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Letter dated 25 January 2001 from the Permanent Representative of Tunisia to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General (S/2001/82)
The meeting was called to order at 10.30 a.m.
Adoption of the agenda
The agenda was adopted.
Peace-building: towards a comprehensive approach
Letter dated 25 January 2001 from the Permanent Representative of Tunisia to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General (S/2001/82)
The President (spoke in Arabic): I should like to inform the Council that I have received letters from the representatives of Algeria, Argentina, Egypt, Guatemala, India, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Japan, Malaysia, Mongolia, Nepal, New Zealand, Nigeria, Romania, the Republic of Korea, Senegal and Sweden, in which they request to participate in the discussion on the item on the Council’s agenda. In conformity with the usual practice, I propose, with the consent of the Council, to invite those representatives to participate in the discussion, without the right to vote, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Charter and rule 37 of the Council’s provisional rules of procedure.
There being no objection, it is so decided.
At the invitation of the President, Mr. Baali (Algeria), Mr. Listre (Argentina), Mr. Aboulgheit (Egypt), Mr. Lavalle-Valdés (Guatemala), Mr. Pal (India), Mr. Nejad Hosseinian (Islamic Republic of Iran), Mr. Akasaka (Japan), Mr. Hasmy (Malaysia), Mr. Enkhsaikhan (Mongolia), Mr. Charma (Nepal), Mr. MacKay (New Zealand), Mr. Mbanefo (Nigeria), Mr. Sun Joun-yung (Republic of Korea) Mr. Ducaru (Romania), Mr. Ka (Senegal) and Mr. Norström (Sweden) took the seats reserved for them at the side of the Council Chamber.
The President (spoke in Arabic): The Security Council will now begin its consideration of the item on its agenda. The Council is meeting in accordance with the understanding reached in its prior consultations.
Members of the Council have before them document S/2001/82, containing a letter dated 25 January 2001 from Tunisia, transmitting a working paper on the topic “Peace-building: towards a comprehensive approach”.
I welcome the Secretary-General.
Today the Security Council is dealing with the subject “Peace-building: towards a comprehensive approach”.
Together with conflict-prevention, the re-establishment of peace and peacekeeping, peace-building occupies a prominent position in the work of the Organization in the maintenance of international peace and security. Many discussions have taken place over the past 10 years, including consideration of the Secretary-General’s report “An Agenda for Peace” and its supplement, issued in 1995, and other reports and statements by the Secretary-General, such as the important report he presented to the Millennium Summit, entitled “We the peoples: the role of the United Nations in the twenty-first century”. Many important discussions have taken place in the Council, including those on the prevention of armed conflict and on the issue of exit strategies. Our meeting today is an extension of those discussions to examine and assess the various responsibilities of the Organization for achieving a joint vision and arriving at concrete proposals in the field of maintaining international peace and security in order to contribute to the implementation of the objectives set out by the Organization at the highest level, that is, at the Millennium Summit.
It gives me great pleasure to give the floor to the Secretary-General, Mr. Kofi Annan, to make a statement on the item under consideration.
The Secretary-General: It gives me great pleasure to join the Council today for this open debate on peace-building. I would like to thank you, Mr. President, for your initiative on this key aspect of international peace and security. I am confident that it will contribute to our efforts to arrive at a shared vision of peace-building with which all of us can move forward.
Peace-building in the broadest sense is about helping a country to put back in place the rudiments of normal life after a period of conflict. Peace-building is about the resumption of economic activity, the rejuvenation of institutions, the restoration of basic services, the reconstruction of clinics and schools, the revamping of public administration and the resolution of differences through dialogue, not violence. The overarching challenge is to move societies towards sustainable peace.
Peace-building done well is a powerful deterrent to violent conflict. But it is not powerful in the way an army can be powerful; rather, it is the sum of many initiatives, projects, activities and sensitivities. Peace-building is not the dramatic imposition of a grand plan; rather, it is the process of building the pillars of peace from the ground up, bit by bit.
The instruments of peace-building are as varied as the United Nations system itself. Indeed, virtually every part of the United Nations system, including the Bretton Woods institutions, is currently engaged in one form of peace-building or another. The disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of former combatants; human rights education; the repatriation of refugees; the promotion of conflict resolution and reconciliation techniques — this is just a short list of activities. We are also promoting cultural exchanges designed to link States in networks of enterprise and opportunity, not in webs of mutual antagonism.
In order to ensure the coherence of these efforts, we are also trying to improve our own internal arrangements, so that peace-building is not only comprehensive, but done in an integrated way. With an increasing number of United Nations entities establishing peace-building units and funds, we will need a major effort of coordination if we are to reinforce one another’s efforts and avoid duplication and confusion.
We tend to think of peace-building as taking place primarily in post-conflict settings. Here, the goals are to consolidate peace, reinforce an often hard-won and fragile stability and, above all, to prevent a slide back into conflict. But I see peace-building also as a preventive instrument, which can address the underlying, root causes of conflict, and which can also be used before the actual outbreak of war. A society on the brink of breakdown is as much in need of such an instrument as one in which disaster has already struck. Its timely deployment at that stage could save many lives and avoid much misery. The political, economic and human logic of such an approach is impeccable. The problem is that we do not practise prevention as often as we could or should.
Whether started before, after or during the eruption of conflict, peace-building must be seen as a long-term exercise. At the same time, there is an unmistakable element of urgency — a need to achieve tangible progress on a number of fronts in a short period of time. Peace-building must be, above all, the work of the society that is threatened by conflict or that has succumbed to it. International efforts to promote peace or development must support, not supplant, national ones.
Peace-building is an extremely difficult undertaking. All too often, countries emerging from prolonged conflicts are starting almost from ground zero, under clouds of bitterness and loss. It requires persistence and vision, as well as the courage to pursue reconciliation in societies still fractured by suspicion and mistrust.
Here I would like to say a word about the fundamentally political character of peace-building, which makes it distinct from normal development activities in non-crisis situations. When a country is sliding into conflict, or emerging from war, its needs are qualitatively different from those of a stable society. This requires a reordering of normal developmental, humanitarian and other activities, so that their first objective is to contribute to the paramount goal of preventing the outbreak or recurrence of conflict.
Some have described this as looking at developmental and humanitarian work through a “conflict prevention lens”. Others have spoken about “peace-friendly” adjustment programmes, with the flexibility to take account of the exceptional needs of countries emerging from or on the verge of conflict. Indeed, at times, peace-building may mean giving preferential treatment to some groups in a society in order to redress pre-existing inequalities that may have bred explosive tensions. This, in turn, may involve an allocation of resources that might not be optimal from a purely economic point of view.
During the last decade, both the General Assembly and the Security Council have recognized the importance of peace-building and the need to work with a range of partners, including non-governmental organizations and the private sector. The Council has rightly recognized that peace-building can be a vital component of peacekeeping missions, and that it needs to include such preventive tools as early warning, diplomacy, preventive deployment and disarmament.
In countries as diverse as Bosnia, Cambodia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Liberia and Mozambique, peace-building has helped to smooth the implementation and prevent the breakdown of peace agreements. In countries like Haiti, Guinea-Bissau and the Central African Republic, peace-building activities have contributed to the maintenance of fragile stability. In response to growing demand, the United Nations has opened, on a pilot basis, Peace-building Support Offices in the Central African Republic, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia and Tajikistan.
Although these outposts are relatively new and are constrained by limited resources, they have helped Governments to destroy weapons, build institutions and mobilize international support for their societies’ needs. As you know, we are now exploring the possibility of establishing a peace-building presence in Somalia.
This Council has a prime role to play. Among the major challenges of peace-building is the mobilization of sustained political will and resources on the part of the international community. A number of good ideas have been put forward in key areas such as the implementation of peace agreements and the design of peacekeeping operations, which the Council could incorporate into its future mandates.
Further contributions can be expected from our meeting with regional organizations tomorrow and Wednesday. I am delighted that the Presidents of the General Assembly, the Security Council and the Economic and Social Council will be attending this event, and I am confident that the Council will want to lend its full support to the outcome.
Peace-building presents complex and diverse challenges. I will do my utmost operationally to improve the peace-building projects in which we engage and to exploit the best possible effect — the expertise that exists in the United Nations system and among many partners. But I will also ask the members to do more politically to give peace-building a higher priority and a higher profile by bringing it closer to the forefront of your awareness. Peace-building must not be seen as an add-on or an afterthought, something to save for later when conditions or resources or politics permit. It is a central tool of proven worth. Let us together pledge to develop and improve it, and then let us use it in good time.
The President (spoke in Arabic): I thank the Secretary-General for his important statement.
Mr. Levitte (France)(spoke in French): I would like to thank you, Mr. President, for having organized this debate on a subject that is not at all theoretical. What is at stake is the success of actions carried out under the authority of the Security Council.
I would also like to thank the Secretary-General for attending this meeting today, in view of the decisive role that he brings to the Security Council.
Sweden will shortly make a statement on behalf of the European Union, to which the French delegation fully subscribes. I should like to comment on some points that are of particular interest to us.
The change in the nature of conflicts — for the most part these are now internal, even though many have a trans-border dimension — has compelled the United Nations to be concerned with peace-building. This task is indispensable if the gains from the re-establishment of peace are to be preserved.
The organic link between re-establishing peace and building peace has surfaced over the past few years in several ways. It can be in the inclusion of peace-building elements in the mandate of an operation in which the principal objective was peacekeeping, as in the case of the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic. It can arise because the mandate of the peacekeeping operation was more ambitious and included from the beginning an important component for restoring public authority and rebuilding social and economic infrastructures — for instance, in the case of the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia, the United Nations Transitional Administration for Eastern Slavonia, Baranja and Western Sirmium in Croatia, the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo and the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor. Lastly, it can be because offices or missions for peace-building programmes follow up on a peacekeeping operation, as is the case in Liberia, the Central African Republic, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti and Tajikistan.
The problems of peace-building fall into two categories, our view: institutional and financial. Let us consider first the institutional problems. Peacekeeping operations are authorized by the Security Council, and they include elements of peace-building. But the Security Council is not competent to be the “project manager”. On the other hand, the Council must ensure that there is no gap in continuity and that the investment of a peacekeeping operation is not wasted.
In addition, the multiplicity of actors involved in peace-building — the United Nations Secretariat, United Nations funds and programmes, international financial institutions and regional organizations — results in a variety of priorities and criteria defined and implemented by each of them. This very diversity complicates the task of formulating a peace-building strategy in a given country and of carrying out programmes built into these strategies.
Finally, in the country concerned, the natural interlocutor with the international community — with which peace-building strategies should be worked out — should in the first instance be the Government that has emerged from the peace agreement and often from subsequently organized elections. Yet in practice such authorities often lack the minimum of expertise and the requisite material and financial resources. In addition, their legitimacy and authority may be challenged by rebel groups that have remained outside the peace agreement or by parties to the agreement who violate their commitments — the case of UNITA in Angola and the RUF in Sierra Leone. In extreme cases such as East Timor and Kosovo the authorities simply do not exist or no longer exist, and the first task of the international community is to establish these authorities in a democratic way. The weakness of the local authorities often complicates the task of the international community in peace-building.
