SC: Preventive diplomacy

Statement by Permanent Representative Ambassador Mona Juul on 'Peace and Security through Preventive Diplomacy: A common objective to all UN principal organs', 16 November 2021.


Norway thanks you for convening this important debate, and particularly for bringing together so many important parts of the UN system. This issue is one of great importance to Norway. We firmly believe that preventative diplomacy should be at the heart of the Security Council’s work.

As the Secretary-General has set out in “Our Common Agenda” investments in prevention and preparedness pay for themselves many times over. In both the human, and financial costs, that are spared.

Early engagement with potential threats to international peace and security will also protect civilians - including children - and enhance the safety and security of UN personnel.


In searching for ways to facilitate early responses, we need to improve the Council’s situational awareness.

More effective sharing of information and insights will allow all members of the Council to participate on a more equal footing, and contribute their valuable views and unique perspectives.

Here, there is a key role for the Secretariat, and UN system briefers, to use their interactions with the Council to bring emerging issues to its attention and sound the alarm.

And indeed, the Secretary-General, the UNs principal preventive diplomat, also has a defined Charter based mandate to do so in accordance with Article 99.

While better situational awareness may not fix political differences in how we resolve a conflict, it will build a common baseline of understanding, and bring forward the point at which the Council first engages.

The use, or threat of use, of the veto also continues to prevent the Council from acting on vital topics. We call for restraint on the use of the veto, especially for actions aimed at preventing or ending mass atrocity crimes - the very core of this Council’s mandate.


While the Security Council has the primary responsibility for international peace and security; as we have heard this morning, it certainly doesn’t stand alone. All parts of the UN system must work together to prevent conflict, and build peace.

And President,

There is no better guarantee to prevent conflict than for Member States to fulfil their human rights obligations.

As we look to join up approaches across the UN system, the clear mandate of the Human Rights Council to: work “through dialogue and cooperation, towards the prevention of human rights violations” is of the utmost importance.

Greater interaction between the Security Council, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and the Human Rights Council, is needed to facilitate early engagement, and prevent conflict.

The Peacebuilding Commission is another - may I say - underutilised tool within our conflict prevention toolbox.

Working together with the Peacebuilding Fund, the Commission has proven its added value, for example, in supporting important prevention programs in Africa in line with the ‘Silencing the Guns’ initiative.


The integrity and independence provided by the good offices of the Secretary-General are also essential tools of the UN system to prevent conflict through mediation.

Capacities within DPPA and the Mediation Support Unit are high quality, and merit our greater support.

We have all witnessed how negotiating with authorities and armed groups in humanitarian crisis can provide safe and unimpeded access to those in need.  

Also, the difference preventive diplomacy can make: in the lead up to elections, in contested political transitions, and challenging implementation phases of peace accords.

The Secretariat is well placed to provide this expertise and experience.


Preventive diplomacy is more often than not resisted where it’s needed the most.

As members of the Security Council, we must keep a particular focus on where early engagement can contribute to prevent escalation. And draw on all the resources, and partners, throughout the UN system that we can.