Despite Growing Awareness of Urgent Need to End Sexual Violence, Empower Women in Conflict Zones, Real Progress Seriously Lagging, Security Council Told

Speakers Urge More Funding for Gender Expertise in Peacebuilding, Prosecution

Normative frameworks had been established and global awareness of the urgency of ending sexual atrocities and empowering women in conflict situations was growing, but progress on the ground must be accelerated, speakers told the Security Council in an all-day debate today.

“The chorus of voices that are appalled by the persistent political marginalization of women in decision-making is speaking louder; the number of people who are determined to find new solutions to the human suffering caused by conflict is growing,” Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN-Women), said in a briefing, ahead of over 85 speakers in the Council’s annual examination of progress and gaps in implementing resolution 1325 (2000) on women, peace and security.  “But, that is just the beginning,” she declared, calling for redoubled efforts to empower and protect women throughout the United Nations system.

Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti, Chef de Cabinet of the Secretary-General; Michaëlle Jean, Secretary-General of the International Organisation of la Francophonie; and Charo Mina Rojas, a civil society representative from Colombia also briefed the Council.

Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka said that the women, peace and security agenda was now an essential pillar of global affairs.  However, all indicators showed a decline in women’s participation in peace processes around the world and in leadership positions in conflict zones, with some heartening exceptions, such as in the Colombia peace process.  Similarly, awareness and documentation of sexual violence in conflict zones had soared, while actual prevention of such violence and prosecution of perpetrators sorely lagged.  She urged greater funding for gender expertise and projects in conflict zones.

Ms. Viotti, introducing the Secretary-General’s latest report on the subject (document S/2017/861), affirmed that women’s underrepresentation in the security sector increased their exposure to harm and undermined their potential in conflict prevention.  When the Council had visited the Lake Chad Basin, local leaders had emphasized the weak position of women as a root cause for the current crisis. 

She described plans of the Secretary-General to achieve gender parity in the United Nations, noting that only 3 per cent of peacekeepers were women.  Reform of the peace and security architecture would emphasize gender expertise, along with monitoring mechanisms targeting women marginalization.  Council and other Member States would also be encouraged to share best practices.

Ms. Rojas described provisions of the Colombian peace agreement that she said had become a new source of hope for women’s empowerment, inclusiveness and conflict settlement.  Ms. Jean, affirming a woefully low level of women’s participation in peacekeeping, described initiatives undertaken by la Francophonie to redress that situation and to ensure that women sat at negotiating tables in several African settings.  She called for increased support to women’s grass-roots organizations and other instruments that could increase women’s participation.

Following those briefings, Member States’ representatives at the ministerial and diplomatic levels agreed that while normative frameworks to empower and protect women in conflict situations had made steady progress since the adoption of resolution 1325 (2000), real progress in women’s meaningful engagement in all phases of peacebuilding and their protection from abuse and exploitation were seriously lagging.  Many speakers called for better ways to keep track of gender data to better monitor such progress.

Many countries described their national efforts to close the gap in their domestic policies, their international cooperation and their contributions to United Nations peacekeeping.  The representative of the United Kingdom stressed the importance of sharing specific actions and best practices undertaken by countries, after 17 years of slow progress.  In that vein, Senegal’s representative described regional efforts in West Africa, while Uruguay’s representative attested to the increased effectiveness of peacekeeping contingents deploying women.

The representative of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, noting that women in her country had been seriously affected by years of conflict, said that efforts to increase women’s participation in local levels of Government was paying out in the form of more effective peaceful conflict resolution in some provinces.  Kazakhstan’s representative said that women, along with youth, must be seen as a critical link in the security/development nexus.

Ending violence against women, ensuring accountability for perpetrators and ensuring zero tolerance for sexual exploitation by peacekeepers were seen as urgent priorities by all speakers.  In many situations, speakers said it was time to move past words and to action on the issue.  In that vein, the representative of Bangladesh said rape and sexual abuse of Rohingya women was being used as a tactic of ethnic cleansing in Myanmar, and called for stronger action from the Council and the international community.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs of Sweden recounted her recent trip to Afghanistan, as well as her experience as the Secretary-General’s Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict.  She said it was a mistake to view such violence as inevitable or impossible to prosecute and ensure that impunity was ended.  And to implement the full 1325 agenda, Member States must utilize the policy frameworks that have been put in place to actually empower women.  “The frameworks and tools are in place,” she said.  “It is up to us to make it happen.”

Also speaking today were the representatives of Ukraine, Bolivia, Italy, United States, Egypt, Ethiopia, Russian Federation, China, Japan, Kazakhstan, Uruguay, France, Colombia, Germany, Guatemala, Panama (on behalf of the Human Security Network), Liechtenstein, Tunisia, Turkey (also on behalf of Mexico, Indonesia, Republic of Korea and Australia), Nepal, Slovenia, Canada (on behalf of the Group of Friends of Women, Peace and Security), Iran, Czech Republic, Norway, Jordan, Brazil, Mexico, Namibia, Belgium, Indonesia, Spain, Slovakia, Peru, Argentina, Morocco, Switzerland, Qatar, Lithuania, Israel, South Africa, Ireland, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Albania, Hungary, Pakistan, Maldives, Netherlands, El Salvador, Chile, Jamaica, Iraq, Austria, Georgia, Botswana, India, Costa Rica, Romania, Philippines, Viet Nam, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Armenia, Trinidad and Tobago, Rwanda, Portugal, Thailand, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Ecuador, Nigeria, Djibouti and Azerbaijan, as well as the Holy See, State of Palestine, European Union and the African Union.

Also speaking were representatives of the Organization for Security and Co‑operation in Europe (OSCE) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

The meeting began at 10:19 a.m. and ended at 8:19 p.m.


MARIA LUIZA RIBEIRO VIOTTI, Chef de Cabinet of the Secretary‑General, said there was a pressing need for more action to implement the women, peace and security agenda, with prevention as a core pillar.  Women were affected in negative ways by armed conflict and violence and comprised most of the victims of rape and human trafficking.  In urban warfare, they were at risk in houses and checkpoints.

She said women’s underrepresentation in the security sector increased their exposure to harm and undermined their potential in conflict prevention.  When the Council had visited the Lake Chad Basin, local leaders had emphasized the situation of women as a root cause for the current crisis.  Mentioning other examples, she said the Secretary‑General was committed to promoting gender equality and to fully integrating the voice of women in conflict prevention.  He had put forward a plan to achieve gender parity in the United Nations.

Noting that only 3 per cent of peacekeepers were women, the Secretary-General was working with troop- and police‑contributing countries to increase the number of female uniformed personnel.  The new Office of Counter‑Terrorism was integrating a gender perspective.  Reform of the peace and security architecture would emphasize gender expertise.  Monitoring mechanisms should include a focus on women marginalization.

Tackling the root causes of crises included tackling gender inequality, she said.  Gender indicators should therefore be strengthened.  Seventeen years after its adoption, implementation of Council resolution 1325 (2000) was too often ad hoc.  She invited Council members and other Member States to share evidence and examples in order to examine gaps and successes.  She looked forward to working with Member States to ensure that women’s participation would strengthen the Organization’s peace efforts.

PHUMZILE MLAMBO-NGCUKA, Executive Director of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN‑Women), welcoming the Secretary‑General’s latest report on women, peace and security, said that that report celebrated progress and development of good practices, but also brought into the spotlight several alarming trends and setbacks.  “The chorus of voices that are appalled by the persistent political marginalization of women in decision-making is speaking louder; the number of people who are determined to find new solutions to the human suffering caused by conflict is growing,” she stated.

Regarding progress, she noted the presence in the chamber of a Colombian activist who helped ensure that the peace agreement in that country mainstreamed gender equality, with more than 100 provisions for women’s participation.  Unfortunately, the Colombian situation was an exception, she said.  Indicators tracked by UN‑Women showed an overall decline in women’s participation in United Nations-led peace processes, inclusion of gender-sensitive provisions in peace agreements and consultation with women’s civil society organizations, in comparison with one year ago.  Recent peace talks on the Central African Republic did not include a single woman, she lamented.

Political marginalization, she added, was not limited to peace talks.  Only 17 countries had an elected woman head of State or Government, and the proportion of women parliamentarians in conflict and post‑conflict countries had stagnated at 16 per cent.  The use of quotas and temporary special measures would help, she stressed, pointing to Somalia and Mali, where representation of women surged when such measures were instituted.

Turning to sexual violence, she said that atrocities against women and girls in armed conflict were now the focus of attention and documentation, with extensive evidence of such crimes in Syria, South Sudan and the Central African Republic.  What was missing was consequences for perpetrators and justice, dignity and support for the survivors.  “This impunity cannot be allowed to continue,” she stated.

Noting the work of her organization and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) among many others, she said the international community was assisting hundreds of thousands of survivors of sexual crimes, but many more could not be reached due to lack of resources, access and security.  Conflict had also exacerbated extreme poverty, women’s responsibility for households, illiteracy, maternal mortality and child marriage in many areas.

Recalling testimony to the Council by one of the escaped Chibok schoolgirls in Nigeria, she said there was still much to learn about the rehabilitation and reintegration of returnees and their children.  Regarding the work of the Council itself, she regretted that the participation of women in peacekeeping was still low and sexual exploitation by peacekeepers had not yet been stamped out.  It was encouraging to see, however, the reduction in allegations of such abuse in the Central African Republic, improvements in victims support and assistance and a culture of accountability taking hold. 

At the same time, she said it was dispiriting to see gender advisory expertise being lost due to budget cuts, while it was heartening to see that the Peacebuilding Fund exceeded its goals in funding targeted to women’s empowerment.  She called on donors to continue supporting that vital instrument, with its 15 per cent standard for gender funding adopted by all post-conflict actors.  With more resources, the Women’s Peace and Humanitarian Fund, in addition, would be able to support women’s organizations in many more places.

She noted, in that regard, that women’s rights defenders were under attack and there was still not enough being done to protect them.  She applauded the Council for regularly inviting women from civil society organizations to brief on specific countries and called on all Member States to support that new practice.  She also welcomed the adoption of resolutions devoted solely to sexual exploitation, human trafficking and their intersection with violent extremism, as well as the work of the Informal Expert Group on Women, Peace and Security.  “But this Council could do so much more to put its full political weight behind implementation of this agenda,” she stressed.

In order to build on progress, she urged the continued forming of alliances and coalitions, noting that regional rosters of women mediators had been established.  The African Women Leaders Network was an example of growing cooperation between the United Nations and the African Union on the issue. National focus points and action plans on women, peace and security had proliferated and projects aimed at preventing violent extremism had been spread over several regions.  There were also encouraging signs for gender justice in the international courts.

The women, peace and security agenda was now an essential pillar of global affairs, she said, adding “This is only the beginning.  The chorus of voices that are appalled by the persistent political marginalization of women in decision‑making is speaking louder,” along with those who are calling for an end to conflict‑related suffering, she stated.  “This agenda unites us because people from all over the world, every day, look up to the United Nations for peace, equality and inclusion”, she concluded.

CHARO MINA‑ROJAS, NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security, said that Colombia had become a new source of hope thanks to the comprehensive peace agreement that had been reached.  Two provisions of that agreement were particularly progressive and could bring radical changes to future peace processes around the world.  The first was the explicit inclusion of a gender perspective as an international principle, while the second was the inclusion of the “Ethnic Chapter”, which provided important safeguards to ensure the protection and promotion of Indigenous and Afro‑descendant People’s rights from a gender, family and generational perspective.  The inclusion of those two specific principles was a historic advancement on peace and security that the United Nations and other countries experiencing violence and armed conflicts could learn from.  The peace accord was also important for civil society, and in that regard, the engagement and active participation of women, ethnic groups and their communities was anticipated.

She emphasized that Colombia risked wasting an opportunity for peace if it did not completely disarm itself and if the communities most impacted during the internal armed conflict, including women human rights leaders and activists, continued to be ignored in the implementation of the peace accord.  “I am here today to make visible their urgent calls and want to stress that for my people, it is actually a matter of life or death,” she warned.  Ensuring the ongoing participation of women, especially from diverse communities, in all areas related to the implementation of the peace accord, was of critical importance.  There was an urgent need for local women’s organizations and community leaders to be consulted and participate in the design of local protection strategies to keep communities safe.

There was also a need to guarantee women’s integral and collective security, she said, noting that the proliferation of weapons was fuelling increased fear and forced displacement among largely Indigenous and Afro‑descendent communities.  It was also negatively impacting women’s participation and mobility, and resulting in increased sexual and gender‑based violence.  Sexual and gender‑based violence and the stigmatization it caused, especially for Indigenous and Afro‑descendent women and their children, was a matter of integral and collective security.  “The silence around these crimes is as appalling as the crimes themselves,” she stressed.  It was also crucial that the framework put in place for the implementation of the peace accord include specific goals and indicators designed to measure the progress and outcomes of policies, programmes and reforms in a matter that corresponded to the needs, values and rights of Indigenous and Afro‑descendant Peoples.

MICHAELLE JEAN, Secretary‑General of the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie, said 17 years ago it was agreed to underline the importance of women’s participation, on equal footing with men, in crisis prevention, mediation, peacebuilding, and maintenance and consolidation of peace and security.  Women had not waited for the adoption of the resolution, however.  In Liberia, for instance, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf had stood up to the war lords and had mediated between the fighting parties.  In Bosnia and Herzegovina, women had always been among the first to seek reconciliation.  Turning to women’s activities in Rwanda and Mali, she said the Ouagadougou Agreement of April 2012 had been drafted by four women who initially had not been allowed to speak, but were finally allowed to sit at the negotiating table.  Women contributed to peace and security and it was a mistake to underestimate their ability.

“How many more resolutions, studies, high‑level meetings of independent groups and expert advisory groups are necessary to end this unacceptable figure of only 9 per cent women’s participation in some 30 major peace negotiations over the last 25 years?” she asked.  Participation of women had led to a 20 per cent greater chance of achieving a peace lasting two years and 35 per cent chance of a peace lasting 15 years.  More than lip service should be paid to ensuring that women were invited to participate in national dialogues.  Why wait to address the fact that only 3 per cent of women were in peacekeeping missions, she asked.  It was proven that the presence of women there would contribute to a better understanding of security forces and improve their credibility among the populations they served, she said, stressing that “Women inspire confidence”.  

She said the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie had invested in women as peacekeepers and had been active in encouraging participation of women in missions and training them.  The organisation underscored the importance of women’s participation to its member States.  The climate of impunity and the trampling of human rights also affected women.  Peace, stability and security furthermore depended on economic development.  More must be done to increase financing for women’s participation in peace and security.  Funding of grassroots women organisations should also be addressed.

More must be done to end impunity, she said.  Years and resolutions had gone by but had not been put into action in that regard.  Women were the first targets when the decision was made to annihilate a population.  The rape of women and girls had become a weapon of mass destruction.  Describing the horrors women had to undergo in several area, she underlined it was not only an African problem.  The horrors took place everywhere in the world.


IVANNA KLYANPUSH‑TSINTSADZE (Ukraine) said the meaningful inclusion of women was perhaps the greatest, but most under‑utilized tool for building peace.  Women played a prominent role in peacebuilding in Ukraine, with the President having appointed a woman to a position in charge of the peace process in the Donbas region and two women participating in Minsk working groups dealing with humanitarian and political issues.  However, so long as foreign aggression continued, peace and security for most women in occupied parts of Ukraine would remain almost unattainable.  They would continue to lack protection and live in fear, with almost no recourse to justice, remaining economically disadvantaged and living with limited freedoms.  The Security Council must give priority to the protection and participation pillars of women, peace and security agenda, she said, expressing regret that impunity for human rights violations and abuses committed in the context of the Russian aggression against Ukraine, not least regarding sexual violence, still prevailed.

MARGOT WALLSTRÖM, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Sweden, noted that she had travelled to today’s open debate directly from Afghanistan, where she met women and girls living amid conflict, struggling to make ends meet and keep their families safe whilst facing a constant risk of sexual violence.  “Oppression of women is a global disease,” she said, with the use of sexual violence as a weapon being the ultimate manifestation of that oppression.  Recalling her experience as the Secretary‑General’s Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, she said it was a mistake to view such violence as inevitable, unspeakable and a lesser crime.  A gender perspective must be incorporated in all aspects of peacebuilding, she said, underscoring the value of data and support for women’s organizations, but expressing concern that budget cuts and mainstreamed mandates could result in reduced gender expertise in United Nations missions.  Member States must seize the current momentum for women’s participation in peace processes and put women’s full enjoyment of their rights at the core of international peace and security.  “The frameworks and tools are in place,” she said. “It is up to us to make it happen.”

MATTHEW RYCROFT (United Kingdom) said that despite active annual discussions since 2000, year after year the implementation of the women, peace and security agenda fell short.  He encouraged all speakers to be specific, therefore, about what their countries were doing to advance it.  His country had worked in Somalia, Syria, Yemen and Afghanistan to increase women’s participation in all sectors.  It had also directly addressed sexual violence and the resulting stigmas through a number of projects and was providing training on such issues for peacekeepers.  He urged a reversal in the decrease in gender expertise in the United Nations.  Women leadership had greatly expanded in the United Kingdom, but as more could be done an action plan had been launched, as well as a “gender compact” for missions.  He urged all to institute such a compact and mainstream the issues involved into all conflict‑related initiatives.

SACHA SERGIO LLORENTTY SOLÍZ (Bolivia) also noted the challenges in implementing the agenda, which he said required international and regional cooperation, even though, he stressed, each country had unique challenges.  Those particularities should be studied closely so the right capacities could be built for all United Nations initiatives.  Empowerment of women must be built in both conflict countries and all societies.  His country had put in place legislation in favour of women’s empowerment, most notably requiring equal representation in elected assemblies.  The right to property and other economic empowerment of women had also been strengthened.  As severe inequality was a driver of conflict, his State was playing a strong role in distributing wealth.  He praised several countries that had also taken steps to strengthen women’s empowerment, along with reforms instituted by the Secretary-General.

FODÉ SECK (Senegal) welcomed the international solidarity being exhibited on the issue.  He affirmed the necessity of empowering women in ensuring peaceful societies.  Unfortunately, inequality in all areas remained on the rise and women continued to suffer from it.  He expressed hope, however, that progress could be made both in policy and consciousness in advancing women’s empowerment.  Expertise and financing for that purpose was critical.  New international mechanisms were developing and that showed signs for hope.  In his region, there were more women officials in the African Union and the creation of a network of African women leaders.  He described several regional initiatives to empower women, including a framework within the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).  Adding that all international instruments had been integrated into his country’s policy frameworks, he stated that more than 100 Senegalese women were now deployed in peacekeeping operations.  Many challenges remained, however, and new kinds of gender‑based violence were emerging, particularly in the Sahel region.  Cooperation must therefore be strengthened to face them.

INIGO LAMBERTINI (Italy), noting that centrality of the women, peace and security agenda was increasingly recognized, said that nevertheless the voices of women at the grassroots level were still rarely heard and they continued to be exploited and abused in many situations.  He urged the United Nations to lead as an example and encourage Member States to share best practices.  He announced that a women’s mediation network, just founded on 26 October in Rome with Government backing, as a way for women to build regional capacity to address a host of issues that were causes of violence and inequality.  Describing other Italian projects, he encouraged further cooperation between the United Nations with regional organizations.  Women’s meaningful participation must be promoted, he stressed:  women’s participation was not just a matter of numbers.

MICHELE J. SISON (United States) said that as the role of women in maintaining peace and security was critical, one should move from rhetoric to action.  More women were needed in government and at the negotiating table.  Her country was fully committed to advance full implementation of Council resolution 1325 (2000) she said, describing legal processes in that regard.  Noting that when women participated in peace processes, success was more sustainable, she said their full participation in the economy also bolstered prosperity for all, which was why her country supported women entrepreneurs.  She was disheartened to learn that the number of women participating in United Nations peace process had gone down.  Women were an under‑used resource in combating extremist violence, as they were a first line of defence against radicalization.  Women could play more vital roles in preventing terrorist ideologies taking root.

AMR ABDELLATIF ABOULATTA (Egypt) said the experience of the Council did prove that participation of women in peace processes made a difference in achieving peace.  He stressed the importance of women’s effective participation and providing funding for them in peace and security.  He stressed, however, that the scope of the agenda should be limited to countries in conflict and post conflict situations.  Concrete actions should be developed to increase the number of female “Blue Helmets”.  The suffering of women was exacerbated in conflict zones and areas under occupation.  He said his country had introduced an intensive training module on sexual and gender-based violence for the training of its peacekeepers.  The manual on the prevention of sexual abuse and exploitation, translated in English and French, was available to all troop‑contributing countries, he said.

MAHLET HAILU GUADEY (Ethiopia) welcomed positive developments in advancing the women, peace and security agenda, particularly the focus on their participation in peace processes.  She was concerned, however, at the challenges posed by sexual and gender-based violence.  More needed to be done about sexual exploitation and abuse.  She said Africa had registered considerable progress in advancing the women, peace and security agenda, with national action plans adopted in many countries.  Gender policies adopted by the African Union and subregional organizations could provide a basis for facilitating the implementation of the women, peace and security agenda in Africa.  It was important to strengthen support for initiatives aimed at ensuring the participation of women in peace processes, mediation and election monitoring, she said, and encouraged a regional approach in advancing the agenda.

EVGENY T. ZAGAYNOV (Russian Federation) said that while progress had been achieved in advancing the role of women, their protection was lagging.  Women continued to be victim to violence, especially by terrorist groups.  It was important to focus on issues related to establishing national peace and security.  There were specialized agencies and organizations to address issues such as gender equality.  The way the topic was discussed in the Chamber strayed from the established criteria, he said, noting that it was inappropriate to use the Council to promote controversial approaches that did not have broad global support.  The primary role in defending women rested with Governments, while measures of the United Nations system and civil society should be aimed at supporting the efforts of States.  Turning to Ukraine’s statement, he noted, among other things, that responsibility of the suffering of women as described by that country’s representative lay with the authorities.  Terrible crimes against women had been committed by Ukrainian forces, he said.

SHEN BO (China) said that since adoption of resolution 1325 (2000), the international community had built a sound framework for fostering a greater role for women in peace and security, but protection of their rights in times of conflict should be strengthened.  It was therefore important to prevent conflict, he said, and the Council should encourage States to settle their disputes peacefully.  The international community should embrace the notion of peace for development and heed the voices and participation of women in all stages of peace processes.  Special intention should be paid to women as a vulnerable group and protect them from terrorists.  Protection of women in post conflict situations should be intensified by support for gender equality measures as well as by development support.  As the Council had adopted consensus resolutions, United Nations agencies and bodies should strengthen their coordination and cooperation within their competencies with other bodies and regional and subregional organizations.