There are also financial problems. Peacekeeping actions in operations decided upon by the Security Council are financed by assessed mandatory contributions. Most of the peace-building operations, however, rely on voluntary contributions. It is contradictory to recognize the crucial nature of peace-building operations and not to ensure the steady and predictable financing that is required.
Because so many actors are involved in peace-building programmes and the means of financing differ, obtaining financial resources can be a rather slow and very unequal process. The slowness of financial institutions in disbursing money is often the crux of the problem that prevents a smooth transition from actions by peacekeeping operations to the intervention of organizations involved in peace-building. This slow pace also conflicts with the sense of urgency often perceived on the ground, namely that international intervention must quickly produce tangible improvements in the daily lives of populations, who will otherwise start turning against those operations.
The solution to these two problems should be to assess what is required for peace-building as far in advance as possible; to formulate strategies that will ensure the full participation, from the outset, of the relevant agencies, funds, programmes and banks that are involved in peace-building; and to speed up the pace of disbursement.
I will offer just two examples to better illustrate the difficulties confronting us. The first example is the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of former combatants, commonly referred to as DDR. In a statement by its President on 23 March 2000, the Security Council noted that
“the mandates of peacekeeping missions increasingly include oversight of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration as one of their functions”
because the task has proved to be one of the key aspects of peacekeeping. But the Council also underlined
“the necessity of a clear definition of tasks and division of responsibilities among all actors involved in the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration process, including United Nations agencies and programmes”. (S/PRST/2000/10)
The reintegration aspects of DDR are a perfect illustration of the difficulty of satisfactorily linking peacekeeping, peace-building and development assistance. There can in fact be no real demobilization, much less lasting demobilization, unless those who have been demobilized find a viable alternative to the status and life of the soldier. That means they have to be offered alternatives that fall broadly into two categories.
The first category is either integration into a reorganized, democratic and apolitical army, requiring in most cases the implementation of a programme to restructure the armed forces such as has been started in the Central African Republic, or something that is even more ambitious: the reconstitution of those forces, which is what is taking place in Sierra Leone now with the decisive support of our United Kingdom friends. Achieving these goals requires bilateral or multilateral programmes, often on a fairly large scale and extended in time. The second category is socio-professional integration into non-military areas, which requires action to provide job training and reconstruction programmes to relaunch economic activity. Here, peace-building borders on development assistance in its broadest sense.
The second example is the reconstruction or consolidation of a reliable and impartial police force and judiciary. Peacekeeping operations play a key role in the phase following the signing of a peace agreement, but their purpose is not to continue indefinitely as the sole guarantee of public order. That is something that has to be founded on reliable and impartial local capabilities. So it becomes necessary to reform, reorganize and train police forces and courts. That has been part of the mandate of many operations and in some cases has been central to them, as for example in Haiti and in Bosnia. But often, it is a long-term undertaking exceeding the duration and resources of a peacekeeping operation. That is why it is essential, in association with the relevant agencies, to devise a long-term strategy to ensure stable, predictable funding for programmes of action and a gradual takeover of actions by the peacekeeping operation, as, for example, what was done in Eastern Slavonia or in Haiti.
It is clear that the Security Council plays a vital role in the satisfactory coordination of and transition between the tasks for which it has primary responsibility — re-establishing and maintaining peace — and those which bring into play a great many different actors: peace-building. Allow me to put forward a few practical proposals as to what we could do in this regard.
First, we would advocate early consultation between the Security Council and agencies responsible for peace-building. We believe it is essential for the main agencies involved in peace-building to be consulted as soon as possible at the start of the peacekeeping phase. Naturally, this would be done chiefly by the Secretary-General. The report (S/2000/809) of the Panel on United Nations Peace Operations chaired by Mr. Lakhdar Brahimi made that quite clear. But it might also be necessary for the Council to contact those agencies directly, for example by inviting their heads to take part in the Council’s deliberations, as was done when representatives of the United Nations Development Programme, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund were invited to take part in the Council’s recent debates on Guinea-Bissau, the Central African Republic and East Timor. The main point is that this process of consultation should take place sufficiently early so that there is time to work out a peace-building strategy and to obtain the necessary resources.
The second idea is to establish a long-term contract between the international community and the authorities of a State emerging from conflict. Insofar as such authorities have the minimum requisite legitimacy and administrative resources, they should pledge to implement programmes, with the assistance of the international community, to rebuild political, economic and social infrastructures. The investment of the international community makes sense only if there is a corresponding real desire on the part of local actors for a fresh start. Such a contract could, for example, take the form of an exchange of letters between the Secretary-General and the head of State or Government of the State concerned, as has been the case with the Central African Republic. Mention of this could appear in the Security Council resolution authorizing the peacekeeping operation.
The third idea is to formulate peace-building strategies and obtain stable, predictable financing. The focus of early consultations between the Security Council and all the agencies involved in peace-building, and of the Secretary-General’s coordination efforts, should be, with due respect for their respective powers and their decision-making autonomy, the formulation of peace-building strategies that: clearly define the responsibilities of each actor; ensure satisfactory cooperation among the various bodies; establish a timetable for the implementation of programmes; ensure, as far as possible, predictable financing, especially for missions relying on voluntary contributions; and provide for a transition between the peacekeeping and peace-building phases and a bridge between peacekeeping operations and peace-building programmes under the best conditions possible and within reasonable time frames.
Ideally, the division of roles and financing should be clearly defined at the time the Security Council establishes the peacekeeping operation and could even appear in an annex to the resolution. I stress this point because I feel it is fundamental. One can imagine the Council’s holding consultations in parallel with potential troop contributors. Thus, from the very outset, the Security Council would establish a double partnership with the troop-contributing countries and with all the financial institutions — the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and others — entrusted with carrying out the Council’s decisions. We feel that this point, too, is fundamental.
The fourth idea concerns strengthening the coordinating role of the Secretary-General and of his representative in situ. The point has been raised several times, specifically in the Brahimi report, that the Secretary-General has to play a greater role in coordination when strategies are being drafted and peace-building programmes implemented. The coordinating role should be assigned to the Secretary-General’s representative in situ, when there is one.
The fifth and last idea concerns regular briefings for the Council. The Council should be kept regularly informed — as is already the case, for example, with the Central African Republic and Guinea-Bissau — of progress made and difficulties encountered in peace-building, since any failure or reversal in this domain would thrust peace and security concerns to the fore once again, starting with the Security Council’s direct intervention.
These are a few ideas that we hope may be discussed in greater detail with all the Security Council members when we come to consider the practical effects of this debate. Forgive me for having spoken at such length, but we feel very strongly about this issue, which we consider to be critical.
Miss Durrant (Jamaica): Let me thank you, Sir, for convening this open debate, which allows members of the Council and non-members alike to express their views on the topic “Peace-building: towards a comprehensive approach”, and for the working paper, which suggests points of departure for our discussion. We particularly welcome the fact that this debate precedes the Fourth United Nations/Regional Organizations High-level Meeting, which will discuss cooperation for peace-building.
My delegation wishes to express appreciation to the Secretary-General for his presence with us today and for his important statement.
Last July, the Security Council reviewed the complex dimensions of the causes and prevention of armed conflicts, recognizing the importance of peace building, particularly in post-conflict situations. In November, the Council established a doctrine on peace operations by adopting resolution 1327 (2000) after careful consideration of the Brahimi Panel’s recommendations. At that time, we recognized the role of the Security Council in support of post-conflict peace-building. This was followed up with an examination of our exit strategies in peacekeeping operations, further recognizing the important role of the Security Council in peace-building. Today, as we seek to determine a comprehensive approach to bringing peace, security and stability to the peoples and regions of the world, we are, as it were, completing the circle.
In past debates, we have examined, to some degree, how the root causes of deadly conflicts ultimately manifest themselves in the outbreak of war, causing untold deaths, humanitarian suffering and economic destruction. We have seen from our experiences and our reviews of many conflict situations how many of these causes have remained unchanged in the aftermath of the bloodletting and destruction. We have seen how deadly conflicts have recurred, for the same reasons they started in the first place, after the warring parties have committed themselves to a peace process. We have learnt lessons on successes and failures, and this debate today must — as you have admonished us, Mr. President — point us towards a comprehensive approach to peace-building involving the organs of the United Nations, its funds, programmes and agencies, the international financial institutions and, equally, regional political and economic organizations and institutions as partners in an integrated, holistic approach to peace-building.
Let me make a few brief comments on the elements which my delegation considers indispensable to successful peace-building: where and when we should engage in peace-building; by whom it should be applied; and some of the instruments that might be successfully employed.
Through the failure to address the causes of deadly conflicts, situations of conflicts develop which might otherwise be preventable. While we often think of peace-building in the context of post-conflict situations, my delegation posits that peace-building can and must be employed in conflict prevention. Eradicating the causes of conflict necessitates building societies to respect the rules of law, adherence to international norms of human rights and humanitarian laws, and promoting economic and social development to eliminate human suffering from poverty and disease. These are among the challenges facing societies in pre- and post-conflict situations.
For these and many other reasons, the international community must view peace-building against this background. By being pro-active in dealing with conflicts rather than only responding to conflicts after they have occurred, the international community will have spared the lives and suffering of millions of people and the resources employed in reconstruction and rehabilitation of conflict-devastated societies could be channelled into meaningful programmes aimed at sustainable economic and social development.
While the United Nations and its partners pursue peacemaking in conflict situations, the dividends of peace must be clearly enunciated to the warring parties. These dividends naturally include the benefits to be derived by all parties in post-conflict peace-building. This underscores the importance of introducing peace-building strategies during the negotiating process and of imbedding peace-building programmes at the very outset in peace agreements. By so doing, we will be able to demonstrate to the warring parties the peace dividends that would inure to their benefit, which would provide further inducements for peaceful settlement of disputes.
We must consider how to ensure that our peace-building strategies have the greatest impact. Far too often, it appears that the international community favours a top-down approach to peace-building. With the exception of humanitarian assistance, the grass-roots population tends to have the peace-building process imposed upon them, often without regard to their indigenous structural and societal needs; in the process, the importance of civil society and the important role of grass-roots non-governmental organizations are often ignored. For this and other reasons, we must recognize that the process of peace-building does not end with the cessation of hostilities and the holding of elections when in fact the conditions for conflict remain intact. We have examples of this in Guinea-Bissau and the Central African Republic. While this step in the democratic process is an obviously important element in the reconstruction process and in the development of institutions of government, much more needs to be done over the long term. So often the international community appears to be willing to expend resources on peacekeeping, without an equal willingness to expend similar resources on peace-building.
As we seek to answer how peace-building may be effectively accomplished, we must clearly define the respective roles of the partners in this process. While their activities must be coordinated to avoid competing interests, waste and duplication, there is a need for full integration of programmes aimed at peace-building to ensure their effectiveness. The United Nations, through its organs, agencies and particularly its Secretary-General, has a central role to play in the process of coordination and integration. Of similar importance are the roles that regional institutions and organizations must have in peace-building, both at the pre- and post-conflict stages. These regional institutions and organizations must, however, be appropriately equipped and structured and adequately resourced to carry out their responsibilities. The meeting over the course of the next two days between the United Nations and regional organizations, convened by the Secretary-General, is therefore most timely, and we look forward to being briefed on the results of that meeting.
