Thursday, 20/2/2020 | 2:55 UTC+0
Libyan Newswire

General Assembly – High-level Debate on Building, Sustaining Peace

Note: A complete summary of today’s meetings will be available after their conclusion.


MELITÓN ARROCHA RUÍZ (Panama), speaking on behalf of the Human Security Network, said human security was at the core of sustaining peace and sustainable development.  Noting that conflict‑related human suffering had reached unacceptable levels, he said a human security approach could help support Governments and the United Nations in designing and implementing policies and strategies that addressed root causes, promoted social integration and harmony, combated poverty and inequality, and built more secure and sustainable environments.  Emphasis should be placed on inclusion, notably greater recognition and support for women’s participation and harnessing the ideas of youth.  He added that a prevention‑oriented approach — including strong promotion and protection of human rights — was fundamental to address the causes of threats.  Efforts must also be guided by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

JONAS BERING LIISBERG, State Secretary for Foreign Policy of Denmark, called on all Member States to invest more in the multilateral framework for peace and security.  Denmark had been a long‑standing supporter of United Nations efforts to prevent conflict and sustain peace.  A central focus of Denmark’s development and humanitarian strategy was promoting stability and supporting the most vulnerable in fragile situations.  Human rights must remain at the core of efforts towards preventing conflict and sustaining peace.  He stressed that the international community could not succeed in sustaining peace without a strong focus on human rights and the core values on which the United Nations was built.  “An essential cause of violence and extremism is a feeling of being left out and excluded,” he said.  The United Nations must ensure that the protection of human rights remained at the heart of its prevention and peacebuilding efforts.

ANNE SIPILÄINEN, Under‑Secretary of State of Finland, aligning herself with the European Union, said that sustaining peace was a core mandate of the United Nations, which must mobilize to accomplish that robust task.  Indeed, it flowed through all three pillars of the United Nations and was reinforced by the Organization’s common determination to promote peaceful and inclusive societies.  She commended the efforts of the Secretary‑General to ensure the United Nations responded in a more integrated manner to complex conflicts.  Already, many parts of the system were trying to better address crises and integrate a more preventative approach.  In that connection, she called for more joint efforts in the field.  At the same time, the prospects for durable peace were better if it included all of society, including youth, women and civil society.  She went on to highlight the role of conflict prevention and mediation in the peaceful settlement of disputes and as a cost‑effective and life‑saving tool of the United Nations.

JUAN JOSÉ IGNACIO GÓMEZ CAMACHO (Mexico), speaking on behalf of the Group of Friends of Sustaining Peace, said the cross‑regional group of 40 Member States focused on deepening dialogue and the implementation of the sustaining peace agenda as both a goal and a process.  Since the 2016 adoption by the Assembly and the Security Council of twin resolutions on that issue, “we have come a long way in the pursuit of a more inclusive and integrated approach to sustaining peace and addressing the root causes of conflict, instead of just responding to crises”.  States would continue to pursue those efforts in line with national ownership, priorities and strategies, he said, also calling on the United Nations system to do the same across its three pillars.  Welcoming the new procedural resolution on peacebuilding and sustaining peace as a reflection of Member States’ commitment, he concluded:  “We look forward to keeping this momentum going.”

LEWIS GARSEEDAH BROWN II (Liberia) said the steep human and monetary cost of war should be enough of an incentive for countries to use their collective ingenuity and resources to meaningfully invest in prevention and eliminate the main drivers of conflict, particularly at a time of declines in commitments to fund such activities.  For its part, Liberia, after decades of war, was a post‑conflict society struggling to consolidate its cherished peace with development plans and inclusive policies to leave no one behind, efforts that must be constantly supported to ensure progress.  Liberia, like many other countries, had seen the resilience of ordinary people stretched to breaking points, yet the people had endured.  “Imagine if we brought such resilience to preventing conflicts,” he said.  “Imagine, rather than investing in bullets and tanks, we could have them invest in roads and energy, hospitals and schools.  Imagine how we can use science and technology — yes, to spy on each other — but, also to enrich lives.  Pursuing the path of preventing conflict and sustaining peace gives us a real chance to lift our humanity and bend the present trajectory of fear and war.”

AMAL MUDALLALI (Lebanon) said the United Nations must go “back to basics” and commit to the principles of the Organization, which defined its mission as saving succeeding generations from the scourge of war.  To save humanity from hell, peacemakers were needed.  “The disrupters were so many and so loud, while the peacemakers were few and timid,” she said.  To drown out hatred, oppression and incitement, people needed to be bold and flood every space available — especially cyberspace — with a message of peace.  She expressed support for conflict prevention and the role of peace operations and peacekeeping towards that end, such as the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).  However, peacekeeping was not an alternative to peace, she continued, underscoring the need to address the causes of conflict, notably occupation, inequality and exclusion.  Investing in education was also crucial, by raising generations better equipped to enter the job market, as was promoting a culture of peace and fostering constructive dialogue.