KORO BESSHO (Japan) said that, 17 years after the adoption of resolution 1325 (2000), the normative framework had still not been fully put into practice.  Some 100 countries had announced their commitment to promote the women, peace and security agenda in 2015, at which time Japan had pledged to steadily implement and monitor its related national action plan, increase its financial support to UN‑Women, as well as the Office of the Secretary‑General’s Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, and invest in human resource development and the education of women in displacement.  Noting that his country had faithfully fulfilled those promises, he pointed out that it had recently become UN‑Women’s second‑largest contributor and was one of the top donors to the Team of Experts on the Rule of Law and Sexual Violence in Conflict.  As 90 per cent of conflicts from 2000 to 2009 were relapses, women’s meaningful participation and leadership were critical, including in peace negotiations and peacekeeping missions.  Outlining Japan’s technical training efforts in those areas, he added that the United Nations system‑wide strategy on gender parity was also critical and its implementation must be ensured.

KANAT TUMYSH (Kazakhstan) said that the 1325 agenda should be seen as a valuable tool for making the entire peacekeeping architecture of the United Nations more effective.  The gap between the framework and women’s progress must be closed, with stronger collaboration between Department of Peacekeeping Operations and UN‑Women to increase women’s parity in peacekeeping and to build gender expertise for all operations.  Gender expertise in preventing violent extremism must also be utilized.  Each Member State and region must play its role, in addition.  His country had promoted strong pro‑women policies in its legislative framework and all areas of security and peacebuilding.  Prevention of gender-based violence was central.  Women, along with youth, must be seen as a critical link in the security/development nexus.  His country was working to meet the 15 per cent target in its funding for gender mainstreaming and was working internationally to promote the agenda.  He underlined, in addition, the importance of women’s civil society groups and the collection of clear data on the issue.

ELBIO ROSSELLI (Uruguay) said that the women, peace and security agenda should be a priority of the Council on a permanent basis.  He welcomed a range of initiatives to advance that agenda, which was critical for the success of peacekeeping.  The issue was women’s ability to enjoy all their inalienable rights and hold their own futures in their own hands.  It was the responsibility of all nations to uphold those rights and the responsibility of civil society to hold States to account in that regard.  His country had been increasing women’s participation in its peacekeeping contingents, and it had accordingly seen the effectiveness of its contributions increase.  He called for strengthened efforts to end impunity for sexual violence, calling on the Council to refer cases to the courts and for augmented efforts to enforce zero tolerance for abuse by peacekeepers.  His country would work with all others to continue to advance the entire agenda.

FRANÇOIS DELATTRE (France), Council President for October, speaking in his national capacity, said conflicts could not be resolved by leaving half of humanity on the margins.  Women must not only be protected, but also fully involved in conflict prevention and resolution.  Their participation in political processes and conflict resolution and prevention remained insufficient, he said, noting that between 1992 and 2011, 4 per cent of peace agreement signatories and less than 10 per cent of peace negotiators were women.  Member States must take responsibility, elaborate national and regional plans and put them in place.  Gender‑based conflict analysis should be strengthened, including through an exchange of best practices.  He went on to review his country’s own efforts, noting that its 2015‑2018 national action plan for women, peace and security was built on five pillars:  participation, protection, fighting impunity, prevention and promotion of the women, peace and security agenda.  He also noted that women now accounted for 15 per cent of all French troops, a twofold increase since 1998.

Taking the floor for the second time, YURIY VITRENKO (Ukraine) said it seemed like his Minister’s statement had been taken out of context.  Women made up almost one million internally displaced persons in his country, a direct consequence of Russian aggression.  If the Russian Federation wanted to help women in Ukraine, it should stop sending troops, weapons and ammunitions to Eastern Ukraine.  “Until that happens, Russia is in no position to lecture others,” he emphasized.  There were hundreds of Ukrainian prisoners in Russian captivity as well, and once out of captivity some of them carried on with life, sometimes even holding seats in Ukraine’s Parliament.

MARIA ANGELA HOLGUIN (Colombia) said her country remained committed to ensuring the full participation of women, despite facing major challenges to do so.  It had taken the necessary steps to implement resolution 1325 (2000), including by establishing a body that dealt with victims of armed conflict.  That group focused on offering women, especially those in rural communities, economic autonomy and decent working conditions.  The group was also working to break the violent cycle many women faced.  Women’s participation in peacebuilding was as critical as in achieving peace, she continued, noting women’s participation in her country’s judicial sector and other areas of Government.  She stressed the need to ensure accountability for sexual violence.  Lessons learned must be used to achieve advantage in other sectors as well.  Peace was not only about putting an end to war and violence.  Peace also required the unwavering support of States and the United Nations in working together to ensure the real participation of women.

CHANTAL SAFOU (Democratic Republic of the Congo) said that her country had been afflicted with years of conflict that produced nefarious consequences, particularly for women and children.  She outlined efforts by her Government, which had adopted an action plan to collect statistic data from provinces on the living conditions of women.  The plan sought to achieve the participation of women at local levels of government.  Women were already contributing to the peaceful resolution of conflict in provinces. In addition to the action plan, her Government also signed a Joint Communiqué with the United Nations to fight sexual violence in conflict.  It had also adopted initiatives to prosecute perpetrators.  She also commended her Government’s decision to appoint women to high‑level positions in the army.

BÄRBEL KOFLER, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid of Germany, associating herself with the European Union and the Group of Friends of Women, Peace and Security, said rhetoric about women’s participation in peace processes must be turned into action through practical initiatives.  In that regard, Germany was supporting the African Union in developing a network that would enable women leaders to exchange experiences, she said, adding that her country hoped to see more women‑led African Union‑United Nations solidarity missions.  International discussion on implementing the women, peace and security agenda must continue between the Council’s annual open debates, she added, noting the work of the Council’s informal expert group on the issue.  Better efforts could be made as well to connect implementation of the women, peace and security agenda with other initiatives, including the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women.

SANDRA ERICA JOVEL POLANCO, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Guatemala, said a significant participation of women in peace processes strengthened protection efforts, accelerated economic recovery and led to sustainable peace.  Lasting peace could not be achieved without security for women and girls, she said, expressing particular concern over the use of sexual violence as an instrument of war.  National action plans to implement resolution 1325 (2000) were powerful tools for progress, she said, noting that her country adopted such a plan in July this year.  She went on underscore the important role of women in peacekeeping operations, adding that joint efforts must continue between Member States and the United Nations to support measures that increased women’s participation in peace processes.  “Inclusive processes should be the rule, not the exception,” she said.

LAURA ELENA FLORES HERRERA (Panama), speaking on behalf of the Human Security Network, comprising of Austria, Chile, Costa Rica, Greece, Ireland, Jordan, Mali, Norway, Slovenia, Switzerland, Thailand, South Africa, and her own country, called on Member States, the United Nations, regional and subregional organizations to support efforts to implement resolution 1325 (2000).  There was a need for greater recognition and support of women’s full and effective participation in all stages of conflict resolution and post‑conflict reconciliation processes, so that peace agreements could be more effective.  Women must play a key role in conflict prevention and resolution as well as in the construction and decision-making of sustainable peace processes.  She noted several developments since the 2016 debate on the same topic, including the Secretary‑General’s commitment to gender parity and the high‑level political forum’s review of the goal on gender equality.

She expressed concern about the impact of forced displacement on women and girls, emphasizing that addressing the matter called for the involvement of women in the design and implementation of humanitarian action and early recovery.  Greater efforts were needed to promote and respect the human rights of women and girls, as well as to strengthen all efforts to address gender‑based violence.  For too long sexual violence had been committed on a systematic and widespread scale as crimes against humanity.  “At an alarming rate women and girls are today targets of sexual and gender‑based violence,” she said, stressing the need to fight impunity and ensure accountability under national and international jurisdictions.  “We need to ensure that women’s and girl’s interests are fully respected and systematically integrated into peace processes,” she added.

Ms. OEHRI (Liechtenstein) said that despite some progress, “we are still very far from achieving the goals we have set ourselves”.  The data in the latest report of the Secretary‑General pointed to significant barriers in women’s meaningful participation in mediation processes.  “Root causes of conflicts cannot be fully addressed and societal traumas cannot be overcome when half of the population is excluded from peace processes,” she stressed.  Women often shouldered a large share of responsibility in communities during conflict and recovery, which made their participation even more important.  Their inclusion in mediation processes also contributed to their empowerment in line with the 2030 Agenda.  Noting that structural inequalities, poverty and discrimination often hindered women’s access to justice, she said that gender‑responsive legal systems were fundamental to building resilient societies.  While women and girls were particularly vulnerable to conflict‑related sexual violence, men and boys were also targeted.  A prevailing culture of silence often prevented male victims from speaking out.  “The most efficient protection against conflict‑related sexual violence is ensuring that it does not happen in the first place,” she stressed.

MOHAMED KHALED KHIARI (Tunisia) said the devastating impact of conflict on the most vulnerable citizens, including women and children was evident.  Despite the progress that had been achieved, women remained virtually absent in peace negotiations and institutions for peacebuilding, which hindered the process of conflict resolution.  He welcomed the Secretary‑General’s initiative to assess the quality of the participation of women in peace processes as part of the overall reform process.  He also underscored that a gender perspective was important for the implementation of measures aimed at combatting extremism and for the rehabilitation of women returning from conflict zones.  He welcomed the Secretary‑General’s efforts to achieve gender parity within the United Nations and recalled that Tunisia had adopted legislation in 1966 that served as a mechanism for the emancipation of women and the promotion of a society rooted in citizenship.  He pointed to Tunisia’s new Constitution and its provisions that guaranteed and preserved the rights of women, and acknowledged their key role in democracy‑building in the country.

FERIDUN H. SINIRLIOĞLU (Turkey), also speaking on behalf of Mexico, Indonesia, Republic of Korea and Australia, said that despite progress since the adoption of resolution 1325 (2000), daunting challenges remained, with women and girls still disproportionately affected by the impact of conflict.  Gender responsive humanitarian policies must be developed to ensure access to health, education and other basic services for women and girls.  Redoubled efforts must also be made to prevent women and girls from becoming victims of human trafficking in conflict and post‑conflict situations.  Meaningful progress on that front could only come through coordinated and consolidated measures, he said, emphasizing the importance of regional and international coordination and cooperation in a time when the causes and effects of conflicts easily spilled across borders.

SHANKER DAS BAIRAGI (Nepal) said that his country had made explicit efforts to localize its national action plan, including through the mandatory provision of 33 per cent women’s representation in “Local Peace Committees”.  Gender parity also helped ensure that peacekeeping missions were more compassionate and better at protecting the civilian population from sexual abuse.  In that context, Nepal was committed to attaining the goal of 15 per cent females in peacekeeping operations.  It had employed policies to encourage more females to join the national security forces.  In Nepal’s cases, women’s increased representation in legislative and Government bodies and State institutions since 2007 had directly contributed to fostering good governance and inclusive societies.  Nepal’s National Women’s Commission was now an independent and powerful constitutional body with a mandate to monitor and safeguard the rights and interests of women.  In recent local elections, women had secured nearly half of the leadership positions, he said.  Moreover, Nepal’s Constitution required that the President and Vice‑President must represent different sexes or communities.

DARJA BAVDAŽ KURET (Slovenia), associating herself with the European Union and the Human Security Network, said that her country’s first national action plan had demonstrated its implementation of the Council’s resolutions on women, peace and security, including through more than 20 projects carried out in collaboration with civil society.  She drew attention to several specific projects aimed at empowering women in Africa, the Middle East and Afghanistan.  Further, Slovenia supported additional projects, including through the provision of funding.  On the national level, her country had pursued initiatives geared towards the systematic education and training of women serving in the Slovene armed forces.  She was pleased to note that Slovenia also contributed the first female Force Commander to the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).  The political participation of women in Slovenia was excellent, she highlighted, noting that half of the Government leadership was female, including the Minister of Defence and the Minister of the Interior.

MICHAEL GRANT (Canada), speaking on behalf of the Group of Friends of Women, Peace and Security, said that women’s participation had a positive impact on the credibility and durability of peace agreements.  It was essential to include gender considerations and the meaningful participation of women in early warning, mediation, and conflict-resolution effort, and a greater role for women in post‑conflict peacebuilding and economic recovery. He called for further implementation of the women, peace, and security agenda in United Nations peacekeeping, both in terms of women’s participation and gender expertise and mainstreaming into doctrine and all planning documents.  Women played an indispensable role in peacekeeping and their participation at all levels was key to the effectiveness of missions.

He expressed concern that cutting, downgrading, and under‑resourcing gender advisors and women protection advisors positions could cripple the ability of peace operations to fulfil critical tasks.  United Nations peacekeepers must not be part of the problem, he added, condemning cases of sexual exploitation and abuse in peacekeeping operations.  Despite progress much more needed to be done to tackle the scourge and ensure accountability.  To end impunity, perpetrators of sexual violence must be brought to justice, and victims and survivors must be assisted in a comprehensive manner to fully recover from those violations.  A gendered approach was essential to facing new and emerging challenges such as violent extremism.

Speaking in his national capacity, Mr. Grant said that Canada remained committed to finding opportunities to create and support gender transformative solutions to conflict.  “We will challenge narratives undermining women’s ability to contribute, lead and shape solutions,” he stressed.  Canada was taking concrete actions to advance the implementation of the women, peace and security agenda.  It dedicated funds to local organizations that advanced women’s rights in both developing and fragile States.  Working to increase the proportion of Canadian women police officers deployed to peace operations, Canada had also been at the forefront of United Nations training initiatives aimed at increasing the number of female police officers deployed to peace operations.  Canada was also a strong advocate for the full implementation of the United Nations zero‑tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuse.

GHOLAMALI KHOSHROO (Iran) said that because of foreign intervention and occupation, as well the surge of violent extremism and terrorism, women and girls in many parts of the Middle East had witnessed the collapse of their hopes for a better future.  In many conflicts, women were the primary victims of large‑scale, often systematic sexual violence.  There were thousands of confirmed instances of sexual violence having been used as a tactic of terror in countries around the world, as terrorists sought to advance their military and ideological ends.  It would be foolish to assume that by physically removing Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant/Da’esh (ISIL), their atrocities against civilians, including women and children, would cease.  The international community must redouble its fight against such a vicious ideology, and those who harboured it.  The world also could not fail to acknowledge that interventionist policies, occupation and regime‑change attempts served as a breeding ground for terrorist groups to grow and flourish.

JANA PŘIKRYLOVÁ (Czech Republic), associating herself with the European Union, expressed concern that national action plans to implement the women, peace and security agenda had only been adopted 68 Member States, and that most projects were small, short‑term and financed through limited resources.  Lack of financing was a key obstacle to implementation.  She expressed concern about the slow pace of integrating the agenda into relevant resolutions on peacekeeping activities.  Her country had adopted in January 2017 a national action plan which included concrete and measurable tasks.  In 2015, the Ministry of Defence adopted an action plan to implement Council resolution 1325 (2000) and the Czech Republic became the “lead nation” of a programme focused on training Jordanian female soldiers in explosive ordnance disposal.  Gender mainstreaming remained one of the main principles of the national transition promotion programme which supported democratic principles in transition countries.  Regarding development cooperation and aid, the Czech Republic implemented projects worth CZK 130 million in 2016 with a strong focus on gender equality and women’s empowerment.  Despite that progress, women were underrepresented in decision-making positions and diplomatic posts.  In response, his Government adopted the Action Plan for Balanced Representation of Women and Men in Decision-making Positions for 2016 to 2018.  His country also supported several global gender activities through regular voluntary financial contributions.

TORE HATTREM (Norway), speaking on behalf of the Nordic countries, expressed concern about the decrease in women’s participation in mediation, requests for and inclusion of gender expertise and gender‑sensitivity in peace agreements.  He noted Thursday’s launch of the Global Women, Peace and Security Index, while calling for greater strategic and consistent implementation of targets.  He said women had become more influential in peace processes, including in Colombia, Syria, Yemen and the Philippines.  In that regard, he commended the efforts of UN‑Women, the Department for Political Affairs and special envoys.  He also noted the work of the Different Group of Friends, the Women Mediators Networks, the National Focal Points Initiative, national action plans of Nordic countries, as well as the NGO Working Group and the Global Solutions Exchange platform.  The international community’s approach to women, peace and security was often too generic, and lacked contextual analyses and points of action, however, the Security Council’s Informal Expert Group on Women, Peace and Security was a step in the right direction.  On stereotyping, he stressed that men could be victims of sexual violence and that women could play a destructive role in conflict.  In terms of leadership, women were often ignored in mediation processes at the national and international level.  He welcomed the new handbook on the prevention and handling of sexual violence in conflict that was being developed for use in peace operations and the new gender parity strategy.  Noting the many best practices and positive developments currently under way in the United Nations system, he stated “our job is to ensure that best practices become mainstream practice”.

SIMA SAMI BAHOUS (Jordan), noting that her country would soon ratify its draft national plan on women, peace and security, emphasized its contribution of women police personnel to the former United Nations Mission in the Sudan (UNMIS) and its intention to also do so for the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID).  She emphasized Jordan’s provision of basic services to Syrian refugees on its territory, 50 per cent of whom were female, as well as the need for the international community to alleviate the suffering of Palestinian women and girls living under the yoke of Israeli occupation, especially those in prison.

ALEX GIACOMELLI DA SILVA (Brazil) said complex humanitarian crises shed light on the distress suffered by women and girls.  Attention must be paid to those belonging to the most vulnerable groups, he said, underscoring also the importance of raising the presence of women in peacekeeping operations.  It was unthinkable to deploy a peacekeeping mission without gender advisers or training Blue Helmets on prevention sexual exploitation and abuse.  Welcoming the Secretary‑General’s victim‑centred approach on sexual exploitation and abuse, he said Brazil hoped its national action plan would generate encouraging results and that the women, peace and security agenda would continue to prosper within the United Nations system.

Ms. JAQUEZ (Mexico), associating herself with the statement made by Turkey, said that when it came to sustainable peace, women were key to creating inclusive societies with a healthy social fabric.  Mexico supported the Secretary‑General’s findings in his report and applauded his commitment to integrating gender equality into conflict prevention, as well as his initiative to reform the United Nations.  Mexico fully supported the participation of women in all areas of public life given that gender equality and the empowerment of women were necessary for the achievement of peaceful, fair and equitable societies.  Her Government promoted the equitable representation of women in all sectors, and at all levels.  The Council’s resolution on women, peace and security had strengthened norms in that area although the resolution’s effective implementation remained a challenge.  The Secretary‑General must continue efforts to make the agenda a truly cross‑cutting one, particularly in relation to its other thematic work, she said, adding:  “Sustainable peace has a woman’s face”.

MARA MARINAKI, European Union, said promoting the women, peace and security agenda was essential in realizing the bloc’s shared ambitions of conflict prevention as well as sustainable peace and development.  The European Union had remained committed to substantially increasing women’s participation in all aspects of peace and security, including political participation and leadership.  It had progressed towards better gender balance in diplomatic services and field missions.  In external action, the European Union had continued to work for women’s full participation in conflict prevention, resolution and peacebuilding.  In Afghanistan, it had helped female members of the High Peace Council play an active, critical role in the peace agreement between the Government and Hizb‑e‑Islami.  The European Union had been supporting the Syrian Women’s Advisory Board of Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura.  In Uganda, it had closely engaged with the Women Situation Room, a mechanism fully operated by and for women to contain elections‑related violence and enable women’s political participation.  More recently, the European Union had supported the training of Libyan women peace activists in negotiation and mediation skills.

NEVILLE MELVIN GERTZE (Namibia), noting that the implementation of resolution 1325 (2000) in his country fell under the national gender policy framework, said that it included the emerging issue of national disaster management — which resolution 1325 (2000) had overlooked.  Along with other measures, the national gender policy had ensured that Namibia deployed women to all peacekeeping missions.  It had, to date, one of the largest female police contingents in UNAMID, as well as another such contingent in Liberia.  The significant presence of women peacekeepers in conflict and post‑conflict areas had the added advantage of creating safer spaces for girls and women who had suffered sexual violence, he said, highlighting the ability of women peacekeepers to gain the trust of local populations.  Many challenges nevertheless remained in implementing resolution 1325 (2000), including lack of awareness, lack of political will, entrenched biases and cultural and traditional norms.  “We must encourage a culture in which both men and women believe it is vital to support the rise to positions of leadership by women,” he stressed.

MARC PECSTEEN DE BUYTSWERVE (Belgium) said that concrete initiatives, including the promotion of the role of women within the Peacebuilding Commission and the incorporation of the gender perspective in new peacebuilding strategies was of critical importance.  The Secretary‑General’s report rightly mentioned the importance of technical capacity-building in gender equality.  That technical skill was also of great importance in peacebuilding operations, and in that context, when mandates were reviewed, contingent levels were adjusted or when a mission’s financial resources were reduced, it was essential that gender adviser posts were not affected.  The role of women in security sector reform was often underestimated, he said, emphasizing:  “Women are a force for peace”.

INA H. KRISNAMURTHI (Indonesia), associating herself with the statement made by Turkey, said that notwithstanding resolution 1325 (2000) it would be unfortunate if the bravery and vision of women went unrealized.  The crucial role of women and family in preventing conflicts that might lead to radicalism and extremism must be acknowledged and fostered, she said, adding the enabling women’s participation in the economy supported peacebuilding.  It was important as well for the United Nations peacebuilding and peacekeeping mechanisms to be strengthened continuously.  Going forward, Indonesia aimed to increase the number of women it deployed on peacekeeping missions.  It was also sharing its best practices and experiences in empowering women in leadership through South-South and triangular cooperation.

ROMÁN OYARZUN MARCHESI (Spain) emphasized the need for leadership, a stronger institutional architecture and moving from the general to the specific in addressing women, peace and security.  Members of civil society should be invited to speak to the Council more often to describe the situation on the ground, and those responsible for sexual violence in conflict should be the potential subjects of Council sanctions.  He added that he would like to see a Latin American or Asian country host the 2020 meeting of capital‑level focal points on women, peace and security.  He went on to express his fear that, in the context of United Nations reform, the women, peace and security agenda would not be given the level of importance it deserved.