Let me conclude by highlighting some of the important and indispensable elements for successful peace-building to be undertaken by the international community as a whole. We must promote democratic governance and the rule of law by ensuring that our programmes develop respect for human rights, minority rights and peace with justice. We must ensure that the international community provides assistance to emerging democracies, in pre- and post-conflict situations, that promote long-term economic prosperity and social development. We must seek to strengthen the capacity of international financial and development agencies to focus attention on peace-building measures at all stages of a country’s involvement in conflict. We must provide adequate resources to regional organizations and institutions so that they may become pro-active at the pre- and post-conflict stages in peace-building efforts and throughout the peace process. We must ensure that, when threatened from without, a nation is secure in the understanding that the international community will provide the necessary support for its security and territorial integrity.
We must also ensure that the programmes we design in a post-conflict situation make adequate provisions for disarming former combatants, for their rehabilitation and, most importantly, for their reintegration into society, politically, socially and economically. We must ensure that the exploitation of natural resources is to the benefit of the people as a whole in the country concerned and does not support the corrupt within and without.
Finally, no matter how much we recognize what needs to be done to address each situation, if there is a lack of political will by those involved in the process and anything less than the full commitment of the international community, both of which are indispensable elements for successful peace-building, our efforts will be for naught. If we bring all of these things together in an integrated approach to peace-building, the successes which have eluded us in the past will finally be achieved.
The President (spoke in Arabic): Before giving the floor to the next speaker, I should like to inform the Council that I have just received a letter from the representative of Croatia, in which he requests to be invited to participate in the discussion of the item on the Council’s agenda. In conformity with the usual practice, I propose, with the consent of the Council, to invite that representative to participate in the discussion, without the right to vote, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Charter and rule 37 of the Council’s provisional rules of procedure.
At the invitation of the President, Mr. Šimonoviæ (Croatia) took the seat reserved for him at the side of the Council Chamber.
Mr. Cunningham (United States of America): I wish to congratulate you, Mr. President, for refocusing the attention of the Council on this important issue and for your concept paper, from which we can launch a substantive discussion. I also want to thank the Secretary-General for being with us today, and for his overview and his continuing efforts to integrate peacekeeping and peace-building.
Peace-building is a multifaceted challenge. In our view, strengthening the rule of law in democratic institutions and promoting human rights are vital to effective peace-building. Peace-building measures can also include food and medical assistance, the use of civilian police, disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of former combatants, successful repatriation of refugees and the reconstruction and restoration of economic institutions and processes. All of these elements are critical in moving a post-conflict State towards lasting stability.
These needs can be met through a variety of bilateral and multilateral means. For instance, the United States supports the efforts of the United Nations and those of all States and regional organizations to foster sustainable stability around the globe. We are actively engaged in and support preventive
measures — measures that identify causes of conflict and address them before they evolve into violence. Development assistance remains an important part of United States foreign policy, and we believe that the United States role in peacekeeping operations, as well as in post-conflict peace-building, is critical. We do all of this in our daily diplomatic engagement worldwide through a variety of mechanisms and in the application of the full range of our assistance resources.
In addition, while it is certainly true that conflicts have underlying structural causes, we must not forget that their immediate causes are often individual ambition and greed. Some of the most intractable conflicts of recent years have taken place not in the poorest countries but in places that are rich in resources. Peace-building activities must therefore also deal with political realities and attempt to address them.
The movement of a post-conflict State towards sustainable peace is not a linear progression. It is inherently complex. Peace-building measures must be taken even as peacekeeping mechanisms are put into place. This is not to say, however, that it is the responsibility of the Security Council to direct the multiple United Nations agencies that must be involved in peace-building. It is to say that the Security Council must be aware when it formulates mandates that peacekeeping without peace-building is a recipe for potential waste. Indeed, in many cases, effective peace-building must be created to ensure a viable exit strategy for peacekeepers.
In the past, the Council has agreed that certain peace-building measures fall within its purview. Examples of this include disarmament, demobilization and reintegration activities and the rebuilding of indigenous police forces. These efforts have proved to facilitate the effective implementation of peacekeeping operations. We should explore similar measures wherever and whenever appropriate.
In this connection, I note that during the Brahimi debates the United States strongly supported increasing the capacity of the United Nations to field effective civilian police forces. Regardless of mission, United Nations civil police assist local police agencies in resuming as rapidly as possible full responsibility for the law-and-order tasks performed by United Nations peacekeepers. The Brahimi-proposed judicial unit would also greatly assist in this regard. We do not believe, though, that a Security Council mandate should focus on reconstruction and development. This is not the responsibility of the Security Council.
But we need to ask ourselves, “What is the role of the Security Council in peace-building?” All elements of the United Nations system need to work together, and regional organizations, international financial institutions, donor Governments and non-governmental organizations all have roles. It is absolutely clear that better coordination is certainly needed. That is why this debate is critical. The Security Council should be clear and should encourage, and even insist on, clarity on this issue. Otherwise, the full potential of even the best-conceived Security Council action will not be realized.
We need to ask who should direct peace-building initiatives. Should there be one lead agency or organ, or more than one? What kinds of bridges need to be constructed between the various departments of the Secretariat and agencies of the wider United Nations community? Finally, and as recommended in the Brahimi report, where in the Secretariat do we place a peace-building unit? In the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, the Department of Political Affairs or the Office of the Secretary-General? We need to make these decisions in order to put peace-building on the right track right away.
In conclusion, we encourage all United Nations agencies, as well as all Member States, to support the Secretary-General’s efforts to enhance the United Nations peace-building activities and to strengthen coordination. We support proposals for maximum consultation and exchange of information so that in all instances this Council and all the other actors involved have the best possible understanding of the situation on the ground, of the steps all actors are taking in their own competence and of the relationship of all those steps to an overall strategy for creating and building long-term peace and security.
Sir Jeremy Greenstock (United Kingdom): I am heartened by the Secretary-General’s decision to call a high-level meeting with the regional organizations on building a comprehensive approach to peace-building, and it is an excellent idea to have the Security Council and Member States feed their views into that meeting. So thank you, Mr. President, for the initiative and the preparation by your delegation.
The representative of Sweden will make a statement later in our debate on behalf of the European Union, and the United Kingdom fully subscribes to that statement. But I would like to make some points in my national capacity.
I have been arguing for some time that the United Nations should take a more integrated approach to tackling conflicts at their roots and in a coordinated way. The Secretary-General has set out his views clearly this morning, and I support his approach. But the task goes beyond the ability of the Security Council or the Organization as a whole. The entire international system has to improve its professionalism if we are to make a difference. Bilateral actors, United Nations agencies, the Council and the General Assembly will all have to play their part.
At the meeting tomorrow decisions will be needed on how the regional organizations can develop their key role. Cooperation should start with the essential business of sharing information and analysis. The capacity of regional organizations could be extended by the double-hatting of special envoys, exchanges of staff with the Secretariat and the arrangement of specialist training and secondments. I hope the high-level meeting will consider the full range of options.
In making the paradigm shift to a more integrated approach among the international institutions, we have to accept that the distinction so frequently drawn in recent months between development and security is a false one. Conflict and poverty feed off each other; so must conflict management and development. We need comprehensive and integrated policies that recognize the links between resolving conflict, building peace, reducing poverty, promoting education and improving health.
The Secretary-General is right to point to a distinction between developmental activities in the shadow of conflict and normal development work. We must consider this in greater detail. In the same context, I warmly welcome his decision to appoint a deputy special representative in Sierra Leone both to oversee the economic and social aspects of the peacekeeping programme, including disarmament, demobilization and reintegration, and to act as the United Nations Resident Coordinator.
So how do we put this new approach to work?
The first task is to deepen our analysis. Our means of identifying and responding to crises tend to be superficial and haphazard. Analysis must stretch beyond the immediate conflict into its roots. This was why the Brahimi report’s proposal for an Information and Strategic Analysis Secretariat (EISAS) is in principle right. It would allow a range of skills available within the United Nations system to be brought together under one roof, providing exactly the sort of comprehensive analyses that this Council and the Secretary-General so badly need. We should use the coming months to put in place a properly thought-through structure to achieve this, with a logic and a resource cost which can win the support of all. The countries or regions themselves affected by conflict must be brought into the process. African leaders, for instance, are beginning to indicate how strong their interest is in a fully coordinated approach.
Second, the integrated approach must apply to the critical work of the United Nations agencies and their partner organizations in the field. The background documentation for the high-level meeting gives details on the strategic framework and common country assessment mechanisms, which are designed to develop a coherent and effective international response to a particular country in crisis. This approach looks promising; we would be grateful for more information on how successful the mechanisms have so far been in practice, and how they are going to be developed. We are particularly interested in accelerating work on how to reconstruct the rule of law in conflict-torn countries, and the statement of the European Union spells this out in detail. It is essential to get the police and the judiciary functioning quickly again and to bring to justice those who have committed atrocities.
Third, coordination on the ground has to be matched by coordination at the centre. The Brahimi report contains a key recommendation, in
paragraph 47 (d), that the Secretary-General should draw up a comprehensive plan for strengthening the United Nations peace-building capacity. This Council should today be giving its views on what might go into that plan.
The essential foundation is the idea of a continuum of activities: conflict prevention, peacekeeping and peace-building are not separate activities; they cross over and interact with each other. Rivalries and jealousies between different players in the United Nations system have to be broken down, and regional organizations and donor countries must be brought into the strategy. The Secretary-General’s leadership and activism in this respect are vital, and the United Kingdom will support him. It would make sense, for instance, in respect of each major conflict in the developing world — and remember that 20 of the 38 poorest countries are or have recently been in the midst of conflict — to establish a team approach at Headquarters which brings all the main actors together operationally.
This is why the United Kingdom has so strongly supported the concept of Integrated Mission Task Forces, also contained in the Brahimi report. It is a pity that the Secretariat has not yet found an opportunity to set one up, despite the endorsement of the Security Council and the General Assembly. There are a number of current missions that would benefit from such an approach, not least the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) and, potentially, the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC). The Security Council itself could feed into such a process through its Working Group on peacekeeping.
Here, let me depart from my text for a moment to say a word about the Security Council itself in this respect. The Security Council is, undoubtedly, a central organization for peace-building, but it cannot achieve results on its own. We are not particularly good at implementation and follow-up. One of the main purposes of the United Kingdom proposal to establish a working group on peacekeeping was to deal with exactly that issue: to interconnect with other parts of the system and focus on implementation and follow-up. There are some good ideas in the European Union statement, as there were in that of Ambassador Levitte, which we have already heard, on how we can proceed with that. We have to remember that not following up, not implementing what we put forward in our resolutions, places a dead hand of inaction over the whole United Nations system because of the central role of the Security Council. We promote the centrality of that role, but we do not fully carry out the implementation process. We cannot go beyond our remit; we have to coordinate. But to fail to act fully in accordance with our remit puts a burden on the rest of the system.
Fourthly, Member States must bear their own responsibility for cohesion, both internally and with each other. Foreign, finance and development ministries must communicate. Recognizing this, the United Kingdom Government has recently established a Global Conflict Prevention Pool, funded from the budgets of several departments. This represents our own recognition of the need for a more integrated response to conflict. We are keen to look at any effective peace-building measures that might be funded from it.
When I spoke at the Council’s open debate last July on the prevention of armed conflict, I said that it was time to convert our fine words into action. There is a long way to go, but I am encouraged to point to a recent example of our beginning to get things right. Here I shall abbreviate the comments set out in my written text.
