of the Council.  Japan had hosted the International Conference on Preventive Strategy in Tokyo in 1998 and chaired the Group of 7 industrialized countries Foreign Ministers meeting in July 2000 which had adopted the Miyazaki Initiatives for Conflict Prevention.   Those initiatives had stressed the link between conflict and development.  Peace and stability were prerequisites for sustainable economic development, and sustainable economic development fostered peace and stability by eliminating the root causes of conflict.

Africa was the case in point, he said.  The proliferation of conflicts in the region underscored the urgent need for a coherent strategy for peace-building and development.  The United Nations and the international community should make that a priority at the beginning of the new century.  Japan’s firm commitment to a comprehensive approach to peace-building and development in Africa was reflected in its sponsorship of the first and second Tokyo International Conferences for African Development.

He stressed that the Council should continue to enhance its consultations with players outside the Council.  Comprehensive peace-building and development efforts, encompassing economic and social dimensions, could not be pursued without the cooperation of donor countries and various agencies and institutions.

SORIN DUMITRU DUCARU (Romania) said the security relationship between the United Nations and Europe had become more intertwined than ever before.  In Europe, actual and potential conflict situations had emerged, and the United Nations offered tools and experience in conflict-prevention and post-conflict peace-building that could be adapted to European needs.  At the same time, many of Europe's security institutions, starting with the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), might provide best practices for the United Nations.  A coordinating meeting of executives representing the United Nations, the OSCE, the European Union, the Council of Europe and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) on the theme of "lessons learned in Balkans" could be instrumental in enhancing greater coherence in policies and developing effective information flows.

The protection of national and other minorities and respect for human rights must be seen as permanent and crucial dimensions of any peace-building effort.  Any peace-building endeavour should start by identifying potential economic or environmental trouble spots, and, on that basis, mobilize States and other national or transnational actors to take appropriate steps.  A third priority should be increasing cooperation with non-governmental organizations, he said. 

Local conflicts should be approached from a broader regional and international perspective.  Each conflict raised unique problems, but there were regional conditions which could not be ignored.  Only a regional perspective could ensure a much-needed integrated and consistent approach to peace-building activities.  Lastly, a proactive and preventive diplomacy must be promoted.   As seen in the Balkans, the Caucasus and elsewhere, most current conflicts had deep historical roots. "While trying to build peace for today, we should avoid planting the seeds of future conflicts or wars", he said.

JARGALSAIKHANY ENKHSAIKHAN (Mongolia) said that although post-war conflicts of the past half century were framed as conflicts of ideology and identity, in many cases, their root causes lay in unpalatable poverty, unjust economic and political arrangements, the massive arms trade, inequality, in failed governments and misuse of power, and disputes over natural resources that, in many instances, involved the powerful interests of external stakeholders.  Durable peace could not be enjoyed even by the rich in a world full of discontented poor.  Pursuit of the goal of eradication of poverty could constitute an important element contributing to lasting peace and stability.

He emphasized that there was a need for a clearer vision of, and division of, the roles of the United Nations and regional organizations in peacekeeping and peace-building.  Regional organizations should engage more broadly in consultations with the Council.  The United Nations must be equipped with sufficient resources to effectively plan and carry out preventive measures and possess adequate capacity to analyse the causes of conflict together with the regional organizations, he said.

SATYABRATA PAL (India) recalled that a detailed statement from the Council, when it first discussed the subject in 1998, had set out the reasons why it would do more harm than good if it trespassed on the mandate of others.  As the cold war had shown, conflicts might end and peace-building begin without the Council’s involvement.  The huge challenges faced by countries in transition in Central and Eastern Europe have their roots in that conflict.  Those countries had received much-needed special attention from the entire United Nations system.  The only body not engaged in post-conflict peace-building in there was the Council, which had “prudently and correctly” kept its distance.

He said it did not follow that, where the United Nations was asked to monitor peace agreements negotiated by others, it must take on the work of economic and social reconstruction, or that the Council should ask it to do so.  Much had been said about how the new peacekeeping was completely different from the old, but that ignored the facts.  The majority of peacekeepers were still groups of observers or formed contingents observing a truce.  Major operations might contain thousands of troops, but those were deployed in thin bands across a border to monitor a withdrawal and ceasefire.  Even new operations within a single country had scant information about what was happening in the rest of that country and, thus, found it difficult to discharge even their military mandates and would be in no position to do anything else.

