Speakers Call for Greater Coordination between United Nations Principal Organs
The Security Council, through a presidential statement today, highlighted the importance of preventive diplomacy, while reaffirming its commitment to the Charter of the United Nations and underscoring its primary responsibility to the maintenance of international peace and security.
By the text (document S/PRST/2021/23), presented by Mexico, Council President for November, the 15‑member organ recalled its previous relevant resolutions and presidential statements addressing issues of preventive diplomacy, prevention of armed conflict, peacebuilding and sustaining peace, as well as mediation and the peaceful settlement of disputes. The Council also reaffirmed its commitment to the Charter of the United Nations, including its purposes and principles, and the primary responsibility of the Security Council under the Charter for the maintenance of international peace and security.
The Council, among other things, recognized that the principal organs of the United Nations have the responsibility, within their own mandates, to contribute to the realization of the purposes established in Article 1 of the Charter of the United Nations. It also reaffirmed the central role of the United Nations, as well as its commitment to strengthening coordination within the United Nations system. It reiterated its commitment to bring about by peaceful means, and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law, adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations which might lead to a breach of the peace and emphasized importance of a comprehensive approach to sustaining peace, particularly through the prevention of conflict and addressing its root causes, strengthening the rule of law at the international and national levels.
United Nations Secretary‑General António Guterres, addressing the Council, pointed out that preventive diplomacy efforts do not always get the attention they deserve, partly because it is hard to measure when such efforts succeed. “We have war correspondents, not peace correspondents,” he observed, adding that the agenda of prevention was the original aim of the United Nations, which was formed after the Second World War. For the past 76 years, the United Nations system has given the world a home for dialogue, and tools and mechanisms for the peaceful settlement of disputes.
He drew attention to his first and second mandates as Secretary‑General, in which he called for a surge in diplomacy for peace to ensure that political solutions remain the first and primary option to settle disputes. Preventing conflict entails a review of all the tools that comprise the Organization’s peace architecture, as well as “connecting the dots” among the drivers of conflict, including poverty, inequalities, and climate change. “It is about reversing the vicious cycle of conflict and division — and instead, setting in motion a virtuous cycle of development and peace,” he stressed.
Highlighting work by the United Nations, he noted that the Organization has supported preparation for and ensured peaceful elections in Madagascar, Malawi and Zambia. In Somalia, it has helped prevent the escalation of tensions in the midst of a fraught election and it is working with transitional authorities in Libya to ensure the ceasefire holds in the leadup to next month’s elections. He urged Council members to support such efforts, adding: “Prevention is not a political tool, but a realistic path towards peace.”
Abdulla Shahid, President of the General Assembly, also briefed the Council, stressing that, in addition to humanitarian relief, the international community must support preventive measures to build resilience and strengthen sustainable development. Preventive diplomacy measures now include the development of early warning systems and targeted funding mechanisms for rapid response and the ongoing use of special envoys, among others. While spotlighting the critical importance of peacekeeping operations, he pointed out that sustaining peace goes beyond traditional military peacekeeping, to encompass strengthening capacities, institutions and democratic integrity.
Collen Kelapile, President of the Economic and Social Council, called for strengthened coordination between his body and the Security Council, adding that the two organs could build on previous collaboration in the early 2000s. He also suggested the holding of regular joint meetings of a composite committee of the “bureaux” of the Economic and Social Council, the Peacebuilding Commission and a “troika” of Security Council Presidents of the current, prior and next month. Such meetings could serve to mobilize political will, international solidarity and could be the medium through which to discuss integrated strategies and targeted policy interventions that support conflict prevention. Joining forces on global crises will show the public that Member States can put aside their differences for the greater good, he said.
Joan E. Donoghue, President of the International Court of Justice, called on States that have not yet done so to consider accepting the Court’s jurisdiction. She pointed out that the principal organs of the United Nations can be, and have been, involved in other ways in the process that leads to contentious cases being submitted to the Court, adding that the Security Council may recommend that States involved in a legal dispute endangering international peace and security refer the same to the Court. In many cases, two States — acting individually or in concert — can give effect to a judgment without the involvement of third parties. However, in some circumstances, outside actors within the United Nations framework and beyond can assist the two States in moving forward from a situation of conflict to a situation where a dispute has been resolved.
In the ensuing debate, in which representatives of nearly 50 Member States participated, speakers underscored the need to foster better coordination and complementarity between the principal organs of the United Nations, and to focus consistently — not sporadically — on preventive diplomacy, through mediation and addressing root causes. A number of speakers emphasized the need for the Council to view human rights violations as a warning sign of impending threats to peace and stability, with several delegates taking issue with the veto power in cases of atrocity crimes and endorsing efforts to curb it.
The representative of Liechtenstein was among those emphasizing the need to address the veto power, which constrained the Council’s ability to uphold the mandate supplied by Article 1 of the Charter. “Political disagreement concerning the fundamentals runs deep and the blocking power of the veto often looms large,” he observed. However, as the Organization’s central deliberative and decision-making body, the General Assembly has shown in recent years, most notably with situations in Myanmar and Syria, that where the Council cannot fulfil its role, the Assembly can step in.
Ireland’s representative underlined the role of the International Court of Justice in preventing conflict, adding that the Council should consider, where appropriate, the possibility of seeking the Court’s input in the form of advisory opinions. Further, the Council should focus on human rights, which constitute a peace and security issue. Such violations of such rights are the harbingers of conflict to come. As well, the issues of food insecurity, poverty, gender inequality and climate change can also become precursors to conflict. Therefore, humanitarian, development and peace support actors must work in a coordinated manner.
The representative of China, however, warned that, while early warning mechanisms can enable immediate action to be taken, they must not lead to overreaction. Moreover, preventive measures must follow the basic norms of international relations such as respect for sovereignty and non-interference, he stressed, cautioning that arbitrarily interfering in a Government’s internal affairs could lead to further conflict.
The representative of Albania noted that, while the biggest return in conflict prevention comes in lives saved, the World Bank has also calculated that the average cost of civil war is equivalent to more than 30 years of gross domestic product (GDP) growth for a medium sized developing country. Thus, the Council needs to address emerging threats with greater alacrity, pointing out that it took several months to have an open meeting on the conflict in Ethiopia, where every horrible and reprehensible act on the book has been taking place. As an incoming member of the Council, Albania will work to increase the number of regular briefings by the High Commissioner for Human Rights, as well as civil society representatives, he said.
Also speaking today were the representatives of Mexico, Tunisia, United Kingdom, India, United States, Niger, Viet Nam, Russian Federation, Kenya, Estonia, France, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Norway, Finland, Japan, Iran, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Malta, Peru, Pakistan, India, Croatia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Netherlands, Switzerland, Slovakia, Nepal, Malaysia, Egypt, Bangladesh, Turkey, Belgium, Qatar, Argentina, Germany, Azerbaijan, Albania, Ukraine, Poland, Morocco, Portugal, Armenia, South Africa, United Arab Emirates and Indonesia.
The meeting began at 10:04 a.m., suspended at 1:10 p.m., resumed at 3:02 p.m. and ended at 5:16 p.m.
ANTÓNIO GUTERRES, Secretary‑General of the United Nations, emphasized that prevention does not always get the attention it deserves, partly because it is hard to measure when it succeeds. “We have war correspondents, not peace correspondents,” he observed. Nonetheless, prevention is the ultimate goal of the Security Council, which seeks to resolve disputes before they turn into armed conflicts. It was also the aim of the United Nations, which was formed after the Second World War to save humanity from the inhumanity of war. Since then, for 76 years, the United Nations system has given the world a home for dialogue, and tools and mechanisms for the peaceful settlement of disputes. It has covered the judicial dimension of prevention, through the International Court of Justice, and through the Economic and Social Council, which works to address conflict through advancing sustainable development. Further, prevention is essential to the twin resolutions adopted by the General Assembly and the Security Council in 2016, as well as to the women and men of the Organization who are working every day to forge, build and maintain peace in some of the most difficult and dangerous places on earth.