MICHAL MLYNÁR (Slovakia), associating himself with the European Union, expressed support for the Secretary‑General’s vision of peacekeeping, as well as practical steps such as the convening of the Informal Experts Group and new initiatives on gender parity and conflict prevention.  Despite such efforts, critical challenges remained, from increasing the number of women at the highest levels of decision-making to ending impunity for gender-based violence.  Gender‑responsive and protective environments for women were still lacking and related efforts remained undervalued and underfunded.  The women, peace and security agenda needed accelerated attention, as did the critical areas of disarmament, creating greater space for women’s civil society organizations and stronger information and analysis on women, peace and security.  Describing a range of relevant national actions, he recalled that Slovakia was a Co‑Chair of the Group of Friends on Security Sector Reform — essential to post‑conflict peacebuilding and reconstruction — and underscored the importance of women’s equal and effective participation in all stages of those processes.

GUSTAVO MEZA‑CUADRA (Peru) said that despite some progress, there were still barriers to the effective implementation of the women, peace and security agenda.  Improving the access of women to significant leadership roles in peace efforts required the active participation of civil society organizations, particularly those led by women.  Peru had increased the number of women it contributed to the six peacekeeping missions it participated in and believed that the women, peace and security agenda must play a central role in the reform efforts currently underway, particularly with regard to gender equality in peacekeeping operations.

MARTÍN GARCÍA MORITÁN (Argentina), associating himself with the Group of Friends of Women, Peace and Security, said that his country shared the vision for the reform of the United Nations, with particular emphasis on prevention.  Achieving sustainable peace would be facilitated by increasing the presence of women in all stages of peace and reconciliation, not only as a question of equality, but as a question of effectiveness.  He underscored that resolution 1325 (2000) recognized the important role that women played in peace processes and that it was crucial to include gender provisions in peace and ceasefire agreements.  More equitable societies that respected women’s rights were more peaceful societies, he said.

OMAR HILALE (Morocco), emphasizing that women’s participation in peace processes improved prospects for conflict resolution and sustainability, recalled that Morocco had hosted an international conference on women, peace and security in 2016 that focused on the role of women vis‑à‑vis mediation, de‑radicalization and best practices in addressing sexual violence in conflict.  Morocco was also home to a think tank dedicated to women, peace and security.  Women and girls had specific needs in post‑conflict stages in such areas as health care, land rights and employment, but they were frequently under‑represented in decision‑making, if not sidelined altogether.  Incorporating a gender approach was therefore imperative to ensure fair and sustainable development with both men and women sharing resources, opportunities and power, he said.

ALEXANDRA BAUMANN (Switzerland) said human security, gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls were cornerstones of his country’s foreign policy.  The Federal Department of Foreign Affairs recently launched its first comprehensive strategy on gender equality and women’s rights.  Gender equality was key to the prevention of conflict and violence, including violent extremism.  Respecting women’s equal rights and inclusion in peace processes was “simply a must”.  In that regard, he called for States to fully promote the equality and effective participation of women in peaceful settlement of disputes, conflict prevention and resolution, including through the engagement of civil society.  The women, peace and security agenda contributed to better results for sustainable peace.  To that end, he highlighted existing frameworks including the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, the Universal Periodic Review and special mandates.  Switzerland supported an initiative to focus on implementing the Women’s Convention.  In closing, he stated that the engagement of men and boys in all transformative action was crucial and that women’s economic empowerment must receive greater attention in post-conflict recovery and State‑building.

ANNA FATA, Holy See, said that women were proven agents of change, although sadly, most of today’s conflicts resulted in them too often becoming targets and victims, rather than peacemakers and peacebuilders.  Women and girls disproportionately suffered the impact of violent conflicts, including being specifically targeted as objects of violence and abuse as a strategy of war.  Violent extremism and terrorism continued to use sexual violence as a terror tactic, although acts of violence against women and girls were not only perpetrated in conflict situations.  Member States had a fundamental responsibility to prosecute the perpetrators of human rights abuses, war crimes and crimes against humanity, including those related to sexual violence against women and girls.

AMARSANAA DARISUREN, Organization for Security and Co‑operation in Europe (OSCE), said it was essential to include a gender perspective in all phases of conflict prevention, resolution and post‑conflict rehabilitation.  Unfortunately, formal political processes provided little access and space for women.  There was a clear need to increase the meaningful inclusion of women in all phases of the conflict cycle, particularly at the grass‑roots level.  She reviewed some examples of progress reached in the last year by OSCE, including the adoption of national action plans by 31 countries in its region and efforts to reinforce women’s leadership at national and local levels through mentoring, support networks and capacity development.  The OSCE was also working on gender‑inclusive mediation processes, while its politico-military bodies were incorporating a gender perspective in their respective agendas.  Its new “Leaders against Intolerance and Violent Extremism” project specifically included women’s community leaders and young women and men.  Emphasizing that “strong leadership is essential to achieve progress”, she said OSCE recognized that it had more to do to implement a sustained, systematic approach to improve women’s participation in peace processes.

ALYA AHMED SAIF AL-THANI (Qatar) said the adoption of resolution 1325 (2000) had recognized the significant role women in conflict prevention and post conflict mediation.  It was unfortunate that women and girls paid the highest price in conflicts because States and parties to conflict did not respect their obligations under international law.  As women needed to be empowered, there was also a need to facilitate their access to transitional justice mechanisms.  Underlining the importance of the role of females in combating against violent extremism, she said her country had taken several initiatives on the national and international level to strengthen the role of women.  The participation of women in decision making within the United Nations would allow for the further implementation of resolution 1325 2000), she said. 

AUDRA PLEPYTĖ (Lithuania), speaking also on behalf of Estonia and Latvia and aligning herself with the European Union, said empowerment of women and gender equality were fundamental to sustaining peace.  As the critical role of women in negotiations was often overlooked, she emphasized the importance of their participation in all negotiations and in peacebuilding, and urged for the gender perspective to be incorporated in all aspects of peace processes.  Implementation of the women, peace and security agenda required comprehensive measures, including recognizing the role of civil society.  Justice still faced inequalities, she said, emphasizing that the perpetrators of crimes against women and girls needed to be prosecuted and that victims received compensation.

NELLY SHILOH (Israel) said that women’s participation in peace processes was not just good for women, it was critical for the success and sustainability of resulting agreements.  She cited the experience of Colombia and Liberia in that regard.  A conducive environment to increase the number of women peacekeepers must be established, she added, pointing to the necessity for zero tolerance of sexual exploitation and harassment in peacekeeping missions.  Israel had introduced the first resolution on prevention of sexual harassment in the workplace, in the Commission on the Status of Women, and was one of the first to include resolution 1325 in its national legislation.  Much still remained to be done, both nationally and internationally, and all efforts for further progress should be modelled on best practices that have already been proven successful.

JERRY MATJILA (South Africa) said the contribution of women and girls to peacebuilding processes remained undervalued and under‑resourced, leaving a vital tool for sustainable peace and transformative change underutilized.  Women in South Africa had been at the forefront of driving reform, as well as in developing and advancing legislation and policies which advanced the role of women in society.  He said his country provided training for African women mediators, while the South African Defence Force — 30 per cent of whose members were women — provided training to female peacekeepers.  He paid tribute to women’s organizations campaigning to abolish nuclear weapons, adding that South Africa continued to engage with civil society and academia to find ways to further empower women and remove obstacles to their participation in peacekeeping missions and mediation efforts.

GILLIAN BIRD (Australia) said that her country had increased the number of women officers serving as staff officers and military observers in United Nations missions to 25 per cent.  She also commended the United Nations Department of Political Affairs for overseeing the substantial increase in gender expertise with the deployment of 25 gender advisers across 11 field missions.  Such efforts demonstrated that with dedicated funding and specific targets, it was possible to improve women’s participation.  All key actors must play a role in the implementation of the women in peace and security agenda.  That included civil society groups, which remained the greatest source of expertise on the ground.  She noted that Australia had founded the Women’s Peace and Humanitarian Fund which supported women’s civil society organizations to contribute to conflict prevention, crisis response and peacebuilding.

CHO TAE‑YUL (Republic of Korea), associating himself with the statement made by Turkey, and the Group of Friends of Women, Peace and Security, said that despite progress achieved, there remained a wide gap between goals and the reality on the ground.  Civilians, particularly women and girls, continued to be caught up in armed conflicts in many parts of the world.  He stressed the need to continue in a more coordinated manner to prevent women from falling victim to violence.  “We should not tolerate any sexual exploitation or abuse committed by United Nations peacekeepers,” he stressed.  The goal of increasing women’s participation in peace efforts must be translated into concrete action.  It was important to ensure that the ongoing efforts to reform the United Nations peace and security architecture contributed to the women, peace and security agenda.

GERALDINE BYRNE NASON (Ireland), convinced of the importance of participation of women in peace processes, said there was a need for broad‑based coherence on the international, regional and national level to implement the women, peace and security agenda.  There was also an absolute need for full partnership with civil society.  Ireland would embed the women, peace and security agenda in everything it did, in cooperation with UN‑Women.  The participation of women in peace processes had proved to be the smart way.  Her country funded non‑governmental organization who could make a difference, such as the Women at the Table in Nigeria.  Describing other support efforts, she said her country was drafting a second national action plan on the women, peace and security agenda.  She underlined the importance of synergies between the youth, peace and security agenda and the women, peace and security agenda.

AMRITH ROHAN PERERA (Sri Lanka) said his country’s long, drawn‑out conflict had resulted in many victims — orphans, war widows, single mothers and women‑headed households.  Addressing their immediate concerns and making them participants in all areas of peacebuilding had remained a priority in post‑conflict efforts.  Successful peacebuilding required gender equality and women’s empowerment, including economic empowerment, human security, human rights and development to mesh together.  It was also vital to engage domestic actors from the grass roots to the highest echelons of Government to ensure ownership of peacebuilding processes and guarantee long-term sustainability.  As Sri Lanka moved down the path of reconciliation and transformative justice, the Government had appointed an 11‑member task force of eminent persons to hold nationwide consultation on reconciliation measures.  The members of the task force were drawn entirely from civil society, including six women.

MACHARIA KAMAU (Kenya) associating himself with the Group of Friends of Women, Peace and Security, said last year his country launched its national action plan for the implementation of  Council resolution 1325 (2000).  Kenya was the top contributor of female officers to United Nations peacekeeping operations, providing 19 per cent of the total.  The national gender policy guided the integration of gender into all military operations, including for early warning and response systems to conflict.  His Government had established an international peace support training centre, launched a national campaign to address gender based violence, reviewed its national information and communications technology policy to include a gender dimension and established a toll‑free gender “helpline”.  Such efforts were complimented by various non‑state actors, including through training workshops to build gender and conflict sensitive reporting in the media.  Regarding relief and recovery, his Government had set guidelines in medical facilities, developed guidelines and standard operating procedures for psychological and forensic management, and built recovery centres.  In September 2016, Kenya also launched a national strategy to counter violent extremism which incorporated women into security and intelligence committees.  He noted several priority areas for national action, including gender issues relating to climate change, disarmament, radicalization and cybercrime, among others.

TAREQ MD ARIFUL ISLAM (Bangladesh), aligning with the Group of Friends of Women, Peace and Security , said that it was important to speak in the context of the women, peace and security agenda of what has been called ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya in Myanmar because rape and sexual violence had been used as a main tactic.  He cited the report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to convey the horror that women were going through there.  All the right statements had already been made on the issue and it was time to move past words into action, he stressed.  The Security Council had condemned the violence, but must show its resolve through a strong and detailed resolution on what must be done next, and support for proposals submitted by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in the General Assembly.  His country would continue to pursue bilateral efforts with Myanmar, but the international community must accompany it in the process.

BESIANA KADARE (Albania), associating herself with the European Union, said that despite the international community’s commitments, the meaningful inclusion of women in conflict prevention and peace processes remained negligible.  Women continued to be sidelined during peace negotiations, and even when they were present, it was always the men who led and decided when and how to make peace.  Member States should strengthen their resolve in fully implementing the women, peace and security agenda.  While Albania had yet to adopt a national action plan on women, peace and security, it had mainstreamed gender across its security sector, with women making up 17 per cent of all military personnel and the State Police launching a women‑only recruitment campaign.  It also supported an Italian initiative to create a Mediterranean women mediators’ network, aimed at preventing and mitigating conflicts through the increased participation of women in peace processes, she said.

KATALIN ANNAMÁRIA BOGYAY (Hungary), associating herself with the statement on behalf of the European Union, said that in conflict‑affected areas, women played a key role in ensuring family livelihoods and were active at the grass-roots level in peace movements.  They were also essential for countering extremist violence.  For effective implementation of the women, peace and security agenda, comprehensive cooperation was needed between Governments and civil society organizations.  Her country was deeply concerned about the use of violence against women human rights defenders.  Youth engagement was important as well.  Women’s increased participation in peacekeeping missions was highly important for the protection of civilians.  Her country was increasing the number of female experts and police officers in United Nations peacekeeping missions.

NABEEL MUNIR (Pakistan) said conflicts and violence affecting women and girls disproportionally.  Exploitation of women and girls was an instrument employed to terrorize civilians. It was a tactic of war with mass rapes committed by parties to armed conflict.  Council resolution 1325 (2000) had institutionalized a new focus on women in conflict, moving them to the center of the political debate.  The Council should focus on root causes of conflict and the United Nations should play its role in enhancing cooperation to help secure women’s place at the negotiating table.  The international community should support countries to defend women’s rights and gender perspectives should be fully integrated into the peacebuilding paradigm.

ALI NASEER MOHAMED (Maldives) said that women could change the world for the better, although for that to happen, Governments and international organizations such as the United Nations must provide the space for women to shape key decisions concerning national security.  The Maldives recognized women’s role in peacemaking, peacekeeping and peacebuilding as part of the larger, holistic agenda for gender equality and women’s empowerment.  In that connection, he highlighted that the principles of equality and non-discrimination were at the heart of the Maldives’ Constitution and noted that his country had achieved gender parity in education and that women comprised over 60 per cent of the civil staff and 40 per cent of the judiciary.

LISE GREGOIRE VAN HAAREN (Netherlands) noted that, eight resolutions down the road, women were still not actively engaged in many peace processes and unrecognized as the powerful agents of peace they were.  If the United Nations truly wanted to practise what it preached, it must pressure parties to a peace process to include women and not allow it to become an afterthought.  It must integrate a women’s perspective and let the voice of women’s organizations on the ground be heard at mediation tables through their substantive participation.  If the Organization did that, there was a 35 per cent increase in probability of a peace agreement lasting more than 15 years.  To be implemented, resolution 1325 (2000) needed to be operationalized and funded.  The Netherlands was sadly one of just a handful that had financed its national action plan for implementing the resolution.  More funds should be available if the global community was serious in making gender equality a practical reality.

HECTOR ENRIQUE JAIME CALDERÓN (El Salvador) said that his country believed that women’s empowerment was important for both peace and development and had taken important steps forward in that regard.  It recently launched a national action plan on women, peace and security, accompanied by a national implementation committee.  He reiterated absolute commitment to ending violence against women and ending sexual exploitation and abuse in the context of peacekeeping.  He also highlighted the need to care for the victims of sexual violence.  Noting that El Salvador’s peacekeeping contingents included increasingly more women, he pledged his country’s continued efforts to empower and protect women, and to share lessons it had learned on the topic.

CRISTIÁN BARROS MELET (Chile), associating himself with the Group of Friends of Women, Peace and Security and the Human Security Network, said his country’s current national action plan on women, peace and security put a strong emphasis on education and training of personnel.  Equal opportunities and women’s autonomy were key pillars of the President’s gender agenda, he said, adding that, at the international level, women were part of Chile’s contribution to the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) and the United Nations Mission in Colombia.  He went on to emphasize that the presence of women in peace operations helped prevent sexual exploitation and abuse.

E. COURTENAY RATTRAY (Jamaica), associating himself with the Group of Friends of Women, Peace and Security, expressed concern that the implementation of the agenda continued to fall short and therefore called for preventative measures to address the structural and root causes of gender inequality.  For its part, Jamaica had developed a national policy on gender quality, which was aligned with its development policy.  To that end, his country launched the HeForShe campaign created by UN‑Women and a national strategic action plan in 2017 to eliminate gender‑based violence by 2026.  He urged for effective mechanisms to ensure meaningful measurement of results, and said such devices should account for the cooperation and support needed to attain requisite results, including through predictable and sustainable financing.  Noting the role of young women in peacebuilding, he expressed support to the work being done pursuant to resolution 2250 (2015) on youth, peace and security.  He also endorsed efforts to ensure women’s economic empowerment, their promotion in governance structures and access to justice and security.  Similarly, he expressed interest in addressing gender-specific effects of armed violence and gender responsive disarmament, demobilization and reintegration.

MOHAMMED HUSSEIN BAHR ALULOOM (Iraq) said his country sought to increase the participation of women in public life.  The new Constitution upheld the rights of women, guaranteeing their right to health insurance and living in freedom.  All were equal before the law regardless of gender or religion.  Noting that the number of women in leadership positions had increased, he described measures his Government had taken to support that, including a quota that women hold 25 per cent of all seats in the Chamber of Representatives.  Iraq’s capital had a female mayor.  His Government worked with the gender unit of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) to enhance the role of women in national reconciliation.  He said Iraq had suffered from attacks of the terrorist group ISIL, noting the crimes against Yazidi women and other women who had been sold as slaves.  The international community must double efforts to assist Iraq in freeing and rehabilitating those women.  Members of ISIL must be held accountable for their crimes in Iraq including crimes against humanity. 

PHILIPP CHARWATH (Austria) associated himself with the European Union, the Human Security Network and the Group of Friends of Women, Peace and Security.  Regarding the implementation of the agenda, regional organizations had a crucial role to play in translating political commitments into concrete action on the ground, he said.  Based on findings of one such regional body, OSCE, it was clear that sustainable solutions to conflict were not possible without the participation of women.  Also, gender‑responsive journalism and the protection of female journalists could transform gender stereotypes, promote women’s empowerment and raise positive awareness.

ELENE AGLADZE (Georgia), associating herself with the European Union, welcomed the Secretary‑General’s recent report that underlined the crucial role of women in peace and decision-making processes and said it was evident that the sustainability of peace depended directly on women’s engagement in peace processes, politics, governance, institution-building, the rule of law, the security sector and economic recovery.  As an illustration of its commitment to gender equality, Georgia had ratified the Istanbul Convention and created an Inter‑Agency Commission for Gender Equality and Ending Violence against Women and Girls.  Strengthening protection measures on violence against women and women’s empowerment was particularly concerning to her country as such measures related to the occupied regions of Georgia, where women continued to suffer from grave violations of their fundamental rights and freedoms.

RIYAD MANSOUR, Permanent Observer for the State of Palestine, highlighted its efforts with regard to women, peace and security, including the adoption of a 2017‑2019 national action plan that aimed to ensure protection for women and girls, both domestically and in the face of the Israeli occupation; ensuring accountability through national and international mechanisms, with a particular focus on crimes and violations committed by the occupation, and further women’s political participation.  However, much work remained to be done, he said, noting that women’s organizations had been unfairly absent from national reconciliation talks despite being among the strongest advocates of reconciliation.  Palestine was ready to do its part to advance women’s rights and their role in peace and security, he said, but enjoyment of those rights necessitated ending the Israeli occupation.

CHARLES THEMBANI NTWAAGAE (Botswana) noted that the United Nations had made great strides in the promotion of the women, peace and security agenda through the establishment of UN-Women, which amplified women’s voices and created momentum for their leadership on peace and security.  Through such initiatives, thousands of women and girls had been helped in various countries around the world, although, regrettably, they continued to bear the brunt of armed conflicts, domestic violence, sexual abuse, rape and humanitarian crises.  The international community must address the social norms that perpetuated sexual violence and abuse against women, and promote respect for international human rights and humanitarian law.  He called for States to take practical steps to address obstacles in women’s access to justice, including by creating an enabling environment where women could easily report incidents of violence without fear or intimidation.

TANMAYA LAL (India) said that the world had seen extreme brutality being inflicted upon women, with sexual violence increasingly used a tool of war.  The heinous crimes against humanity perpetrated by terror networks, especially against women and girls, were a stark reminder of the serious challenges that needed to be overcome.  The increased institutionalized involvement of women in peacekeeping and conflict resolution was important to address that challenge.  He highlighted the work done by the Commission on the Status on Women in pushing ahead the gender empowerment agenda.  India, as a lead troop contributor over the past seven decades, was committed to fulfilling the pledge to have women comprise 15 per cent of military observers by the end of the year.  India was also committed to providing another all‑female formed police unit.  Prosecution was essential for prevention, he said, adding that the international community had a key role in helping build adequate resources and capacities.

VERONICA GARCIA GUTIERREZ (Costa Rica), welcoming the importance that had been acquired by the women, peace and security agenda, said that it was also essential, however, to work for parity in gender representation among the leadership of peacekeeping missions.  It was vital to broaden the gender perspective in many areas of peacebuilding.  Condemning all sexual violence, she supported initiatives to ensure zero tolerance of sexual exploitation in peacekeeping and assistance for victims.  Addressing development issues and empowering women economically were also critical, as was ensuring that women were adequately represented in forums such as those for disarmament.

ION JINGA (Romania), aligning himself with the statement made by the European Union, said that it was clear that women were key in promoting peace and he welcomed United Nations initiatives in that regard.  However, there was much more to be done.  There was a need, notably, to increase the number of women in command posts.  Enumerating the Romanian women who had attained important positions in United Nations missions, he stated that scores more had participated in several peacekeeping contingents.  He also described events promoting women’s greater participation in peace processes that were sponsored and attended by his country.  Women’s enormous potential must be utilized.  His country would continue to work for their meaningful participation in all phases of peacemaking.

LOUISE SHARENE BAILEY, African Union, said the African Union Peace and Security Council had endorsed the creation of a Network of African women in Conflict Prevention and Mediation (FemWise‑Africa) on 13 March.  FemWise‑Africa would be a potent tool to strengthen the role of women in conflict prevention and mediation efforts, and would provide a platform for advocacy, capacity-building and networking to further enhance the implementation of women’s inclusion in peacemaking in Africa.  The initiative would catalyse and mainstream the engagement of women in mediation in line with the African Union’s Agenda 2063 and the Sustainable Development Goals.  The African Union Commission and UN‑Women, with the support of Germany, had launched the African Women Leaders Network.  The recently signed “Joint United Nations-African Union Framework on enhanced Partnership in Peace and Security” provided a new window of opportunity to strengthen the women, peace and security agenda.  She welcomed the establishment of the Secretary‑General’s High‑Level Advisory Board on Mediation and the appointment of three prominent African women leaders to it.  The African Union also cooperated with the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict with an emphasis on ensuring women participation and of accountability for crimes of sexual violence.  She announced that on 31 October, the African Union Peace and Security Council would hold an open session on “The role of women in preventing and countering violent extremism in Africa”.

