The Candidate Countries the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, Montenegro* 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.
With the number of conflicts on the rise, their nature changing and tensions in our societies increasing, it is necessary to re-double our commitment to mediation and conflict prevention, as well as peacebuilding and sustaining peace. As we look at the maintenance of international peace and security’s agenda, we should collectively do more, better and earlier.
We need to take the next step in conflict prevention and mediation. Early warning needs to be matched with early action. The earlier we make use of mediation and mediation support, as the Secretary-General encouraged in his report to the GA, the better. Our collective action can be a powerful force if it resorts to mediation early on even before conflicts break out.
The recent UN–World Bank report Pathways for Peace made a convincing business case for conflict prevention: scaling up preventive action could save up to 70 billion dollars a year. It stands to reason that prioritizing prevention benefits us all, freeing up human and material resources to promote social cohesion and economic prosperity. But above all prioritizing conflict prevention means saving lives and protecting human dignity.
We are therefore encouraged by the reforms launched by the Secretary General, notably of the peace and security pillar, which have been approved by the General Assembly in December 2017 and in June 2018, creating an opportunity to advance and strengthen conflict prevention and our efforts to sustain peace. We now look forward to its implementation through a holistic approach and it is critical that we all support the Secretary-General in this endeavour.
In this regard, the EU and its Member States continue to stress the paramount importance of political solutions, prioritizing modes of prevention. Prevention and mediation - making full use of the SG’s good offices, the timely involvement of UN Special Political Missions, UN regional and bilateral peacebuilding and mediation tools and public diplomacy – must become the primary tool in this undertaking in a cost effective manner. Likewise, efforts to sustain peace must be on the agenda throughout, and the peacebuilding efforts must be integrated with peacekeeping efforts from an early stage, with all actors playing their respective parts, in order to manage transitions more effectively
This is where, among their several mandated tasks, Special Political Missions are a unique instrument and have such a crucial role to play and we welcome the unanimous adoption of this resolution today in this regard.
From the highest levels to the local actors, peace processes are more than reaching an agreement between warring factions. To sustain an agreement, we have to involve elites and local levels alike. Local-level initiatives are an essential and powerful tool to achieve our common goals, in matters of conflicts prevention, mediation, peace-building and sustaining peace.
The inclusion of women and youth is therefore not an option, but an imperative. Full, equal, and effective participation of women should be an integral part of the work carried out by SPM’s. We cannot reach sustainable agreements when only half the population is involved; the adequate inclusion of youth is another precondition for achieving sustainable results in peace processes.
We welcome the fact that the resolution on the comprehensive review of special political mission clearly identifies these two factors.
We assure UNSG Guterres of the EU's and its MS' support for his efforts in partnership with others, which requires a truly global partnership. As such, the EU welcomes the emphasis that UNSG Guterres puts upon the EU-UN Partnership as key to global peace and security.
Partnerships must be at the centre stage of both of our ongoing efforts to ensure that we better serve the needs of those suffering from instability, insurgencies and conflict. We share an unprecedented commitment to our strategic partnership on peacekeeping and crisis management, which we have just recently agreed to reinforce through strengthened cooperation in eight priority areas for the coming three years (2019-2021).
We therefore welcome the fact that the resolution on the comprehensive review of Special Political Missions stresses the role that regional and sub-regional organizations can play in to strengthen conflict prevention, conflict management and conflict resolution.
Today, we have the technical means to better support mediation and conflict prevention. The missing ingredient we now need is political support. With the unanimous adoption of this resolution, the General Assembly clearly brings its support to the use of Special Political Missions to that effect.
We remain committed by the UN charter to take effective collective measures for maintenance of international peace and security. In this regard, enhancing our action in conflict prevention, mediation, sustaining peace and conflict resolution is not an option for peace, it is a necessity.
I thank you.
* The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Albania continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.