The agenda of prevention was at the centre of his first and second mandates as Secretary‑General, he continued, in which he called for a surge in diplomacy for peace to ensure that political solutions remain the first and primary option to settle disputes. This includes reviews of all the tools that comprise the Organization’s peace architecture and a better integration of prevention and risk‑assessment across decision-making. In addition, it entails a more robust system of regional monthly risk reviews, senior decision-making, and stronger support to Member States in managing and addressing crisis risks.
However, it also involves “connecting the dots” among the drivers of conflict, including poverty, inequalities and climate change, he said, adding: “History has shown that conflicts do not emerge out of thin air. Nor are they inevitable. Too often, they are the result of gaps that are ignored or not properly addressed.” These include gaps in accessing basic necessities like food, water, social services, and medicine, as well as gaps in security or governance systems, where aggrieved groups can coalesce and find a pathway to power by force, he said. Prevention is also about defusing through dialogue tensions, fostering tolerance, trust, and respect for human rights and closing development gaps that lead to conflict. “It is about reversing the vicious cycle of conflict and division — and instead, setting in motion a virtuous cycle of development and peace,” he emphasized.
Our Common Agenda proposes a New Agenda for Peace which takes a holistic view of global security, he continued. This view also includes efforts to build resilience in fragile contexts, avert conflict relapse and on promoting sustainable development to prevent conflicts from occurring in the first place. “We know that preventive diplomacy works,” he said, before outlining efforts by the United Nations, from regional offices to special envoys to work on conflict prevention, in concert with regional and subregional organizations ranging from the African Union to the European Union and Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
He also highlighted how the United Nations has helped countries prepare for and ensure peaceful elections in Madagascar, Malawi and Zambia. In Somalia, it has helped prevent the escalation of tensions in the midst of a fraught election and it is working with transitional authorities in Libya to ensure the ceasefire holds in the lead‑up to next month’s elections. He touched on work done by other bodies, such as the Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia, which is helping Governments develop common approaches to share water resources and counter terrorism, and the Peacebuilding Commission, which is supporting the peace process in Papua New Guinea and peace programming in South Sudan.
“Prevention is not a political tool, but a realistic path towards peace,” he said, calling on the Council and Member States to support efforts in this regard, adding there have been too many missed opportunities due to mistrust regarding one another’s intentions. This, however, is understandable, in a world in which power relations are imbalanced, in which prosperity is unevenly distributed, where there are double standards in the way principles are applied and where some groups are cast aside due to poverty and discrimination. “Only inclusive development can provide stability,” he said, adding: “Peacebuilding through dialogue is the only viable solution to build our common future.”
ABDULLA SHAHID (Maldives), President of the General Assembly, underscored that the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development has long recognized that peace and sustainable development complement each other. Communities that struggle to meet their most basic needs or that lack economic and social mobility are prone to unrest and strife. Furthermore, the absence of democratic participation, political freedoms and equality deprives entire populations of their human rights and limits their ability to turn to peaceful recourse in redressing their grievances.
He went on to say that in addition to humanitarian relief, the international community must support preventive measures to build resilience and strengthen sustainable development to give people the opportunity to live in dignity and prosperity. Preventive diplomacy measures now include the development of early warning systems and targeted funding mechanisms for rapid response; the establishment of dedicated prevention structures; and the ongoing use of special envoys. He also highlighted the critical importance of peacekeeping operations. However, sustaining peace is no longer limited to traditional military peacekeeping but also includes strengthening capacities, institutions and democratic integrity.
The Peacebuilding Commission, an intergovernmental advisory body of the Security Council and the General Assembly, ensures sustained international attention to countries emerging from conflict, he continued. While global security will always be within the proper remit of the Security Council, work done by the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council to build resilient and prosperous communities facilitates the work of the Council. Stressing the importance of system‑wide cooperation and the need for greater focus on prevention, he called for stronger engagement within the United Nations system and for reforms of the Organization’s three principal organs: making the Security Council more representative; revitalizing the work of the General Assembly; and strengthening the Economic and Social Council.
COLLEN VIXEN KELAPILE, President of the Economic and Social Council, highlighted visible, transparent, complementary and effective options for strengthening coordination between his body and the Security Council. The two organs could build on previous collaboration in the early 2000s, he said, noting that the Chair of the Ad Hoc Working Group of the Security Council had regularly participated in the work of the Economic and Social Council Ad Hoc Advisory Groups on African countries emerging from conflict, including going on a joint mission to Guinea‑Bissau in 2004. While the Ad Hoc Advisory Groups on African countries no longer exist, he pointed to monthly meetings between the Presidents of the General Assembly and Economic and Social Council as well as joint briefings between them at the beginning of the calendar year. There are also annual joint meetings of the Economic and Social Council with the Peacebuilding Commission.
He suggested the holding of regular joint meetings of a composite committee of the “bureaux” of the Economic and Social Council, the Peacebuilding Commission and a “troika” of Security Council Presidents of the current, prior and next month. These meetings could serve to mobilize political will, international solidarity and could be the medium through which to discuss integrated strategies and targeted policy interventions that support conflict prevention. Joining forces on global crises, such as pandemics and climate change, will show the public that Member States can put aside their differences for the greater good, he observed, while also mobilizing a more coherent, coordinated, and accountable United Nations system-wide response.
The COVID‑19 pandemic continues to be a threat, reversing many gains made towards attaining the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, he observed. Also noting that the pandemic has hit the poorest and most vulnerable countries the hardest, he said its multifaceted impacts on health, the economy, food security and education have exposed pre‑existing inequalities within and between countries. These, if not dealt within a collaborative way, are palpable sources of future tensions and conflict. It was of great importance to address the root causes of conflict, including poverty and unequal access to opportunities, he stressed. Recovery from the pandemic, including affordable vaccines for all, has been at the centre of the Economic and Social Council work since March 2020. It is one, among several other areas, where the Security Council and the Economic and Social Council can work together in coordination also with the General Assembly, he said.
JOAN E. DONOGHUE, President of the International Court of Justice, recalled that the General Assembly unanimously adopted a declaration in 2012 calling on States that have not yet done so to consider accepting the Court’s jurisdiction. However, depositing a declaration recognizing the Court’s jurisdiction as compulsory is only one of several ways in which States may express their consent to such jurisdiction. The principal organs of the United Nations can be, and have been, involved in other ways in the process that leads to contentious cases being submitted to the Court. On that, the Security Council may recommend that States involved in a legal dispute endangering international peace and security refer the same to the Court. She noted that the Council did so with respect to the very first case the Court heard — the Corfu Channel case. She also spotlighted the Secretary‑General’s crucial role in the decades‑long process that led to the submission of a dispute between Guyana and Venezuela to the Court.
She further recalled that the General Assembly’s 2012 declaration reaffirmed all States’ obligation to comply with the Court’s decisions in cases to which they are parties. Once the Court delivers its final judgment on a given dispute, the case is removed from its docket and the Court’s role in relation to that dispute ends. While the Court is not a monitoring body, other international organs may be able to play a role in facilitating full implementation of its decisions. Pointing out that the Charter of the United Nations sets out a specific role for the Security Council in this regard, she noted that limited practice under this provision suggests that States have found it more valuable to pursue other avenues to achieve full implementation of judgments in their favour.
