I would like to thank the Secretary-General, and His Excellency Mr. Mbeki for their informative briefings. And also Ms. Koofi for your words. You rightly highlighted that, in Afghanistan, neither the parties, nor the international actors supporting the process, were previously able to achieve the equal and meaningful participation of women – nor build the necessary foundation for an inclusive political solution.
We must learn from this, we must reinforce the voices of Afghan women fighting to influence their future. Without this, there will be no stability or prosperity in Afghanistan - and no sustainable peace.
We do however regret that the High Commissioner for Human Rights was not able to brief us today as she - and her office - have such a valuable contribution to make on this issue.
We do thank you for putting this issue on our agenda. For several decades Norway has been engaged in peace efforts around the world.
While all conflicts are of course unique; we have found there are common lessons on the importance of inclusivity in peace and reconciliation. And we would like to contribute three lessons learnt to our discussions here today:
First that: inclusive political settlements and institutions are key to sustaining peace.
For example, ensuring inclusivity and participation can mitigate the likelihood of actors exploiting the frustration of marginalised groups. This means we must design processes and mechanisms with the inclusion of all. Considering different cultures, races, ethnicities, languages, religions, and particularly Women’s meaningful participation - at all levels, and in all phases of peace processes.
The Second lesson is the importance of talking to all relevant actors to resolve conflict.
We have experienced that engagement with non-state armed actors can be necessary to resolve conflicts. Engagement builds trust, and promotes a better understanding of underlying interests. We have seen this methodology bear fruit through our engagement with the PLO in the Middle East; the FARC and ELN in Colombia; and the Maoists in Nepal.
And the Third lesson is that engagement cannot end when a peace agreement is signed.
The implementation phase is when the stamina of the parties is tested - and where a long-term commitment of the international community is needed. Maintaining an inclusive character throughout implementation can be especially challenging. Yet we know that it pays off.
From our engagement in Colombia we have seen firsthand that the efforts of the parties to establish an: inclusive, victim centred approach, has led to a more inclusive agreement, and implementation mechanisms. All enhancing the possibility for sustainable peace.
We should draw on positive experiences from inclusivity being prioritised - wherever they come from - and use them to enhance our peacebuilding capabilities. Especially in the UN context.
Where we can, and must, better utilise the tools we have. For example, the Peacebuilding Commission is uniquely placed to provide a deeper understanding of how patterns of exclusion - and demands for inclusion - relate to peacebuilding.
We must implement a closer collaboration where the Council actively: request, deliberates, and draws on the targeted advice, and convening power of the Commission.
Norway also sees the potential for closer cooperation between the UN and regional and sub-regional organizations - such as the African Union and Regional Economic Communities - in preventive diplomacy, and building sustainable peace.
In closing we’d like to highlight that in order for this approach to be successful, inclusion must not be about tallying who “is” or “is not” at the negotiating table. It is instead, creating opportunities for people with a stake in sustaining peace to shape it.
This is a central component in strengthening a society’s resilience against violence and armed conflict. And why the Council needs to be more engaged in these efforts.