The representative of Libya said mediation was needed so as not to neglect certain issues nor leave anyone behind.  He emphasized the importance of national ownership and the link between peace, security and development.  At the same time, this was a different era in which the pace of change was swift, and the United Nations needed to keep up through innovative solutions to tackle today’s challenges.   Highlighting the difficulty of accountability in conflict‑ridden countries, he said the Organization nevertheless had a wealth of skills at its disposal that must be used optimally.  Expressing support for partnerships with regional and international organizations, he cited the African Union’s partnership with the United Nations as a success story that had yielded results in the areas of peace and security.  He went on to reiterate support for the Secretary‑General’s reform efforts in building and sustaining peace and expressed hope that future reports would include the role of media and how they could help raise awareness and provide context to situations.  That was particularly important when terrorist groups were exploiting social media with their hateful rhetoric, he said.

ANAYANSI RODRÍGUEZ CAMEJO (Cuba), associating herself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said her country echoed calls made by African delegations for more funding to be directed to peacebuilding activities.  Member States must decide to ensure adequate, predictable and continued financing.  Emphasizing the need for a international climate based on multilateralism, and the principles of the United Nations Charter, she warned that efforts in that regard could be brought to an abrupt halt by the unilateral use of force against States, unilateral coercive measures, intimidation and trade inequalities.  Sustaining peace would also require ending the causes of conflict.  Priority must be given to the 2030 Agenda, including building the capacities of developing countries through, among other things, development assistance and technological transfers with no strings attached.

SIMA SAMI. I. BAHOUS (Jordan), underscoring the link between peacebuilding, sustaining peace and the 2030 Agenda, emphasized the importance of national ownership and sufficient financing, as well as strengthening the Peacebuilding Support Office.  In the Middle East, peace and security required ending the Israeli occupation.  Removing injustices against Palestinians was an international moral obligation, she said, calling for a two‑State solution and the establishment of a sovereign and viable Palestinian state with pre‑1967 borders and east Jerusalem as its capital.  There must also be a political solution to the Syrian crisis.  She recalled that Jordan — despite unprecedented economic challenges — hosted more refugees than any other country, and requested more international help in that regard.  The international community had a responsibility to uphold international values for peace, justice, human rights and solidarity.

BURHAN GAFOOR (Singapore) said his country was an example of how the United Nations could work with other countries towards building peaceful and inclusive societies.  Underscoring the role of regional organizations in fostering peace and development, he emphasized that the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) had played a critical role in fostering peace in South‑East Asia.  He also noted the region’s immense diversity and its many ethnicities, cultures, religions, languages and histories.  He expressed support for the Secretary‑General’s goal to build a better United Nations focused on making a real difference on the ground.  Calling on Member States to live up to their United Nations Charter obligations, he said it was essential to examine how the peace continuum could be best supported by the current financial structures.

The representative of China) said that sustainable development and sustaining peace were common global aspirations.  Concerning the United Nations work on the latter, he said peacekeeping must respect the honour and will of the country concerned and suit its specific situation.  Those activities must focus on building national capacity, while assisting in conflict prevention and reconstruction.  United Nations peacekeeping must also place equal weight on development and security, he said, addressing both the symptoms and causes of conflict.  He called for the strengthening of peacekeepers’ coordination as well as deepened partnerships with regional organizations, which in turn must play an active role in peacebuilding in their respective regions.  He also expressed support for the international system and the norms guiding international relations.

The representative of Canada, recalling that “conflicts that no longer make the news every day”, stressed that the Organization should be better structured, equipped and supported to prevent the outbreak, escalation and relapse of conflict.  Stressing the central role of women in sustaining peace, the representative commended the Peacebuilding Fund for exceeding the Secretary‑General’s 15 per cent target for women’s empowerment projects.  Long‑term peacebuilding required broad consultations with national stakeholders and access to resources, the representative said, also noting the key role of donors in addressing the fragmentation of financing.

DIEDRE NICHOLE MILLS (Jamaica) said the focus on peacebuilding and sustaining peace must be couched in the long‑term focus on attaining the Sustainable Development Goals.  The case for greater policy and operational coherence — within the framework of promoting complementarity among stakeholders — could not be overemphasized.  She went on to underscore the value of partnership among different networks and stakeholders, with a simultaneous focus on identifying and addressing the root causes of conflict.  Welcoming the emphasis given to youth and women in the context of conflict prevention and peacebuilding, she said her country had long regarded peacekeeping to be a key component of the work of the United Nations, having contributed police officers and civilians to various missions over the years.

The representative of Egypt said the twin resolutions of the General Assembly and the Security Council on sustaining peace had begun a new era in the United Nations efforts to build and sustain peace.  Concerning implementation of the sustaining peace principles, he stressed the need for a unified framework among all Member States.  Such a concept must consider the specificities of each country, as there “was no single solution for all conflicts”.  Root causes also must be addressed.  At the same time, a vision for a single system of work was needed to support national recovery efforts to rebuild institutions.  Indeed, efforts must stem from national ownership to carry out national priorities and economic social development.  Noting that a regional approach to sustaining peace was important to ensuring a full recovery, he said partnerships with regional organizations were vital.  Despite progress made in the development of international tools to support peacebuilding, the nature and scope of current challenges required renewed political and financial commitment to make them more robust.  On that note, he expressed hope that Member States would come together on proposals for reform.