She went on to say that in many cases, the two States — acting individually or in concert — give effect to a judgment without the involvement of third parties. In some circumstances, however, outside actors within the United Nations framework and beyond can assist the two States in moving forward from a situation of conflict to a situation where a dispute has been resolved. The principal organs of the United Nations can play a positive role in this regard, as did Secretary‑General Kofi Annan in effecting the implementation of the Court’s 2012 judgment concerning the land and maritime boundaries between Cameroon and Nigeria. She invited those present to consider the ways in which the Court’s contributions to the promotion of peace, security and justice and those of other principal organs could be mutually reinforcing.
JUAN RAMÓN DE LA FUENTE RAMÍREZ (Mexico), Security Council President for November, speaking in his national capacity, said in order to deploy genuine diplomacy, the United Nations must strengthen coordination between its principal organs. The participation of 34 other countries in the meeting demonstrates a willingness to engage better, he said, although the broad range of tools available to the United Nations have not been used as effectively as they could be — witness the broad range of subjects addressed in November. He stressed that the Council must think and work to avoid being limited to simply managing conflicts, acting in an early and timely manner to avoid outbreaks. Violence results from shortages of means, he noted, worsened by intolerance and hate, and can be halted if Member States “fight them from the various trenches of the United Nations”. Violence is the victory of force over reason and law, he said, highlighting the importance of the Charter of the United Nations. Citing the importance of accountability, he noted the veto cannot and must not be used to prevent the Council from acting in the face of mass atrocities. Preventive diplomacy and mediation are key to peacebuilding, as the COVID‑19 pandemic shows the international community needs synergies with long‑term vision. Calling for strengthened communication and cooperation of special envoys with other principal organs, he further encouraged the Secretary‑General to request advisory opinions from the International Court of Justice. Coordination should permeate down to subsidiary bodies, especially the Human Rights Council. He also noted meetings of this kind should be held regularly to avoid isolation of information, leading to creation of a working group to develop a genuine agenda of communication.
TAREK LADEB (Tunisia) said all organs of the United Nations must complement and coordinate actions to promote international peace through preventive diplomacy, which is central to the goals of the Organization’s Charter. Noting that the Charter of the United Nations confers primary responsibility for maintaining peace and security to the Security Council, he added that it also mentions the role of the General Assembly, regional organizations and the Economic and Social Council in this endeavour. He underscored the need for effective collective measures to prevent conflict, including through addressing its root causes, such as poverty, a decrease in economic indicators, institutional weakness, human rights violations, transnational crime, climate change and pandemics. These diverse challenges call for a broader look at the concept of international security, and call for action to be taken to prevent conflicts from occurring and spreading. He underscored the importance of holding regular meetings on this theme to put forth practical recommendations on the subject. As well, he reiterated the importance to develop partnerships with regional organizations, to enable them to intervene effectively and as soon as possible. He pointed out that there is a need for improvement, due to the absence of political resolve among some parties to conflict and the difficulty of imposing solutions. However, the human cost involved makes preventive diplomacy not an option, but an urgent need, he stressed.
BARBARA WOODWARD (United Kingdom), stressing the importance of a system‑wide approach to sustaining peace, said that by the time an issue reaches the Security Council it may be too late for those facing conflict. The human rights architecture is vital as violations in this area are often an early indicator of conflict. Peace should also be embedded in the work of United Nations bodies concerned with development. Thus, economic progress may be the best form of prevention. In ensuring development gains are sustainable, they must address issues that often drive conflict, including social, economic and political exclusion. An international order based on rule of law is indispensable for a more peaceful, prosperous and just world. The Council must hold Governments accountable when they disregard global treaties, she underscored, particularly in regards to serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law.
RAVINDRA RAGUTTAHALLI (India) said the Charter should remain the guiding light of the Organization, which was founded on the basis of the sovereign equality of nations. “…nowhere was this principle more belied than its principal organ — the Security Council,” he said. This structural inequality has persisted for more than seven decades. As the world changes, the Organization’s institutional architecture that is primarily responsible for international peace and security remains frozen. “A composition that is rooted in 1945 detracts from its abilities to fully harness the capabilities of UN Member States as of today,” he said. “We need to show our collective commitment to reformed multilateralism”. The peaceful settlement of disputes is the key to maintaining international peace and security and promoting the rule of law. Adequate attention needs to be paid to the provisions of Chapter VI, rather than Chapter VII becoming the ready recourse. Issues related to economic and social domain fall under the realm of the sovereignty of Member States. India believes advancing the rule of law at the national level is an essential tool to protect democracy, economic growth, sustainable development, ensure gender justice, eradicate poverty and hunger and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms. India believes the Assembly and the Economic and Social Council are the right fora in which Member States can discuss and work collaboratively on these issues.
ZHANG JUN (China) emphasized that, while the use of early warning mechanisms ensure that immediate action can be taken, they must not lead to overreaction. Noting that root causes of conflicts must be addressed so lasting peace and stability can be achieved, he said prevention efforts should include support for national governance systems with a people‑centric approach, as well as development paths that are appropriate for countries in conflict, including infrastructure investment. Moreover, preventive measures must follow the basic norms of international relations such as respect for sovereignty and non‑interference, he stressed, cautioning that arbitrarily interfering in a government’s internal affairs could lead to further conflict. Underscoring the need to enhance coordination between United Nations organs, he noted that the Economic and Social Council, International Court of Justice and the Secretariat should carry out their work within their mandates while maintaining communication and cooperation.
JEFFREY DELAURENTIS (United States) said that the United Nations possesses a unique advantage in facilitating preventive diplomacy, given its extensive presence in conflict‑affected areas worldwide. The Organization’s field mechanisms are on the front lines of such diplomacy and the international community must empower and reinforce these mechanisms’ efforts. Pointing out that conflict is often fuelled by abuse of human rights, he stressed the need for Member States to uphold their international obligations and commitments in this regard. Many have spoken about the need for greater coordination within the United Nations system; to this end, he expressed support for having the Peacebuilding Commission brief the Human Rights Council about the Commission’s important work. “At its best, the United Nations can lead the world forward through the choppy waters of the twenty‑first century”, he said, spotlighting the Organization’s essential role in times of global crisis such as that resulting from the COVID‑19 pandemic.
SAMADOU OUSMAN (Niger) stressed that preventive diplomacy must play a central role in United Nations efforts to maintain peace and security in the face of today’s enormous challenges. According to the Charter of the United Nations, the Security Council is the main organ exercising this function, but coordination must be strengthened with all organs. Moreover, interventions by the Security Council, Secretary‑General and other actors are crucial, but should not be considered a substitute for political dialogue and mediation. Efforts must also be made to partner with regional organizations in preventing conflicts, he said, noting that such cooperation assists in addressing peacebuilding, migration, poverty and the impacts of climate change. Calling for a stronger United Nations Secretariat as well as Peacebuilding Commission in enhancing preventive diplomacy, he said the two bodies need a sizeable budget to effectively carry out this function.
HAI ANH PHAM (Viet Nam) observed that early conflict prevention requires inclusive and comprehensive solutions to address the root causes that may require the engagement of other United Nations organs, outside of the Security Council, in accordance with their respective mandates. Those organs could contribute to conflict prevention by consistently promoting dialogue and joint coordination. Such activities should be planned and implemented in both the short‑term and long‑term and carried out through full consultation with and among Member States and in accordance with the Charter, including respect for national sovereignty and territorial integrity. Emphasizing the importance of regional and subregional organizations in conflict prevention, he said cooperation between the Security Council and such organizations should be further promoted through dialogue and cooperation frameworks.
