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GA: Building Sustainable Peace

Statement given by H.E. Ms. Tone Skogen Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Norway to the General Assembly meeting on sustainable development and Peace, January 24 2017.

| General Assembly

Mr. President, Excellences, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Thank you, Mr. President, for convening this important meeting.

We all agree that there can be no sustainable development without peace, and no sustainable peace without development. Reaching agreement on the 2030 Agenda and the Sustaining Peace Agenda is a huge achievement and brings us closer to the world we want. It means that we have common visions and a common platform for putting words into action.

I would like to highlight three issues in particular:

First, national ownership is fundamental. Without political will, it will not be possible to eradicate poverty, combat climate change, deliver basic services, and – not least – promote strong, transparent and independent institutions. Politicians can accomplish great things if ability and will exist. However, national ownership should not be understood to just mean government ownership.

This brings me to my second point:

In order to be sustainable, development and peace must be inclusive. Each country and conflict situation is unique, and each requires its own solution. But one lesson that has been learned is that inclusive peace and development is a prerequisite for lasting peace and development.

Inclusion is about gender, it is about age, it is about culture, ethnicity, language and religion. It is about recognising the equal rights and dignity of all human beings – leaving no one behind. Inclusion broadens the base, removes our blind spots, and gives us a stronger foundation on which to build the society we want.

The peace agreement in Colombia, signed last year by the Government and the FARC-EP and facilitated by Cuba and Norway, is a prime example of an inclusive peace agreement that takes the civilian population into account. It paves the way for sustainable development, with the support of the UN and the international community, in the rural areas that suffered most during the armed conflict.

Third, the international community has a huge responsibility. The United Nations, with its unique mandate for peace and security, development and human rights, must improve its ability to work across all pillars as the resolutions on sustaining peace have called for.

Addressing grave and systematic human rights violations at an early stage can prevent escalation of violence and conflict, and help to create a starting point for peaceful and sustainable development. Political and financial investment in the Human Rights up Front initiative is one way of helping to make the UN more responsible, relevant and efficient in implementing its mandate.

The quadrennial comprehensive policy review resolution on UN operational activities for development – the QCPR – reaffirms the linkages between peace and development. It acknowledges that the UN development system, through its support to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, contributes to peacebuilding and to sustaining peace. It further underscores that a comprehensive whole-of-system response is fundamental to effectively and efficiently addressing needs and attaining the Sustainable Development Goals.

The challenge now is to develop the modes of collaboration and the instruments required. On the Norwegian side, we would like to see that the UN in crisis-affected countries moves in the direction of ‘one country – one UN framework’ with common objectives and strategic planning and clear distribution of responsibilities.

However, the international community is much more than the UN. The World Bank should be applauded for the increased support it is giving to countries in fragile situations, and we hope to see collaboration between the UN and the World Bank being further developed and institutionalised.

An interesting example is Somalia, where the New Deal Compact brought the Federal Government, civil society and international partners together to draw up a comprehensive and inclusive plan for the country’s development. Despite the huge challenges, Somalia is thus taking important steps towards sustainable development and peace.

Regional organisations such as the African Union also have a key role to play in supporting countries on their continent. The UN should do even more to partner international and regional actors. 

It is encouraging to note that the new Secretary-General has a clear vision, and has already taken concrete steps to make the UN more coherent. We look forward to learning about the outcomes of these initiatives, in particular how it can be ensured that the different parts of the UN will ‘deliver as one’ at country level.

In political and normative terms, we have indeed come a long way. Now it is time for action.

Thank you.