Mr. President, Members of the Security Council, distinguished briefers, excellencies,
On behalf of the Nordic countries – Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and my own country, Denmark – I would like to thank Mozambique for convening this meeting on the development aspects of the African Union’s pioneering initiative on Silencing the Guns.
Peace and security cannot be achieved in isolation, as Mozambique is underlining with this debate today. Democracy, human rights, the rule of law and access to basic services are essential to silencing the guns. At the same time, illegally imported small arms and light weapons may exacerbate conflict and hamper stability and development. Indeed, the development-peace nexus takes a center stage in the Silencing the Guns initiative and its roadmap.
Excellencies, we would like to draw your attention to three areas: The role of the AU as well as regional and sub-regional organisations; integrated approaches; and inclusive decision-making and peacebuilding processes.
Firstly, the Nordics emphasize the importance of regional engagement in peace and security challenges; An understanding of conflict dynamics and causes must be the starting point for finding solutions. We are long-standing partners of the AU and its regional economic communities and supporters of the implementation of the African Peace and Security Architecture, including its capacity of prevention, mediation and peacebuilding.
We encourage further strengthening of synergies between the African Peace and Security Architecture and the African Governance Architectures and a closer AU-UN partnership, especially between the AU Peace and Security Council and the UN Security Council to effectively execute all mandates. The Secretary-General’s New Agenda for Peace could address this, as well as the need for predictable funding to African-led Peace Operations. The Nordic countries would favourably consider the use of UN assessed contributions on a case-by-case basis to fund such operations. We also call for focused and accountable efforts to ensure protection of human rights and respect for international humanitarian law in all operations.
Secondly, the operationalization of the humanitarian, development and peace (HDP) nexus is key in providing the needed, comprehensive approach to silencing the guns. It is crucial that development policies fully incorporate this objective.
Thirdly, we must ensure the full, equal and meaningful participation of women and other stakeholders in decision-making and peacebuilding processes to leverage local knowledge and solutions to silencing the guns in communities. We commend the AU Member States that have adopted National Action Plans on Women, Peace and Security. Their implementation can help recognize the gendered impacts of the illicit trade in small arms and address barriers to participation, including discrimination, shrinking civic space, sexual and gender-based violence and reprisals. Furthermore, there can be no sustainable peace without the full and meaningful participation of youth in decisions about silencing the guns.
Let me conclude by underlining that we need all stakeholders engaged to deliver on the promise of a more peaceful future for the generations to come.
I thank you.