ANNA M. EVSTIGNEEVA (Russian Federation), associating herself with the statement to be delivered by the Group of Friends in Defence of the Charter of the United Nations, said the Organization, Security Council and other organs and subsidiary bodies have carried out significant work to prevent conflict. Yet, new hotbeds continue to crop up. Prevention depends on systematic use of early warning systems, mediation and good offices. However, that work should not include double standards or be driven by the particular inclinations of a State. She questioned why time is allotted for quiet diplomacy in some instances, while in others, the United Nations is “firing from all cylinders”, including imposing sanctions. Further, interference in domestic political processes is not in the interest of long‑term diplomacy as it only exacerbates the cycle of violence. Early warning systems cannot be based on reinventing arbitrary conflict indicators. Special envoys must be impartial and seek nonstandard solutions. Peacekeeping must not be solely through the protection of civilians without a political process. Assisting post‑conflict countries depends on the Peacebuilding Commission, she said, noting the issue of financing remains unresolved. Unfortunately, the Secretariat has recently been focused on coordinating different United Nations organs rather than finding political solutions. Justice must be given to United Nations founders in order to ensure the Council is not distracted from its central duty to maintain international peace and security.
MICHAEL KAPKIAI KIBOINO (Kenya), stressing that preventive diplomacy “cannot be a one‑UN organ affair”, said it entails engaging with neighbouring countries, subregional and regional arrangements including regional economic communities and mechanisms, as well as the international community including within the context of Chapter VIII of the Charter. Underscoring that the Council must stand for an international justice approach that is underpinned by fairness, he highlighted the advisory role of the Peacebuilding Commission and its bridging mandate. Also underscoring the importance of inclusive development as a preventive tool, he called for stronger coordinated efforts towards eradication of poverty and support to countries going through transitions to build resilient governance and economic infrastructure. Drawing attention to the security implications of climate change, he cautioned that poor management of diversity is leading to grave threats to international peace.
NICOLAS DE RIVIÈRE (France) said that alongside the Council’s activities, which usually focus on situations of open conflict, significant efforts have been made to tackle root causes upstream. These include through the Secretary‑General’s impetus to diplomacy of peace, as well as steps taken to strengthen mediation and early warning systems, as well as to prevent genocide. In this regard, he commended the work United Nations Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia, which helps States strengthen dialogue and tackle common challenges, such as terrorism, water management and drug trafficking. However, he said, more needs to be done to address global challenges impinging on peace and security. To this end, the Council must take in the full picture of risks facing the world, including climate change, pandemics and disinformation. It must also promote the involvement of women in preventive diplomacy efforts. He commended work done by the Peacebuilding Commission, and reiterated Our Common Agenda’s call for more funds to be conferred on the Peacebuilding Fund, which has shown its ability to undertake cross‑border projects, including in the Sahel region. France has stepped up its contribution fourfold, he added. Turning to the African Union, he said the United Nations could lend its support to its initiatives, including “Silencing the Guns” and “Agenda 2063”. He stressed the need to combat the increasing scourge of mercenaries, which constitute a threat to stability. Further, the Council can benefit from the experience of the International Organisation of la Francophonie (OIF) with respect to elections, as it has undertaken several observation missions to aid political transitions and strengthen the rule of law in Haiti and the Gulf of Guinea, among other places.
SVEN JÜRGENSON (Estonia) said the role of the International Court of Justice cannot be underestimated in preventing disputes from escalating into conflicts and his country values the annual discussions held with the Court. Another important preventive element is for Council members to use initiatives that deter the veto’s use in cases related to the commission of atrocity crimes. Three areas are important in preventive diplomacy: climate change, adherence to the rule of law and inclusivity. The Council needs to take climate change more seriously by mandating the Secretary‑General to report on its impact on international security. Adherence to the rule of law, accountability and human rights makes societies more resilient and are essential for maintaining peace and security. Inclusivity must be ensured. “It has been proven that societies are more peaceful, and peace more lasting, when women are substantially involved,” he said. “A safe and diverse civil society space remains a vital component of resilient communities.” The Council needs to remember these elements as it draws up and reviews its robust mandates. Estonia values the Council’s regular exchanges with the representatives of other principal organs. “Communication, both in public and private, is of vital importance,” he said. “However, more often than not, the issues do not lie in the lack of information — the early warning, but in lack of early, in unison action.” In this light, Estonia condemns the continued massive repressions by Belarusian authorities against its people and using migration on a large scale for political purposes, in order to distract from human rights violations and brutal repression in the country. Estonia calls on the regime in Belarus to immediately stop such practices and other hybrid threats to people’s lives and health, including continuously blocking access to humanitarian aid.
INGA RHONDA KING (Saint Vincent and the Grenadines) stressed that unilateral measures and hegemonic motives — both of which undermine the norms of multilateralism and erode essential human rights, including the right to development — should be abandoned. Political dialogue, preventive diplomacy, and other participatory approaches — hinged upon the ideals of inclusivity and equality — should be earnestly pursued by all States. Calling for a more refined and collaborative multilateralism, she emphasized that the Security Council must continue its leading role in the maintenance of international peace and security. It should engage with creative and innovative approaches to address existing implementation gaps, including conflict prevention; post‑conflict peacebuilding; questions concerning women and youth; climate change and environmental degradation; and other fundamental challenges of sustainable development. She further pointed out that the Peacebuilding Commission, Economic and Social Council, International Court of Justice and the General Assembly ought to be leveraged more often. Preventive diplomacy and proactive political engagements, underpinned by the guiding principles of international law, must remain at the centrepiece of the multi‑stakeholder approach.
GERALDINE BYRNE NASON (Ireland) said that just as Member States need to work in lockstep, so too must the organs of the United Nations to address the challenges before them. The issues of food insecurity, poverty, gender inequality and climate change can become precursors to conflict. Therefore, humanitarian, development and peace support actors must work in a coordinated manner. The Security Council must also heed the advice provided by the Peacebuilding Commission on specific country and regional situations. Stressing the need to foster a more coherent relationship between human rights and the Council, she noted that violations of such rights are the harbingers of conflict to come. For this reason, human rights are a peace and security issue; it belongs in the Security Council. To ensure an inclusive understanding of prevention, the Council must listen and learn from human rights defenders, women leaders and civil society and act on their recommendations. She also underlined that the International Court of Justice is a key tool for conflict prevention but remains underutilized for the peaceful adjudication of disputes. In that regard, the Court’s role in preventing conflict could be bolstered by greater interaction with the Court. The Council should consider, where appropriate, the possibility of seeking the Court’s input in the form of advisory opinions, she said, adding that the Council could also recommend that States with a dispute on its agenda resolve the legal aspect of their dispute before the International Court of Justice.
MONA JUUL (Norway) stressed that all parts of the United Nations system must work together to prevent conflict and build peace, along with the Security Council which has the primary responsibility for this goal. She went on to point out that there is no better guarantee to prevent conflict than for Member States to fulfil their human rights obligations. Greater interaction between the Security Council, the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Human Rights Council is needed to facilitate early engagement and prevent conflict. Acknowledging the important role of the Peacebuilding Commission in conflict prevention, she emphasized that the integrity and independence provided by the good offices of the Secretary‑General are also essential tools to prevent conflict through mediation. She also highlighted the difference preventive diplomacy can make in the lead up to elections, as well as in contested political transitions and challenging implementation phases of peace accords.
Ms. EVSTIGNEEVA (Russian Federation), taking the floor a second time, said that situation in Belarus is an example of destabilizing external interference and double standards. The European Union should refrain from such double standards and take responsibility for its own actions. As for the situation on the Polish‑Belarussian border, an equal dialogue with Minsk is required, she said, adding that if Brussels is prepared for that, the Russian Federation will assist in those efforts.
