General Assembly

24 April 2018

Remarks to the General Assembly high-level meeting on peacebuilding and sustaining peace

António Guterres

Secretary-General António Guterres addresses the high-level General Assembly plenary meeting on peacebuilding and sustaining peace. UN Photo/Evan Schneider

Above all, sustainable, inclusive development, deeply rooted in respect for all human rights – economic, social, cultural, civil and political – is the world’s best preventive tool against violent conflict and instability.

Thank you for this opportunity to renew our joint commitment to build and sustain peace.
I welcome your high-level attention to this issue, at a key moment for our collective efforts, and at a time when peace is fragile and at risk in many places around the world.
Two years ago, the General Assembly and the Security Council sent an unequivocal message by passing ambitious twin resolutions pledging to work better together to sustain peace “at all stages of conflict, and in all its dimensions.”
These resolutions stressed that while governments have primary responsibility for peacebuilding and sustaining peace, we can all do more to build peaceful and resilient societies.
Two years on, it is time to look at progress and forge a common path ahead.
No one can doubt the many benefits of globalization: the integration of the world’s economies; the expansion of trade; the reduction in poverty and improvements in living standards; the stunning advances in technology. 
But at the same time, we must recognize that in some fundamental ways, our world is going backwards.
More countries are experiencing violent conflict than at any time in nearly three decades.
Record numbers of civilians are being killed or injured by explosive weapons in urban areas.
Record numbers of people are on the move, displaced by violence, war and persecution. 
We see horrific violations of human rights, and rising nationalism, racism and xenophobia.
Inequalities are increasing; whole regions, countries and communities can find themselves isolated from progress and left behind by growth. Women and girls face discrimination of all kinds.

These are all indications that we need greater unity and courage – to ease the fears of the people we serve; to set the world on track to a better future; and to lay the foundations of sustainable peace and development.
I hope this High-level Meeting will build greater momentum to implement the resolutions passed in 2016 towards sustaining peace.  
Mr. President, Excellencies,
The central message of my report on peacebuilding and sustaining peace is that we need to enhance the coherence of international efforts in support of national governments and their people. 
The scale and nature of the challenge we face calls for closer strategic and operational partnerships between all key stakeholders, based on what are the national priorities and the natinal policies. These key stakeholders include Governments, the United Nations, other international, regional and sub-regional organizations, international financial institutions, civil society, women’s groups, youth organizations and the private sector.
To achieve greater coherence, we are strengthening partnerships around all our efforts, and at every stage along the peace continuum from conflict prevention and resolution to peacekeeping, peacebuilding and long-term development.
My High-Level Advisory Board on Mediation is aimed at building on the expertise of skilled diplomats to support action for peace around the world, strengthening our relationships with regional organizations, non-governmental groups and others who are engaged in this critical activity for peace.
Last month, I launched the Action for Peacekeeping initiative to mobilize greater support for stronger and safer UN peacekeeping missions.
One important element of the initiative is to strengthen relationships with all our partners and stakeholders, including the countries that contribute troops, in a generous way, but also police, equipment and other resources.  
We are also aiming to strengthen support to the Peacebuilding Commission, the platform that brings together partnerships to enhance coherence between all stakeholders, by revitalizing the Peacebuilding Support Office that would be strengthened with the reform and strengthen also the role of the Peacebuilding Support Office’s role across the UN system. This will increase our capacity to facilitate transition in post-conflict situations.
All these efforts are beginning to bear fruit. In Liberia, for example, the transition from the peacekeeping mission, UNMIL, to our Country Team demonstrated a new level of UN-wide coordination and preparation.
But clearly, as the President said, more remains to be done, both in countries at risk and at the United Nations.
Sustaining peace will only be realized through committed, inclusive national ownership that considers the needs of the most marginalized, including women, young people, minorities and people with disabilities.