I refer to the experience of the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) and the debate that we had on 26 January, when it was clear, from Sergio Vieira de Mello’s briefing, that a process of coordinated developmental planning had gone into the whole UNTAET operation. I think that that experience is beginning to bear fruit. In that meeting we did not focus only on the need for capacity-building in East Timor; equally striking was José Ramos-Horta’s emphasis on the need for security for East Timor if all of this effort is to have a lasting effect. UNTAET is certainly far from a perfect mission. It has faced, and will continue to face, some serious problems. But we must also welcome the integration of its approach. As we look ahead to planning a follow-on mission there — which will certainly need a peacekeeping element and civilian police, as well a capacity-building function — we must also look to the past and apply the lessons we have learned from East Timor to the rest of our work.
The report on peace-building that will be issued in March through the Executive Committee on Peace and Security (ECPS) provides a good opportunity for this sort of lessons-learned exercise. The United Kingdom is committed to helping the report produce practical, forward-looking conclusions, and that means taking stock of where we have reached. We must make sure that regional perspectives to conflict prevention and peace-building are taken into account. We are therefore supporting a series of worldwide seminars over the next six weeks, led by the International Peace Academy (IPA), which will help to develop this thinking. The one that will take place in New York on 12 March will complete the series. The IPA and we will be sending colleagues further details.
I hope this debate will help the drafters of the ECPS report to focus on practical proposals to improve United Nations peace-building strategies. What are the key elements of peace-building? Which actors are best placed to implement them? How can coordination within the United Nations system be improved? What roles are there for the ECPS and the Department of Political Affairs peace-building unit? If clear answers to these questions are provided by the report, we will be in a much better position to take a significant step forward in improving the capacity of the United Nations in this essential area and in uniting all the major players in the peace-building field into a coherent whole.
Mr. Mahbubani (Singapore): We should like to thank you, Mr. President, for organizing this timely and important debate, as well as for circulating a very useful background paper on the subject of peace-building. I, like my colleagues, would like to welcome the Secretary-General, who by his presence here demonstrates the importance of the subject that we are discussing.
Just 10 years ago, if we had tried to hold such an open debate, the members of the United Nations community would have been puzzled. The concept of peace-building had not fully surfaced at that time. But in the past decade, after major United Nations operations in Cambodia, Mozambique, East Timor and Kosovo, we do seem to know what peace-building refers to.
In our view, the best single definition of the term was provided by the Secretary-General, Mr. Kofi Annan, in his 1997 report (A/51/950) entitled “Renewing the United Nations: a programme for reform”. Paragraph 120 of that report states:
“Peace-building may involve the creation or strengthening of national institutions; the monitoring of elections; the promotion of human rights; the provision of reintegration and rehabilitation programmes; and the creation of conditions for resumed development. Peace-building does not replace ongoing humanitarian and development activities in countries emerging from crises. Rather it aims to build on them and introduce further activities or reorientation of existing ones which ... reduce the risk of a resumption of conflict and contribute to creating conditions most conducive to reconciliation, reconstruction and recovery. ”
Today, the best active examples are the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) and the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET). In these large peacekeeping operations, the United Nations provides an interim civil administration, in addition to a comprehensive peace-building package, which involves establishing entire social systems and governmental institutions from scratch. These are no easy tasks. The best historical precedent for such large-scale operations may have been the work carried out under the Marshall Plan after the Second World War.
Despite the vivid examples of East Timor and Kosovo, there continues to be confusion about the term “peace-building”. To obtain some conceptual clarity, it may be useful to make a distinction between what we have called three distinct stages of work.
During the first stage, after a conflict has torn apart a territory or country and there is a desire to re-establish peace with the help of the international community, the United Nations gets a mandate to set up a peacekeeping operation. During the second stage, to ensure that the peace takes permanent root, a peace-building component is inserted. Here again, while East Timor and Kosovo are relatively large operations, we should not rule out the possibility of small-scale operations. For example, the current peace-building work being done in the Central African Republic continues to be important. During the third and final stage, the country or territory can — if the first two stages have been successful — return to nation-building on its own two feet, with the usual help of the development community. Here again, Cambodia and Mozambique provide the best examples of relatively successful nation-building after the end of United Nations peace-building.
One clear reason for introducing such conceptual clarity is to remove the misconception, which surfaced in some recent debates, that the United Nations is overstepping its mandate when it goes into peace-building.
At the conceptual level, we may be able to introduce some clarity to the term “peace-building”. At the operational level, however, peace-building can be both messy and difficult. Building a lasting peace after a sustained and painful conflict is an inherently difficult exercise. We are human; we find it difficult to forgive and to live in peace once again with neighbours who may have brought pain and tragedy into our lives. Here again I believe that the Secretary-General also referred to the difficulties of healing the scars of wars when he spoke earlier today.
Given the difficulty of such work, Singapore tried to make a modest contribution in this field by organizing a conference in Singapore in November 1999 called “The Nexus Between Peacekeeping and Peace-building”. This conference was organized by the United Nations Institute for Training and Research, the Institute of Policy Studies of Singapore and the Japan Institute of International Affairs.
All the speeches and papers presented at the conference, a summary of the discussions and the conference co-chairpersons’ recommendations have been compiled in a book. I am happy to demonstrate this here. Some of you may remember that we actually launched this book at the Singapore Mission last October. We commend this book to those researching and working on peace-building, as it contains many interesting historical descriptions and reflections that could guide us. Indeed, in the rest of my remarks this morning, I plan to cite a few from this book.
For example, when the Vice-President of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Mr. Jacques Forster, spoke, he stressed that the aim of peace-building was to bring about a sustainable long-term peace. To accomplish this, he said that we had to address the root causes of conflict to set in motion “a virtuous and eventually self-sustaining cycle of peace-building”.
The United Nations University Vice-Rector, Ramesh Thakur, warned against quick-fix solutions. He said that “the requirements for sustainable peace are different from those of band-aid or fire-fighting responses”, and he stressed that “a peace agreement is no solution if it does not last the distance”.
Mr. Lakhdar Brahimi also attended the conference, and I am glad that he is here with us this morning. I believe that when he spoke in Singapore he emphasized the need for the international community to provide the considerable resources, human and material, that are essential for peace-building.
The main theme in all their remarks was that for the United Nations to be successful in its peace-building efforts, it has to put into place the conditions for both peace and development. Only then can it exit the scene knowing that the job was done and done well. It cannot be overemphasized that if a peacekeeping mission is pulled out too early, there is a real danger that the conflict it was deployed to resolve could flare up again and become worse than before the peacekeeping operation was established. This would not only put back any potential solution to the problem; it would also damage the credibility of the United Nations itself. It is therefore important that the Security Council, the United Nations, the international community and all other actors involved in peace-building stay the course. Here again I am glad that other speakers have also made this point in their remarks earlier today.
Several other speakers at the conference emphasized the need for all members of the United Nations family involved in peace-building to work together. For example, Professor Jonathan Moore from Harvard University warned that
“the culture and climate of cooperation and collaboration, mutual respect and reinforcement, among the various parts of the United Nations family which converge in complex crises, is not yet” and I repeat, “is not yet sufficient to ensure a fruitful relationship between peacekeepers and peace-builders”.
Mr. David Malone, the President of the International Peace Academy — Ambassador Greenstock also referred to him — echoed the same concerns and noted that the world of peace-building is increasingly characterized by “a multiplicity of actors with overlapping and sometimes contradictory mandates, all competing for scarce resources and each seeking a central role and profile”. He added that:
“The result is that it is increasingly difficult for the United Nations or other international actors to develop a coherent strategy, let alone implement it, for consolidating what has been achieved during negotiations.”
Other speakers stressed the need for the United Nations to work closely with the Bretton Woods institutions to ensure that peace-building remains sustainable over the long run.
Hence, when the co-chairpersons of the conference gave their conclusions, one of the key points that they stressed was the need to develop
“an integrative approach to the design and architecture of the United Nations mission, including both peacekeeping and peace-building components; for all participating agencies to have a common vision of the mission’s objectives, so that unnecessary duplication of effort could be avoided; to ensure that there is a reconciliation component in the peace-building process, where peace can continuously be facilitated between belligerent parties; and for the Security Council, Bretton Woods institutions and the donor community to give the United Nations mission the necessary resources of money, skill and time for it to complete its mandate”.
It is clear from all the remarks that we have cited that if the international community is to succeed in the major responsibilities of peace-building, all the major multilateral institutions must learn to work together as a team under the leadership of the United Nations. Here again I am glad that several speakers have already made the point; I am especially glad that Ambassador Greenstock emphasized this point in his remarks today. Indeed, we believe this requirement is also true when we go from peace-building to nation-building, which is the third stage. As my Prime Minister said at the Millennium Summit,
“The United Nations should provide the leadership within the community of multilateral organizations to help the poorer nations develop the capacity to profit from globalization and the knowledge revolution. The United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and several other international organizations were created in a different era to deal with different challenges. They need to be updated. Furthermore, these institutions work separately, and not as a team. Today, however, there is an imperative for them to coordinate their efforts. They need to get together to assess what competencies the poorer nations need to develop in this new era. They should then put in place coordinated programmes to build capacity for globalization and the knowledge revolution. I call upon the Secretary-General to institute regular dialogues among the multilateral organizations to bring about such coordination.” (A/55/PV.5, p.30)
We hope that the high-level meeting that will take place tomorrow and in which the President of the Security Council will participate will address some of these points. We believe that if all these agencies can learn to cooperate in the difficult area of peace-building, this may lay the foundations for closer and broader cooperation in other areas, too.
The President (spoke in Arabic): I thank the representative of Singapore for noting the important document on the Singapore conference.
Mr. Valdivieso (Colombia)(spoke in Spanish): I would like to thank the President of the Council for having taken the excellent initiative of convening this open debate to address an item of concern to all Members of the United Nations. This provides us with an opportunity to highlight the growing importance of multidimensional approaches to the solution and prevention of conflict.
The Security Council has major challenges before it in the complex management of current conflicts. We hope that today’s debate will benefit this organ and other relevant organs in the United Nations system as we give critical consideration to the experiences of the past, to lessons learned and to ways that we can improve processes for preventing conflict, as well as for building peace.
The responsibility for maintaining peace cannot be considered alone but rather as a part of the wider process ranging from preventive diplomacy to post-conflict peace-building. In order to understand this complex situation, we must consider the fact that the Security Council is only one of the actors, and sometimes the least relevant one, among those participating in the peace-building process. Also, the preponderance of intra-State conflicts in the midst of complex claims of a religious type, of ethnic supremacy and of xenophobia means that the peace-building process has become more complex, longer-term and more painstaking, and sometimes its leads to dissatisfaction among those who are expecting immediate or short-term tangible results.
In such internal wars and conflicts, peace-building frequently occurs after the parties concerned have taken actions that constitute serious violations of human rights and of international humanitarian law with grave consequences for the civilian population. Patient effort is therefore required to restore the social fabric and the minimal conditions for coexistence.
Peace-building has enemies, which can include individuals, businesses, organizations and Governments that do not desire tranquility and stability. Most blameworthy are those involved in the illicit trafficking of small arms, for whom peace-building is bad business.