KRISZTIAN MESZAROS, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), said empowering women led to more peaceful, just and inclusive societies, was essential for conflict prevention and made peace more sustainable.  His organizations supported empowering women within the United Nations, armed forces, civilian structures and societies of allies and partners.  Within NATO, however, there had only been a small increase in female representation in armed forces of Member States — an average of 20 per cent in 2016, compared to 10.8 per cent in 2015.  Stressing that those figures needed improvement, he urged Member States to do their part.  On the leadership side, women held only 21 per cent of NATO civilian staff leadership positions, and 2 of its 3 female four‑star officers had left over the past year.  Adding that Member States should redress that imbalance, he said gender was a tool that contributed and added value to all of NATO’s objectives and core tasks.

DIOSITA T. ANDOT (Philippines) said that after the liberation of Marawi City from terrorist forces, her Government had been observing conflict‑sensitivity and peace promoting approaches with a particular focus on mainstreaming gender and observing cultural sensitivities.  In pursuit of the peace process with rebel groups, actions were taken to ensure the meaningful participation of women, especially the Moro and indigenous women.  The Philippine armed forces and police had formed an all‑female Civil Relations Company in Marawi to assist in rehabilitation of internally displaced persons.  Filipino women were included in peace panels that were negotiating and implementing peace agreements.  Women would play a pro‑active role in the rebuilding of relationships in their respective communities and eventually of Marawi as a whole.

NGUYEN PHUONG NGA (Viet Nam) said that, despite efforts and progress in implementing the women, peace and security agenda, women’s under-representation, gender inequality and discrimination persisted.  She called for the gender perspective to be mainstreamed in a consistent and comprehensive manner in all areas of peacebuilding and conflict prevention, adding that impunity must be ended to effectively combat and eliminate human rights violations, including conflict‑related sexual violence and abuse.  Together with women’s economic empowerment, education was crucial toward equipping women and girls with knowledge to better protect them from conflict‑related risks as well as to build their resilience against economic shocks, climate change and natural disasters.  Women were an essential driving force of her country’s economic and social development, making significant contributions to promoting and maintaining the environment of peace, security and stability.  As such, Viet Nam’s twelfth National Women’s Congress had set out objectives for the term 2017‑2022, including promoting women’s potential and creativity, improving their material and spiritual life and status, striving for equality and advancement and contributing to national construction and defence.

BADER ABDULLAH N. M. ALMUNAYEKH (Kuwait) said that fulfilling the 1325 agenda helped attain several goals of the 2030 Agenda.  Women’s empowerment was crucial for sustaining peace and promoting development.  His country was committed to encouraging women’s participation in all national endeavours and held posts at all levels.  Calling for further efforts for women’s empowerment and inclusion in society around the world, he said that his country had enacted legislation to ensure an end to all forms of discrimination.  Women had been protected against violence both in domestic and public settings.  In order for the agenda to be comprehensively implemented, however, he pledged his country’s persistent efforts.  “Women’s participation must be at the top of our priorities,” he said.

SAOD RASHID AL MAZROUI (United Arab Emirates) said his country’s foreign assistance strategy included women’s protection and empowerment as one of its three key pillars.  In terms of global response, he said the United Arab Emirates recently announced a contribution of $15 million to support UN-Women’s critical work over the next three years, and in 2016, the Government had set up a Liaison Office in Abu Dhabi to advance gender quality and the empowerment of women and girls regionally.  His Government contributed to the Global Programme on Women, Peace and Security which furthered gender-sensitive research and data collection in relation to extremism.  Additionally, his country supported the Team of Experts in the development and implementation of an action plan on conflict-related sexual violence in Somalia, as well as the establishment of prevention and response mechanisms.

ZOHRAB MNATSAKANYAN (Armenia) said his country was committed to the reformative women, peace and security agenda.  National laws provided for equal rights for women.  The quota for women’s representation in Parliament had been raised to 25 per cent.  The number of female judges had reached 25 per cent.  Domestic procedures had been launched to combat violence against women and domestic violence.  Armenia’s national action plan for implementation of resolution 1325 (2000) would be launched in 2018.  The empowerment of women, and the women, peace and security agenda should not been seen as a separate agenda, but as a part of addressing root causes of conflict and violence.  Emphasis on protection of human rights remained a significant objective at the national and international levels.  Dialogue and confidence-building in conflict areas was an important aspect for his country, but endeavours in that regard were undermined by hate crimes and xenophobia against Armenians, instigated by a neighbouring State.

PENNELOPE BECKLES (Trinidad and Tobago), emphasizing that the rule of law was a fundamental safeguard in the advancement and protection of women’s rights, said the vulnerability of women and girls in situations of armed conflict — and in the case of her country, armed violence — continued to engage attention.  In that regard, the Arms Trade Treaty could contribute to reducing if not ending untold suffering, particularly among women and girls.  She recalled Trinidad and Tobago’s introduction in 2010 of the first-ever General Assembly resolution on women, disarmament, non‑proliferation and arms control, which complemented Council resolution 1325 (2000).  She added that, as a current member of the Executive Board of UN-Women, her country would continue to work with Member States towards the universal achievement of gender equality.

URUJENI BAKURAMUTSA (Rwanda) said unity and reconciliation, peacebuilding and sustainable outcomes were realized when women participated in peace and security.  Their contribution brought added value to the most critical issues, including protecting children’s rights, combating gender-based violence and promoting human rights.  When women’s rights and empowerment were impeded, collective society suffered, she said, recalling that during the genocide against the Tutsi in her country, rape and other forms of violence had been directed against women to degrade them and strip humanity from the larger community.  With armed conflicts and violent extremism continuing to prevail in many parts of the world — and with women and children bearing the brunt — the international community must empower women and promote their participation in the entire spectrum of peace processes, promotion of the rule of law, good governance and mediation, she said.

CRISTINA MARIA CERQUEIRA PUCARINHO (Portugal), associating herself with the European Union, noted that more women were participating in peace talks nowadays, more peace agreements included provisions on their human rights, and more security sector personnel were being trained to prevent and properly respond to sexual and gender-based violence.  However, given the evolution of peace and security, and the nature of conflict since the adoption of resolution 1325 (2000), it was essential to build on progress already made and to demonstrate greater commitment to the women, peace and security agenda, she emphasized.  It contributed not only to peace, but also to the strengthening of protection efforts by United Nations peacekeepers, she said.  Portugal had adopted a national action plan, pledged to continue training programmes on gender equality and violence against women and girls for peacekeeping personnel, and supported the Secretary-General’s zero-tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuse.

VIRACHI PLASAI (Thailand) said that, despite the importance of the women, peace and security agenda, the participation of women in all capacities remained quite low.  Noting the positive measures being taken to address that discrepancy, he said Thailand had adopted the National Measures and Guidelines on Women, Peace and Security in 2016.  It re-emphasized the significant role of women in addressing political and social conflicts, he said, adding that they could also play an important role in peacekeeping operations.  The Government was making efforts to increase their participation, he said, encouraging other Member States also to do more in that area.  The women, peace and security agenda must be mainstreamed across the spectrum of United Nations activities, he said, stressing that women should be regarded as agents of change.  The rhetoric used around their role in conflict situations must be more nuanced, he said, adding that women should also have an increased role in national and local politics.

MANAL HASSAN RADWAN (Saudi Arabia) affirmed that the 1325 agenda had become a major pillar of peacekeeping and development.  There was still much to be done to fully implement it, however.  Challenges to progress included occupation, particularly the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land, and the growing violence against civilians in conflict zones by non-State groups, as well as other actors in Syria.  Discrimination against women also played an adverse role.  In order to address such challenges, comprehensive efforts must be made to end occupation, sectarian discrimination and extreme discourse against Islam.  Her country was committed to the education and advancement of women.  Women had participated in politics and several leadership positions, and were key to development efforts.  Their achievements had been many.  That was based on women’s important role in Islam over history and addressing the root causes of women’s marginalization was a religious duty.  Based on current action plans, women would be able to participate in all walks of life in conformity with moderate Islam.

MAHMOUD SAIKAL (Afghanistan) thanked all speakers who had noted his country’s progress in improving the lives of women.  There was still a lot of work to be done, however.  The full participation of women was not only desirable, but important for settling and preventing conflict in the country.  Terrorism and violent extremism had left the social fabric in shambles and women had borne the brunt of the damage and had been deprived of many rights.  At present, however, the Government was consolidating the gains of the past several years.  There was a firm resolve to fulfil international obligations, including those of treaties that Afghanistan was party to.  The country’s action plan on women, peace and security put women front and centre of national peacebuilding efforts across the country.   The plan committed women’s participation in civil service by significant numbers; thousands of women were serving in national security services right now.  Women were being supported to make progress in agriculture, health services and many other areas.  Describing institutional structures to ensure women’s rights, he said that the country had reached a new stage in empowering women.  The assistance of the international community was still crucial, however, and he looked forward to further collaboration in lifting Afghanistan’s women to new heights.

HELENA YÁNEZ LOZA (Ecuador) said women were at the same time victims of violence and builders of peace.  Reality underscored the need to work for gender equality, protection of the rights of women, and combatting all forms of sexual violence. Lasting peace could only be achieved if those issues were taken into account, she said.  Gender-based violence in conflict continued to be an unacceptable reality, which underscored the importance of ending impunity.  All efforts should be made to end sexual exploitation and abuse in United Nations peacekeeping missions, as it undermined trust in the missions.  For changes to be become permanent, the process of inclusion must be continuous, which was a slow road.  In that regard, she underlined the importance of desegregation of statistical data to measure progress.  In conclusion, she noted that three Ecuadorian women were observers in peacekeeping operations.

EMMANUEL ADEMOLA OGUNNAIKE (Nigeria) said that filling the gaps in implementation of resolution 1325 (2000) required a multi-stakeholder approach involving actors at the global, regional, sub-regional and national levels.  Communities, civil society and individuals also had a crucial role to play, along with the United Nations.  Since national Governments had a primary responsibility to protect women’s safety and rights, the international community should support countries by providing constructive assistance, consistent with national priorities and focused on capacity-building.  Regional organizations played an important role, as well.  Consistent with subregional efforts, Nigeria launched a national action plan to fully implement resolution 1325 (2000), along with plans to combat violent extremism and improve the security sector.  It also was collaborating with countries in the region to fight the terrorist group known as Boko Haram, and had taken steps to address the humanitarian needs of the 2 million displaced persons in the north-east of the country, 80 per cent of whom were women.  The Government was working around the clock to ensure release of the remaining Chibok girls and other persons in Boko Haram captivity.

SIAD DOUALEH (Djibouti) welcomed the important place that the empowerment of women occupied in the agenda of the Security Council and other bodies of the United Nations, helping to strengthen the link between peace and security, development and human rights.  Describing the harsh toll that conflict took on the lives of women, she said that much remained to be done to redress the situation, despite the progress that had been made.  Women’s participation in all areas of peacemaking was crucial in order to increase the effectiveness of all international and national efforts.  She commended the African Union for its efforts to integrate gender issues in its architecture and increase women’s participation in many areas.  Her country had carried out several national policies to empower women; the Constitution enshrined equal rights for women and women participated in many spheres.  The establishment of a gender observatory was currently under way to analyse women’s situation and to provide advice on policies for improving it.

LALA MEHDIYEVA (Azerbaijan) said that, while gender gains had been made in the international framework, more must be done to address violations and crimes against women, among other things, in mass forced displacements.  Combating impunity was of critical importance in that regard.  She said it was curious that Armenia, which was responsible for the war against Azerbaijan and had carried out ethnic cleansing, had taken the floor to attack other States.  She said Armenian forces had attacked a town in Nagorno-Karabakh, killing many, including women and children, among other aggressions.  Atrocities committed by the Armenians included bayonetting pregnant women, scalping and beheadings.  The impunity enjoyed by the perpetrators of those crimes aggravated the situation on the ground.  She assured the Council that her country would continue to achieve a settlement to the conflict based on international law.


Second Committee Must Focus on Overarching Objective of Tackling Poverty, Structural Needs, Delegates Say as General Debate Begins

Eradication of poverty and adherence to financial commitments were crucial in improving the global economic infrastructure, speakers told the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) today, as it began its general debate.

Delivering the keynote address, Columbia University Economics Professor Arvind Panagariya said that able leadership and implementation of good policies were essential in achieving global economic objectives.  Speaking on the theme “A Road to Rapid Economic Transformation”, he stated that “without the capability to implement good policies, policies themselves would not be successful”.

Although progress had been made by agreeing on global economic objectives, as best summarized in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the related Sustainable Development Goals, the pathways to achieving the multiplicity of objectives remained in dispute, he said.  The international community must focus on rapid economic growth to transform the global economy.

Only China, Taiwan [Province of China], Japan, Singapore and the Republic of Korea had grown at 8 to 10 per cent income over two decades or more, he continued.  Noting lessons from those high-growth economies which had rapidly transformed themselves from traditional to modern economies, he identified six common features, including rapid expansion of merchandise exports; labour-intensive manufacturing during early phases of growth; swift growth in services; movement of the workforce from agricultural activities into manufacturing and services; rapid urbanization; and rise in wages.

Trade openness would work, he stated.  However, progress would depend on governance and policy packages allowing low barriers to trade, ensuring adequate infrastructure, supporting trade facilitation, providing complementary factor-market policies, resisting subsidies for products not based on natural cost advantage and promoting open foreign direct investment (FDI) policies.  Citing common concerns and challenges related to automation and rising protectionism, he urged countries to take advantage of prospects to pursue manufacturing and export-based strategies in the increasingly large global market.

Liu Zhenmin, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, likewise noted that a shared vision for humanity had emerged since the 2030 Agenda.  Adding that development would require integrated and cross-sectoral approaches and a better understanding of the issues at hand, he said the rate of progress had been far slower than what would be required to meet the targets laid out by 2030.

The potential for growth had not yet been realized due to weak investment and low productivity growth, compounded by high levels of economic uncertainty, he said.  Average incomes declined in several regions over the last year and extreme weather events highlighted the need to address environmental impacts due to climate change.  All countries must foster a more inclusive, sustainable globalization process.  Leaders must work together to understand the benefits of globalization, and the international community must take concrete action on the Addis Ababa Action Agenda to ensure positive results.

Science, technology and innovation were at the heart of accelerating progress towards sustainable development, he said, adding that the speed of technological change could have a sweeping impact across all the Goals.  Nevertheless, devising effective ways to mitigate the challenges of those technologies would be critical.  The future could not be predicted, but it could be invented.

The representative from Haiti, speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), added that operational activities of the United Nations development system should bear in mind the need for capacity-building in least developed countries so they could alleviate extreme poverty and hunger.  Urbanization must be an engine for development, as it had the ability to change and improve living conditions.

In a similar vein, the representative from Ecuador, speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, said it was clear that the pace of the 2030 Agenda’s implementation must be accelerated.  Global economic governance in an increasingly interconnected world was of critical importance for the success of national efforts.  The work of the Committee must focus on the overarching objective of poverty eradication in all its forms and dimensions.

Speaking on behalf of the Group of Least Developed Countries, the representative from Bangladesh said that least developed countries continued to be plagued by multiple structural challenges.  Under the current growth trajectory, some 38 per cent of those States would still be facing extreme poverty by 2030.

Least developed countries in conflict and post-conflict situations, as well as those experiencing fragility, remained unable to provide basic State services for their citizens, she said.  Adding that the special needs of those countries would require greater recognition, she called for the establishment of a comprehensive, multi-stakeholder resilience-building mechanism that would enable responses at the national, regional and global levels.

Speaking on behalf of the Group of African States, the representative from Egypt noted that out of 800 million people living below the poverty line, 400 million were Africans.  Greater efforts would be needed to support the implementation of the 2030 Agenda in Africa, as progress remained hampered by the unequal global environment that was “unfavourable” and “agnostic” to his continent’s financing for development needs.

Many speakers also highlighted critical investments in sustainable and resilient infrastructure, transport, energy, agriculture, water and sanitation for all, among others.

Also speaking were representatives of the Philippines (for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations), El Salvador (for the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States), Nauru (for the Group of Pacific Small Island Developing States), Solomon Islands (for the Pacific Island Forum countries), Maldives (for the Alliance of Small Island States), Zambia (for the Group of Landlocked Developing Countries), Nicaragua, Malaysia, Norway, Canada (also for Australia and New Zealand), Costa Rica, Bhutan, Iran, Indonesia, Panama, United States, Botswana, Lebanon, Thailand, India, Viet Nam, Israel, Russian Federation, Myanmar, Peru, Cuba, Syria, Malawi, Malta, Tajikistan, Monaco, Republic of Korea, Colombia, Guatemala, Mauritania, Sierra Leone and Kyrgyzstan, as well as a representative of the European Union delegation.

The Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, 3 October, to continue its general debate.

Opening Remarks

SVEN JÜRGENSON (Estonia), Chair of the Second Committee (Economic and Financial), said that despite the good progress reported by countries and their partners, it was evident that the world was facing a challenging period for sustainable development and poverty eradication.  The current global situation offered new and exciting opportunities for collaboration and human advancement, yet many of those opportunities were compounded by risks.  It was imperative to work towards fulfilling the promise of a fair and inclusive globalization, yet many complex changes accompanied that phenomenon.  Without inclusive, ambitious policies to tackle the existing challenges, inequalities would grow and become increasingly entrenched.  That was especially true of the exclusion of women, he said, highlighting that greater gender equality had been repeatedly demonstrated to have multiplier effects on poverty reduction.  Nevertheless, women and girls remained disadvantaged in various dimensions in all countries.

There was a need for awareness-raising, knowledge exchange and capacity-building with respect to information and communications technology (ICT) for development and the benefits of the digital economy, he stressed.  Yet, despite their potential, science, technology and innovation could not solve the problem of climate change in the absence of huge economic and social shifts.  To achieve a healthy planet, the world must harness the full power of breakthroughs that had been made in ecosystems management, sustainable transportation and clean and renewable energies, among others.  Throughout the session, the Committee would consider a wide range of agenda items on poverty, macroeconomic policy questions, financing for development, sustainable development issues, urban development, countries in special situations, agriculture, globalization and interdependence and ICT.

LIU ZHENMIN, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, said that since the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, a global vision had emerged.  That historic Agenda set out a shared vision of humanity and demanded new ways of working together, which would require integrated and cross-sectoral approaches and a better understanding of the issues.  However, the rate of progress on achieving the Sustainable Development Goals was thus far slower than what would be required to meet the targets laid out by 2030.  The world economic situation and prospects were showing a rebound and the general economic sentiment had improved, however the potential for growth had not yet been realized due to weak investment and low productivity growth, compounded by high levels of economic uncertainty.  Average incomes declined in several regions over the last year and extreme weather events highlighted the need to address environmental impacts due to climate change.

He said that all countries must foster a globalization process that was more inclusive, sustainable and that left no one behind.  Leaders must work to understand the benefits of globalization, while minimizing its negative impacts.  The international community needed to take concrete and accelerated action on the Addis Ababa Action Agenda to ensure better results on the ground.  Tax avoidance and illicit financial flows needed to be limited, while the benefits of South-South cooperation and triangular cooperation must be fully realized.  Countries should reorient incentives through financial regulation and policymaking to ensure private finance was aligned with sustainable development.  New evidence-based tools, strengthened domestic institutions and broadened multi-stakeholder partnerships were also of great importance.  Science, technology and innovation were at the heart of accelerating progress towards sustainable development, he said, adding that the speed of technological change could have a sweeping impact across all the Goals.  Nevertheless, devising effective ways to mitigate the challenges of those technologies would be critical.  The future could not be predicted, but it could be invented, he said.  The importance of capacity development for achieving the future development goals was evident, and in that context he noted that Member States had made it clear that they needed the support of the United Nations system on building capacities in data collection and disaggregation.  This was particularly true for the least developed countries, landlocked developing countries and small island developing States.

Keynote Address

ARVIND PANAGARIYA, Professor of Economics at Columbia University, stated that able leadership was critical in implementing development policies, and without the capability to implement good policies, the policies themselves would not be successful.  The global economic objectives were best summarized in the Sustainable Development Goals, however disagreements remained on the pathways to achieving them.  Rapid economic growth was the most important instrument to attaining the Goals.  That growth occurred through a direct “pull up” effect, such as increased employment, higher income and enhanced access to education and health.  The next significant tool was indirect revenue, which constituted the financing of large-scale anti-poverty programmes, public education and health, investment in environmental sustainability, and spending on defence and security.  Referencing India throughout the 1950s, he suggested that low levels of income hampered the redistribution of income, and resulted in inadequate resources for effective administrative machinery, and governance problems in the public sector.

Only China, Taiwan [Province of China], Japan, Singapore and the Republic of Korea had grown at 8 to 10 per cent income over two decades or more, he continued.  Those States and provinces had rapidly transformed themselves from traditional to modern economies, thereby eliminating poverty in practically all aspects.  India continued on the same path over the last 14 years, resulting in a growth rate of 7.8 per cent.  There were six features that were common to those economic transformations: rapid expansion of merchandise exports; labour-intensive manufacturing during early phases of growth; swift growth in services; movement of the workforce from agricultural activities into manufacturing and services; rapid urbanization; and rise in wages.

Trade openness would work, he argued, because countries specialized in and exported products that they produced cheaply, and they imported goods that were largely more expensive for them to produce locally.  Similarly, an exporter would compete against and learn from others, leading to continuous improvement in productivity through upgrades in technology, management practices, product quality, and cost-cutting measures. The large export market would additionally allow countries to: exploit economies of scale; provide exporters access to the highest-quality inputs to achieve higher quality products; and facilitate high levels of imports and exposure to foreign products and processes.  To that end, governance and policy packages should allow low barriers to trade, ensure adequate infrastructure, support trade facilitation, provide complementary factor-market policies, resist subsidies for products that were not based on natural cost advantage and promote open foreign direct investment policies.

Regarding challenges, he stated that automation should not be considered a threat, as countries would have a 15 year window to pursue manufacturing and exports-based strategies.  Historically, automation had led to readjustments that created new jobs fields.  Similarly, rising protectionism should be avoided as the large global market, which may expand and shrink, was less consequential than whether countries were active in the world exports market.

When the floor opened for discussion, the representative of Algeria asked whether economics should be considered a science, queried about austerity and inflation in response to internal public debt and requested clarity on global trade’s impact on investment and economic governance.

The representative from the United Republic of Tanzania asked how the international community might “save” global trade.