KAI SAUER (Finland), also speaking on behalf of Denmark, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, noted that responses to crises have often been reactive and sporadic instead of preventive. Diplomatic solutions must be at the heart of the settlement of disputes, he said, underscoring the importance of inclusive political structures that include women and young people. An integrated multisectoral approach that links prevention, human rights and the 2030 Agenda is vital. Calling for closer cooperation between the Security Council, the Peacebuilding Commission, the Economic and Social Council and the Human Rights Council, he pointed out that human rights violations are often the first signs of emerging conflicts. As for the role of the International Court of Justice, the submission of a dispute to the Court should not be regarded as an unfriendly act but rather an attempt to settle conflicts peacefully.
ISHIKANE KIMIHIRO (Japan) stressed that States must shift their focus to prevention, not only in the Security Council, but in the entire United Nations system. The Peacebuilding Commission has a critical role to play in conflict prevention as acknowledged in the Security Council resolution 2171 (2014), he noted, pointing out that the prevention of conflicts remains a primary responsibility of States. As have many countries in Asia and other regions, Japan has a lot to share and contribute to the work of prevention, including its work conducted under the “New Approach for Peace and Stability in Africa”, he said. Emphasizing that building effective, accountable and inclusive institutions in conflict‑prone countries should be the priority in the work of United Nations, he highlighted the critical importance of effective and impartial institutions in the security and judicial sectors as well as institutions to ensure equal access to basic social services in preventing conflicts. He further underscored that the role of women and civil society in conflict prevention should be further strengthened as emphasized in resolution 2171 (2014).
MAJID TAKHT RAVANCHI (Iran), associating himself with the Non‑Aligned Movement and the statement to be delivered by the Group of Friends in Defence of the Charter of the United Nations, questioned how successful the Council has been in applying the principle of peace and security through prevention. Despite being mandated to use prevention and non‑coercive means under Chapter VI of the Charter, he noted the Council has applied the principle very rarely, resorting too frequently, hastily and excessively, to coercive measures set forth in Chapter VII. That trend has resulted, in many cases, in further complication of situations, violation of sovereignty and territorial integrity of States, abusing human rights of an entire population. When combined with other factors such as the Council’s ultra vires decisions or its exploitation by certain permanent members, he said this approach has also further prolonged conflict. The Council must accord priority to “prevention” and non‑coercive measures, yet that principle cannot and must not be applied arbitrarily. He stressed that Chapter VI functions must never be invoked for matters essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of States or for consideration of situations the continuance of which is not likely to endanger the maintenance of international peace and security, or for violating or undermining the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of States.
JOÂO GENÉSIO DE ALMEIDA FILHO (Brazil), associating himself with the Group of Four and the L.69 Group, recalled that after 40 years of the Assembly discussing equitable representation in the Council, it is incomprehensible that a negotiating process has been devised that makes bridging differences impossible. Failure to address reform in a timely manner will have far-reaching consequences, including jeopardizing the credibility and effectiveness of the United Nations. Noting that Brazil rarely agrees with Uniting for Consensus, he said his delegation supports the Group’s statement today — that reform must reflect the aspirations of all States. Anything less will meet with failure, he said, adding that recent efforts in this regard can add energy to advance progress in discussions. However, the current negotiations process is not producing desired results, he continued, suggesting text-based discussions that may result in agreed language. In addition, the United Nations can also provide such services as record‑keeping and webcast broadcasting, he said, pledging Brazil’s support in putting an end to the cycle of repetition in discussions.
RENÉ ALFONSO RUIDÍAZ PÉREZ (Chile), noting the utility of preventive diplomacy for the United Nations, stressed the need to concentrate not just on structural prevention, but also on operational prevention. Against the backdrop of a world facing the highest number of violent conflicts since 1945 — and an unprecedented level of humanitarian need over the same period — he said that the principal organs of the United Nations must coordinate to effect preventive diplomacy. Successful prevention is not achieved simply through the willingness of parties; rather, it depends on, inter alia, adequate early‑warning systems, the flexibility to adapt available resources to changing forms of violence and sufficient human and financial resources. He also spotlighted the preventive function performed by groups of friends, contact groups and ad hoc groups.
MARITZA CHAN VALVERDE (Costa Rica) called for a gendered approach to peace and security, as women and girls are differently and disproportionately affected by armed conflict. In a world where gender and sexual identity are still a reason to be killed, maimed, abused or exploited, bridging the gap between organizational silos in the United Nations can and will save lives. Highlighting international treaties as instruments of preventive diplomacy, she stressed their regulations and commitments are obligatory and cannot be disregarded if State preferences shift, particularly articles VI and VII of the Arms Trade Treaty. In preventing conflicts, the Security Council needed to strengthen its work by deepening communication with other actors, not only with the General Assembly, Economic and Social Council and Peacebuilding Commission but also with regional and subregional organizations. Expressing regret that civil society has no significant role in negotiations to prevent conflicts, she underscored that “while it is tempting to fight fire with fire”, that will only fuel conflict.
VANESSA FRAZIER (Malta) stressed that the international community must redouble early‑warning and early‑action efforts to identify and tackle the root causes of conflict, including human rights violations and gender‑based violence, before things escalate into a full‑blown conflict. Citing the Charter’s Articles regarding the role of the General Assembly in preventive diplomacy, she also highlighted the importance of the Economic and Social Council and Peacebuilding Commission, including an adequately funded Peacebuilding Fund. Emphasizing the key role of the International Court of Justice in upholding international law, the rule of law, and the fight against impunity, she further pointed out the need to hold annual or biannual interactive dialogues between the Presidents of the Security Council, General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council and the Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission, as well as representatives of civil society.
JOSÉ MANUEL RODRÍGUEZ CUADROS (Peru) said the agenda for peace refers to preventive diplomacy and reduction of strategic risks — especially nuclear disarmament and non‑proliferation — as well as control of conventional weapons and fighting terrorism. He noted the proposal for broadening the mandate of the Peacebuilding Commission and the possible establishment of an emergency platform for complex crises. Preventive diplomacy, focused on a societal vision of conflict, in some ways avoids the central role of the State in addressing conflict and peacebuilding — internationally and domestically. It is crucial to link the ideas in the report to a more specific vision of preventive action. Preventive diplomacy includes principles, mechanisms and resources to prevent disputes from erupting and limit their spread if they occur. The question is how to determine strengths and vulnerabilities of the current structure and mechanisms of the United Nations system to prevent disputes and affirm the maintenance of international peace and security. The International Court of Justice is also a mechanism of conflict prevention. He called for the international community to address imbalances, social divides, exclusion and marginalization, linking conflict prevention to social and economic development.
MUNIR AKRAM (Pakistan) underlined that addressing the root causes of conflicts and disputes must be the principal modality for preventive diplomacy. Pointing to the conflict over Jammu and Kashmir, he stressed that there is considerable and credible evidence that human rights are being massively violated in the Indian‑occupied parts. These violations have escalated sharply after the unilateral measures taken by India, on and after 5 August 2019, to forcibly annex occupied Jammu and Kashmir and change its demography in violation of Security Council resolutions. These actions constitute grave violations of international law, including the Geneva Conventions and could amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity. Despite the revival of the 2003 ceasefire, threats against Pakistan and the repression in Kashmir have not abated, he noted, emphasizing that it should be a high priority for the Council and Secretary General to prevent such a conflict by promoting a just and peaceful resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute and end the massive human rights violations taking place. That, surely, is the essence of preventive diplomacy, envisaged in the United Nations Charter, he stated.