There were three recent exceptions to that rule, he said:  the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL), the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), and UNTAET, he said.  Drawing general conclusions from those very exceptional cases was dangerous and one of the more serious shortcomings of the Brahimi Report.  While the United Nations ran a transitional administration in Kosovo and East Timor, it did not and should not in other post-conflict situations.  Concerning financing, there were clearly hard choices to be made, but the Council was not the place to make them.  It did not have the mandate or the expertise to decide those issues, and if major extra financial provisions were built into the budgets of peacekeeping operations, those would be funded through assessed contributions.

He noted that there were several regions where countries recovering from conflict bordered others teetering on the brink.  It would be unjust and self-defeating for the post-conflict country to have its development paid through assessed contributions because the Council had mandated it, while its neighbours, in very much the same desperate circumstances, had to scramble for a share of shrinking official development assistance (ODA).  Blatantly unequal treatment within countries, as between them, did not build peace; it bred conflict.  The dark side of what the United Nations did in Kosovo and East Timor was Iraq.  Although there was a government in place, it was the United Nations that determined local needs and how those should be met.  The “oil-for-food” programme was post-conflict peace-building of a sorts, but no one ever referred to that experiment in Iraq as a precedent to be followed. 

He said that Council members could help in some ways in post-conflict peace-building.  In order for disarmament, demobilization and reintegration to succeed, a peacekeeping force must be so visibly strong on arrival that all parties to the conflict realize that it has the means to protect them if they surrender their weapons.  Unfortunately, the Council’s frugality had been shown to be a disastrous and false economy.  As most conflicts were still fought with small arms and light weapons, some Council members who were principal manufacturers and supporters of those weapons must ensure that those arms were not exported from their territories to States, non-State actors, terrorists or rebel groups that used violence against legitimate governments.

Moreover, he said, some standard and minimum requirements for troop contributors must be laid down, which were both professional and political.  The United Nations could only promote democracy, respect for civilian authority, peaceful resolution of disputes, and national reconciliation through peacekeeping forces that understood, from national experience, what it all meant.  It would be a travesty, for instance, and an insult to promote post-conflict peace-building in Sierra Leone using peacekeepers that overthrew democracies at home.

LUIS ENRIQUE CAPPAGLI (Argentina) said Argentina attached special importance to all peacekeeping issues.  In the framework of providing a comprehensive approach to conflict, peace-building complemented the traditional concept of peacekeeping.  The Council had recently pledged to improve the United Nations’ effectiveness by considering conflict at all stages, ranging from prevention to conflict settlement and post-conflict peace-building.  The evolution of peace-building had shown its close relationship to conflict-prevention.  Indeed, peace-building was aimed at eliminating the profound root causes of a given conflict and at adopting a range of measures to prevent the outbreak of conflict.

He said that elements of peace-building were present in all peacekeeping initiatives.  Peace-building was essentially a political process, and its implementation required a coordinated international effort and political will.  All peace-building strategies should include measures to address the disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration of ex-combatants, the situation of refugees and displaced persons, poverty, sustainable development, human rights protection, and a strengthened rule of law and democracy.  A peace-building strategy that was not structured around those fundamental concepts could fall short, or even reduce confidence in the United Nations and affect its future involvement in a given region. 

Hopefully, tomorrow’s meeting (with regional organizations) would benefit present and future processes, he said.  The development of a comprehensive strategy should take into account the specific circumstances of each case; no conflict was the same as another.  It was only through clear understanding of the causes of conflict that it was possible to prepare a peace-building strategy.  The Council had an important role to play in those peace-building processes, in coordinating the work of the many participants in order to maximize efficiency and avoid duplication of effort.

HASMY AGAM (Malaysia) said the General Assembly and the ECOSOC also had roles to play in peace-building.  There could be increased consultations between them, without prejudice to the competence of other United Nations organs and agencies.

The Security Council could be a catalyst in enhancing interest in, and securing commitment to, peace-building, particularly post-conflict peace-building, by convening more open meetings on the subject.  Consultations and coordination between the Security Council and especially ECOSOC could be effected through joint meetings of their respective working groups.  On appropriate occasions, he said it might not be inconceivable to have joint meetings of the two bodies themselves to effect even greater cooperation between them.  The basis for close cooperation between them already existed in Article 65 of the Charter.