Mr. PANAGARIYA, responding to Algeria’s representative, stated that economics was social science, and the practice of its principles through policy-making was an art form.  Regarding austerity and inflation, he said that such measures could be useful in the short term, however not on a sustained basis as it would lead to the accumulation of debt and result in crisis.  On global economic governance and the Economic and Social Council’s role, he suggested that the multiplicities of instruments were necessary to addressing the array of global objectives, and the complexity of the modern world.  Responding to the representative of the United Republic of Tanzania, he said that much progress had been made in global trade governance, although concerns remained around the World Trade Organization (WTO).  He suggested that greater attention be given to the appointment of judges to the appellate body, and that developing States pressured countries that “drag their feet”.


DIEGO MOREJÓN PAZMIÑO (Ecuador), speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, said it was clear that the pace of the 2030 Agenda’s implementation must be accelerated.  Global economic governance in an increasingly interconnected world was of critical importance for the success of national efforts aimed at achieving sustainable development.  The Group reiterated its belief that the work of the session must focus on the overarching objective of poverty eradication in all its forms and dimensions and the pursuit of sustainable development in a balanced, coordinated and integrated manner.  He recalled the importance of the full realization of the right of self-determination of peoples living under colonial and foreign occupation and highlighted the significance of assessing progress, identifying challenges to implementing the financing for development outcomes, addressing new and emerging topics of relevance to implementing the Addis Agenda and providing policy recommendations for action by the international community regarding the support of developed countries to developing countries.

Investing in sustainable and resilient infrastructure, including transport, energy, water and sanitation for all was a prerequisite for achieving many development objectives, he continued.  Trade was still recognized as an engine for growth and sustainable development, despite a regression of 10 per cent in 2016.  He reaffirmed the central role of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in today’s global economy that provided the multilateral framework of rules governing international trade relations, served as an essential mechanism for preventing and resolving trade disputes and a forum for addressing trade-related issues.  Sovereign debt matters should concern both developed and developing countries, he stressed.  The Group reaffirmed that international development cooperation and official development assistance (ODA) were essential for sustainable development.  It was important to address the diverse needs and challenges faced by countries in special situations, he said, adding that South-South cooperation was a compliment to, rather than a substitute for, North-South cooperation.

TEODORO LOPEZ LOCSIN, Jr., (Philippines) spoke on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and associated himself with the Group of 77.  He highlighted that the Group’s gross domestic product (GDP) was $2.55 trillion, with a year-on-year real GDP growth rate of 4.7 per cent, despite the challenging global environment.  ASEAN placed great importance on inclusive, innovation-led growth, and in that context, leaders had reaffirmed their commitment to the 2030 Agenda, which should be implemented in a mutually-reinforcing manner to building an inclusive and people-oriented, people-centred community for the benefit of all.  Sustainable development was a regional and global priority, and there were clear complementarities between the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 and the 2030 Agenda.  Pursuit of those plans would allow for the identification of comprehensive solutions to address regional challenges, including poverty eradication, disaster management and climate change.

The Group of 77 looked forward to a joint study between the ASEAN Secretariat and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) on the complementarities and ongoing efforts to promote sustainable development cooperation across the region.  He recalled that an ASEAN — United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) symposium on financing for the Sustainable Development Goals had been held in August, with the aim of raising awareness, support and buy-in among citizens.  The Group was pleased by the outcome documents that would be signed, adopted or noted in November at the thirty-first ASEAN summit which directly supported the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly on nutrition, health risk reduction and management, climate change, gender equality and ensuring sustainable consumption and production patterns.

ASTRIDE NAZAIRE (Haiti), speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and associating herself with the Group of 77, said that capacity-building would be critical for any efforts aimed at sustainable development and for the achievement of the 2030 Agenda.  In that context, mobilization of financial resources for capacity-building, as well as technology transfer, were of utmost importance.  CARICOM believed it was vital to help developing countries achieve long term viability for their debt as well as to ensure financial inclusion.  In that regard, the Community had launched an appeal to the United Nations development system, requesting them to go beyond a simple awareness of the situation with respect to concessional financing.  Among the major challenges in the region was so-called de-risking that had upset traditional banking relationships and could have larger implications.  The lack of services offered by banks affected not only the Caribbean region, but could also pose a bigger threat to global financial security.

She highlighted that CARICOM recognized the need for urgent action to strengthen the integrity of the financial system and correct the false perception that the Caribbean region was high risk.  Operational activities of the United Nations development system should bear in mind the need for capacity-building in least developed countries so they could alleviate extreme poverty and hunger.  Urbanization must be an engine for development as it had the ability to change and improve living conditions.  CARICOM strongly supported the United Nations reform effort currently underway and welcomed the leadership of the Secretary-General in that regard.  Further, it welcomed the recent resolution calling for the strengthening of cooperation between CARICOM and the United Nations system, as such assistance would be a key element towards peace, security and sustainable development for the region.  Climate change was one of the most significant challenges small island developing States faced, particularly in the Caribbean region, which was still reeling from the damage done by Hurricane Irma and Maria.

MAHJABEEN KHALED HOSSAIN (Bangladesh) spoke on behalf of the Group of Least Developed Countries and associated herself with the Group of 77.  She noted that least developed countries continued to be plagued by multiple structural challenges, and that under the current growth trajectory, some 38 per cent of those States would still be facing extreme poverty by 2030.  Least developed countries in conflict and post-conflict situations as well as those experiencing fragility were unable to provide basic State services for their citizens.  She expressed concern about the various studies conducted by the United Nations that showed that those States remained far behind in the achievement of their development goals.  The special needs of those countries required greater recognition, she stressed, urging a comprehensive, multi-stakeholder resilience building mechanism be established, which would enable measures to be established at the national, regional and global levels to respond to various global crises.  There were visible efforts made by least developed countries to align existing policies with the 2030 Agenda, although the international community must provide support for those efforts.

The widespread, unprecedented impacts of climate change disproportionately burdened the poorest countries, she said.  ODA continued to be the largest and most critical source of development assistance for the most vulnerable countries, she noted, calling upon development partners to fulfil their internationally-agreed targets.  The least developed countries looked forward to greater foreign direct investment (FDI) as a means to address capacity-building deficits and achieve full production.  Orderly, safe and responsible migration was of great importance, including through the implementation of migration policies.  She welcomed the establishment of the technology bank for the least developed countries, although there must be greater efforts to mobilize resources for its sustainable function.  She went on to note that several least developed States had recently met the criteria for graduation, although the existing process related to advancement and smooth transition should be strengthened so that recently-graduated countries would not face uncertainties in achieving their development objectives.

JORGE SKINNER-KLÉE (El Salvador), speaking on behalf of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), said that the structural challenges of the international economy and reform of the international system must take place in a way that considered the challenges of developing countries.  The Community was committed to achieving sustainable development in its three dimensions in a balanced and integrated way.  Regional and global efforts sought common solutions for the benefit of all people, leaving no one behind; although to do so, adequate financial and non-financial resources were needed.  He advocated for efforts to obtain a supportive environment for sustainable development and for overcoming challenges posed by inadequate financing for development.  Developed countries must comply with their ODA commitments, he said, while noting with concern that countries’ access to concessional financing dropped as economies grew.  CELAC advocated for the identification of alternative financing and recognized the importance of increasing international support for triangular cooperation.

Continuing, he said that CELAC recognized the need to foster international tax cooperation, strengthen regulatory tax frameworks and support for intergovernmental initiatives to combat tax evasion and avoidance, corruption and money laundering.  The Community called on the United Nations system to develop transparent measurement criteria for sustainability that went beyond per capita income, and whereby poverty and structural gaps were recognized in all forms and dimensions.  The mandates of United Nations agencies, funds and programmes must tackle the interrelated nature of the Goals.  He reaffirmed the Community’s commitment to the promotion of gender equality and the advancement of women to ensure they enjoyed their fundamental freedoms and human rights.  He reaffirmed the Community’s commitment to the implementation of public policies that ensured a universal, inclusive, quality education for young people and reiterated the commitment to the CELAC plan for food and nutrition security and the eradication of hunger by 2025.

AMR ABDELLATIF ABOULATTA (Egypt) spoke on behalf of the Group of African States and associated himself with the Group of the 77.  Stressing that the eradication of poverty remained the greatest challenge to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, he noted that out of 800 million people living below the poverty line, 400 million were Africans.  Greater efforts would be needed to support the implementation of the 2030 Agenda in Africa, as progress remained hampered by the unequal global environment that was “unfavourable” and “agnostic” to his continent’s financing for development needs.  He highlighted the importance of combating illicit financial flows with the establishment of strong international cooperation which could prevent the drainage of African assets, and identify and return assets to the countries of origin.

The African Union’s Agenda 2063 and its implementation plan focused on financial and infrastructure gaps, he said.  Integrated infrastructure development and modern technology would help in the swift transformation of African economies.  He called for assistance to enhance innovation and access to technology, and to that end, expressed appreciation for the Technology Bank for the Least Developed Countries.  Noting the pursuit of a continental free trade area, he sought support of partners in multilateral trade and agricultural sectors.  He also referenced the effect of climate change, which had been devastating and curtailed development prospects.  To that end, he supported the outcome documents from the October 2016 United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III), and expressed optimism that reform processes would enhance cooperation with the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) and other stakeholders to overcome sustainable development challenges.  In closing, he reiterated that Africa should remain at the centre of global partnership for development.

RENNIER GADABU (Nauru) spoke on behalf of the Group of Pacific Small Island Developing States, and associated himself with the statement to be delivered by the Alliance of Small Island States and Group of 77.  He noted that reforms to the United Nations development system were taking place as part of a broader reform effort which would bring shifts to the management paradigm and the peace and security architecture.  All those would have implications on the work of the Second Committee (Economic and Financial), and in that context, steps must be taken to ensure that those reforms supported, rather than undermined, the colossal undertaking that would be necessary to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.  Further, the international community must be attuned to the interlinkages between areas that had traditionally been separated, such as the security implications of climate change.

It was critical that the Committee maintain its universality and commitment to the most vulnerable, which included the small island developing States, which possessed unique vulnerabilities that made it a “special case” for sustainable development, he said.  There needed to be a critical look at the eligibility criteria for accessing to financing for development and technical assistance provided to those States, he said, highlighting that classification per income often excluded them from preferential treatment, despite significant vulnerabilities.  The worsening impacts of climate change had led to tragic consequences in recent months, including a staggering number of lives lost.  With those types of extreme weather events becoming increasingly common, it was important that the Committee be attuned to that dangerous, new reality and the need to reduce vulnerability and build resilience in the places most at risk.

ROBERT SISILO (Solomon Islands), speaking on behalf of the Pacific Island Forum countries, said its endorsement of the 2030 Pacific road map demonstrated the region’s serious approach to implementing the Sustainable Development Goals and meeting its international commitments.  Noting that its member States continued to count on the support of the United Nations and other partners, he stressed that climate change had political and socioeconomic implications for peace and security, and affected countries such as small island developing States more than others due to their constrained capacity to respond.

Members of the Pacific Islands Forum faced challenges including such existential threats as rising sea levels, intensification of natural hazards, economic problems exacerbated by declining fish stocks and the deterioration of the ocean’s health, he continued.  “These crucial matters require our utmost attention to ensure that no one is left behind,” he stressed, urging the United Nations system to increase its focus on and assistance to small island developing States and calling on international financial institutions to facilitate those nations with greater access to concessional financing and climate funds.

ALI NASEER MOHAMED (Maldives), speaking on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States and associating himself with the Group of 77, underlined the importance of continued space and recognition for the voices of countries in special situations in the Committee’s work.  Indeed, small island developing States were a special case for sustainable development and they continued to face unique challenges due to their remote locations, highly dispersed populations, distance to markets, diseconomies of scale, susceptibility to external shocks and vulnerability to the impacts of climate change.  Recalling that those issues were now recognized in various international agreements including the small island developing States Accelerated Modalities of Action (SAMOA) Pathway, he stressed that such nations required clear and coordinated support from across the United Nations system now more than ever.

“The multitude of overlapping challenges [small island developing States] face is most visible in devastating hurricanes” that had destroyed many such islands in the Caribbean in recent weeks, he said.  Those extreme weather events were made more frequent and intense by climate change, and the inherent vulnerabilities and limited capacity of islands to bounce back were two key issues requiring more consideration.  In that regard, he reiterated the call for the international financial institutions to enhance access to concessional financing, taking in account small island developing States’ specific challenges and vulnerabilities, including the impact of climate change on their economies.  Among other things, he also called for the participation of those States in the decision-making and norm-setting processes that affected them.

JOANNE ADAMSON, of the European Union delegation, said many citizens on her continent and elsewhere felt left behind by economic recovery and were apprehensive about globalization.  Strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth, which relied on multilateral cooperation and a rules-based order, was vital in addressing the root causes of large movements of refugees and migrants.  The international community had continued to present its internal and external responses to shape globalization in line with shared interests and values.  The 2030 Agenda was the reference point for efforts the international community must take.

Climate change continued to constitute among the greatest and most pressing challenges in the common effort to achieve sustainable development and eradicate poverty, she said.  The 2015 Paris Agreement was the cornerstone of global efforts to tackle climate change and effectively implement the 2030 Agenda.  It was necessary to fully implement the Paris Agreement on climate change in a timely manner and emphasize protecting the environment against further degradation.  The Union would work with all partners who shared the conviction that the Agreement was essential in protecting the planet as well as economic growth and future jobs.

LAZAROUS KAPAMBWE (Zambia), speaking on behalf of the Group of Landlocked Developing Countries, citing “evident progress” in the implementation of global development agendas, said his group of States nevertheless continued to see mixed results on key socioeconomic indicators.  They had experienced a decline in annual GDP growth from 6.9 per cent in 2013 to 2.6 per cent in 2016, and most people in those countries still lived in extreme poverty.  In addition, the share of global merchandise exports coming from landlocked developing countries fell from 0.96 per cent in 2015 to 0.88 per cent in 2016 and many such countries had persistent trade deficits and most remained vulnerable due to volatile commodity prices and slow economic growth.  Infrastructure deficits also remained high and the group still lagged behind the rest of the world on energy, with at least two-thirds of its population relying on the traditional use of biomass for cooking.

Calling for efforts to close technological gaps to better enable poverty eradication and inequality reduction, he went on to outline the negative impact of climate change, desertification and land degradation on many landlocked developing countries, which remained among the most water-stressed in the world.  Despite all those significant needs, ODA flows to landlocked developing countries had decreased from $26.1 billion in 2014 to $24.8 billion in 2015.  At the Committee’s present session, Member States must work to advance collective solutions to building the capabilities of landlocked developing countries, generating sustainable livelihoods, contributing to food security, increasing incomes and improving the quality of life in those nations.  Addressing the high trade costs they faced was another important issue, he said, underlining the importance of implementing the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement in that regard.  Finally, while South-South cooperation continued to be critical, he warned that it should not be a substitute to North-South and triangular cooperation.

MARÍA RUBIALES DE CHAMORRO (Nicaragua) said that to achieve a just world order, her nation advocated for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and an end of the economic measures imposed against the country.  Endemic poverty and inequality were more pronounced than ever, especially among vulnerable and marginalized groups, and those living under colonial occupation or foreign intervention.  All countries must meet their development commitments, and representatives must work together in the Committee to overcome challenges.  Reiterating Nicaragua’s commitment to financing for development, she underscored the importance of partnerships to facilitate access to financial and technological resources.  The country achieved a “privileged” macroeconomic situation with sustained economic growth, characterized by a GDP growth of 5.1 per cent.  Nicaragua, according to the International Labour Organization (ILO), ranked third in terms of fastest economic growth in the Latin American and Caribbean region.  Additionally, the country reduced extreme poverty by nearly half due in part to a consolidated partnership between the Government, private sector and international cooperation.  She called for increased actions to combat climate change, and urged developed countries to undertake leadership roles to address unsustainable consumption patterns, and meet international commitments.  Nicaragua would continue to advocate for climate justice and compensation, appeal for enhanced disaster risk reduction, and to that end, she encouraged donors to provide support.  She also reiterated solidarity with the State of Palestine and their struggle for freedom, and urged for full inclusion of that matter in the Committee’s agenda.

KENNEDY MAYONG ONON (Malaysia) said his country had taken several steps to implement the Sustainable Development Goals at the national level in a systematic and measurable manner.  It had established a multi-stakeholder, participatory governance structure spearheaded by the National Sustainable Development Goal Council, which was chaired by the Prime Minister.  That was followed by national symposiums and forums to promote participation of various stakeholders.  Malaysia had then conducted studies on data readiness and gap analysis.  It had also carried out a mapping exercise involving non-governmental organizations and the private sector to align the Goals with the Eleventh Malaysia Plan initiatives.  Finally, his country had drawn up a national goals road map to guide implementation of Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals.

TORE HATTREM (Norway) said the international community must increase collective efforts to prevent conflicts and wars, and build basic social and economic infrastructure to reach the most vulnerable.  Sustainable transformation would hinge on the ability to address climate change and save the oceans.  To that end, Norway supported the establishment of the new Climate Action Team under the Secretary-General, and welcomed the appointment of a Special Envoy for the Ocean.  The universality of the 2030 Agenda would be its greatest strength, and Norway remained committed to accelerating the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals domestically and through international cooperation.  Similarly, the United Nations must do its part, and his country welcomed the Secretary-General’s efforts to reposition the development system to enhance collaboration, accountability and transparency.  Funding, he continued, could be both a driver of change and an impediment.  He welcomed the proposed funding compact to improve the quality and predictability of funding for the development system, as well as the increase of funding modalities to provide incentives.  Norway’s ODA contribution would remain around 1 per cent of its GDP, above the United Nations target of 0.7 per cent. Likewise, he called for strengthened efforts to mobilize domestic resources for development and address illicit financial flows.

MARC-ANDRE BLANCHARD (Canada), also speaking for Australia and New Zealand, stressed the need to promote gender equality as well as women and girls’ empowerment in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.  Promoting gender equality was among the most effective ways of eliminating poverty, creating lasting peace, promoting inclusive prosperity and achieving sustainable development.  An estimated $28 trillion was missing from global GDP (about $74 trillion) because no country present in the room had successfully achieved gender equality.  Thus, world economic output was less than three quarters of what it could be.

He said that Canada, Australia and New Zealand were committed to implementing the Goals domestically, while working with international partners to achieve them around the world.  Most of the focus of domestic implementation was directed towards indigenous peoples, who often ranked among the furthest behind.  A major preoccupation would be satisfying human needs for greater equality and decent work for all.  That implied a need to enact policies expanding opportunities for business, creating good, well-paying jobs for workers and delivering meaningful economic growth benefiting all citizens, not only the wealthiest.  Canada, Australia and New Zealand would continue to pursue a progressive trade agenda promoting meaningful trade liberalization, ensuring the benefits of trade were enjoyed broadly across societies.

DIEGO PADILLA (Costa Rica) underscored the importance of linkages between the Sustainable Development Goals and noted that macroeconomic indicators and poverty reduction did not reflect the capacity of persons to overcome the latter.  With a view to align implementation strategies, Costa Rica would cosponsor a resolution to adopt a decade of family farming for 2019‑28, and seek alignment of global, regional and international commitments.  He stressed the importance of international benchmarks to promote good governance and enforce adequate redistribution of wealth.  Likewise, he reiterated the belief that transparent governance, and the detection and prevention of illicit financial flows was essential to ensure accountability and adherence to international norms.  Costa Rica promoted an ambitious environmental vision and shared their experience in forest conservation and renewable energy.  The commitments made in the Paris Agreement should be reflected in the language of the Committee, he stated.  Costa Rica supported the repositioning of the United Nations system to include a multidimensional vision of development, and a restructuring of the classification of countries, particularly in response to the needs of middle-income States.  Developing countries must have high‑quality disaggregated, evidence‑based data to monitor progress on sustainable development.  He reaffirmed the importance of South-South and triangular cooperation to enhance public and private investment.

DOMA TSHERING (Bhutan) stressed the importance of strengthening global partnerships and means of implementation of the 2030 Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals, including ODA.  While pleased it had graduated from the least developed country category, Bhutan wished to ensure it continued to develop in a sure and sustained manner.  The country needed to focus on the Goals, which could be game-changers and had the potential to bring about transformative change.  Development of a robust private sector, including small and medium enterprises, structural transformation of the economy and building a strong and resilient infrastructure would put her country in a position to achieve other Goals.  She appealed to development partners to support Bhutan in those areas, welcoming progress towards establishment of the Technology Bank for the Least Developed Countries.

ESHAGH AL HABIB (Iran), associating himself with the Group of 77, called for more effective international assistance and solidarity in support of the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals in developing countries.  The United Nations should play a critical coordinating role in that regard, he said, adding that it must be fit for purpose and ready to support the needs and priorities of those countries.  As sustainable development and peace could only flourish together — and as incidents of conflict and extremism had increased in recent years — he said it was critical to address the diverse needs and challenges of countries and regions, including the Middle East, to achieve sustainable development.  Addressing poverty there was a vital requirement for regional stability and prosperity, he stressed, adding that upholding a universal, rules-based, open non-discriminatory and equitable multilateral trading system that contributed to growth and sustained development was also necessary, particularly for developing countries.

DIAN TRIANSYAH DJANI (Indonesia), associating himself with the Group of 77 and ASEAN, said that while progress had been made in implementing the 2030 Agenda, many targets still lagged — and often with detrimental impacts.  While the 2030 Agenda set broad and ambitious goals, each was important and all were interdependent.  “The success or failure of one will impact the other,” he said.  Citing such examples as persistent poverty and the impacts of climate change, he said the “beyond-border” nature of those challenges and the fact that resources to address them were scattered globally meant that solidarity, collaboration and coordination were needed to create long-lasting solutions.  In that context, the Committee should play a key role in strengthening and revitalizing global partnerships for the Agenda’s implementation; ensuring coherency in its implementation as well as those of the Addis Action Agenda, the Paris Agreement and others; and ensuring sufficient capacity and resources were made available, including through the fulfilment of ODA commitments.

LAURA FLORES (Panama) stressed that a strengthened multilateral development system would greatly help in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.  International cooperation was vital in that process in the areas of financial resources as well as capacity and best practises.  There was a need to tackle the needs and challenges of developing countries, including middle-income nations.  The global community must recognize middle-income counties as subjects of cooperation in fulfilling the Goals and achieving the 2030 Agenda.  She emphasized the need to boost South-South cooperation without replacing North-South cooperation.  Adding that implementing the Paris Agreement was imperative to achieving the Goals, she said multilateral efforts must continue.  The international community must also continue to work towards transparency of the international financial system as well as the eradication of illicit financial flows.