KAJAL BHAT (India), taking the floor a second time, voiced her objection to the remarks made by the representative of Pakistan. That delegate sought to divert attention from the “sad state of the country, where terrorists enjoy a free pass, and the lives of minorities have been turned upside down”. The country has an established history of aiding, supporting and openly training and financing terrorists as State policy. Moreover, it hosts the largest number of terrorists proscribed by the Council. The territory of Jammu and Kashmir as well as Ladakh are an inalienable part of India, she stressed, calling on Pakistan to immediately vacate the regions that it is illegally occupying. India is ready for meaningful dialogue with all neighbours, including Pakistan, but such engagement can only take place in an atmosphere free of terror, hostility and violence, she said. Until then, India will continue to take firm and decisive steps to respond to cross‑border terrorism.
IVAN ŠIMONOVIĆ (Croatia) observed that the Security Council, in some cases, is unable to prevent conflicts due to divisions amongst its permanent members and the use of veto. In that context, he expressed support for the efforts to restrain the veto power, in case of atrocity crimes threats. Moreover, the General Assembly should utilize its own powers to prevent conflicts and atrocity crimes more effectively, especially when the Security Council fails to do so. The Economic and Social Council can help to address the root causes of instability, conflicts and atrocity crimes by furthering economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development. The International Court of Justice upholds and promotes the rule of law through its judgements and advisory opinions. The Secretary General and the Secretariat should further increase their involvement in conflict prevention and atrocity crimes prevention diplomacy. In addition, the Peacebuilding Commission should further develop its potential to prevent deteriorating situations in countries at risk, as well as to build peace after the conflict and prevent its relapse.
CRISTIAN ESPINOSA CAŇIZARES (Ecuador) underscored the importance of putting into practice synergies within the United Nations system. While the Security Council is tasked with maintaining peace, the General Assembly and the International Court of Justice also have an important role to play, which requires coordination with the Secretariat. He went on to note the impetus that the Secretary-General provides to preventive approaches. As a result of the process of revitalization of the General Assembly, Member States agreed to invite the Security Council to continue with initiatives that improve the quality of its annual report, he recalled, adding that the Council must move forward in implementing its existing recommendations. He went on to express support for the continuation of monthly meetings between the leaders of the principal organs of the United Nations.
SAMUEL MONCADA (Venezuela), speaking for the Group of Friends in Defence of the Charter of the United Nations, said the norms and principles outlined by the Charter, including, among others, the sovereign equality of States, non‑interference in the internal affairs of States, and refrainment from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State, remain as relevant today as they were in 1945. Underlining the need to adhere to the letter and spirit of the Charter, he expressed serious concern at the growing threats against it, through an increasing tendency towards unilateralism, the claiming of non-existent exceptionalisms, and attempts to ignore and even substitute the purposes and principles in the Charter with a new set of so-called “rules”, that have never been discussed in an inclusive or transparent manner. Such practices contribute to an increase in uncertainty, distrust, instability and tensions around the world, he added.
Prevention must not be invoked to interfere in the internal affairs of States or to undermine their sovereignty, he continued, adding that such adventuristic approaches, not only go against the very letter and spirit of the Charter, but also have the potential to undermine the credibility of the United Nations. Turning to unilateral coercive measures, he said they are not in accordance with international law and the Charter, and impede the full achievement of economic and social development of developing countries. Such arbitrary actions foster the conditions for poverty and inequality, and represent a deliberate attack against the right to development, he emphasized.
MARK ZELLENRATH (Netherlands), citing a World Bank study showing that investing in prevention can save up to $70 billion per year in costs incurred by conflict, said that structural prevention across the pillars of the United Nations must address the root causes of conflict and the prevention of large-scale human rights violations. Further, a new vision of the rule of law is needed to rebuild trust between people, communities and the institutions that serve them. The Netherlands is proud to host the International Court of Justice, and Dutch foreign policy prioritizes accountability and the fight against impunity. He also supported strengthening and expanding the role of the Peacebuilding Commission, which is strategically placed to support preventive measures related to climate change, health, gender, equality, development and human rights.
PASCALE CHRISTINE BAERISWYL (Switzerland), stressing that development and humanitarian actors must work in partnership, said that increased collaboration in addressing food insecurity, not only saves lives in the short-term, but also reduces vulnerabilities and prevents the re-emergence of needs in the future. Respect for human rights helps to prevent conflict and promote sustainable peace. In addition, digital cooperation can strengthen predictive analysis of root causes of conflict. “The flow of information between New York and Geneva, including between the Security Council and the Human Rights Council, should be continuously strengthened,” she said. Also calling for an expanded role for the Peacebuilding Commission, she added that the peace puzzle will never be complete without the central role of the Security Council. Its lack of unity will lead to more suffering, lost lives and missed opportunities for a better future, she stressed.
MICHAL MLYNÁR (Slovakia) said that the Security Council’s success in fulfilling its responsibility to maintain international peace and security relies both on the success of the General Assembly, as well as other bodies, such as the International Court of Justice. The Court fulfils its role in preventive diplomacy not only by adjudicating international disputes. Far more often, those disputes are “an element of the routine interaction of international relations”, he said. Coordinated and horizontal cooperation between the Security Council and the Peacebuilding Commission is another way to respond as an integrated unit to the challenges currently threatening international peace and security. He added that, as a member of the Peacebuilding Commission, Slovakia has identified security-sector reform as one of the key elements for effective conflict prevention and successful post‑conflict rebuilding and stabilization.
AMRIT BAHADUR RAI (Nepal) said that, for effective preventive diplomacy, the General Assembly should provide the normative framework and resources, with a view to coordinating sustainable, preventive and peacebuilding strategies. The Security Council should assess and examine evolving cases to address situations before they escalate into armed conflict. The Economic and Social Council should continue to work closely with both, he said, continuing by underscoring the role of the International Court of Justice in promoting the settlement of international disputes by peaceful means. The “good offices” of the Secretary-General should be used to promote preventive diplomacy and there should be greater coherence and coordination within the United Nations, including the Peacebuilding Commission and the Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs. Bretton Woods institutions and regional organizations play a significant role in addressing the root causes of conflicts, he said, noting that collaboration with them should be further enhanced.
SYED MOHAMAD HASRIN AIDID (Malaysia) underscored the importance of greater coordination and transparency between the Security Council and the General Assembly, including with the latter’s subsidiary organs such as the Disarmament Commission and the Peacebuilding Commission. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development provides the path to address the root causes of conflict, he said, highlighting the importance of the partnership between special political missions and the Economic and Social Council in reinforcing the linkages between security and development. Encouraging the Security Council to make greater use of Article 65 of the Charter, which states that the Economic and Social Council may furnish information to the Security Council and shall assist it upon request, he added that deliberations on contentious political and security issues would be better served if supplemented by an authoritative legal opinion. Highlighting the relevance of the International Court of Justice, he urged the Security Council to consider Article 96 of the Charter and make greater use of the Court as a source of advisory opinion.
OSAMA MAHMOUD ABDELKHALEK MAHMOUD (Egypt) said investing in conflict prevention is smart, low‑cost and high yield. The Peacebuilding Commission holds joint but separate activities with the General Assembly, Security Council and Economic and Social Council, but should strengthen that coordination so that those organs can benefit from its advisory role and expertise. Member States must help countries emerging from conflict, with those working in the field provided with the necessary resources. He recalled that Egypt resorted to Article 35 of the Charter to use peaceful means to look into the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, which affects 150 million people in Egypt and Sudan. No agreement was reached on how to operate the dam or complete economic and environmental studies. The Security Council had adopted a Presidential Statement calling for the parties to reach agreement on filling the dam within a legitimate timeline, he said, also noting a negative position from Ethiopia on that statement.