The coordination of peacekeeping activities should be strengthened with adequate resources, through the appointment of highly competent and skilled United Nations officials to assist the Secretary-General.  An important measure which had now become an indispensable component of current peacekeeping operations were the programmes to disarm, demobilize and reintegrate former combatants.  Such programmes should be strongly supported and strengthened with funds.

An appropriate transition must be planned when the Security Council decided on the ending of an operation, he said.  The strategy must be in place to avoid an interruption of programmes or the substitution of new partners who had a different approach.  His delegation looked forward to concrete follow-up actions to the debate. 

DON MACKAY (New Zealand) said half or more of United Nations peacekeeping operations now involved an element of peace-building.  Keeping peace without taking further steps to cement peace and reduce the chance of conflict resumption would simply amount to an inefficient use of scarce resources.  The Brahimi Panel had noted that for peace-building to be effective, active, “multidimensional” engagement with local parties was essential.  Meaningful interaction with civil society, institutionalization of democratic norms, effective use of United Nations civilian police, and the protection and promotion of human rights were all required to that end.

He was heartened by the support of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations for exploring the Panel’s recommendation that a small percentage of a peacekeeping mission’s first-year budget be made available to heads of missions to fund quick-impact projects targeted at enhancing peace mission effectiveness.  He also welcomed the Committee’s recommendation that programmes for disarmament, demobilization and reintegration be provided with adequate and timely resources.

The East Timor operation clearly demonstrated the complexity of peace-building in practice, he said.  While much had been achieved in the humanitarian and security fields, further progress was needed in the peace-building side of the operation, in particular:  the greater transfer of authority to East Timorese themselves; the establishment of the East Timor Defence Forces; and the effective functioning of the legal and judicial systems.  He encouraged the Organization to continue to find innovative ways to address the broader needs of peace-building.  To that end, the General Assembly should grant greater authority and more flexibility to heads of peacekeeping operations to administer their budgets in a way that maximized their responsiveness to local needs.

IVAN SIMONOVIC (Croatia) said his country was still grappling with some of the characteristics of post-conflict societies, while trying to help others in the region that were much worse off.  Croatia hoped that the international community would heed the call of the Secretary-General in his report on “Renewing the United Nations: a Programme for Reform”, in which he stated that successful peace-building required a mutually reinforcing political strategy and assistance programme, incorporating human rights considerations and humanitarian and development programmes.

He said the post-war reconstruction and reconciliation processes in Croatia could be accelerated through international support.  Many displaced persons had returned, even though the economic and social situation in war-affected areas remained difficult, with soaring unemployment rates.  There was a significant shortage of capital for new investment, job creation and specific projects, in particular, demining.  He said over a million mines were still scattered on Croatian soil.  He called for development assistance for his country.

He commended the Council for incorporating disarmament, demobilization and reintegration components in several peace operations.  Provisions on refugees and displaced persons, demining, and programmes for economic recovery, as well as provisions on strengthening the rule of law and democratic institutions, must be anticipated and mandated by the Council in a timely fashion, he said.  Those rested on three pillars:  the cooperation of the post-conflict society; a sustainable political will on the part of the international community; and an adequate bureaucratic capacity at the United Nations and the Secretariat in particular.  The United Nations Secretariat needed capacity to coordinate those efforts with its partners, as well as among its own agencies.

Besides its role as an advocate for, and guarantor of, peace-building implementation, he said the Security Council could actively reach out to other United Nations principal organs such, as the ECOSOC.  He said the ECOSOC, with its broad agenda concerning the eradication of poverty and economic and social development, remained best equipped to identify causes in a timely manner, as well as act preemptively upon those very causes of new or recurrent conflicts.

As an ECOSOC member, Croatia saw great value in a follow-up joint meeting of the two Councils on the issue in the near future.  Every effort should be made to build closer informal and formal ties to address responsibly and competently the converging agendas of world peace and world development.

