Remarks of the Secretary-General to the Peacebuilding Commission on the report on peacebuilding and peacekeeping [as delivered] – World
Thank you for this opportunity to discuss the report on peacebuilding and peacekeeping.
Peace is the most important task we have to accomplish in the United Nations.
This Commission is key to moving this essential work forward, and I am encouraged by your program for 2022.
The problem is that our task is growing day by day.
As detailed in my report, we are facing the greatest number of violent conflicts since 1945.
From Yemen to Syria, Myanmar and Sudan.
From Haiti to the Sahel and so on.
And now the war in Ukraine – a disaster shaking the foundations of the international order, spilling over borders and causing soaring food, fuel and fertilizer prices that spell disaster for developing countries.
Resources are being diverted from much-needed support to address the sharp rise in hunger and poverty resulting from COVID-19.
All over the world we are witnessing military coups and seizures of power by force.
A perilous feeling of impunity is setting in.
On the other hand, nuclear arsenals are multiplying.
Human rights and international law are under attack.
The spirit and the letter of the Charter of the United Nations are flouted.
Criminal and terrorist networks fuel – and profit from – division and conflict.
And as always, the poorest and most vulnerable pay the highest price.
As we meet today, a quarter of humanity lives in areas affected by conflict.
Two billion people.
Last year, 84 million people were forcibly displaced due to conflict, violence and human rights abuses.
And this year, we estimate that at least 274 million people will need humanitarian assistance.
All of this is taking place at a time of mounting risks that make peace even more out of reach – inequality, COVID-19, climate change and cyber threats, to name a few.
The report we are debating today is a call to ensure that our peacebuilding architecture is adapted to this rapidly changing environment.
This call is in line with my proposal for a new Agenda for Peace, which places prevention and peacebuilding at the heart of our efforts.
The report before you contains a number of examples of the United Nations working to advance peace and prevent conflict.
From Côte d’Ivoire, where we worked with communities to ease tensions after the 2020 presidential election, and created the conditions for inclusive political dialogue, which includes the voices of women and young people. The conflict has not returned to Côte d’Ivoire
In Iraq, where our updated cooperation framework supported the country’s response to COVID-19 and programming around social cohesion, protection and inclusion.
To our regional and cross-border approaches.
This includes the Global Development Plan supporting peace in the countries of northern Central America.
And that includes our efforts in the Great Lakes region, where my Special Envoy has worked with partners like the African Union to implement a comprehensive disarmament, demobilization, repatriation and reintegration programme.
We can also highlight the efforts of the Peacebuilding Commission to support the peace process in Papua New Guinea, Colombia and the Central African Republic.
And how our resident coordinators and country teams are working more closely together in the field, thanks to our UN reform efforts – from Haiti to Myanmar to Yemen.
Example after example of how we can build and maintain peace in countries that have known too little.
Peacebuilding works – it’s a proven investment.
As you know, we have developed a series of mechanisms to expand and increase the resources needed for delivery.
And we are progressing.
For example, the Peacebuilding Fund has grown steadily, investing $195 million last year.
But we echo the concerns of this Commission that we face a critical gap.
The Fund remains entirely dependent on voluntary contributions from a small number of donors.
Meanwhile, the needs far outweigh the resources.
Despite larger contributions, the Fund has been forced to revise its allocation targets downwards over the past three years.
That’s why financing is the focus of the new report — and the defining issue of next month’s high-level meeting at the General Assembly.
And that is why I submitted a separate report to the Fifth Committee on a proposal for annual contributions of $100 million to the Peacebuilding Fund.
We must leave this meeting with Member States that have made concrete commitments to fund our peacebuilding work.
As we prepare for these discussions, I would like to highlight three areas in which I need your support and on which I encourage Member States to maintain close attention.
First, I urge Member States to implement the funding recommendations contained in my report.
This includes ensuring adequate, predictable and sustainable funding for peacebuilding, particularly for the fragile transition phase of peacekeeping operations.
We also need urgent investments in all prevention tools, including stronger early warning systems, mediation capacities and strategic data and analytics to counter hate speech, and detect and avert crises. imminent.
We also urge Member States to work with the UN system to support flexible funding for local peacebuilding programs, especially for women and youth, whose needs are often overlooked.
And we reiterate our call on Member States to devote at least 20 per cent of their official development assistance to peacebuilding in conflict situations.
Second — to support these crucial investments, I encourage Member States to come to the April high-level meeting with concrete solutions.
I have heard of several promising initiatives, especially for peacebuilding financing and investments that include the private sector.
We also need to see Member States commit to making assessed contributions for peacebuilding.
Assessed contributions provide the predictable and sustainable foundation we need to deliver long-term results.
And third, we need Member States, the UN system, IFIs and all partners to do much more to unite our humanitarian, peace and development efforts.
The flames of conflict are fueled by inequality, deprivation and underfunded systems.
The Our Common Agenda report calls for renewed momentum to ensure that all societies are focused on accelerating progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals.
This means urgent investments in universal health coverage, social protection, education and job creation.
It means working to end the inequalities that deprive entire groups of people of access to civic and economic life and to the levers of decision-making.
It means, finally, balancing the scales of power and participation equally for women, including as peacemakers.
This means accelerated action to tackle climate change and help developing countries transition to green economies.
And turn our commitment to human rights from words to practice in every context.
Over the past decade, the world has spent $349 billion on peacekeeping, humanitarian aid and refugee aid.
And global military spending reached nearly $2 trillion in 2020.
But let’s not forget that the greatest cost of war is its human toll.
Countless innocent lives lost over the decades.
People wounded and maimed by the fighting.
Lost generation after lost generation of children whose education and development have been cruelly ripped away.
Refugees and internally displaced people forced to flee their homes.
Schools, hospitals, playgrounds, homes and entire neighborhoods have been flattened.
When we consider the costs of war – to the global economy but above all to the very soul of humanity – peacebuilding is a boon and a prerequisite for development and a better future for all.
I look forward to working with this commission as we present this case to member states next month and strengthen our peacebuilding architecture for the future with a stronger Peacebuilding Commission as well.