MD MONWAR HOSSAIN (Bangladesh) noted that over the years, the United Nations approach to peace has shifted from reaction to ‘prevention’, an approach which entails addressing the drivers of conflict. He underlined the importance of close and seamless communications in a horizontal manner among the key organs of the United Nations, to ensure greater coherence, coordination and complementarity. He called for enhanced communications between the Peacebuilding Commission and the Council in addressing multidimensional security challenges. On the International Court of Justice, he said as the principal entity responsible for enforcing the Court’s orders, the Council needs to play its role in a non‑discriminatory and transparent manner, including by supporting the monitoring mechanisms where they exist. He also emphasized the need for more interactions between the Court and other organs to implement the Court orders. Moreover, the United Nations principal organs need to enhance their visibility to the global community to demonstrate that they are cooperating and coordinating with each other on prevention of conflict. He also echoed the calls to reform the principal organs in Our Common Agenda, to make the Council more representative, to revitalize the General Assembly’s work, and to strengthen the Economic and Social Council.
RAZIYE BILGE KOCYIGIT GRBA (Turkey) observed that there has been a growing gap between the Council’s responsibilities and performance, often due to the differences between its members and, in particular, its permanent members. Highlighting the importance of Security Council reform, she noted that a more representative, accountable and transparent Council will reinforce global solidarity and cooperation. She voiced hope that the General Assembly and Security Council work closely to that end, without encroaching upon each other’s mandates. However, the Council’s failure to effectively prevent conflict has led to some of the worst humanitarian tragedies in the history of the Organization in her region, she said. The internal dynamics and decisions of the Council has reduced the role of the United Nations to intervention during conflict resolution, after the damage is done, she stressed, reiterating that preventive diplomacy can save lives.
CHRISTIAN WENAWESER (Liechtenstein), noting that the Council is not always able to uphold the mandate supplied by Article 1 of the Charter, stressed that: “Political disagreement concerning the fundamentals runs deep and the blocking power of the veto often looms large.” As the Organization’s central deliberative and decision-making body, the General Assembly has shown in recent years, most notably with situations in Myanmar and Syria, that where the Council cannot fulfil its role, the Assembly can step in. His delegation will continue to pursue initiatives upholding the Assembly’s role in maintaining peace and security, including the possibility of mandating a debate each time a veto is cast in the Council, without prejudice to the debate’s outcome. The Accountability, Coherence and Transparency Group Code of Conduct is of great importance; its signatories, when serving on the Council, commit to measures to end and prevent atrocity crimes, and not to vote against credible draft resolutions put forward to that effect. The Code has been signed by 122 States, including 10 Council members, which is a majority in any procedural decision. He encouraged Council members to use it to change that organ’s political culture, when faced with the risk of occurrence of atrocity crimes.
PHILIPPE KRIDELKA (Belgium) stressed the importance of combatting impunity, particularly through transitional justice. It is important to establish responsibilities for violations of human rights and the most serious crimes in order to restore the trust of people in inclusive institutions. Transitional justice is a priority for the African Union, he said, noting that it is one of the big lessons from that continent to the rest of the world. The Council must play a more active role, he said, underscoring that the entire United Nations system, including its peacekeeping operations, political missions and country teams, should gather around a common strategy that is adapted to local conditions based on victims and human rights, taking into account the gender dimension. He also urged for cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations, such as the European Union, which is in a position to contribute to preventive diplomacy through, including mechanisms for exchanging information. Early warning capabilities must be strengthened, including the exchange of information between the Security Council and the Peacebuilding Commission, he said.
ALYA AHMED SAIF AL-THANI(Qatar) said maintaining international peace and security is at the very heart of the United Nations activities. She encouraged greater coordination between the main organs of the Organization, including with the Peacebuilding Commission. She also outlined efforts by Qatar to bring about the peaceful resolution of disputes, which is one of the main elements of its Constitution. Her country has engaged in the effective prevention of conflicts and their escalation, by hosting several peace negotiations, including the Doha Agreement in 2020 in Afghanistan. As well, Qatar has also helped defuse crises within the Security Council and complements its preventive diplomacy efforts with humanitarian and development assistance. In addition, it has provided assistance in the Gaza Strip to improve deplorable living conditions, by improving infrastructure and addressing urgent needs.
MARÍA DEL CARMEN SQUEFF (Argentina) observed that while the number of wars between States has been reduced since 1946, intra‑State conflicts persist, often fought by non‑State actors. Regional tensions, absent or co‑opted State institutions are among the main drivers of conflict, she stressed, noting that they are difficult to address in the traditional way. Against that backdrop, preventive diplomacy has had to evolve, utilizing a wider range of actors and tools. The Security Council has a crucial role in supporting preventive diplomacy, addressing emerging threats before they escalate, sending important signals and opening channels of dialogue. As for addressing the underlying drivers of conflict, the Economic and Social Council plays an important role in structural prevention, she said. The General Assembly also has broad authority to consider prevention or draw the Security Council’s attention to developing conflicts. Operative and structural prevention are interlinked and complementary, she said, underscoring the role of the Peacebuilding Commission, in that regard.
GUENTER SAUTTER (Germany) stressed that conflict prevention requires a “whole‑of‑UN approach”. Diplomacy, mediation, the promotion of human rights, social inclusion and respect for the rule of law are all critical to prevent disputes from evolving into conflicts, he said, emphasizing that these are essential instruments to achieve durable, inclusive and locally driven solutions. He went on to point out that the Peacebuilding Commission is a key instrument that helps foster coordination and shared the Secretary-General’s conviction that by its mandate and actions the Peacebuilding Commission embodies the interlinkages necessary to mobilize the entire United Nations system for conflict prevention and sustaining peace. To maximize its impact, the Commission needs to freely interact and coordinate with all relevant United Nations bodies, in addition to the Council, the General Assembly and Economic and Social Council. Highlighting the centrality of human rights as a crucial element in conflict prevention, he noted that his country together with Switzerland, is co‑chairing the Human Rights and Conflict Prevention Caucus in New York, which is a cross‑regional group dedicated to strengthening collaboration between all three pillars of the United Nations.
YASHAR T. ALIYEV (Azerbaijan), speaking for the Non‑Aligned Movement, denounced and demanded the repeal of unilateral coercive measures against Member States that are not authorized by the Security Council in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations. He said the same of such measures that are inconsistent with the principles of international law or of the Charter, as they violate human rights and prevent the full economic and social development of the peoples subjected to them. He also expressed concern at the Security Council’s continued encroachment on issues that clearly fall within the functions and powers of other principal United Nations organs and their subsidiary bodies. On that point, he said that the principal organs of the United Nations have distinct and separate roles under the Charter, and reaffirmed that such organs must carry out only those functions and powers established in their respective mandates. However, close cooperation and coordination among these organs is necessary for the United Nations to remain relevant and capable of meeting threats both existing and emerging. He also emphasized the significant role played by the International Court of Justice in promoting and encouraging the settlement of international disputes, and urged the Security Council, General Assembly and other organs of the United Nations to make greater use of the Court as a source of advisory opinions.
FERIT HOXHA (Albania) said that, while the biggest return in conflict prevention obviously comes in lives saved, the World Bank has also calculated that the average cost of civil war is equivalent to more than 30 years of gross domestic product (GDP) growth for a medium‑sized developing country. Citing the example of Syria, he noted the economic cost of conflict after 10 years is estimated to be over $1.2 trillion and will continue to accumulate, if not double, for another decade. Ten years of war has reduced Syrian children’s overall life expectancy by 13 years, as well. Therefore, every effort invested in prevention, however difficult or slow, is far less costly. While the Security Council has considerably improved its work in addressing emerging threats, he noted it took several months to have an open meeting on the conflict in Ethiopia, where every horrible and reprehensible act on the book is taking place. He called for the Peacebuilding Commission to be empowered, with a more effective Peacebuilding Fund needed. He also underscored that women are promoters for positive changes and can offer an important contribution to increase preventive abilities and capacities of the United Nations. As an incoming member of the Council, Albania will work to increase the number of regular briefings by the High Commissioner for Human Rights, as well as civil society representatives, he said.