Because of the strong link between conflict prevention on the one hand and the maintenance of peace and peace-building on the other, these things must be considered together and addressed comprehensively. There have been many studies and assessments of the causes of conflict; thanks in part to these, national Governments and the international community have made considerable progress on various approaches to preventing conflict. But despite the identification of the causes of conflict, and despite the broad formulas and comprehensive approaches to conflict prevention, there are factors that stymie these good intentions. Neither conflict prevention nor peace-building can be successful without genuine political will by all actors, including those responsible for the maintenance of peace, international mediators and the parties to the conflict.
There is no doubt that peace-building is a far more complex and difficult challenge than it appears to be, as experience has shown. Rebuilding societies that have suffered the strife of war and that are bearing the consequences of conflict — social trauma, lack of resources, fragile institutions and political
uncertainty — takes long-term sustained effort. But unfortunately, we constantly see erratic, short-term, poorly coordinated commitments by governmental, non-governmental and international organizations and other relevant actors. Sustainability and political will are the two elements that are key to the success of peace-building.
Past Security Council efforts with a broad, comprehensive reconstruction mandate have included those for Namibia, El Salvador, Cambodia, Mozambique and, more recently, East Timor and Kosovo. The only thing they have in common are their comprehensive mandates, which have included tasks such as: the reorganization and retraining of police forces; judicial reform; formulation or assistance in the formulation of local laws and regulations in the economic and social sphere; help in carrying out agrarian reform; election monitoring; supervision of transitional government departments; the supply of food, drinking water and sanitary and health services; and monitoring human rights. If the Security Council has correctly devised these overall comprehensive mandates, we wonder why the results have been so uneven, with a degree of success in some cases and with huge failure in others.
To respond to that concern, my delegation wishes to put forward some fundamental elements that we would like to see reflected in the presidential statement to be adopted on today’s agenda item.
First, peace-building is inherently a long-term process in which short-term positive results do not necessarily lead to ultimate success.
Second, these missions need not be carried out principally by the United Nations; rather, depending on specific conditions, the lead organization can be a regional one.
Third, donor commitment to peace-building processes must be sustained and long-term.
Fourth, the Secretary-General could coordinate the preparation of a compendium of lessons learned over the past two decades, drawing on contributions from national Governments, regional organizations, United Nations agencies and specialized non-governmental organizations.
Fifth, in each case there must be a strategy that will ensure the resources and personnel needed to complete the peace-building process.
And sixth, in each instance the Secretary-General could identify a set of objective benchmarks indicating that peace has been built; this would avoid the premature termination of mandates, which could sow the seeds of new conflicts.
Peace is not the absence of conflict. Peace is a culture, a way of life, a collective yearning. Attaining peace requires — in addition to the will of the
parties — a favourable national and international environment. This requires sustainable and lasting long-term commitment.
Mr. Shen Guofang (China) (spoke in Chinese): At the outset, Mr. President, I would like to thank you for proposing and convening this open debate on the topic of “Peace-building: towards a comprehensive approach”. I also wish to express my gratitude to you and to the delegation of Tunisia for having prepared a very informative and comprehensive working paper for this meeting. A number of United Nations peacekeeping operations have already, to varying degrees, included tasks of post-conflict peace-building. Therefore, a review of this question by the Security Council is both necessary and timely. I hope that this meeting will help the United Nations in devoting equal attention to and in properly handling both peacekeeping and the promotion of development.
At the Security Council’s open debate on the item entitled “No exit without strategy”, which was held last November, you said, Sir, that
“peace and development are intimately linked. Thus, a more sustained commitment of the international community to reducing poverty throughout the world and to promoting sustainable development is both a step towards conflict prevention and a contribution to peace-building”. (S/PV.4223, p. 17)
I fully agree with that view. Peace and development are the two themes of our time. On the one hand, peace-building would be impossible without achievements on the development front. On the other hand, development in itself is part of any peace-building effort. Development is a global issue with universal relevance.
At present, armed conflicts most often occur in poor and backward developing countries, notably in the least developed countries. From what can be seen in those countries, the root causes of armed conflict are diverse. But the most fundamental one lies in extreme poverty. Poverty leads to social instability, which in turn poses a threat to peace and security at the national and even the regional level. Therefore, a core issue of concern on our agenda should be how to prevent armed conflict and fundamentally ensure lasting peace. The Secretary-General has indicated in past reports that prevention is better than mere reaction. In our view, preventive measures such as pre-conflict mediation and good offices are essential, and can sometimes play an important role.
However, in order to uproot the causes of conflicts, we must help developing countries, especially the least-developed countries, to seek economic development, eradicate poverty, curb diseases, improve the environment and fight against social injustices. This is a more active way of preventive peace-building, which, as compared to post-conflict peace-building, will multiply the accomplishment with half the effort.
A focused effort of post-conflict peace-building helps to prevent the recurrence of conflicts and pave the way for durable peace. The achievement of a ceasefire or peace in a country or region through United Nations peacekeeping operations does not necessarily mean that the root causes of the conflict will die out immediately thereafter. Moreover, due to varying conditions on the ground, peace-building efforts in different places should also vary in form. At the same time, an extended process is required to address and eliminate such root causes as poverty, backwardness, social injustice and ethnic disputes.
The international community should have the patience and resolve to help conflict-afflicted countries and regions to tackle these problems. The speedy disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of ex-combatants and the promotion of the repatriation, resettlement and economic recovery of refugees and displaced persons constitute the short-term objectives of peace-building. The long-term objectives, however, are the eradication of poverty, the development of the economy, good governance and a peaceful and rewarding life for people in post-conflict countries and regions. With regard to the short-term objectives, the United Nations has done a great deal, adopting numerous papers and reports. It has not, however, made sufficient effort with respect to the long-term objectives, which it should study further and concerning which it should enhance its role.
An important question emerging from our debate today concerns the kind of role the Security Council should play in peace-building. In the working paper, you, Sir, have provided some very good and enlightening views on this question. Preceding speakers have also presented very helpful suggestions. We believe that peace-building involves many elements and calls for the active participation of various United Nations bodies and the international community as a whole. The efforts of all involved should be well coordinated, as well as clearly and reasonably defined, and their cooperation should be sustained.
As the primary body entrusted with the maintenance of international peace and security, the Security Council should provide political guidance and coordination in this regard. In certain circumstances, the Security Council should undertake to tailor tasks for peace-building. However, during the planning, establishment and implementing processes of a peacekeeping operation, the Council should consider how to turn peacekeeping into peace-building and its deliberations should help to facilitate the smooth development of peace-building efforts and seek to create favourable conditions for such activity. Such issues as economic and social reconstruction in the peace-building process should be the main tasks of the special agencies of the United Nations development system, the international financial bodies or relevant regional organizations. In order better to achieve our goals, the Security Council should join other relevant United Nations bodies by increasing its consultations to develop an integrated problem-solving programme.
The work of peace-building involves the country concerned, the United Nations, the international community and other relevant players. However, there is no doubt that the country concerned should be at the core of all peace-building efforts. Both during the preventive pre-conflict peace-building process and in the post-conflict peace-building period, the United Nations and the international community at large are always external contributing factors. Their roles lie in helping and supporting the Governments and peoples of post-conflict countries in their reconstruction efforts. The internal affairs of a country should eventually be handled by the people of that country on their own. Therefore, while participating in peace-building efforts, the international community should focus on helping peoples to achieve independence and self-reliance so that their dependence on external assistance will gradually decrease. The people of the country concerned should be encouraged to play a leading role during the peace-building process. The United Nations and the international community should refrain from stealing the show from the main actor.
The Chinese delegation holds that all peace-building and peace-consolidating measures should conform to the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter and have due respect for the political independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of countries concerned, as well as for the wills of their Governments and peoples. To some extent, peace-building is even more complex than peacekeeping. For example, it is sometimes necessary to help a country concerned to carry out political and economic restructuring. Some of our work may deeply encroach on various aspects of the social life of that country; in certain circumstances, the United Nations may need to carry out certain administrative functions on behalf of a country’s Government. In such a case in particular, the United Nations and the international community should fully respect the views of the country concerned and its laws, religious beliefs, customs and traditions. Their activities should conform to the wishes and choices of the people and their actual needs.
In recent years, the United Nations has undertaken peace-building activities in some regions and some of its peacekeeping operations have, to varying degrees, also included peace-building tasks. However, due to different conditions on the ground and to the differing focuses of the missions of peacekeeping operations, it has not yet been possible to find a generally applicable model for peace-building. Therefore, the United Nations still needs to learn judiciously from practices and experiences so as to find better ways to carry out its peace-building efforts.
The United Nations has enjoyed very good cooperation from a number of regional organizations in the field of pre- and post-conflict peace-building. This kind of cooperation should be carried forward. The Fourth United Nations/Regional Organizations High-level Meeting, which is to open tomorrow, will be devoted to the issue of facing the challenge of long-term peace-building. The Chinese delegation welcomes this and looks forward to the Secretariat’s briefing on this meeting.
Mr. Gatilov (Russian Federation) (spoke in Russian): Our meeting today is devoted to the very important topic of the effective transition from efforts to settle a conflict within the framework of a peacekeeping operation to the stage of peace-building. The timeliness of raising this question is unquestionable, inasmuch as, without a comprehensive approach, one can hardly hope for the establishment of a lasting peace in a post-conflict country.
In the view of the Russian Federation, the process of peace-building can successfully develop only in strict compliance with a peace agreement or other document settling a conflict. An important and integral part of this stage is the implementation of programmes for the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of former combatants.
Parallel with this is the need to focus efforts on eradicating the root causes of conflicts. As a rule, such causes underlie social and economic problems, which are sometimes compounded by religious, ethnic and other disagreements. There can be no single recipe here, but experience has shown that the most widespread solution provides for the conduct of far-reaching reforms in the area of the ownership of land and other types of property, in taxation and so forth, all of which promote the establishment of new and fairer rules of the game.
Certainly no less important are the political aspects of a settlement, designed to ensure that armed conflict is replaced by the more civilized campaign of ideas. In this connection, we cannot limit ourselves only to the holding of honest and fair elections, since this expression of will cannot in and of itself safeguard social peace. In many situations, what is required is a partial or fundamental restructuring of the entire political structure in a country that has experienced conflict, as a result of which conditions are established for the activities of new political forces personified in the ex-combatants and their political movements.
In the final analysis, all of these efforts must be directed towards the establishment of a society of political pluralism with strong State and social institutions. This, of course, may require legislative reforms, including the introduction of amendments to or the adoption of a new constitution.
Another very important area is that of efforts for national reconciliation. For this purpose, in many recent cases a so-called commission to establish historical truth has been set up. Steps taken in this area are directly linked to the functioning of the court system, the independent activities of which must remain one of the safeguards of reforms under way in a country; therefore, the existing structure might also require reform.
The next key aspect is the activity of law enforcement bodies, security services and the army. As a rule, this aspect also requires close attention both in terms of the renewal or even re-creation of those institutions and in ensuring their non-interference in the nation’s political life.
The last, but hardly least important, aspect of post-conflict development is the establishment of good relations with neighbours and the integration of the post-conflict country into existing regional political and economic structures.
To be sure, the world community and its major international Organization, the United Nations, must play an adequate role by lending assistance to post-conflict building. In this connection, we believe it is exceedingly important to respect strictly the post-conflict nation’s sovereignty and to bear in mind its national circumstances. The Security Council must play an important role here, especially in the transition from peacekeeping to peace-building, after which the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council and the specialized agencies of the United Nations system should assume the primary one.
