I would like to thank Sweden for convening this important and timely meeting.
I am speaking on behalf of Colombia, Ethiopia, Ghana, Indonesia, Jordan, Mexico, New Zealand and my own country, Norway. We are eight countries that came together in early 2015 to form a cross-regional group (the UN70 group), with a view to developing reform ideas for the United Nations. In November last year, we handed over a set of recommendations to the Secretary General. One of the five key messages conveyed to Mr Guterres was that he should strive to place conflict prevention at the heart of the UN’s peace and security agenda.
Last year, member states agreed on the concept sustaining peace in the landmark resolutions on the UN peacebuilding architecture. Sustaining peace encompasses activities aimed at preventing the outbreak, escalation, continuation and recurrence of conflict, addressing root causes, assisting parties to conflict to end hostilities, ensuring national reconciliation, and moving towards recovery, reconstruction and development. We need concerted effort that involves the whole of the UN system, and includes collaboration with national governments and other key partners such as the international, regional and sub-regional organization, international financial institutions, CSOs, women’s group, youth organization, and the private sector.
The Security Council has a unique mandate and position internationally. The Council has various means of preventing conflict at its disposal, as reflected in the concept note for this meeting. With opportunity comes responsibility. The United Nations system is in need of a renewal of its prevention and conflict resolution mechanisms. We, the cross-regional UN70 group, strongly urge the Security Council to use all the means at its disposal to prevent the emergence of any new crises like those in Syria or South Sudan. The Security Council needs to work closely with our new Secretary General, give him space to work pro-actively on preventive diplomacy, and be willing to respond when the Secretary-General recommends action by the Council.
We are very pleased that the new Secretary-General will put conflict prevention at the very top of his agenda. We would like to see a greater proportion of resources allocated in this area, as well as a more coherent approach by the UN System to identifying and addressing conflict risks. We welcome the Secretariat’s initiative to convene monthly situational awareness briefings for Council members, and we underscore the importance of the Secretary General providing strong leadership to the Secretariat and wider UN System.
The Security Council has a crucial role to play in conflict prevention. However, the Council cannot do this alone. We, the Member States of the United Nations, must come together and advance the sustaining peace agenda. National ownership is fundamental in order to achieve results. Preventing conflict and sustaining peace, with the assistance of the international community, does not undermine state sovereignty. On the contrary, it strengthens state sovereignty.
The shift to prevention is not an opportunity, it is a necessity.