SERGIY KYSLYTSYA (Ukraine) stressed that insufficient preventive measures could encourage an instigator to increase acts of violence in terms of intensity or geographical scope. Noting that democracy and respect for human rights are crucial to conflict prevention, he said Ukraine, since 2010, has been promoting, in the Human Rights Council, an initiative on preventing human rights violations and that the relevant resolution had been approved. The Secretary-General should use his authority, envisaged in Article 99 of the Charter, more often and more explicitly. It is critical to explore the “preventive diplomacy toolbox” to discourage an instigator from new flare-ups of violence, he said, adding that sanctions and other restrictive measures against an aggressor at the international level has been a legitimate and adequate response, aimed at restoring respect for international law. Noting that the current situation on the borders of the European Union with Belarus serves as a test in efficient prevention, he stressed that attempts to weaponize migration pose a serious threat for the entire region and his country may be among the most affected.
KRZYSZTOF SZCZERSKI (Poland) observed that today’s conflicts are more complex, often spreading across borders to affect broader regions. Highlighting the situation in Belarus, where civilians are being weaponized, he characterized it as a serious challenge to the international community’s common security that is below the threshold of an outright military conflict and one that requires urgent preventive diplomacy efforts. For months, Belarusian authorities have issued these civilians visas and tricked them into flying thousands of kilometres based on a false promise that they were traveling to a “better future”. By doing so, the Belarusian regime has focused on destabilize neighbouring countries, which qualifies as a hybrid attack against the European Union and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) through their eastern borders. He deplored Belarus for its “inhumane instrumentalization of people”, which he pointed out is detrimental to finding effective solutions to the existing real, not‑artificially created, refugee crisis. The international community must not participate in the Belarusian disinformation campaign, he stressed, urging that Member States withdraw support for Belarusian policy in the international fora and assist in the process of dismantling the human trafficking network that contributed to triggering the crisis.
OMAR HILALE (Morocco) said that collective action is crucial to ensuring that the international community “can focus on prevention rather than on a cure”. Preventive action means combining short‑ and long-term action, along with sustained investment in structural policies. Coherent action throughout the United Nations system is also important, he said, highlighting the role played by the Peacebuilding Commission, which submits valuable contributions to the Security Council on issues examined by the two bodies. He also emphasized the need to strengthen consistency between the actions of different United Nations bodies; to properly allocate attention and resources to cross-cutting issues; and to invest more in the humanitarian‑peace‑development nexus to build societies on more robust foundations. Prevention is a main part of Moroccan foreign policy, he added.
JORGE EDUARDO FERREIRA SILVA ARANDA (Portugal) said that shifting the United Nations focus from conflict management to conflict prevention is more necessary than ever and has been one of the main tenets of the Secretary‑General’s reforms. The silos at the heart of the Organization must be broken down to foster greater coordination and efficiency. The Standing Principals Group has enabled more efficient communication between departments, as well as between Headquarters and field operations. The Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, in particular the Peacebuilding Support Office, are crucial to ensure this cross‑cutting approach, as they were designed to serve as a “hinge” between the pillars of peace and security, human rights and development. He voiced his support for an expanded role for the Peacebuilding Commission, in order to ensure that it can address multiple threats to peace and security in a coherent and preventive manner.
MHER MARGARYAN (Armenia) stressed that the consolidated support of the international community is paramount for the comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the Nagorno‑Karabakh conflict on the basis of principles and elements developed over the years, including the equal rights and self‑determination of peoples. Noting that Armenia values the unwavering support by the Security Council and the Secretary‑General to the efforts of the Organization for Security and Co‑operation in Europe (OSCE) Minsk Group Co-Chairs, the internationally agreed mediation format dealing with the resolution of the Nagorno‑Karabakh conflict, he also underscored the key role of the International Court of Justice in ensuring the accountability for the gross human rights violations. Pointing to the recent armed attacks by Azerbaijan against the territorial integrity of Armenia, he emphasized that such actions are undermining the prospects of peace in the region, calling for a strong and unequivocal international reaction, aimed at preventing further escalation and demanding unconditional and complete withdrawal of the Azerbaijani armed forces from the territory of Armenia.
MATHU JOYINI (South Africa) said that preventive diplomacy averts the escalation of conflicts and provides opportunities for inclusive dialogue, which in turn leads to settlements and paves the way for peaceful and stable societies. The primary organs of the United Nations must work in synergy if the Organization is to achieve the goal of preventive diplomacy. The Economic and Social Council, the International Court of Justice and the General Assembly all have the potential to play a greater role in supporting the Secretary‑General in conflict prevention. She urged the Security Council to strengthen its interactions with regional and subregional organizations in preventive diplomacy initiatives and to strive towards using the good offices of the Secretary-General, in collaboration with regional organizations. She also encouraged the Council to interact regularly with the International Court of Justice and draw from its legal advisory expertise pertaining to the prevention of conflicts, as well as in settling disputes that may have catastrophic implications for the countries concerned.
GHASAQ YOUSIF ABDALLA SHAHEEN (United Arab Emirates) said the Security Council would benefit from enhancing and standardizing its analysis of climate change-driven security implications on issues currently on the agenda. That includes building on the work of the Climate Security Mechanism and the Council’s Informal Expert Group on Climate Security. Maintaining regular communication and transparency between the Council and wider United Nations membership is vital for collective peace and security and cannot be limited to an annual report submitted to the General Assembly. In that context, she expressed support for regular engagement on shared priorities, from the Economic and Social Council and the Peacebuilding Commission on mission transitions and other agenda items, to regular meetings between the incoming President of the Security Council and the President of the General Assembly. Emphasizing the critical role of regional organizations, she observed that crises in the Middle East occupy a significant portion of the Security Council’s agenda and, as such, would benefit from closer cooperation with the League of Arab States.
PANGERAN IBRANI SITUMORANG (Indonesia) said that addressing the root causes of conflict requires concerted efforts by all United Nations bodies, with missions on the ground working to identify drivers of conflict and acting as early warning systems. He noted that regional and subregional organizational efforts can be enhanced, as those groups have deep knowledge and strong local connections in preventing and managing conflicts. He highlighted the experience of ASEAN, now a global leader, which has nurtured a culture of trust and dialogue. The region is not free from troubles, he noted, but a culture of dialogue and consensus building is an example of “the ASEAN way”. Strengthening conflict prevention cannot be accomplished by a single organization, he emphasized, but requires a combined effort from all bodies and actors.
Mr. ALIYEV (Azerbaijan), taking the floor a second time, said the statement made by the representative of Armenia was false and misleading. Part of the territory of Azerbaijan was seized for nearly 30 years, despite various Security Council resolutions. Serious violations of humanitarian law were committed during the occupation, resulting in the killing of civilians, as well as ethnic cleansing. In the fall of 2020, another act of aggression by Armenia occurred as a consequence of the impunity it enjoyed for 30 years. Azerbaijan launched a counter operation to regain its territory, acting in full accordance with international law and the Charter of the United Nations. The three decades of armed conflict have now been resolved. Azerbaijan is ready to resume interstate relations with Armenia, including through the signing of a peace treaty. However, Armenia has failed to reciprocate the peace agenda put forward by his country, he said.