Ms. CURRIE (United States) said the United States supported the vision for reform of the United Nations system and pledged to be partners in championing those reforms for greater peace and harmony in the world.  The Committee could not be excused from that reform, “we have too many words and not enough action, too much politicization and not enough results,” she stated.  The delegates must strive to limit overlap, have fewer reports and have more effective outcomes.  Change in the Committee should not be negotiable, she continued.  Additional effort should be given to increase the impact and efficiency of the Committee by streamlining the agenda and consolidating the discussions to ensure each issue was discussed once.  Calling upon all representatives to respect deadlines, she said her country would not negotiate draft resolutions after the close of the Committee or beyond normal business hours.  “The United States will have no choice but to engage less in drawn out negotiations,” she stressed.  To that end, Committee resolutions should align with the 2030 Agenda and the Addis Ababa Agenda, while striving to formulate concrete solutions to challenges.  The key to success was to communicate early and often, she said.

TLHALEFO MADISA (Botswana), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the Group of Landlocked Developing Countries, pointed out that as the United Nations underwent reforms, some 700 million people still lived in extreme poverty and 200 million were unemployed.  Those statistics were compounded by situations of famine, extreme climate events, armed conflict and the rise of violent extremism, among other challenges.  Urging the Committee to work to accelerate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, he said climate change often manifested as a decline in agricultural production, increasing food insecurity and water stress, and reaffirmed Botswana’s commitment to combating those challenges through the Paris Agreement.  Meanwhile, landlocked developing countries required the attention of the international community, including through the implementation of the Vienna Programme of Action for Landlocked Developing Countries for the Decade 2014-2024.  Technical assistance, capacity-building and financial support would also be needed to address the impacts of the geographical constraints faced by those countries, as well as their lack of territorial access to the ocean, he said.

NAWAF SALAM (Lebanon) said the 2030 Agenda’s implementation would stretch the financial, institutional and human capacities of most developing States — including middle-income countries.  Noting that the United Nations development system would be critical in providing support, he outlined Lebanon’s national sustainable development efforts, including the recent establishment of a committee to lead and coordinate efforts on the 2030 Agenda.  Noting that his country would present its first voluntary national contribution at the high-level political forum in 2018, he said efforts were underway to identify and analyse gaps in relation to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals in Lebanon.  Peacebuilding, development and humanitarian efforts — as well as peacekeeping activities — had been running in Lebanon simultaneously for decades, with the humanitarian dimension becoming more visible due to the influx of over 1.2 million refugees from Syria.  Those numbers compounded Lebanon’s own economic, social, environmental and security challenges, he said, calling for enhanced coherence between the United Nations development and humanitarian activities in his country.

VIRACHAI PLASAI (Thailand) aligned himself with the Group of 77 and China and ASEAN, saying efforts were needed to work faster and better to ensure balanced progress in all economic, social, and environmental dimensions.  Thailand believed in a people-centred approach to all national development efforts, and to that end applied a “Sufficiency Economy Philosophy” to ensure domestic alignment with the core principles of the 2030 Agenda.  Following a concept of “Pracharath” to foster partnerships among the public and private sectors, Thailand supported efforts to conduct sustainable businesses.  The Global Compact Network in Thailand assisted Thai companies, while local communities were empowered to localize the Sustainable Development Goals and find local solutions.  Thailand also supported the follow-up and review process, and was among the 43 countries that presented their Voluntary National Reviews at the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development.  To address inequality, Thailand implemented “Thailand 4.0” to enhance human resource development, as well as a universal health coverage scheme and an education-for-all scheme.  On environmental protection, he noted France’s initiative to support the Global Pact for the Environment and said Thailand would continue to strengthen disaster risk reduction and early warning systems.  Stressing the importance of partnerships, he welcomed the outcome of the Second Financing for Development Forum to expedite implementation of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda.  He commended the role of the Office of South-South Cooperation in promoting the exchange of best practices, welcomed the Secretary-General’s management reform initiatives and supported the development system review.

ASHISH SINHA (India), associating himself with the Group of 77, noted that the world had witnessed a series of natural disasters over the past few weeks. Hurricanes had battered the Caribbean and parts of the United States and an earthquake had struck Mexico.  While hurricanes had brought the focus back to anthropogenic factors of climate change, those crises had highlighted the need for attention to the resilience of communities and to disaster risk reduction. He also observed that the global economy had witnessed unprecedented levels of economic growth and technological advancement over the last century, which had transformed the social and economic lives of millions.  Yet, about 800 million people still lived in extreme poverty and an equal number continued to suffer from hunger.  The international community must ensure that resources meant for development programmes were not diverted to other efforts, which would have a deleterious effect in developing countries, especially least developed countries and small island developing States.

NGUYEN PHUONG NGA (Viet Nam), associating herself with the Group of 77, China and ASEAN, cited progress made in implementing the 2030 Agenda and stressed that “the Second Committee needs to seize this momentum and focus its discussions on concrete actions for impact on the ground”.  On climate change, she said some countries — including Viet Nam — were facing extreme risks, especially around coastlines and in mountainous areas.  Stakeholders should work together to enhance preparedness and build resilience, while providing tailored development solutions that addressed multi-crisis risks and provided long-term, integrated solutions.  The role of trade was critical for countries to lift themselves out of poverty and retain progress, she said, calling on all Member States to recommit to promoting a universal, rules-based, open, transparent, predictable, inclusive, non‑discriminatory and equitable multilateral trading system.  “We need to address imbalances, discrimination and inequities” in that system, she stressed, calling on nations to prevent trade restrictions and distortions in world markets.  She also called for the provision of technical assistance and capacity development in science, technology and innovation, and to prevent countries — including Viet Nam — from falling into the middle-income trap.

ANAT FISHER-TSIN (Israel), urging the Committee to use its current session to evaluate progress and renew commitments to the 2030 Agenda, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda and the Paris Agreement, expressed her delegation’s full commitment to those instruments.  “We are working on several fronts and with many stakeholders to ensure that we are on the right path and making progress” toward achieving the 17 Goals, she said.  Israel had prioritized the advancement of gender equality, the empowerment of women and girls, efforts to nurture young minds and the encouragement of entrepreneurship and innovation.  It was also committed to promoting agricultural technology for sustainable development and achieving a world free of hunger, she said, adding that it would present its resolution on those issues to the Committee during the present session.

SERGEY B. KONONUCHENKO (Russian Federation) said that his Government had systematically increased its contribution to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, including through numerous environmental and research programmes.  It had written off more than $20 billion of Africa’s debt.  Free trade zones could result in significant partnerships and open a “new page” in globalization, he said, citing broad Eurasian partnerships and the One Belt, One Road initiative.  The international community must reject the use of unilateral financial and trade restrictions to pressure foreign policy opponents.  “Any sanction bypassing Security Council resolutions are counterproductive,” he stated.  He called for greater attention to deal with accumulated Government and private sector debt and encouraged the establishment of new models for business, trade, logistics and production as well as enhanced information security.  He reiterated the Russian Federation’s commitment to limit greenhouse gas emissions to 70 per cent of 1990 levels by 2030 as well as other efforts to operationalize the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).  He called for greater focus on human resources, particularly through the establishment of a Russian international cluster on scientific research which would form a system to support start-ups, and form a network of research laboratories.  All countries should pool efforts and overcome imbalances to ensure sustainable global growth. 

DAW HMWAY HMWAY KHYNE (Myanmar), associating herself with the Group of 77 and China, the ASEAN and the Group of Least Developed Countries, voiced concern about uneven progress in implementing the 2030 Agenda as well as the prevalence of inequalities.  Least developed countries including Myanmar remained far below many of the Sustainable Development Goal targets, and poverty was still widespread among them.  Calling for an integrated approach to eradicating poverty across the economic, social and environmental dimensions — as well as a strong commitment to global partnerships — she said the fulfilment of ODA commitments remained crucial for all developing countries.  Welcoming the adoption of the global indicator framework, she recalled that her country with the support of UNDP had recently published a report titled “Measuring Myanmar’s Starting Point for the Sustainable Development Goals”, which included baseline data for 60 per cent of the Goals’ indicators.  The country also continued to pursue efforts towards peace and stability — which were fundamental to sustainable development — including by hosting two milestone Union Peace Conferences and boosting investments in education, healthcare and infrastructure.

GUSTAVO MEZA-CUADRA (Peru) said his country was taking action to ensure all citizens had access to services such as clean water and sanitation.  Peru was committed to the effective implementation of the Paris Agreement and had created a multisectoral working group to ensure a low‑carbon economy, which would help incorporate climate adaptation measures into national policies.  He noted that the recent hurricanes in the Caribbean and the United States as well as the earthquake in Mexico had reminded the international community that natural disasters knew no borders.  Peru was not immune to such climactic hazards and was working to promote disaster risk reduction for all.

ANAYANSI RODRÍGUEZ CAMEJO (Cuba) observed that global inequality and social polarization had persisted and even worsened two years after adopting the 2030 Agenda.  Opulence and concentration of income and wealth in developed countries stood in sad contrast to the poverty experienced by many people in developing countries.  What was lacking was the political will and true commitment of the most powerful States to fulfil their international commitments.  She emphasized the importance of a different international financial architecture, elimination of the technological and knowledge monopoly and change in the current international economic order.  Today’s industrialized countries must accept their historical debt and exercise the principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities”.  The international community could no longer postpone realization of the right to development.

BASHAR JA’AFARI (Syria), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, said that the responsibility for development fell on national Governments and that fighting terrorism and extremism was a joint national and regional responsibility. Terrorism was exploited and exported and it continued to hamper economic, social, infrastructural, and cultural development. To that end, he called for an end to activities that threatened the Syrian people and adversely affected the country’s education and health sectors.  Such measures against the Syrian people were “tantamount to terrorism” and exacerbated the internally displaced persons and refugee crises.  The Israeli occupation adversely affected development and numerous General Assembly resolutions called for an end to Israel’s occupation of Arab land.  Syria was working on a post-conflict era approach to development, including a National Post-Conflict Plan and a National Management Reform Project.   Syria was taking special measures to adhere to the Paris Agreement.  Some countries continued to flout the national sovereignty of others, he said, stressing that sustainable development could not be achieved without peace and vice versa.

NECTON D. MHURA (Malawi) said the journey towards the Sustainable Development Goals was still in its infancy.  Many issues required further deliberation, including trade, financing for development, information technology and climate change.  Now more than ever, all cylinders must be firing at full capacity if the international community was to meet the 2030 deadline and enhance the lives of those left behind.  It was essential to create the right mix of policies so that institutions — local, regional and global — were reformed to match the evolving and shifting global landscape.  At the macroeconomic level, Malawi shared the view that international trade was an engine for inclusive economic growth and poverty reduction.  Trade was not a panacea for development but must be synchronized with other enabling policies and structures to deliver on development and poverty reduction.  Empirical evidence suggested that trade, complemented by appropriate domestic policies and a supportive external environment, had been among the most powerful catalysts for economic transformation in poor countries.

CARMELO INGUANEZ (Malta) said his country remained steadfast in its commitment to the 2030 Agenda and reiterated the importance of national ownership to ensure full and effective implementation.  He supported the revitalization of the Second Committee and commended reform efforts of the Secretary‑General.  Malta had launched a national strategic plan for poverty reduction and social inclusion for 2014 to 2024.  His country remained a net importer of food due to the lack of sufficient local production and it prioritized the diversification of the agricultural sector and invested in research on fodder crops.  Another major challenge in Malta was a lack of water which had led to unsustainable practices of groundwater abstraction.  To address that issue, the Government invested in innovative means and new water technology.  Malta had put in place initiatives to reduce overfishing and promote the conservation of marine biodiversity.  The sustainability of fish stocks remained at the centre of Government policy.  Targets included a commitment to keep 30 per cent of its jurisdictional waters as marine protected areas and contributions towards the good governance of the oceans.  In regards to international trade and development, Malta encouraged Governments to promote responsible business conduct, particularly as global value chains represent the bulk of trade flows.  In closing, he stated that Malta would deliver a voluntary national review at the 2018 high‑level political forum.

MAHMADAMIN MAHMADAMINOV (Tajikistan) said that to address technological and infrastructural gaps and capacity constraints, developed countries should take responsibility for financing for development and, to that end, he urged all countries to fulfil their commitments.  He expressed support to the Secretary‑General’s reform of the United Nations system with respect to the 2030 Agenda.  However, any reform should be within the mandates of the Member States by the quadrennial comprehensive policy review.  Speaking on sustainable development, he said that Tajikistan had championed the International Decade for Action, “Water for Sustainable Development”, 2018‑2028 In 2018, his country would host an event in New York to commemorate International Water Day, and hold a conference on water for sustainable development.  In closing, he reiterated his Government’s readiness to work with other delegations in the Committee on internationally agreed goals.

ISABELLE F. PICCO (Monaco) stated that the public sector could not be solely responsible for sustainable development and that progress would depend on participation from all sectors.  The technological and industrial revolution would give businesses and civil society significant power to promote and harness change.  As such, it would be vital to recognize the joint responsibility of the public and private sectors, and civil society.  There was a growing trend of distrust between sectors, she stated, and the international community must seek ways to improve governance frameworks and ensure inclusive and collective solutions through partnerships.  The Government had undertaken initiatives to improve energy and climate plans, promote sustainable cities and engage the international community.  Efforts were also undertaken to modernize infrastructure and maintain economic diversity.  That included establishing an “industry observatory” and supporting non‑governmental organizations in creating local plans for sustainable development.  In research and development, Monaco promoted clean technology.  It had developed the world’s largest solar‑powered boat and established a “Solar Impulse” command centre.  Furthermore, Monaco hosted its first auto show dedicated to innovation and clean energy, and established an incubator for innovative projects.  His country had also invested in economic growth and cooperation, and to that end allocated more than 1.1 per cent of its GDP to ODA.

HAHN CHOONGHEE (Republic of Korea) said United Nations reform efforts should break down silos and strengthen the nexus between peace and security, human rights and development, while also focusing on improving the funding architecture in a way that incentivized collaboration among agencies, the private sector, international financial institutions, vertical funds and other diverse stakeholders.  The United Nations development system should also improve its overall effectiveness and transparency and enhance value-for-money, accountability and transparency.  Emphasizing the importance of the 2030 Agenda’s follow-up and review process, as well as the means of implementation, he noted that his country had ratified the Paris Agreement in 2016 and stressed that “we must not lose momentum in implementing it”.  Among other things, he drew attention to efforts to strengthen disaster risk reduction, and to ensure urbanization was sustainable.

MARÍA EMMA MEJÍA VÉLEZ (Colombia) said macroeconomic matters were vitally important to the well-being of millions who continued to live in poverty.  The Committee had before it some of the main challenges facing humanity, including the eradication of poverty and combating climate change.  However, the international community must be more committed to financing for development if those issues were to be addressed.  The Committee must give added value to its discussions, thinking big and concentrating on efforts that could have a true impact for future generations.  It must focus on efficiency in actions and results, maximize resources to ensure coordination of agencies and respond to priorities of States.

JORGE SKINNER-KLÉE (Guatemala) said the past few years had been critical in repositioning the United Nations development system to support countries facing development challenges.  The international community must ensure that financing for development was more efficient in implementing development programmes in middle-income countries.  The lack of reliable and disaggregated data continued to be an impediment in following up progress made and implementing national policies.  Addressing challenges to financing for development would be vital in reforming the development system.  The global community must also adopt graduation policies to ensure a better response to the opportunities and challenges of middle-income countries.  Guatemala, for its part, had been active in reducing illicit financial flows and developing a law to counter money-laundering.

EL HACEN ELEYATT (Mauritania) said that his country had made significant progress in implementing the Sustainable Development Goals through enhanced policies and approaches to manage public business.  That had resulted in increased investments and amended legislation to provide legal safeguards in a more transparent framework.  Mauritania endeavoured to establish numerous national development programmes.  To enable access for young people, the Government financed microprojects and encouraged productive enterprises and employment.  Women had greater access to senior employment positions, and took major roles in society and State, with elected women receiving access to training programmes to improve performance and productivity.  The Government did its utmost to facilitate women’s access to financing through a national development fund.  Mauritania had made significant progress in health that had resulted in a decrease in women and children’s mortality rates, as well as deaths caused by HIV/AIDS.  The Government also reformed the judiciary to encourage greater transparency.  Due to its geographical location, Mauritania suffered from climate change and in response, adopted an approach to integrate environmental and sustainable economic development issues.  The country would continue to work with its neighbours to address climate change; however, it requested additional support to help fulfil their commitments.

ISATA KABIA (Sierra Leone), associating herself with the Group of 77, the Group of Least Developed Countries and the African Group, said millions of people in least developed States continued to live in extreme poverty and the international community’s focus should remain on freeing humanity from those shackles “as a matter of urgency”.  Sierra Leone had linked its “Third Poverty Reduction Strategy” and “Agenda for Prosperity” to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, with the aim of achieving middle-income status by 2035.  Like many other fragile and post-conflict countries, Sierra Leone had worked to consolidate its hard-won peace despite not being fully able to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.  Noting the need for adequate sources for conflict-affected countries — especially for a long-term, stable and predictable flow of financing — she said the continued role of international development cooperation and ODA “cannot be overemphasized”.

MIRGUL MOLDOISAEVA (Kyrgyzstan) said that her country had presented a report in 2017 on the Sustainable Development Goals, and was honouring its commitments at the national level.  Under the Vienna Programme of Action for Landlocked Developing Countries for the Decade 2014-2024, attention was given to transform Kyrgyzstan through large-scale projects, including infrastructural and energy projects.  The country’s national strategy for sustainable development would include indicators and reflect remaining challenges.  The national “Taza Koom Project” sought to transform Kyrgyzstan with a people-centred, modern governance model.  Climate change had significant impact on all sectors.  As numerous uranium plants were located along waterways, she expressed concern over the risk of river pollution which could result in a major humanitarian and environmental disaster in Central Asia.  The General Assembly had recognized that danger in various resolutions; however, efforts would be needed to recondition the uranium facilities.  She also expressed alarm at the swift melting of glaciers in the region and environmental threats that impact biodiversity, such as threats relating to the decrease of snow leopards.


New Strategic Compact, Mindset Shift Would Bolster Success of Sustaining Peace Agenda, Panel Expert Tells Security Council in Peacekeeping Operations Debate

A new “strategic compact” for sustaining peace, outlining the primary duties of host countries and the supportive role of the United Nations, would help to ensure the success of the Organization’s peacekeeping operations in the myriad context-sensitive situations they faced, the Security Council heard today.

Youssef Mahmoud of the High-Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations, briefing the Council during a day-long open debate on the potential contributions of peacekeeping missions to the Sustaining Peace Agenda, proposed that such a compact, to be initiated upon request by the Security Council, could articulate a shared understanding of the meaning of sustaining peace.

Describing conceptual and attitudinal shifts advocated by the panel, including the need to acknowledge that countries emerging from conflict were not “blank pages” nor their people “props”, he said internal actors at all levels of society were the main agents of peace.  Efforts to help sustain peace should be motivated by the humility to learn from what had worked and respect that every society, “however broken it may appear”, had capacities and assets — not simply needs and vulnerabilities.

Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed said that striving to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development would enormously enhance such efforts.  The Secretary-General’s new vision required a whole-of-United Nations approach, placing Member States in the lead, prioritizing political solutions and prevention, and leveraging human rights, peace and development in a mutually reinforcing manner.  With the 2030 Agenda and the sustaining peace resolutions, “we have mapped the road to a safer, more resilient and sustainable world,” she said.  The challenge was to ensure that gains were irreversible.

Gert Rosenthal, former Chair of the Advisory Group of Experts for the 2015 review of the United Nations peacebuilding architecture, said that while sustaining peace required a coherent and comprehensive approach, the segmented responsibilities of the Economic and Social Council, the Security Council and the General Assembly had instead led to a fragmented one.  He advocated a focus on conflict prevention by addressing root causes, recalling that the Peacebuilding Commission, an advisory body, could foster coherence among the three main organs, while respecting their Charter-mandated purviews.

During the debate, speakers welcomed the Secretary-General’s efforts, sharing suggestions on ways to improve existing operations.  The representative of the United States said “we need to see things we can measure”, with value identified both for the people being served and those who paid the bills.  When the United Nations failed to use all its tools, or used them incorrectly, it risked establishing missions such as that in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which had “lost its way”.  All operations must have clear exit strategies and viable plans for transition from peacekeeping to peacebuilding, she said.

Numerous speakers, including France’s delegate, spotlighted similar gains, including in the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) and the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA).  Others pointed out that some operations, such as the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), were currently transitioning towards new mandates, guided in part by the 2015 review process and related recommendations for improving results. 

In that context, Haiti’s representative said a shared vision was guiding his country and the United Nations in shaping a new partnership.  Underlining that peacekeeping operations were needed, he said that despite critics denouncing costs, personnel size or the artificial politicization of missions, the Council must learn from the past and take on the goal of sustaining peace.

As the newest host of a United Nations mission, Colombia had done its utmost to achieve lasting peace, said that country’s delegate, and lessons learned could be applied to other contexts.  Success depended on national ownership and on a fluid mission structure that adjusted in response to armed conflict.

Several delegates, including from Bolivia and Ethiopia, expounded the benefits of bolstering partnerships with regional and subregional actors, with numerous references to the United Nations fruitful relationship with the African Union.  The United Kingdom’s delegate called for more integrated analyses at the outset of missions, while other speakers asked for more frequent assessments.  Another recurring theme was the importance of involving women and youth in peacekeeping and peacebuilding efforts.

A range of forward-looking approaches were also discussed, with Egypt’s delegate noting that reviews and recommendations were already guiding actions on the ground.  As a troop-contributing country, Egypt would host a conference for other such nations with a view to enhancing future mission efforts.

Also delivering statements were representatives of Uruguay, Sweden, Japan, China, Italy, Senegal, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Russian Federation, Peru, Norway (on behalf of the Nordic countries), Morocco, Australia, Guatemala, Venezuela (on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement), Brazil, India, Turkey, Belgium, Mexico, Estonia, Israel, Pakistan, Germany, Liechtenstein, Indonesia, South Africa, Ireland, Bangladesh, Netherlands, Cyprus, Malaysia, Azerbaijan, Nigeria, Slovakia, Republic of Korea, Switzerland, Thailand, Armenia, Viet Nam, Argentina, Maldives, Chile, Kuwait, Botswana, Philippines and Fiji, as well as the European Union.