Mr. Ryan (Ireland): Ireland welcomes today’s debate on peace-building. Remarkably, it is only in very recent years that the Security Council has formally addressed this subject, and today’s meeting offers a welcome opportunity to further develop our thinking together. The Swedish Presidency of the European Union will speak later, and Ireland associates itself with that statement.
The debate on peace-building at the United Nations began in earnest only in the early 1990s with the publication of “An Agenda for Peace”. We are pleased that the pace of the debate has quickened so markedly. A greater understanding of the concept has evolved, and a recognition of the crucial role to be played by peace-building has developed. This has been reflected in our discussions and in the range of reports of the Secretary-General, which have demonstrated the centrality of peace-building to attempts to assist conflict-riven societies.
The successful contribution of the United Nations to the establishment of peace in Guatemala is, in many respects, our first and exemplary case of peace-building. The United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET), which is preparing East Timor for and accompanying it towards independence, and the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), which is providing an interim administration while establishing transitional institutions for democratic self-administration in Kosovo, are ongoing examples of how well-coordinated peace-building efforts can make a difference.
From Ireland’s perspective, peace and stability are inextricably linked to the meaningful engagement of people with the decision-making structures and processes affecting their lives. Accountable public institutions, inclusive political systems and the opportunity to achieve a decent standard of living are some of the basic foundations of any stable society. Peace-building helps to create the conditions where these can take root. The absence of these foundations nourishes conflict. Our own national experience has taught us that problems can often seem intractable and that differences can run very deep. While we would not wish to be over-prescriptive, we have, however, been witness to the need for courage, compromise and the support of the international community in building peace out of violent conflict.
We are agreed that poverty and underdevelopment are major contributing factors to conflict. Of the 34 countries farthest from reaching the international development targets set out in the United Nations global conferences of the 1990s, 22 are affected by current or recent conflict. In most cases, populations in countries experiencing conflict are denied basic human rights; governance is either bad or non-existent; and the right to development is without practical recognition. Clearly, conflict prevention and peace-building call for emphasis on the full range of human rights, including civil, political, economic, social and cultural. Our support for conflict-affected countries in capacity-building for good governance will be a crucial peace-building task.
At last year’s Millennium Summit, our heads of State or Government agreed to halve by the year 2015 the large proportion of the world’s people living in extreme poverty. If we are to reach that goal and the targets we all agreed at United Nations global conferences, greater achievements must be realized in conflict prevention, peace-building and development. Violent conflict and underdevelopment undermine our efforts while blighting the aspirations of many millions of people. We rightly emphasize the need for each country to recognize ownership and to tackle its problems directly, but we also recognize the indispensable contribution that can be made by the international community.
In addressing the objectives of peace-building programmes, we can draw on the processes in which we have engaged over the past decade. The record is, admittedly, a chequered one, but we should keep in mind that this is difficult terrain in which recurring factors have reappeared. Among these, I would highlight the following: the evident, demonstrated centrality of the United Nations system to major peacekeeping challenges; the direct relationship between the success of peace-building programmes and the adequate commitment of financial and political resources by the international community; the political rhetoric and on-the-ground political obstructionism which have in some contexts exacerbated the failure of political leaderships to respond to peace-building efforts; the accurate assessment and judicious application of varying degrees of leverage that particular characteristics of pre- or post-conflict situations give the international community in engaging in peace-building operations; the need to be highly sensitive to the individual strengths and weaknesses of the political and social fabric and the impact these will have on the post-conflict peace-building process. In countries emerging from conflicts we need to ensure the development of local capacity to manage differences, even deep differences, without violence. We have seen, repeatedly, intertwining political and developmental dimensions of peace-building which require the closest practical cooperation and coordination between, particularly, the Department of Political Affairs, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). At the field level there is clearly a significant role for UNDP as capacity-builder in the governance area and in the context of the resident coordinator system. Immediate efforts to assist crisis and post-conflict countries should not distort long-term development objectives, but should underpin and reinforce them. Finally, we stress the need for lessons to be learned from experience of the past, and for best practice to be pursued. It is crucial that the structures set up by the United Nations mutually reinforce and complement each other. Coordination must begin in the field if it is to be effective, and it must begin immediately upon the cessation of hostilities.
The Secretary-General will tomorrow meet with the regional organizations. We value these organizations’ commitment to the maintenance of international peace and security. We are resorting to them on an increasing basis, not least because we recognize that intra-State violence has regional consequences that must be addressed effectively at the regional level. We have seen regional organizations achieve real successes in addressing conflicts, while mindful of the inherent practical, political and organizational challenges. As a member of the European Union, Ireland is very supportive of the efforts for closer cooperation between the United Nations and the European Union.
We strongly endorsed the Council’s decision that those to be responsible for implementing a peace agreement should be present during the planning phases to ensure that the operation is based on realistic assessments, judgements and arrangements. This is essential for the credibility and workability of an agreement and for the integrity of the United Nations when it entrusts an operation to a regional organization. We recognize that the United Nations relationships with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the European Union in Kosovo are positive examples of what can be done in this regard, and that other regional organizations, with international support, also have crucial roles to play.
The Security Council’s contribution to conflict resolution is an important element of a broader United Nations capacity. We welcome, for example, the fact that it has now become fairly routine for the heads of the funds and programmes to attend and work with the Council. This is as it should be if we are to adopt a comprehensive and flexible approach to peace-building. Long-term peace-building strategies should figure as a matter of course in the drawing up of Council-mandated operations and missions.
This debate is taking place against the background of rapid developments in the field and within this Organization. The Brahimi report has described peacekeepers and peace-builders as “inseparable partners”. They are working, in our names, towards the same objective. It is our clear responsibility to ensure that they are equipped to carry out the tasks we assign to them. This includes clarity in the mandates we give them.
These mandates will, because they must, reflect increasingly an awareness of the spectrum of United Nations peacekeeping, peace-building and development work. They are inextricably linked and, if properly harnessed, they point the route away from conflict and its root causes, towards societies characterized by good governance, human, civil, political, social and cultural rights, and, crucially, sustainable development.
Mr. Kolby (Norway): Norway welcomes the initiative of the Tunisian presidency for this debate on the concept of peace-building.
Peace-building is a theme of concern both for the United Nations and for regional organizations. We therefore welcome the fact that cooperation for peace-building is the main issue on the agenda for the high-level meeting between the Secretary-General and regional organizations tomorrow and the day after. Regional organizations can often be key instruments for identifying what could be done to build peace and to prevent conflicts and for implementing the steps agreed upon. We would welcome strengthened peace-building cooperation between the United Nations and regional bodies, both in developing mutually supporting mechanisms and in addressing concrete conflict situations.
Peace-building is an important part of the comprehensive approach to United Nations peace operations set forth in the Brahimi report. We look forward to the follow-up reports on peace-building and conflict prevention now in preparation. We trust that all bodies of the United Nations system will give their full support to the establishment of steps needed to move forward. We are convinced that the reports, when they are presented, will provide a foundation for a more comprehensive discussion of the challenges before us when the Council resumes its discussion of this important issue. Norway will come back with a more extensive list of views and ideas when these reports are on the table.
The concept of peace-building is a relative newcomer in the more comprehensive approach to peace operations adopted by the United Nations in the 1990s. Valuable conceptua1 work has already been done to better understand how peace-building should relate to the other elements in a comprehensive approach to conflict prevention, peace-making, peacekeeping and long-term development. There is a lot of material to draw upon — lessons learned within the United Nations system, the experiences of other international organizations and in more independent evaluations and studies.
Norway supports the view that peace-building has a fundamental political character. It is important to address long-term root causes to prevent both the outbreak and the recurrence of conflict. But in political situations that threaten to deteriorate into armed conflicts, political initiatives are needed. The Security Council has been seized of a number of conflicts that, at some point, have threatened to escalate from bad to worse. Successive Secretaries-General, through the use of their good offices and through the Secretariat, have accumulated a lot of experience in trying to prevent such escalations or relapses into conflicts.
The need to address root causes must never be forgotten. Political efforts for peace-building will have much less of a chance to succeed in situations of mass poverty and despair. Norway believes strongly that the falling trend in international official development assistance transfers not only undermines our efforts to reach the international development goals, it also jeopardizes peace-building efforts. We have seen too often — even in this body — when the red lights of early warning have started flashing, when there are identifiable steps that could be taken to avert disaster, that the resources have simply not been there to take the steps needed early enough.
Norway believes that women can have a particularly important role in peace-building efforts. The Security Council recently had a discussion on women, peace and security. An effective follow-up of Security Council resolution 1325 (2000) will be important to ensure that the underutilized resource that women represent is better integrated into the comprehensive peace-building efforts needed. This will enhance the chance of creating lasting peace solutions.
Voluntary organizations can play a very important role in peace-building. Norway’s involvement in the peace processes in the Middle East, Central America and some African conflicts has been based on close collaboration with non-governmental organizations, whose presence on the ground have earned them the respect and confidence of all sides. We therefore strongly support the call by the Panel on United Nations Peace Operations to take heed of the Secretary-General’s initiatives to reach out to civil society and strengthen relations with non-governmental organizations, academic institutions and the media.
Norway has for many years supported strengthening the capabilities of the Secretary-General in preventing conflict and building peace. We have supported the proposals in the Brahimi report to this effect. We think that such measures need to be integrated into and coordinated closely with the work of the United Nations on development issues, to which our commitment is equally great.
The key challenge is now implementation. There is a general need to strengthen the institutional capability of the United Nations to deal more effectively with these important issues in order to implement the decisions of the Security Council. This includes a need for coherence, coordination and the ability to translate early warning into early action.
Coherence is important, as is coordination, not only within the United Nations system, but also with other international organizations and other actors involved in complex operations. Those involved should review priorities and redirect activities and programmes in order to support United Nations peace operations and contribute to a coherent peace-building environment. We should perhaps consider how we can move towards a more systematic structure of consultation among a wider range of actors in the context of Security Council mandates and resolutions.
Capacity on the ground, knowledge and shared analysis are the keys to enhanced coherence and to dealing with the security concerns of the parties involved. Disarmament, demobilization and reintegration; security sector reform; how to incorporate conflicting factions in an army, an administration and political bodies; and the role of development partners in training and competence-building: these are only some of the peace-building elements that may be involved in a given conflict.
The deepening and widening of the scope of peace-building also underlines the crucial need for coherence over time. We must work to break the vicious circle in which declining media attention often results in dwindling international financial support.
The findings of truth commissions in El Salvador, South Africa and elsewhere, as well as of the International Criminal Tribunals, have demonstrated that an atmosphere of impunity can be a major hindrance to true peace-building. We welcome the major strides that have been taken over the past few years in strengthening international criminal justice. We believe that the early establishment of the permanent International Criminal Court will be an important contribution to international peace-building efforts.
The real test of peace-building is in the results on the ground. The Security Council is now embarked on several peace operations with important peace-building mandates which will determine the success or failure of our approach. In East Timor, the ingredients of success are present, thanks to the performance of the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor and its partnership with local leaders. We must not let this opportunity slip away from us by abandoning the effort too early. In other situations, peace-building efforts are still at an early stage. Here again, the test will be whether we back up our words with resources.