Women are critically important peacebuilders and I am strongly committed to their inclusion in all peacebuilding processes. The United Nations’ 7-point Action Plan on women’s participation in peacebuilding sets out measures to increase financing for gender-responsive peacebuilding, to expand women’s access to decision-making and to improve gender-sensitive analysis and planning. Gender-related issues must remain at the forefront of this debate. And our commitment to parity is very much in line with it.
I also warmly welcome the new report on Youth, Peace and Security which will have an important role in shaping our engagement with young women and men.  It is beyond time to recognize the major contribution young people can make to peace and security. I hope you will support my reforms in this area, aiming at putting young people in charge and taking full advantage of their knowledge, ideas and initiatives. 
Above all, sustainable, inclusive development, deeply rooted in respect for all human rights – economic, social, cultural, civil and political – is the world’s best preventive tool against violent conflict and instability.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is our common blueprint for more peaceful, stable, resilient group of societies.
Sustainable development is an end in itself. But it also makes a critical contribution to preventing conflict.
Investing in sustained peace means investing in basic services, bringing humanitarian and development agencies together, building effective and accountable institutions, protecting human rights, promoting social cohesion and diversity and moving to sustainable energy.
Quality education and decent jobs and training for young people are fundamental.
We need a holistic approach which prioritises prevention and addresses the root causes of conflict by integrating peace, sustainable development and human rights.  

Monsieur le Président, Mesdames et Messieurs,
Mon rapport contient des propositions visant à ce que l’appui concerté apporté aux États Membres par l’ensemble des organismes des Nations Unies soit plus efficace et plus efficient, grâce à une réforme des secteurs du développement, de la gestion et de la paix et la sécurité.
Je suis déterminé à préparer l’Organisation des Nations Unies au monde de demain.
Pour cela, son financement est un aspect essentiel. Si aucun progrès n’est fait en ce qui concerne le financement des activités de consolidation de la paix, les efforts que nous avons faits par ailleurs pour sauver des vies, stabiliser la situation dans les pays en crise, soulager les souffrances et protéger les personnes vulnérables risquent d’être vains.
Ces dix dernières années, la communauté internationale a consacré 233 milliards de dollars aux interventions humanitaires, au maintien de la paix et à l’accueil des réfugiés.
Nous devons investir bien davantage dans la prévention parce qu’elle est efficace et économique et surtout parce qu’elle sauve des vies.
Le Fonds pour la consolidation de la paix a déjà démontré sa capacité à apporter un appui aux partenaires nationaux ; à soutenir la transition vers la paix et la stabilité ; à renforcer la cohérence en distribuant des ressources par l’intermédiaire de plus de 25 organismes des Nations Unies, des gouvernements et d’autres partenaires; et à faire concorder ses objectifs avec ceux des institutions financières internationales et d’autres acteurs avec un effet multiplicateur remarquable.
Le Fonds est réactif et peut intervenir rapidement face à l’imminence d’une situation de crise. Il joue un rôle de catalyseur et peut mobiliser des fonds auprès d’autres financeurs. Il finance des projets dans lesquels personne d’autre ne se risque à investir et favorise la diversité et l’inclusion puisque nombre de ses programmes viennent en aide aux femmes et aux jeunes.
Je demande une nouvelle fois que l’on porte les ressources du Fonds à 500 millions de dollars par an.
Dans mon rapport, je propose plusieurs moyens d’accroître, restructurer et hiérarchiser le financement des activités de consolidation de la paix en faisant appel à des contributions volontaires, régulières et à des financements innovants.  J’espère que vous accorderez à ces propositions l’attention qu’elles méritent.
Dans les réformes que j’ai engagées en ce qui concerne la paix et la sécurité, il est également proposé d’augmenter de 50 % le nombre de postes permanents au Bureau d’appui à la consolidation de la paix, ce qui pourra être fait sans engager de frais supplémentaires grâce aux économies découlant des gains d’efficacité réalisés par la réforme.
Le renforcement du Bureau d’appui à la consolidation de la paix proposé dans la réforme, et l’augmentation des ressources allouées au Fonds de consolidation de la paix doivent faire le lien entre notre action en faveur de la paix et de la sécurité et toutes nos autres activités, grâce à une mise en commun des outils et des méthodes et au renforcement des partenariats.
Mr. President, Excellencies,
I am encouraged that at a time of discord and divisions, Member States have come together around the crucial endeavour of peacebuilding and sustaining peace. Tomorrow I will address the Security Council on the same issue.
We need the strong support of both the Security Council and the General Assembly to build and sustain peace across the continuum, from prevention, conflict resolution and peacekeeping to peacebuilding and long-term development, as I have referred in the beginning of my intervention.
I welcome your resolution on my report and hope for continued discussions on strengthening the peacebuilding architecture, to overcome fragmentation and work together effectively and coherently. 
I look forward to our discussions at this High-level Meeting, and to our continued work together to fulfil one of the primary purposes of the United Nations: building and maintaining global peace and security.
Thank you very much.