The meeting started at 10:08 a.m. and ended at 4:32 p.m.


AMR ABDELLATIF ABOULATTA (Egypt), speaking in his capacity as Council President for August, said peacekeeping operations played a key role in fostering development and building long-lasting peace.  They were also essential in seeking a true transformation in efforts to achieve sustainable peace while addressing other concerns, such as the spread of terrorism and organized crime.

AMINA J. MOHAMMED, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, said the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development could only be achieved by ensuring conditions for peace.  Striving towards success in all the Sustainable Development Goals would make an enormous contribution to the sustaining peace agenda, the implementation of which required an inclusive strategy supporting the diverse range of missions and consideration of the entire peace continuum — from prevention, conflict resolution and peacekeeping to peacebuilding and long-term development.

The Security Council had a vital role to play, she said, stressing that peacekeeping operations required clear, realistic and up-to-date mandates, with well-identified priorities, adequate sequencing and flexibility to evolve over time.  “Looking ahead, we must work together to ensure that peacekeeping lives up to its full potential as an essential tool for sustaining peace, not in isolation, but as part of our new, integrated approach,” she said.  Missions must operate with strong links to the development system and the humanitarian community in order to facilitate an integrated approach to initiatives, exit strategies and transition plans, as could be seen in Haiti and Liberia.

Sustaining peace was an inherently inclusive political process spanning development activities, she said, noting that implementing that agenda meant placing Member States and their citizens in the lead, prioritizing political solutions and prevention, while leveraging in a mutually reinforcing manner human rights, peace and development.  The Secretary-General’s vision, going beyond averting crises, required a broad whole-of-United Nations approach with a focus on bolstering diplomacy-for-peace in partnership with a range of actors.

Elaborating on that approach, she said the international community, in adopting the 2030 Agenda, had acknowledged the role of young men and women as critical agents of change.  “The future of humanity lies in their hands and they will pass the torch to future generations,” she said, adding that empowering them required stronger institutions and better governance.  “There can be no sustainable development without peace and no peace without sustainable development and there can be neither without human rights.”

She highlighted the critical importance of partnership — with nations and international, regional and subregional actors — and reform, adding that women were the first to bear the brunt of conflict and must be engaged as active partners in peacekeeping-related fields.  “We must work together across silos and address the humanitarian-development-peace nexus, as well as the root causes of violence and conflict,” she said.  Sustaining peace could only be achieved through a broader vision of prevention, which meant building the resilience of the poor and those in vulnerable situations, reducing their exposure to climate-related extreme events and other economic, social and environmental shocks and disasters.

Turning to operations, she said the focus must be on people’s needs and countries’ priorities, underlining that one of peacekeeping’s most significant contributions to peace was the preparation for a smooth drawdown and handover to the United Nations country team, as achieved in Côte d’Ivoire and Liberia.  Complex situations required multidimensional approaches, with operations being political instruments that should accompany a locally-owned peace process.  Above all, a broader, more sustained level of engagement by members of a united and strong Security Council was essential to ensure that all partners were aligned behind a common purpose and vision.  “With the adoption of the 2030 Agenda and the sustaining peace resolutions, we have mapped the road to a safer, more resilient and sustainable world,” she said.  “The challenge now is to ensure that the journey is successful and its gains irreversible.”

YOUSSEF MAHMOUD of the High-Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations underscored the body’s focus on “uniting our strength for peace — politics, partnership and people”.  Indeed, sustaining peace was the ultimate objective of United Nations post-conflict engagements, in which inclusive politics and people in their plurality — including women and youth — played the central role.  Outlining the conceptual and attitudinal shifts advocated by the panel, including the need to acknowledge that countries emerging from conflict “are not blank pages and their people are not props”, he said internal actors at all levels of society were the main agents of peace.  “Our efforts to help sustain peace should be motivated by the humility to learn from what still works well in countries emerging from conflict,” he stressed, “and to respect that every society, however broken it may appear, had capacities and assets — not just needs and vulnerabilities.”

He underlined the need to challenge the assumptions and values underpinning some of the supply-driven templates and technical approaches that were regular staples in the mandates of peacekeeping operations.  Such methods sometimes ignored that State institutions, as they were being strengthened, tended to be captured by domestic, ruling elites, concerned more about power than governance and susceptible to “corruption by powerful groups”.  Lasting peace must be achieved through political solutions, rather than military and technical engagements.  “Peace processes do not end with a ceasefire or peace agreement,” he said, stressing that legitimate politics were the best force multiplier when missions were engaged in hostile environments.

When planning and reviewing peace operations, he said, the United Nations should not only assess the factors driving the violence and instability, but also map what was still working.  Analyses should assess such drivers from a regional perspective and incorporate measures to capture the unique perspectives of women and youth.  In addition, he proposed the development of a “strategic compact” for sustaining peace, which would be initiated in response to a firm request by the Security Council.  Such a compact would articulate a shared, context-sensitive understanding of what sustaining peace meant, outlining the primary responsibilities of the host country and other national stakeholders, as well as the supportive role of the United Nations under the leadership of an empowered Resident Coordinator.  It would also include time-bound performance benchmarks to ensure mutual accountability and facilitate reporting.

In that regard, he asked the Council to consider several questions when peacekeeping operations came up for review, among them whether the mission had capacity at the highest level to generate and cultivate legitimate political solutions.  It was also important to consider whether it had the necessary knowledge, skills and attitudes to regularly conduct strategic, integrated and participatory analyses to identify how it could contribute to sustaining peace; whether it had a binding, strategic compact and exit strategy; and finally whether it had mission-wide consultative mechanisms that placed people at the centre, in order to ensure inclusive national ownership and build trust.

GERT ROSENTHAL, Chair of the Advisory Group of Experts for the 2015 review of the United Nations peacebuilding architecture, said that all three major reviews of peace and security had struggled with a fundamental contradiction rooted in the Charter of the United Nations.  While sustaining peace required a coherent and comprehensive approach, the segmented responsibilities assigned to the Economic and Social Council, the Security Council and the General Assembly had led to a fragmented approach, with each generally operating in silos.

It also had been argued that sustaining peace required interventions during the different phases of potential conflict, he said.  Yet the Council acted under a broad assumption that there was an “inalterable sequencing” in the dynamics that led to violent conflict, referring to peacemaking, peacekeeping and peacebuilding as if they were part of a natural continuum.  He advocated a focus on preventing violent conflict by addressing the grievances that led to that outcome, rather than relegating root causes to a “relatively peripheral” role.  While it had been argued that sustaining peace required placing the accent on conflict prevention, a review of the Council’s activities had revealed that the opposite had usually been the case.

Highlighting developments since the 2015 reviews, he drew attention to the high priority that Secretary-General António Guterres had assigned to conflict prevention, as well as to the Assembly’s adoption of the 2030 Agenda and the adoption of resolution 2282 (2016) by the Council and resolution 70/262 by the Assembly, which completed the review of the United Nations peacebuilding activities.  The Assembly’s adoption of resolution 71/243 in 2016, containing the quadrennial comprehensive policy review mandates, and the Secretary-General’s imminent proposal for restructuring the peace and security pillar as part of a broader internal review on restructuring the Secretariat were also significant actions.

While building on those developments could improve the United Nations performance in the goal of sustaining peace, the dilemma of fragmented responsibilities persisted, he said.  Even the reform proposals emphasized coherence within each of the pillars — peace and security, sustainable development and human rights — rather than cross-pillar coherence.  Resolution 2282 (2016) appeared to be a partial solution, as it embraced the Peacebuilding Commission’s potential to bridge the inputs of the three principle intergovernmental organs and address the causes of violent conflict.  The Commission was an advisory body and thus could foster cooperation and coherence among them, he said, while respecting their Charter-mandated purviews.


ELBIO ROSSELLI (Uruguay), citing a shift in the nature, origin and characteristics of the topics on the Council’s agenda, said today’s emerging challenges required tailored responses.  Peacekeeping operations — one of several tools available to respond to those threats — must be adapted to the complexities of today’s conflicts, he said, noting the Council’s recent shift away from “classic” missions to multidimensional ones.  In such countries as Haiti and the Central African Republic, peace operations had accomplished a wide variety of tasks, including creating an environment propitious for peace and helping to prevent backslides into conflict.  When designing and planning the deployment of peace operations, it was critical to conduct an exhaustive analysis of the environment and the “real possibilities” of achieving the mandate.  Once the deployment was decided, it was necessary to establish clear and achievable goals and to consider a future draw-down strategy to avoid future dependency.  The staff deployed must be properly trained and highly skilled, and there could be no tolerance for national restrictions — so called “caveats” — or such challenges as the absence of commanding control, refusal to obey orders or unwillingness to protect civilians.  Emphasizing that political solutions should always guide the design and deployment of such missions, he pointed to Liberia as one example of a successful transition on the part of the United Nations and its partners.

CARL SKAU (Sweden), associating himself with the statements to be delivered by the European Union and the Nordic countries, stressed that “neither conflict nor peace emerges from a vacuum”.  Indeed, the drivers of both conflict and peace were essentially political, and there must therefore be an emphasis on long-term political strategies that targeted the root causes of conflicts.  Such efforts must be people-centred and resource-oriented, and improving the daily lives of people — including through protection and promotion of human rights — was paramount.  “Lasting peace requires the involvement of the entire population,” including women, he added, calling for high-quality, context-specific and inclusive analysis across the whole conflict cycle.  Advocating for closer interaction between the Council and the Peacebuilding Commission — which was well-placed to design coordinated strategies for sustaining peace — he said all such plans must work in tandem with development and humanitarian efforts and should aim to build national capacity.  The mandates of peace operations must be realistic and context-specific and “we must never leave the job half-done”.  Going forward, his delegation looked forward to helping identify concrete options for more predictable financing, including from assessed contributions.

NIKKI HALEY (United States) said the vision of United Nations reform advocated by the Secretary-General and shared by her delegation was centred around the safety, security and ultimately the independence of civilians.  The idea of sustaining peace recognized that peacekeeping operations alone could not produce lasting peace, but could work as part of a larger strategy to help it take hold.  The concept also recognized that “Governments must also hold up their end of the deal.”  Warning against the use of ambiguous terms such as “synergies” or “holistic”, she stressed that “we need to see things we can measure” and value must be identified both for the people being served and those who paid the bills.  When the United Nations failed to use all its tools, or used them incorrectly, it risked establishing missions such as the one in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which had “lost its way”.  While the Council had piled new responsivities onto that mission over the years, distracting from its core purpose of protecting civilians, it was also forced to work with an uncooperative host Government.  Recalling that the Council had recently made some positive changes to the mission’s mandate, she said all such operations must also have clear exit strategies and viable plans for transition from peacekeeping to peacebuilding, as had been seen in the successful case of Liberia.  She also pointed to the United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS) as an example of a mission that faced challenges in “putting together the pieces of the puzzle”, including helping to end violence and supporting a political transition.

KORO BESSHO (Japan) said there must be more serious Council discussions on concise and strategically prioritized mandates that gave peacekeeping missions the tools to succeed.  Recycled language and ever-longer resolutions could not substitute for frank assessments of what was needed on the ground, he said, emphasizing that clearer benchmarks would go far towards meeting and adapting both short- and long-term mission tasks.  In addition, within missions, closer collaboration was needed between civil and political affairs teams to ensure that localized conflicts did not spread or derail nationwide efforts.  Local reconciliation efforts must also be linked to the overall political process, he said, expressing his country’s support for regularly drawing on the advice of the Peacebuilding Commission.

ANNE GUEGUEN (France) said effective operations, such as the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) and the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA), supported a range of activities, including security sector reform and justice, and had provided positive long-term value.  Going forward, operations must be guided by targeted mandates and women must also be engaged with a view to making the most productive impact on the ground.  Yet, operations did not work in a vacuum, she said, emphasizing that the host country’s cooperation must be ensured, with Governments taking ownership of sustaining peace.  Indeed, lasting peace must be political in nature, but other elements must also be addressed.  Pointing at the deteriorating security situation after the collapse of Sudan’s economy as an example, she said economic development was critical to sustaining peace even though it remained far from peacekeeping mandates.  As such, relevant development partners must do their part and integrated approaches must prevail.

TEKEDA ALEMU (Ethiopia) said peacekeeping was a significant tool, yet operations must be guided by clear, targeted mandates that included an exit strategy.  Emphasizing that following the entire peace continuum was the only way forward, he said the Secretary-General’s new approach had introduced a paradigm shift in the way the United Nations dealt with related challenges.  Underlining a need for a cross-system mindset change, he encouraged reviewing and reforming the peace and security architecture and the steps that were being taken to do so.  Turning to other steps, he said global and regional partnerships could enhance the effectiveness of peacekeeping and peacebuilding responses.  Indicating the African Union’s range of efforts that had attained results on the ground across the continent, he said such a “division of labour” in peacekeeping and peacebuilding initiatives could provide a better chance of achieving long-term peace.

LIU JIEYI (China) said the United Nations Charter offered a guide to addressing the current grave, complex international security situation and to creating a future for mankind based on shared benefits and a new, sustainable security approach.  Efforts must be interconnected, with prevention initiatives centring on Charter principles, including respect for territorial integrity.  The Council must consider internal issues with a view of countries’ national sovereignty.  Turning to several persistent challenges, he said terrorism had spillover effects for countries and regions, requiring uniform standards to address related issues, such as choking terrorist groups’ access to financial assets.  Explicit mandates must consider a host country’s needs and security requirements and must include a periodic review mechanism.  The United Nations should take seriously the role of troop-contributing countries through, among other actions, bilateral coordination.  More broadly, he said, peace was not a castle in the air and steps must be taken to bolster existing initiatives.  Such action included promoting sustainable development and supporting regional partners, such as the African Union.  For its part, China supported those efforts alongside a vision of win-win cooperation that promoted the new security vision.

Mr. ALLEN (United Kingdom), associating himself with the European Union, called on the United Nations to move away from predictable responses to conflicts and urged the Council, in particular, to reflect on issues such as clear mandates, benchmarks and transition plans during its mission planning.  On the ground, the entire United Nations system must share a common objective, and a better balance of responsibilities between missions and United Nations country teams was needed, as long-term change was best supported by the latter.  Noting that important lessons would soon emerge from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Darfur — where more might soon be asked of the respective country teams — he called for more integrated analysis from the beginning of peace operations.  Missions could not create the conditions for their own exit without recognizing the primacy of politics, and he pointed out that such operations were “political tools in themselves,” both in their representation of the Council’s will and in their own actions.  “Politically blind capacity-building efforts risk worsening the situation,” he stressed, adding that the Council too often found itself deadlocked and unable to act.

INIGO LAMBERTINI (Italy), associating himself with the European Union, emphasized the importance of implementing the “peace continuum” concept.  Indeed, the United Nations must pursue political settlement whenever it intervened and prevention was critical.  Peacekeeping mandates must have the core aim of supporting inclusive political solutions and the de-escalation of tensions, which in turn, required clear exit strategies to prevent “mission creep” and flexible, adaptable mandates.  Regular reviews were also critical and the United Nations should not hesitate to phase out missions in favour of presences with a “lighter footprint”.  Spotlighting the importance of institutional consolidation, he advocated zero tolerance for sexual exploitation and abuse on the part of blue helmets.  The involvement of regional organizations under Chapter VIII of the United Nations Charter was critical to finding sustainable solutions, he added, pointing to increased cooperation between the United Nations and the African Union as a positive example.  Highlighting the important role of women in peacebuilding and mediation, he cited Italy’s network of women mediators in the Mediterranean who were helping to bridge capacity gaps, and voiced support for use of assessed contributions in financing peace operations.

FODÉ SECK (Senegal) recalled that the adoption of twin resolutions in 2015 by the Council and the General Assembly had coincided with the international community’s adoption of the 2030 Agenda.  Now, the challenge on both tracks was to ensure that no one was left behind.  “Exclusion, poverty, lack of education and lack of access to justice can lead to conflict both on the national and international level,” he warned, calling on States to reject fragmentation and support the Peacebuilding Commission as the main platform for coordinated work in pursuit of clear objectives.  Noting that the sustaining peace agenda provided a strong framework for reform, he said peacekeeping operations required clear, implementable mandates and political support.  In the context of increasing asymmetric threats and decreasing means, missions must base their actions on specific targets, but they also needed political will.  Pointing to the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI), the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) and the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) as positive examples, he said the Council should also enhance its cooperation with regional organizations and consult with host countries at the earliest stages of the process.

Mr. DOVGANYUK (Kazakhstan) said mandate formulation should, from the beginning, be informed by the Council’s strategic vision of a desirable end state, with adequate time for deliberation and for its members to consult experts.  It was important as well to strengthen the Peacebuilding Support Office and the Peacebuilding Fund with long-term predictable funding.  Enhancing the authority and capacities of United Nations leaders and providing qualified staff and adequate resources were keys to peacebuilding success.  Focusing on cessation of hostilities at the expense of addressing root causes would lead to relapses, he said, emphasizing the importance of guaranteeing land rights in peace agreements, the prevalence of transboundary water disputes and the Council’s need to be climate sensitive.

VOLODYMYR YELCHENKO (Ukraine) said that in the transition from peacekeeping to peacebuilding, national ownership was an indispensable condition for the establishment of effective core State capacities.  The goal of institution-building was to promote self-reliance, yet many post-conflict countries relapsed into violence, making prudent planning a requirement in the transition of responsibilities to national authorities.  Consensus between domestic and international stakeholders on a broad peacebuilding agenda was also important, as a lack of understanding on either side would foster little progress.  Advocating a tailored approach to each country and situation, he expressed support for the transformative power of regional and subregional organizations in peacebuilding activities and urged the Peacebuilding Commission to play a lead role in enabling the United Nations to establish an integrated approach to institution-building.

VASSILY A. NEBENZIA (Russian Federation) said Member States had travelled a long road to be able to develop consensus decisions following the presentation of various reviews, reports and reform recommendations on the peacekeeping architecture.  Such efforts had outlined the host country’s main responsibilities and had recognized that resolving conflict included identifying its root causes.  However, to solve such cause-related issues, specialized United Nations agencies and mechanisms must play their appropriate role.  The Russian Federation did not support the notion that peacekeepers used force nor that they should be involved in offensive or counter-terrorism operations, he said, emphasizing that the main goal of peacekeeping was to assist in a political settlement of a dispute.  The Russian Federation also did not support the discussed links between sustainable peace and sustainable development, he said, noting that peace did not guarantee development, nor vice versa.

PEDRO LUIS INCHAUSTE JORDÁN (Bolivia) said preventive diplomacy was vital and should be deepened through, among other things, confidence-building measures.  Military options should not be used and instead, consensus-based political processes should be used to facilitate peacebuilding and cooperation with all stakeholders.  Success depended on implementing a range of activities, including working with local populations, to find effective solutions and actions to produce positive results on the ground, with the United Nations being a valid actor to promote related political processes.  Strategic reviews should be used more frequently to ensure appropriate troop and staff assignments and that human rights were respected by all personnel.  Forging closer strategic alliances at regional and subregional levels was another essential activity, he said, pointing to the African Union as an example of a productive partnership.  Issues such as disarmament and demining were also critical activities to ensure lasting and sustainable peace, as was the case in Colombia.

AMR ABDELLATIF ABOULATTA (Egypt), Council President for August, spoke in his national capacity, saying reform efforts had addressed technical and operation deficiencies, including by ensuring staff and troop discipline and civilian protection.  While it was important to bolster the credibility of peacekeeping operations, those and other related aspects were not enough to achieve mission goals on the ground.  Given current security conditions, peacekeeping efforts could suffer from a slow-down or collapse under national or regional pressures unless steps were taken to guarantee predictable deployments and clear mandates.  In Sudan, it was important to coordinate with the Government, including by promoting national reconciliation, before the mission transitioned into a new mandate, he said, giving as examples the lessons learned and best practices seen in missions in Sierra Leone and Timor-Leste.  Strategic partnerships with host countries must emphasize the significance of national dialogue and reconciliation, among other things, while addressing the root causes of conflict.  For its part, Egypt had proposed to hold a ministerial meeting for all peacekeeping operations troop-contributing countries, with a view to exploring and enhancing future mission efforts.

Mr. DUCLOS (Peru) called on the Council to support countries’ transitions from conflict to post-conflict, in line with both the United Nations Charter and the 2030 Agenda.  Peacekeeping operations should work to tackle the deep-seated causes of conflict and prevent relapse.  Pointing to the work of Peruvian engineers in the Central African Republic in that regard, he emphasized the importance of coordinating with partners both within and outside the United Nations, as well as providing appropriate financing and support.  There was a need to craft a common political vision for such efforts — which should include troop-contributing countries as well as regional and subregional organizations — and prioritize stakeholders on the ground, who were ultimately the ones who must sustain peace.  The principle of national ownership could not be avoided, he stressed, underscoring the concept of “collective security paradigms” in pursuit of rational and effective responses by the United Nations system.

TORE HATTREM (Norway), also speaking on behalf of Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Sweden, said that sustaining peace required holistic strategies that could draw on all tools at the disposal of the United Nations.  That view was consistent with the recent reviews as well as the Secretary-General’s vision of reform for the Organization.  The Council should include a long-term perspective in its mission mandates, and those directives should consider the root causes of a conflict to lay the foundations for lasting peace.  The Mission in Liberia’s mandate, for example, tasked the Secretariat to develop a peacebuilding plan in close coordination with the Government and the United Nations country team.  It emphasized the Peacebuilding Commission’s important convening role in developing that plan.  In Haiti, the Council decided to establish a follow-on peacekeeping mission, enabling the country to consolidate the gains it had made towards sustainable peace.

ABDERRAZZAK LAASSEL (Morocco) said the decades of sacrifice by United Nations peacekeepers “would all be for naught” unless peace was sustained.  Warning against fragmentation — and the “narrow prism” through which peacekeeping had thus far been viewed — he welcomed the Secretary-General’s reform efforts, adding that the world’s multidimensional challenges required United Nations responses that were more flexible and agile.  Spotlighting the importance of political support and clear mandates, he said peace operations were one of the Organization’s best tools to maintain peace; however, the reverse was also true, and they could endanger populations if not properly employed.  Peacekeeping missions should be viewed as one link in the chain of sustainable development.  Stressing that “there is no standard formula” and that every mission must be considered in its particular context, he said such operations were not an end in themselves but should rather support efforts to reach a political solution.