Mr. Kuchynski (Ukraine): My delegation welcomes today’s open debate as a logical extension of a number of discussions held by the Security Council over the past few years on closely related subjects. We recognize the additional relevance and value of our discussion in the light of the forthcoming fourth high-level meeting between the United Nations and regional organizations, to be held tomorrow and the day after tomorrow on the same topic, cooperation for peace-building.
My delegation would therefore like to thank the Tunisian presidency for organizing this timely discussion and for the submission for our consideration of a thoughtful and comprehensive background document. We are also grateful to the Secretary-General for his important and very informative statement.
It is known that over the past decade United Nations peacekeeping efforts have undergone an evolution in the face of new challenges to peace and security, in particular a significant increase in the number and complexity of conflicts. This evolution has given birth to a new generation of operations with multifunctional mandates, not only targeted at stopping the violence and bloodshed but also aimed at preventing the emergence or recurrence of conflicts, as well as facilitating the movement of war-torn societies from violent conflicts towards reconciliation, economic reconstruction and democratic development.
In pursuit of these efforts, the United Nations has accumulated vast and largely successful experience in Namibia, Mozambique, El Salvador, Guatemala, the Central African Republic, Eastern Slavonia, Cambodia and the Republic of Macedonia. Today, the United Nations is involved in large-scale operations with peace-building components in Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina and East Timor. It has recently established Peace-building Support Offices in Liberia, Guinea-Bissau, the Central African Republic and Tajikistan. The United Nations peace-building process in Haiti is still under way. We look forward to examining the forthcoming proposals of the Secretary-General on the establishment of a peace-building mission for Somalia.
All of these examples testify to the fact that the issue of peace-building is becoming increasingly topical for the United Nations; its peace-building efforts are in very great demand throughout the world. Looking at peace-building from the conceptual standpoint, we remain of the view that it is inseparably linked to conflict prevention. In this context, we recognize the distinction between preventive peace-building, embracing a wide variety of long-term political, institutional and developmental activities to address the structural causes of conflicts, and post-conflict peace-building, encompassing reconstruction and development efforts to prevent the recurrence of conflict.
We fully share the view that the time has come to define a common approach to peace-building and to work towards a comprehensive and universally agreed strategy for peace-building and conflict prevention, involving all international partners. This view is, by and large, in line with the proposal that Ukraine advanced at the Millennium Summit and the Security Council Summit on the need to elaborate a comprehensive United Nations strategy for conflict prevention on the basis of the large-scale use of preventive diplomacy and peace-building. We hope that the ongoing efforts to reform the existing mechanism of United Nations peacekeeping, which were boosted by the Brahimi report and blessed by the Millennium Summit, will yield the expected results.
Obviously, the implementation of such a comprehensive strategy will require effective interaction between all bodies and agencies of the United Nations, as well as the active input of Member States, regional organizations, international financial institutions, non-governmental organizations, local stakeholders and other players. At the same time, my delegation is convinced that the United Nations should retain the primary role as the coordinator and originator of these activities. In this regard, the idea of developing a permanent mechanism within the United Nations to coordinate international peace-building efforts could be very helpful.
It is recognized that the existing capacities of the United Nations system in pursuing peace-building strategies in terms of economic development are not fully utilized. Meanwhile, there is no need to prove that poverty and underdevelopment are among major contributing factors to conflicts. The efforts to eradicate poverty and promote sustainable development constitute an integral part of the process of long-term peace-building and conflict prevention. In this context, we welcome the recently increased attention of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), which is in a position to assist conflict-riven societies in overcoming the consequences of the conflicts, to its role in crisis and post-conflict situations. We hope that this positive tendency will further grow.
The role of international financial institutions and the international donor community at large in providing the necessary funds and resources to the collective peace-building efforts can hardly be overestimated. We believe that more active involvement of these institutions in this work in the future should be further encouraged.
I would also like to mention the importance for peace-building approaches of the effective implementation of programmes of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) of ex-combatants. In this context, permanent attention, in our view, should be drawn to the issue of combating the illicit traffic in arms, which has a direct impact on the DDR process in peacekeeping environments. We hope that the 2001 United Nations Conference on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects, to be held in July, will strengthen international efforts in this field and contribute to the effectiveness of the DDR process in existing and future United Nations operations.
As regards the situation of child soldiers, let me reiterate my country’s position that including the post of child protection adviser in the staff of all United Nations peacekeeping forces and peace-building missions should become standard practice.
Securing the rights of refugees and internally displaced persons to repatriation and resettlement, as well as their property rights, is yet another vital element of the United Nations peace-building efforts. We also cannot agree more with the view that the establishment of democratic institutions and the promotion of human rights and good governance are prerequisites for the ultimate success of peace-building and conflict prevention. In this context we recognize the growing role of the United Nations police component in ensuring these decisive factors.
My delegation shares the views of the President, expressed in his letter before us today, that the Security Council can play the role of the international community’s catalyst for attention and commitment to the demands of peace-building efforts, especially post-conflict peace-building. At the same time, we believe that when the United Nations peace efforts in a zone of conflict reach the stage of long-term preventive peace-building, the Security Council should pass the main player’s baton to other bodies of the United Nations, like UNDP, to coordinate further international efforts to this end.
We also believe that the practice of consultations between the United Nations Security Council and the regional organizations involved with the United Nations in joint endeavours of post-conflict peace-building — like the one we had a week ago with the Chairman-in-Office of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe — should be established on a regular basis.
Finally, let me assure you, Mr. President, that my country, which has the experience of participation in eight United Nations operations or missions with peace-building elements, intends to continue further its practical contribution to strengthening the United Nations capacities for peace-building and the elaboration of a comprehensive approach to it.
The President (spoke in Arabic): I thank the representative of Ukraine for his kind words addressed to my delegation.
Mr. Kassé (Mali) (spoke in French): The question before the Council today has been on the United Nations agenda for more than a decade. Today’s debate is being held on the eve of the fourth high-level meeting between the United Nations and the regional organizations on the theme “Cooperation for peace-building”. My delegation is grateful to the President of the Council, as well as to the delegation of Tunisia, for taking the initiative of organizing this open debate of the Security Council on “Peace-building: towards a comprehensive approach”. I would also like to thank the Secretary-General for his important statement.
I would like to refer to a few issues that in the view of my delegation require special attention. The first is the need to deal with the root causes of conflict. Today it is acknowledged that peace-building does not solely involve post-conflict situations but also encompasses a whole series of long-term activities in the political, institutional and development fields. Actually, the implementation of such measures helps to do away with root causes of conflict, in particular internal conflict. This is why it is important that we establish programmes for the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of ex-combatants.
Similarly, special attention should be given to the problem of the circulation and illicit trafficking in small arms and light weapons. These weapons in circulation in developing countries, especially in Africa, are responsible for 90 per cent of deaths caused by conflicts in the post-cold war period. The struggle against this trafficking is a peace-building activity. The international community must mobilize and work towards the elaboration of normative international laws that are progressive and effective in nature to take control of the situation of illicit trafficking of this category of arms. To this end, the United Nations Conference on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects, which will be held here in New York in July 2001, to be a success — something we all hope for — should deal with all the aspects, including those pertaining to the legal trade, and with the transparency that is required for that.
The Security Council Summit in September 2000 emphasized that in order for the Council to be effective and to carry out its responsibilities for maintaining international peace and security effectively, it is essential to cope with conflicts at all stages — that is, from prevention to settlement, and then to peace-building.
Another aspect just as important in this problem of peace-building pertains to the need to adopt a global and integrated strategy. To this end, it is important for all those involved in this sphere — including United Nations bodies and agencies and regional and subregional organizations, as well as international financial institutions — to lend their assistance to do away with tensions before they lead us to the outbreak of a genuine armed conflict. Similarly, when the Council decides to deploy a peacekeeping mission, it is important to elaborate the strategies for the establishment and consolidation of peace, including for the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of former combatants, especially child soldiers, as well as other groups in society that have been excluded from productive activities that generate income.
In the same vein, my delegation is of the view that we should carry out that conflict-prevention and peace-building strategy in close cooperation and coordination with the relevant regional and subregional organizations. In that regard, the recommendations set out in the report of the Secretary-General entitled “We the peoples: the role of the United Nations in the twenty-first century” (A/54/2000) and in the report of the Panel on United Nations Peace Operations (S/2000/809) deserve our full support. Recent events in Sierra Leone indicate the valuable role that regional organizations can play. Their efforts should thus be supported through regular consultations and more frequent contacts between the Security Council and officials from those organizations; these would be useful opportunities to exchange information and to consider the situation if joint peace-building action is deemed necessary.
The President (spoke in Arabic): I thank the representative of Mali for the kind words he addressed to me.
Mr. Chowdhury (Bangladesh): It is a great pleasure for me and my delegation to take part in this debate on “Peace-building: towards a comprehensive approach”. We commend you, Mr. President, for taking the initiative to organize this debate and also for circulating the background paper (S/2001/82), which we find very useful. We are grateful to the Secretary-General, Mr. Kofi Annan, for a very focused opening statement, which put the issue in perspective.
Throughout the decade of the 1990s – starting with the first Security Council summit, in 1992, followed by major United Nations conferences covering issues of the environment, human rights, population, women’s issues and social development – the overarching theme of peace and its multifaceted relationship with development has influenced our thinking. All these years, keeping the peace has been a major and recurrent preoccupation of the United Nations as conflicts kept breaking out and as peacemaking succeeded or failed. I want to make some general observations in relation to the concept of peace-building, its current pattern and the role of the United Nations, the international community and other actors, as well as some remarks on specific points.
In numerous forums, both inside the United Nations and outside it, the concept of peace-building has been addressed during discussions of conflict prevention and peacekeeping. We note a convergence of views in these discussions: that peace-building is closely linked with peacekeeping and conflict prevention, a view which Bangladesh fully shares. In “An Agenda for Peace” (S/24111), the then Secretary-General termed it as the counterpart of preventive diplomacy, which seeks to avoid the breakdown of peaceful conditions. The validity of the concept was then affirmed in the Secretary-General’s supplement to “An Agenda for Peace” (S/1995/1). We share the perception that peace-building may be viewed as a stage in a continuum, embracing a series of activities aimed at sustaining peaceful conditions in order to prevent, on the one hand, the recurrence of conflict and, on the other, to construct a new environment, restoring a sense of confidence and well-being among people.
This brings me to the second point about the pattern of peace-building activities that we see today. The supplement to “An Agenda for Peace” mentions demilitarization, the control of small arms, institutional reform, improved police and judicial systems, the monitoring of human rights, electoral reform and supervision of elections, social and economic development, et cetera. In addition, facilitation of humanitarian assistance, return of refugees and internally displaced persons, release of prisoners of war and detainees, determination of the fate of missing persons and demining have been covered in other cases. It goes without saying that the demands of the situation must be a determining factor in designing such activities.
Thirdly, there is a need for a comprehensive approach. Clearly, many of these activities fall within the operational jurisdiction of various programmes, funds, offices and agencies of the United Nations system. It is evident that, among the major organs, the General Assembly and the Security Council will also have to engage in greater coordination. This exemplifies the need for a comprehensive and integrated approach. We believe that such coordination has to be borne in mind from the very beginning of planning a peacekeeping operation, which would also augur well for a smooth transition from peacekeeping to peace-building and, when normalcy is restored, for transfer of responsibilities to other entities mentioned a moment ago.
