– Check against delivery –
I am honoured to speak on behalf of the EU and its Member States. The Candidate Countries the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, Montenegro*, Serbia* and Albania*, the country of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidate Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova and Georgia, align themselves with this statement.
First, I would like to commend Japan for holding this open debate a particularly timely moment. Addressing complexity is a challenge that no single actor, instrument or forum can take alone. We are pleased to provide our contribution to this work, as part of the wider international community.
The focus of this debate addresses the very core of this Council’s mandate and indeed the international community’s capacity to prevent, manage and resolve crisis. The complexity of today’s challenges requires adapting our tools, avoiding silos approach, working more closely together, and addressing issues earlier.
As the Secretary-General reminded us in his first intervention in his new functions almost a year ago, conflict prevention is not a priority, but the priority. Recognizing and addressing situations early is crucial to ensure our possibilities for success, to prevent them from worsening, and to prevent the loss of lives. We stand ready to accompany the United Nations in the Secretary-General’s efforts to conduct the reform process. We also see the need and potential of engaging, motivating and coordinating efforts with other stakeholders, namely the private sector be it in peacebuilding or in sustainable development efforts.
Indeed, the increasing complexity challenges also calls us to change so as to be better equipped for breaking the conflict cycle. It is not only a moral obligation, but a pragmatic imperative, with huge economic advantages.
Last year, the European Union adopted a Global Strategy reiterating our commitment to a global order based on international law, including the principles of the UN Charter. This commitment translates into an aspiration to address the root causes of conflicts so as to provide the basis for sustainable change.
In particular, we are looking forward to work with members of the Security Council to help establish a practice of holding early discussions in the Council on situations at risk of violent conflict cases, and the pursuit of early collective action to prevent violence.
The Global Strategy for the European Union’s Foreign and Security Policy indeed identifies the Integrated Approach to external conflicts and crisis as one of its priorities, which strongly resonated with the overall UN agenda, which also strives for enhancing coherence both within its system, and within the international order. It requires the EU to further strengthen the way it brings together institutions, expertise, and instruments, and works with Member States in prevention, peacebuilding, crisis response and also stabilisation in order to contribute to sustainable peace.
The Integrated Approach addresses all policy dimensions of a conflict or a crisis by bringing together a multi-dimensional, multi-phased, multi-lateral and multi-level approach. While addressing conflicts early is necessary, staying the course is even more substantial a challenge. Relapse to conflict is more the rule than the exception, especially if proper follow-up, and implementation of peace agreements is not done.
The European Union translates this ‘multi approach’ through an engagement at different levels. A multi-dimensional approach means the EU is ready to contribute to maintenance of peace through its various policies, tools and instruments. A multi-phased approach means we are a committed partner throughout the conflict cycle, investing in prevention, resolution, and stabilisation, while avoiding a premature disengagement when a crisis erupts elsewhere. A multi-level approach entails the need for acting at local, national, regional and global levels. The multi-lateral approach is translated through a commitment to engage with all those players present in a conflict, and necessary for its resolution. This includes our key partners, such as regional and international organisations, as much as civil society actors. Conflicts are best solved by those who have to live with their results, but we have a possibility, and indeed a duty, to support them.
This increased emphasis on conflict prevention, human security and fostering resilience of states and societies, including building capacities to manage conflicts peacefully has translated through concrete change in the European External Action Service. In January this year, we created a dedicated unit to implement this new approach to address the entirety of the conflict cycle: early warning, conflict prevention, security sector transformation, stabilisation and conflict response, as well as mediation. This unit, called PRISM, is already having close cooperation with the United Nations, and is ready to enhance this further.
Only last week, EEAS presented a new concept on stabilisation, aimed at addressing complex situations in peace and security. Addressing complex political and security situations requires more than ever an integrated approach, with a range of interlinked and concurrent actions, including partnerships with the UN and other key actors. Without a holistic and concurrent effort, stabilisation will only be partial.
It is also more than ever needed to ensure conflict sensitivity is embedded into everything we do. Indeed, sound, joint conflict and resilience analysis is required. Addressing complex contexts starts with a thorough assessment on the situation. We are undertaking joint analysis and strategy thinking increasingly with our international partners from the outset, as well as with civil society – a crucial element in any effective approach to conflict prevention.
As proven by the Arria formula meeting held by the Council last Friday, we should not shy away from recognizing and closely examining new and emerging challenges to peace and security such as, for example, climate change. On the contrary, the Security Council should regularly look at security risks triggered by climate change with the objective of using its unique role within the UN system to prevent climate change-induced unrest and conflict.
In a world of complexity, our working methods need to evolve. Through addressing situations earlier, in a more coherent, integrated manner, and mobilising the entire toolbox at our disposal, we can help transforming our approach to conflicts and crises and in this vein further empower the Security Council in fulfilling its core mandate.
The European Union stands ready to assist the United Nations in this process.
* The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Albania continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.
* The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.