MURARI RAJ SHARMA (Nepal) said that armies might sometimes win a battle, but humanity always loses the war.  Ironically, conflict bedevils those who could least afford it.  Each bullet fired burned the hope of several children to buy their textbooks; every bomb blasted engulfed resources sufficient for building several schools and hospitals, and constructing several miles of road.  Everything must be done to prevent war through the peaceful settlement of disputes and to save humanity from its scourge.  The Security Council, however, had seldom been able to stave off the hostility that burned the bridges between people, making settlement more difficult, if not impossible.

The Council was left with only one costly, second-rate alternative:  to manage conflict once it begins to exact its price.  The complexity of that option was compounded when the Council had to grapple with peacekeeping, peace-building and peacemaking, in tandem.  Peace-building had been recognized as a powerful tool to sustain peace once it had been restored.  It was exceptionally complex, however, to devise and implement it.  Building peace was a long and complicated process, not an isolated event, and had to be part of a larger nation-building process.  It was about converting the seemingly impossible into the possible in as short a span as possible, amid heightened animosity.  Stakeholders must be brought together by “reasoning them” into putting their bitter past behind and by encouraging them towards a common high goal.

He said that peace-building must be comprehensive in content, participatory and inclusive in approach, and conciliatory in nature.  Primarily, it was a complicated political process where jockeying for advantage, bargaining and hard compromises became fundamental rules of the game.  Understanding had to be built where there was none.  The entire society had to be "taken on board" by building confidence so that no one felt left out or deceived.  Peace-building, therefore, was a fairly long commitment on the part of the United Nations and the international community.  It taxed their patience and resources considerably.  In order to make it work, the Council must set a clear and achievable objective that could be realized in a span of three to five years, and chalk out a comprehensive plan accordingly. 

The focus should be on reviving and strengthening endogenous institutions and processes, rather than supplanting them with exogenous ones, he said.  It was important to build on local capacity quickly in order to sustain peace and enable the gradual phasing-out of external involvement.  Partnership, cooperation and coordination were essential components.  Overall, the Council must do what was right, not what was easy.  It was also important not to trivialize the fundamental premise of the United Nations, namely, the sovereign equality of States.  A pattern of selective involvement in conflicts had, at times, prompted many to question the objectivity and fairness of the Council.  It must engage on the merit of each case, not on the basis of the political priority of its members. 

The Council President for the month of February, SAÏD BEN MUSTAPHA (Tunisia), speaking in his national capacity, said that past years had shown the need to adapt the work and methodology of the Organization and to give the subject of peace-building its due priority -- high on the agenda of the international community.  The close link between preventing conflict and building peace highlighted the importance of maintaining peace and dealing with it in all its aspects.  That approach must be anchored by a comprehensive and integrated strategy that involved all partners and addressed the following issues, among others, as fundamental to building peace:  the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of former combatants; poverty and marginalization; law and order; and human rights.

He said that the Council had adopted many resolutions to promote peace- building and had given much attention to addressing the root causes of conflict.  Moreover, the commitments adopted at the highest political level in the international arena had represented the appropriate and optimum embodiment of the links between development, peace and stability.  The United Nations should develop the fundamentals in order to maintain that partnership.  Innovative mechanisms

that were both flexible and effective in addressing the problems of poverty and deprivation must be devised.  Those should also address all aspects of peace -- political, humanitarian, economic and social. 

The central role rested with the United Nations, given its unique stature in international relations, he said.  A peace-building strategy must be put in place under the auspices of all United Nations’ organs.  Given the organic and growing relationship between maintaining international peace and security and peace-building, it had become accepted that the Council must push the international community in order to consolidate peace and thereby mobilize the necessary resources.

Speaking in his capacity as Council President, Mr. Ben Mustapha highlighted the need to develop a comprehensive and integrated strategy, taking into account the primary responsibility of the Council to maintain peace and security.  That strategy should focus on the deep roots of conflicts, especially the economic roots given the close links between security, stability and development.  It should also focus on the need to eliminate poverty, as a collective responsibility, as well as the need to develop an innovative approach towards sound governance, democracy and the building of State institutions, as ingredients for promoting peace.  Attention should also be paid to disarmament, demobilization and reintegration, with special attention given to child victims.  The role of women in peace-building should also be promoted.  Of paramount importance was coordination among all active parties and the delegation of responsibilities among them.

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For information media. Not an official record.