In our debate last year on the item entitled “No exit without strategy”, we emphasized setting clear political objectives for a peacekeeping operation, which is a task for the Council. But it is also a task that the Council can accomplish only if it employs a clear and objective assessment of the situation and of its various linkages. Along with this, knowledge about the in-house expertise in the Secretariat and the comparative advantages of other actors are important inputs for the Council’s decision making. I will elaborate further on this point a little later.
On the need for local ownership of peace-building activities, Bangladesh believes it is important constantly to bear in mind the issue of advancing a sense of confidence and well-being in the target population. In designing and executing peace-building projects, it is important from the outset to instil in them a sense of ownership of these activities. We must engage the community and the local stakeholders in a consultative mechanism and explore local skills and expertise in order to enhance their acceptability.
Bangladesh believes strongly that special recognition must be given to the role of women in the peace-building process, particularly in the post-conflict phase.
Bangladesh attaches high importance to catering to the immediate needs of the stricken population. Among other elements, poverty eradication and employment generation are critically important in this regard. Effective and high-visibility projects that make a real difference should be given priority on the list of peace-building activities. In a welcome development, the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo has made arrangements to put in place a microcredit programme, and efforts are under way to do the same in East Timor. We would like to renew our emphasis on such initiatives.
Recent experience shows that such external actors as regional or subregional organizations, international financial institutions and non-governmental organizations play a crucial role in peace-building activities. Establishing mechanisms for regular contact and coordination with them will help the United Nations in its peace-building activities. In that regard, we welcome the meetings with regional organizations that will take place over the next two days. One could cite here the important role that the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has played in Kosovo, in particular in providing assistance in the training of the police and the judiciary. Such expertise and experience should be used by the United Nations. We believe that a regularly updated repertoire of relevant civil-society organizations should be maintained and that the Council should use the Arria formula in keeping in touch with them.
We cannot overlook the role of the international community and the media. They should assume a supportive role by creating an environment for maintaining the momentum of peace activities and should generate public opinion in favour of social and financial investment in the peace-building efforts of the United Nations. That alone can prepare the ground for concerted international action by State and non-State actors.
As evidenced by recent statistics, it is the intrastate conflicts, with all their attendant complexities, that have increasingly been the United Nations preoccupation. It is likely that this pattern will continue, requiring the United Nations to undertake complex tasks, such as building state institutions, maintaining law and order and raising a security or defence force. We believe that it would be important for the United Nations to undertake pro-active networking with entities with proven expertise and to develop strategic partnerships through judicious burden-sharing on the basis of comparative advantage.
I should not conclude without underscoring an oft-repeated statement that the United Nations is what its Members want it to be. Individually and collectively, we must demonstrate the necessary political will to take hard decisions, at least in order to show that we are capable of learning from our past mistakes. There is no need to argue that there have been mistakes in the past and that not much political will has been shown to learn from them.
The President (spoke in Arabic): I thank the representative of Bangladesh for his kind words addressed to me.
Mr. Neewoor (Mauritius): First of all, allow me to thank you, Sir, for convening today’s open debate on the important subject of “Peace-building: towards a comprehensive approach”. I also wish to thank the Secretary-General for his opening statement today.
This meeting is indeed very timely, as over the next two days the Fourth High-level Meeting will take place between the United Nations and regional organizations, which will also reflect on this important issue. We thank you, Sir, for your comprehensive background document.
The Charter of the United Nations speaks of wars, aggressions, disputes and conflicts essentially as situations of belligerency involving two or more sovereign States. In such situations, United Nations peacekeeping operations would normally involve deployment along the international frontiers of the opposing sides so as to keep peace between them. There is no scope for a larger role for a United Nations operations in conflict situations of this kind.
Since the United Nations Charter was written, the world has changed dramatically. We may not be totally freed from situations in which two or more States use or threaten to use force to resolve differences, but increasingly at the United Nations, and in the Security Council in particular, we have been dealing instead with civil conflicts. The striking examples are Somalia, Angola, Cambodia, Liberia, the Central African Republic, Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Burundi, Sierra Leone, Haiti, Georgia, East Timor and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The United Nations has been drawn into all these cases, either through peacekeeping operations or missions of other kinds, so as to stop the fighting, to prevent genocide or to deal with massive humanitarian situations and, in some cases, has even provided interim administration, such as in East Timor and Kosovo.
The Brahimi report, in our view, rightly concludes that “peacekeepers and peace-builders are inseparable partners” (S/2000/809, para. 28). Civil wars usually leave populations bitterly divided. More often than not in post-conflict situations, new political processes need to be undertaken for the emergence of a credible Government. Law and order need to be fully restored to enable refugees and internally displaced persons to return home in an atmosphere of security. Institutions have to be built to ensure proper governance. Human resources have to be developed through training facilities. Infrastructures damaged during the conflict have to be rebuilt. Above all, the devastated economy must be relaunched. All this can happen in a post-conflict situation only with the massive support of the international community for peace-building.
Following the first Security Council summit in 1992 and the subsequent publication of An Agenda for Peace, there have been a greater interest and engagement by the United Nations in post-conflict peace-building operations. Through these operations, our Organization has made a remarkable difference in the lives of numerous citizens in Namibia, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Guatemala, El Salvador and elsewhere.
There is no doubt that, for a peace-building operation to be successful, it requires a comprehensive and holistic approach. Several components are essential to bringing about sustained peace in the aftermath of a conflict. The need for demilitarization, control of the illicit flow of small arms and light weapons, the setting-up of proper democratic institutions, respect for the rule of law, efficient civilian police, an improved judicial system, electoral reform and respect for human rights, along with socio-economic development, are crucial to the restoration of peace and normalcy.
I would wish to highlight the following aspects, which are deemed important for successful peace-building. By destroying yesterday’s weapons used in conflicts, we would prevent their further use in future wars. The illicit trade and mass flow of small arms and light weapons on the African continent are only adding fuel to an already explosive situation.
We also believe that, after the settlement of a conflict, States should be encouraged and assisted to establish laws and procedures for the safe and effective collection and destruction of illegal small arms and light weapons. By so doing, the risk of the warring parties’ turning again to the use of arms could be mitigated. In this regard, we wish to underscore the need for all arms embargoes to be fully respected by the international community. The United States and the Southern African Development Community signed a declaration in December last year on United Nations sanctions and restraint in sale and transfers of conventional arms to regions of conflict in Africa. The declaration, inter alia, calls on States to adopt and implement national controls and measures to prevent the flow in conflict areas in Africa of confiscated arms, as well as those collected following the cessation of civil and international conflicts. We consider this to be an important step towards peace-building in African situations.
We have seen in Mozambique weapons exchanged for such tools as sewing machines, hoes and construction materials that helped the rehabilitation of former combatants. In Albania, community-based pilot programmes provided health care, new schools and proper infrastructure to communities in exchange for arms and ammunition. We believe that this kind of programme should be integrated into all peace-building operations.
A major impediment to peace-building and reconstruction after an internal conflict is, in many cases, the serious problem of landmines, millions of which remain scattered in the conflict zones. From Mozambique to southern Lebanon, landmines are still affecting the lives of millions of people. There can be no infrastructural development or agricultural activities in areas pitted with landmines. We would wish to appeal to countries with the necessary technical expertise and informative maps of the mined areas to redouble their efforts in assisting demining activities. This would indeed be a major contribution towards peace-building.
My delegation wishes to reiterate that there can be no durable peace without good governance, sound democratic practices and respect for the rule of law and transparency. Free and fair elections are one of the important pillars that sustain democratic societies. It is a fact that democracies rarely go to war against each other. It is equally true that democracies have a lower level of internal conflicts than non-democracies.
My delegation wishes to underscore the importance of putting in place a democratically elected Government once a peace agreement has been reached. It is encouraging to note that the Electoral Assistance Division of the United Nations is providing more and more assistance to electoral processes worldwide. Illegitimate and non-credible regimes very often carry the seeds of instability that eventually lead to frustration among the population, as a result of which conflicts may arise.
Governments have a major responsibility in the process of confidence-building. They should be encouraged to undertake national reconciliation and to promote unity, as well as demonstrate respect for human rights. States should avail themselves of the expertise of the United Nations, including through the High Commissioner for Human Rights, in drafting national plans of action for human rights and strengthening their judicial institutions. There will be no sustained peace and security if individuals continue to live in fear of arbitrary arrest and detention.
Newly established democratic Governments should also enlist the expertise of the International Civil Service Commission to help build a credible, transparent and accountable public administration. Corruption, malpractice and distorted decision-making not only stall economic development but also discourage foreign investment. For this reason alone, we ponder why several countries are still crippled in poverty despite being endowed with rich natural resources.
Last week we renewed the mandate of the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET), and everyone expressed satisfaction at the fact that the people of East Timor were heading towards the achievement of their cherished goal of independence. The role of UNTAET in training the East Timorese to take charge of their administrative machinery and institutions, which are the prerequisites for a newly independent democratic nation, demonstrates the resolve of the United Nations for a comprehensive approach towards peace-building.
The success of a peace-building operation lies to a great extent in the sense of security felt by citizens. The training, reforming and restructuring of local police forces are very important components of peace-building. My delegation subscribes to paragraphs 39 to 41 of the Brahimi report, especially with regard to the call for a doctrinal shift in the use of civilian police and human right experts in complex peacekeeping operations, with a view to strengthening the legal institutions and improving human rights.
The rehabilitation and resettlement of the local population after conflicts remain the central objectives of any peace-building undertaking. Our efforts should be focused more and more at creating the conditions conducive to sustainable economic growth necessary for reconstruction.
United Nations agencies, regional organizations and non-governmental organizations are already heavily engaged in reconstruction activities. However, we would like to see more timely efforts applied towards the construction of basic physical infrastructures, proper transportation and telecommunications, schools and public health facilities as part of the reconstruction programmes. Education would indeed provide the younger generation with technical and professional training, which is the essential foundation for the acquisition of skills. These are important elements that would eventually lead to job creation and consequently enhance the quality of life of the people.
In conclusion, let me add that with the designation of the Department of Political Affairs as the focal point within the United Nations for post-conflict peace-building, there has been better coordination and progress in peace-building activities. We welcome the initiative taken to invite the World Bank to participate in the Executive Committee on Peace and Security, which is responsible for the design and implementation of post-conflict peace-building initiatives within the United Nations. We must also work towards enhancing the coordination role of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) within the United Nations, since with the growing number of conflicts, there is greater need to make peace-building operations a high priority. Article 65 of the United Nations Charter lays down clearly the parameters for
cooperation between the Security Council and ECOSOC. We believe that Article 65, which so far has been applied only once — in 1999, in favour of Haiti — should become a vital instrument for comprehensive United Nations post-conflict peace-building efforts.
Finally, peace-building enterprises can succeed only if they are backed by the necessary financial support. We hope that the United Nations, the international financial institutions and the donor community will work together concertedly to make sure that what we are discussing today does not remain a dead letter.
The President (spoke in Arabic): I thank the representative of Mauritius for the kind words he has addressed to me.
Given the lateness of the hour, and with the consent of Council members, I will suspend the meeting until 3 p.m.
The meeting was suspended at 1.15 p.m.