Delegation of the European Union
to the United Nations - New York

EU Statement – United Nations Plenary: Secretary-General’s report on Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace

New York, 11/09/2020 - 17:48, UNIQUE ID: 200911_13
Statements on behalf of the EU

11 September 2020, New York – European Union Statement delivered by H.E. Ambassador Olof Skoog, Head of the European Union Delegation to the United Nations, at the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly Presentation of the Secretary-General’s annual report on peacebuilding and sustaining peace to the General Assembly

The EU welcomes the UN Secretary-General’s 2019 report on peacebuilding and sustaining peace.

The EU and its Member States have been staunch supporters of the UN Peacebuilding Architecture since it was first established in 2005 - and the EU and the UN are natural strategic partners, working together across the world in support of peace processes and peace engagements, to prevent conflicts and resolve crisis, to build and sustain peace. With the UN turning 75 this year, it continues to maintain a central role in peacebuilding and in preventing conflicts across the globe.

We welcome the thorough consultation process of the UN peacebuilding architecture review that has taken place during the last six months and commend all involved for persevering momentum under the exceptional circumstances that we are all experiencing right now. The EU and its Member States have organised, supported and contributed to a large number of these consultations, and we welcome that the UN Secretary-General’s report captures many of the key issues that we have raised.

It is reassuring that the UN Secretary-General can report that 35 out of the 42 recommendations from the 2018 report on peacebuilding and sustaining peace are under implementation. From what we have seen and heard in the informal consultation process, important steps have been taken towards exploring the Peacebuilding Architecture's potential for bringing together political, security, humanitarian and developmental partners. Peace can only be built and sustained through a genuinely integrated cross-pillar approach.

The EU remains committed to the direction of the UN Peacebuilding work of the 2016 twin Resolutions on Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace as “an inherently political process aimed at preventing the outbreak, escalation, recurrence or continuation of conflict”. While the framework is in place and progress has been made towards what is set out in these Resolutions, concerted efforts must continue to ensure their full implementation. At the same time, the UN Peacebuilding Architecture needs to adapt to the new type of challenges that the world is facing: climate change and environmental degradation work as threat multipliers. Global public health crises exacerbate existing tensions and instability, and emerging challenges (and opportunities) associated with new technologies. In your report you also rightly point to the need to further develop the integration of mental health and psycho social support into peacebuilding. These are all critical elements for building inclusive and resilient societies which is perhaps more important than ever.

The full implementation of the Women, Peace and Security agenda is critical. The gender perspective has to be an integral part in all analysis, planning, activities implementation and evaluation. Meaningful participation of by women, including young women, has to be ensured at all levels and in all areas of expertise, and grassroots women’s group and organisations need to be empowered. Targeted actions to ensure women’s rights and security are essential, including attention to mental health and psycho social concerns of women. In this regard, the recent unanimous adoption of resolution 2538 on women in peacekeeping operations is fully in line with the Women, Peace and Security principles.

The Youth, Peace and Security agenda must also be fully implemented. The recent unanimous adoption of resolution 2535 on youth, peace and security, marked a crucial step towards the effective and meaningful engagement of youth in the maintenance of peace and security as well as the fostering of spaces for youth full, effective and meaningful participation and leadership in this area.

Sustaining peace means managing conflicts to ensure they do not become result in or fall back into violence. Strengthening the UN capacity for early prevention is key. A more systematic use and integration of human rights mechanisms and support for rule of law structures, tools and actors is an essential part of that. So is the empowering of key actors on different levels, from the UN’s Resident Coordinators and their Peace and Development Advisors, and the maintenance of high levels of involvement and engagement in the context of transitions.. It is also of vital importance to reinforce our collective effort to achieve inclusive and sustainable development. From what we have seen and heard in the informal consultation process, important steps have been taken towards exploring the Peacebuilding Architecture's potential for bringing together political, security, humanitarian and developmental partners. This must continue to be a priority in order to ensure a holistic and integrated approach in peacebuilding engagements and reinforcing the link between the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustaining Peace Agenda.

This takes us to another key aspect of the UN Secretary-General’s report: financing for peacebuilding. The EU stresses the need to ensure that missions have sufficient, predictable and sustained resources to support mandated activities. It is essential to mobilise a broader donor base and to ensure more predictable, coherent and sustainable financing and enhance structural financial support to a timely transition from UN-peacekeeping to peacebuilding activities. UN Member States and the UN should work together towards a system-wide and more joined-up approach to support fragile states and local actors. We encourage the UN to create more incentives to contribute to the UN Peacebuilding Fund; new partnerships and innovative financing models should be explored.

Equally important, however, is to ensure better consistency between actions and political aims. The consequence of making progress should not be a decreased in international support. Making use of the UN Peacebuilding Commission’s unique position and mandate as well as its enhanced advisory role to the UN Security Council are central in this regard.

The 2020 review is an opportunity for the Peacebuilding Commission to further strengthen its ties with the Security Council, the General Assembly, ECOSOC as well as other relevant UN bodies such as the Human Rights Council, as well as with civil society organisations and communities on the ground.

Building on the success of the EU-UN-World Bank Recovery and Peacebuilding Assessments and Post-Disaster Needs Assessments in line with findings of the OECD International Network on Conflict and Fragility, the EU sees a need for more joint analysis and integrated strategies between relevant partners on the ground to harness a broad range of capacities and enhance the coherence and complementarity of actions. Joint analysis of fragility and conflict drivers is critical for the many diverse actors to work effectively together towards collective outcomes in peacebuilding. This includes a reinforced UN-IFI partnership, which can be leveraged to reduce the risk of conflict and sustain peace.

You can count on our continued support throughout this second and important formal phase!

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