CAITLIN WILSON (Australia), also speaking on behalf of Canada and New Zealand, said failed transitions out of peacekeeping missions increased the risk of relapse into conflict.  Improving transitions was an urgent issue given the scheduled closure of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), the downsizing in Darfur and the transition in Haiti.  The Council should work more closely with the Secretariat and the Peacebuilding Commission in that respect, as well as with civil society and other partners, and avoid troubling “capacity cliffs” such as the one being faced in Liberia.  Calling for an increase in predictable, sustained financing for peacebuilding — in which donors played a key role — he also called for ambitious options on such financing, including on assessed and voluntary contributions, as well as a greater focus on women’s participation in peacebuilding and continued efforts to align reform processes with the sustaining peace initiative.  In that regard, the Peacekeeping Defence Ministerial Conference, to be held in Vancouver in November, would be a good opportunity for United Nations bodies and Member States to expand their support for reforms and retain the focus on why such reforms should be pursued.

JORGE SKINNER-KLEE (Guatemala) said his country would welcome any initiative that would nurture ties between the Council and the Human Rights Council and its subsidiary bodies.  Peacekeeping operations focused on sustainable peace and conflict prevention would open the way to comprehensive reconstruction, he said, adding that lasting peace meant not only ending conflict, but also creating an opportunity for inclusive development.  Emphasizing the role of the United Nations peacekeeping architecture, he said that without a proper deployment, implementation and exit strategy at the outset of a mission, the risk of relapsing into conflict was high.  Planning should be carried out in cooperation with the host country to reduce the possibility of fallout from a mission’s departure.  He expressed hope that recent budget cuts announced by some Council members would not undermine the implementation of sustainable peace in those places where transition was under way.

SAMUEL MONCADA (Venezuela), speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said the group was home to 88 per cent of all peacekeeping personnel deployed in the field.  Emphasizing that all mandated peacekeeping tasks must be accompanied by a parallel, comprehensive and inclusive peace process and based on national ownership and the consent and adherence of the concerned parties, he said the Movement’s leaders had recently stressed that such operations could not substitute for addressing the root causes of conflict, among them poverty, hunger, inequality, human rights violations and mismanagement of natural resources.  They had also emphasized the importance of respecting States’ sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence, reiterating that the principles of peacekeeping — consent of the parties, impartiality and the non-use of force expect in self-defence — were critical to the success of peace operations. 

Emphasizing the centrality of prevention, including preventive diplomacy, he said breaking down silos within the United Nations “needs not to be over-emphasized” in order for peacekeeping operations to be well-calibrated with the broader political and development objectives for sustaining peace.  He reiterated the importance of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations, the only United Nations forum mandated to comprehensively review that question, advocating a structural and predictable approach to triangular consultation among the Council, the troop- and police-contributing countries and the Secretariat.

MAURO VIEIRA (Brazil) voiced support for a strategy that considered the entire peace continuum from prevention to conflict resolution and peacekeeping to peacebuilding and long-term development.  He urged the Council to ensure that missions were fully resourced, entrusted with the appropriate mandate and adequately equipped to discharge it.  “Development, peace and security, and human rights are interlinked and mutually reinforcing,” he said, also drawing attention to the important work of preventing relapse into conflict and the primacy of politics.  Among other things, the High-Level Panel had examined lessons from past peacekeeping experiences and recommended that budgets should include programmatic resources necessary for mandated tasks to support the sustaining of peace.  In that respect, he emphasized that programmatic peacebuilding activities in the mandates of peacekeeping operations should not depend solely on voluntary funding, citing such activities as community violence reduction and quick impact projects as examples.  Brazil had been promoting those initiatives over the last decade across missions including MINUSTAH, the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) and the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Guinea-Bissau (UNIOGBIS).  Furthermore, it had supported the allocation of the relevant resources in the General Assembly’s Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary).

MARÍA EMMA MEJÍA VÉLEZ (Colombia) said the structure of missions should be adjustable to ensure they responded properly to armed conflicts.  For its part, Colombia had done its utmost to achieve lasting peace, with the political buy-in of the Government.  Colombia had learned from the peace agreement and the special political mission adopted by the Government a year ago, she said, stressing that success depended on a fluid mission structure that reflected ground conditions.  National ownership was also crucial.  Lessons learned in Colombia could be applied to other contexts, she added, noting that conflict prevention must be a core concern of the United Nations.

TANMAYA LAL (India), noting that United Nations peacekeeping operations were facing severe challenges and were not able to achieve the desired results of bringing about sustained peace, echoed the importance of the “primacy of politics” concept as well as the need for regular consultations between the Council, the troop-contributing countries and the Secretariat.  Calling for improved mandate design and implementation and enhanced capacity to address hostile, asymmetric environments, he drew attention to an “obvious lack of appropriate investment” in political dialogue and a “huge mismatch” between resources allocation for peacekeeping and peacebuilding.  Despite the focus on sustaining peace, there remained little clarity on how to align the Organization’s work.  United Nations agencies that played a major role in implementing the sustaining peace agenda were outside the Council and had little funding support, he said, expressing concern that less than 1 per cent of the funds allocated to peacekeeping were available for peacebuilding efforts.  He also voiced concern that while current peacekeeping mandates included elements aimed at restoring and rebuilding State authority, there remained a “lack of genuine effort to understand the priorities of the host State” and incorporate them into mandates.

GÜVEN BEGEÇ (Turkey), associating himself with the European Union, expressed support for the peaceful settlement of disputes at the regional and international levels as well as for the prioritization of political solutions for conflict prevention and resolution.  Mediation was a key tool in which countries should invest more and which could be used more widely to bring conflicts to peaceful political ends and address their root causes.  Calling for a more coherent and integrated strategy to enable more effective conflict prevention, he said “sustaining peace” could encompass a wide array of activities at different stages in which the United Nations was already engaged — including the pursuit of the sustainable development goals and the protection and promotion of human rights.  Spotlighting the importance of coherence and coordination among actors, he added that the Organization should deploy more integrated missions able to build capacity for host nations and to develop partnerships with relevant regional and international organizations.

MARC PECSTEEN DE BUYTSWERVE (Belgium) said that far too often, decisions were made by groups comprised exclusively of men.  It was thus essential for women to have a say in decisions on aspects affecting their lives.  For youth, decisive elements involved equal access to inclusive education and decent work opportunities.  He voiced support the Secretary-General’s desire to enhance mediation expertise within missions, adding that peacekeeping operations could play a greater role in addressing trafficking by armed groups.

JUAN SANDOVAL MENDIOLEA (Mexico) said the United Nations had spent too many resources on managing conflicts rather than preventing them.  The Council must reflect on prevention as the core focus of United Nations action system-wide, he said, emphasizing that there would be no peace without development and respect for human rights, and vice versa.  Greater use could be made of direct involvement by the Secretary-General and his Special Representatives, he said, urging greater coordination among the Council, troop-contributing countries, host countries, financial donors, national authorities and civil society.  The Council must also ensure that its actions were anchored in the United Nations’ major agreements.

JOANNE ADAMSON, European Union delegation, said peacekeeping was a means to advance sustainable peace.  Peacekeeping mandates must therefore evolve in response to changing contexts and needs.  The Council’s ambition for sustaining peace and the Secretary-General’s broad vision on conflict prevention fully resonated with the European Union Global Strategy for Foreign and Security Policy.  “With the European Union’s integrated approach and resilience policy, we will be a more effective actor in our own right and a partner in international action, including with the United Nations,” she said, adding that the Council should ensure that longer-term peacebuilding was included in mission mandates.

Voicing support for the Secretary-General’s holistic Headquarters approach to crisis management and sustaining peace, she said the Secretariat must act as one, with field deployments and decision-making on the ground corresponding to operational objectives.  She went on to underscore an ever-closer partnership between the European Union and the United Nations in crisis management, noting that operational cooperation had reached new highs in Mali and the Central African Republic, where cooperation had been established from the outset, making it possible to realize complementarities and enhance situational awareness.

MINNA-LIINA LIND (Estonia), aligning herself with the European Union, there was a need to tackle instabilities before they became full-blown conflicts.  Peacekeeping mandates should be more concrete and robust.  Sustainable peace would only be achieved with a thorough and broad understanding of conflicts and their root causes.  Citing Estonia’s contributions to the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, MINUSMA and the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO), she said her country was also a member of the Peacebuilding Commission and supported a broader focus for that body, as well as a strengthened “bridge” between the General Assembly, the Security Council and the Economic and Social Council.

NOA FURMAN (Israel) said that as the Council was currently discussing the renewal of the UNIFIL mandate, which had been updated following Hizbullah’s attack on Israel and the Second Lebanon War in 2006, now was an appropriate time to review the situation in southern Lebanon.  Despite UNIFIL’s presence, Hizbullah had increased its arsenal of missiles and rockets and stockpiled sophisticated weapons.  Its military build-up threatened the region and it was the Mission’s responsibility to address those unlawful activities.  The Council should guarantee the complete fulfilment of UNIFIL’s mandate and keep fully informed on the real ground situation, she said, reaffirming support for the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), whose forces were gradually returning to United Nations positions in the Area of Separation.

MALEEHA LODHI (Pakistan) said peacekeeping missions should be effectively deployed and relevant to realities on the ground.  When lives were at risk, actual requirements should drive peacekeeping, rather than narrow cost considerations.  There was a need for a better interface between peacekeeping and peacebuilding activities, through early engagement of the Peacebuilding Commission as part of exit and transition strategies.  An “ominous gap” in peacebuilding strategies was the failure to comprehend and address the root causes of conflicts.  Poverty eradication, unemployment and socioeconomic development, as well as the resolution of political disputes, all required more focused attention.

JÜRGEN SCHULZ (Germany), associating himself with the European Union, said the Council must find better ways to promote sustainable political solutions to crises.  Integrated analysis would enable it to better define strategic objectives and design smart mandates.  United Nations engagement required detailed planning, benchmarks, monitoring mechanisms, a truly integrated approach, and adequate and flexible resources, he said, citing the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) as an example.  Noting that Germany was the largest contributor to the Peacebuilding Fund and the Department of Political Affairs Trust Fund, he said his country would like to see the Peacebuilding Commission’s advisory function to the Council strengthened, and for Resident Coordinators to support the sustaining peace agenda.

GEORG SPARBER (Liechtenstein) said peacekeeping operations could make an important contribution to achieving the 2030 Agenda, particularly Goal 16 (providing access to justice for all).  The United Nations should therefore put strong emphasis on the rule of law at national and regional levels, with the Council incorporating a commitment to transitional justice into peacekeeping mandates.  Such mandates should also support the work of the International Criminal Court, he said, emphasizing the Council’s responsibility to respond to mass atrocity crimes.  The Council must also ensure stricter accountability in cases of sexual exploitation and abuse involving members of United Nations peacekeeping missions.

DIAN TRIANSYAH DJANI (Indonesia), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said all United Nations entities should ensure that nothing detracts from support for peacekeeping.  Indonesia encouraged regional solutions to conflicts and supported stronger partnerships at the strategic and operational level, he said, adding that the Council must work collaboratively with troop- and police-contributing countries, and with host countries and the Secretariat, in order for mandates to be actualized with synergy and ownership.  That entailed regular Council consultations with all relevant stakeholders.  Conveying his country’s support for the recommendations of the High-Level Independent Panel, he said the Peacebuilding Commission was well-suited to advise the Council and the Department of Peacekeeping Operations.

MAHLATSE MMINELE (South Africa), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said the United Nations must shift from managing conflict to laying the groundwork for inclusive dialogue, peaceful transition and longer-term sustainable peace.  He reiterated his country’s call for United Nations assessed contributions to be used to finance African Union-led peace support operations authorized by the Council.  He added that the need for women peacekeepers was more urgent than ever, as women were often better placed to carry out several crucial peacekeeping tasks, including with regard to allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse.

GERALDINE BYRNE NASON (Ireland), associating herself with the European Union, said believing in the United Nations meant investing in it.  As a troop-contributing country, Ireland believed that mandates should be designed to reflect the many factors that drove conflict and fragility.  Humanitarian and development assistance must also be tailored to conflict situations.  A human rights perspective would increase the chances of success while addressing drivers of conflict, she said, adding that mandates must respond to the connection between peace, conflict and gender equality.  She added that the drawdown of UNMIL and transition of the United Nations presence in Liberia was a test case for the sustaining peace approach.

MASUD BIN MOMEN (Bangladesh) underscored the need for pursuing peacekeeping mandates within a broader political process for resolving conflicts and seeking lasting peace.  It was crucial that peacekeeping mandates focused on areas where missions could realistically achieve the desired results with the resources at their disposal.  It might be counter-productive to keep lengthening the size of Council resolutions without giving a clear direction to the missions about their potential contributions to sustaining peace.  The design and implementation of peacekeeping mandates were underpinned by a set of principles pursuant to the United Nations Charter, and it was fundamental for the integrity of missions that their mandates align with those values.

KAREL JAN GUSTAAF VAN OOSTEROM (Netherlands), associating himself with the European Union and Italy, said that while prevention was “always better than cure”, the right prescription was nevertheless required once a patient presented symptoms.  A United Nations mission must be based on careful diagnosis, with a mandate open to adaptation if necessary.  Citing MINUSMA’s geographical flexibility as an example in that regard, he also spotlighted the importance of benchmarks, as no mission was meant to last forever.  “The responsibility for one’s health ultimately lies with the patient and the responsibility for sustaining peace with the host nation,” he stressed, adding that well-managed exits and efforts to prevent relapse were needed in mandates.  The Council must be firm towards host nations that did not cooperate with the United Nations and even more so towards those that attacked their own citizens or deliberately obstructed the Organization, as in South Sudan.  Peacekeepers, like doctors, required the right instruments, and the United Nations must modernize its peace operations, adopt the right mandates and supply them with state-of-the-art equipment.

KORNELIOS KORNELIOU (Cyprus), aligning himself with the European Union, said the 2015 reviews on peacekeeping and the peacebuilding architecture had been inspired by the urgent need to strengthen the coherence of the United Nations system.  Pointing to the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) as an example of an effective peacekeeping operation, he said that as long as Cyprus remained under illegal military occupation, the Mission’s presence was necessary.  Cyprus was committed to reunification, as any alternative would serve neither the interests of Greek-Cypriots nor Turkish-Cypriots.  His country had given its consent to resolution 2369 (2017), which provided for a strategic review of the Mission within its existing mandate.

SHAHRUL IKRAM YAAKOB (Malaysia), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said there was no “one size fits all” approach to peacekeeping, and that a mission’s particular components, situation, environment and challenges must be taken into account.  Security and development were not mutually exclusive, but rather went hand-in-hand, he said, stressing that without peace and security, countries could not focus their resources on socioeconomic development.  Continuous efforts were needed to develop peacekeeping operations with more comprehensive and strategic approaches.

TOFIG F. MUSAYEV (Azerbaijan), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said it was critical that peacekeeping mandates explicitly upheld the principles of political independence, sovereign equality, territorial integrity and non-intervention in matters within domestic State jurisdiction.  Peacekeeping must not be used to sustain a status quo created as a result of a violation of those fundamental norms and principles of international law, nor to consolidate unlawful situations existing when hostilities had been suspended.  Particular attention should be paid to issues of international humanitarian and human rights law.  As a country suffering from the scourge of war, and situated near other conflicts, Azerbaijan was determined to establish peace and stability in the South Caucus region and beyond on the basis of generally accepted norms and principles of international law and relevant Security Council and General Assembly resolutions, he stated.

SAMSON SUNDAY ITEGBOJE (Nigeria) said effective collaboration with regional arrangements in the drafting of peacekeeping mandates would be invaluable, considering the obvious advantages that such regional bodies had.  A phased mandate process would be beneficial as well.  Emphasizing the value of reconciliation, he said peace initiatives were most likely to endure when they allowed stakeholders to freely conduct negotiations based on give-and-take concessions.  Situations where parties were encouraged to sign peace agreements drafted in foreign capitals might not achieve the desired results.  Moreover, peace negotiations limited to armed parties had proven to be fatally flawed, he added, emphasizing the importance of engaging civil society, including women, youth, and religious and community leaders, as well as respect for the sovereignty of States.  It was also imperative for all concerned to ensure the safety of peacekeepers.

MICHAL MLYNÁR (Slovakia), associating himself with the European Union, said his nation had been an active troop- and police-contributing country that had served in 19 United Nations missions.  Peacekeeping missions needed to be employed with deliberation and responsibility, and should continue to restore hope and promote the credibility of the United Nations, rather than doing the opposite.  He commended initiatives such as the Kigali Principles on the Protection of Civilians and the voluntary compact to eliminate sexual exploitation and abuse.  Peacekeeping represented only one of the ingredients for a sustainable solution for peace and security, and various United Nations organizations did not coordinate as closely as they should.  To do so, peace operations needed to be part of an integrated approach.

CHO TAE-YUL (Republic of Korea) said that the Secretariat and Member States needed to significantly increase investment in analysis, strategy and planning, which would lead to more effective missions.  The Secretariat should provide improved analysis so that the Council could fully understand the dynamics on the ground when establishing and adjusting mission mandates.  Based on that enhanced analysis, a comprehensive political strategy should be developed, considering the entire peace continuum, from prevention, peacekeeping and peacebuilding to long-term development.

OLIVIER MARC ZEHNDER (Switzerland) focused on the institutional issues that were crucial to the Council’s efforts to sustain peace, stressing that a single spectrum of peace operations was best suited to address the complexity of modern conflicts.  A sequential approach through the conflict cycle — from special political missions to peacekeeping and peacebuilding to development — had too often failed.  Mandates for peace operations should encompass the full spectrum of appropriate responses, which would allow for smoother transitions between mission phases and reflect the Secretary-General’s vision for prevention.  The cost of ending a conflict was many times higher than that of preventing one, making early decision-making crucial.  While the Council should use all tools at its disposal, those tools would not be effective if they were underfunded, he said, pressing Member States to support funding for the entire conflict cycle, especially for prevention and peacebuilding.

VIRACHAI PLASAI (Thailand) said there had been a recent shift in how the Council thought about peace and addressed conflicts.  Peacebuilding should be viewed holistically, as part of a continuum that ranged from conflict prevention and resolution to laying the foundations for sustainable peace.  To achieve sustained peace, the effort must always be led by the people.  Thus, inclusive national ownership was a prerequisite for peacebuilding and durable peace. Peacekeeping mandates should be realistic and tailored to local contexts, and their implementation must be conducted in a participatory manner that included national and local perspectives.  It was the quality of peacekeeping operations that determined their effectiveness, he said, stressing that careful mission transition planning and post-mission United Nations support should be in place at an early stage.

MHER MARGARYAN (Armenia) drew attention to his country’s contribution to United Nations peacekeeping missions, saying it was ready to deploy more troops in UNIFIL and to provide additional staff to MINUSMA.  It was also preparing to make a field hospital and engineering unit available for United Nations peacekeeping deployment.  Welcoming expanded cooperation between the United Nations and the Collective Security Treaty Organisation, he said prevention and early warning mechanisms should be at the forefront of peace initiatives, with special attention being paid to early warning signs emanating from parties to conflict.

NGUYEN PHUONG NGA (Viet Nam), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said peacekeeping must be accompanied by the promotion of economic recovery, reintegration and capacity-building.  Doing so would address root causes, rebuild social cohesion and secure a transition to lasting peace.  He called for strengthened coordination between the Council and the Peacebuilding Commission, as well as more inclusive consultations among the Council, the Secretary and troop- and police-contributing countries.  Peacekeeping must also be carried out in accordance with international law and the United Nations Charter.  The safety, security, conduct and discipline of United Nations personnel must meanwhile be promoted through comprehensive policies, pre-deployment training and new cost-effective technologies.

GABRIELA MARTINIC (Argentina) said she embraced the United Nations new focus on conflict prevention, as well as the concept of sustainable peace.  The concept and design of peacekeeping operations represented the last step of a continuum begun in the 1990s, when traditional peacekeeping missions were joined by more complex ones that dealt with human rights and the embedding of democracy.  That shift had been noteworthy in terms of avoiding conflicts and showing that peacekeeping missions also acted as drivers of development.  Peacekeepers were now “early peacebuilders”.  The Organization’s review of its peacekeeping architecture granted to missions a key and leading role in the strategy of sustaining peace.  That new narrative entailed conceiving peacekeeping operations with a different mindset, which placed a greater emphasis on prevention of conflict.

ALI NASEER MOHAMED (Maldives) said there was no better cause than preventing violent conflict.  It was important to construct an analytical framework that would enable the Council to consider necessary changes to peacekeeping mandates.  Identifying underlying causes should be the basic outcome of even an initial diagnosis of a conflict situation.  Peacekeeping operations should also aim to build the capacity of States concerned to govern, fostering order rooted in the principles of democracy, good governance and inclusive development.  If anything could help sustain peace, it was a set of institutions that could inspire national unity and deliver a peace dividend to everyone.  People around the world looked to the Council for leadership and the Maldives had full faith that it would not fail to provide that guidance.

BELEN SAPAG MUÑOZ DE LA PEÑA (Chile) said sustaining peace would benefit from exit strategies that provided for interaction between all stakeholders, with the host country, United Nations staff, local civil society and national contingents working together with regional actors.  She underscored the value of collaboration between the Peacebuilding Commission, the Security Council and the Economic and Social Council.  Peacekeeping operations should be periodically reviewed.  She went on to welcome a “pipeline” for senior women’s talent within the Department for Field Support and called for its proper implementation, and to express concern over insufficient funding by Member States for United Nations peacebuilding efforts.

MANSOUR AYYAD SH A ALOTAIBI (Kuwait), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, underlined the need to adopt innovative, preventive diplomacy policies and to begin building peace “before the end of the conflict” in situations where peace operations were already deployed.  Calling for adherence to all relevant Council resolutions as well as consultations with concerned States — including host countries — he said the priorities of the latter must be considered, especially when designing and devising mission mandates and exit strategies.  Commending the partnership between the Organization and the African Union in that regard, he recalled that Kuwait had taken part in the second United Nations operation in Somalia, “UNSOM II”, and had worked with the Government of Iraq as well as the Council and troop-contributing countries to facilitate the withdrawal of personnel from that country.

CHARLES THEMBANI NTWAAGAE (Botswana), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, welcomed the Secretary-General’s focus on reviewing United Nations peacekeeping operations.  In supporting Council resolution 2282 (2016), some key activities should be aimed at preventing the escalation, continuation and recurrence of conflict, he said, while other efforts must address the root causes, assist parties in ending hostilities and ensure national reconciliation.  Noting that peacekeeping operations should complement existing national, regional and international efforts aimed at advancing dialogue, strengthening national capacity and assisting institutions, he recalled that Botswana had itself contributed troops and military personnel to operations in such places as Somalia, Rwanda, Darfur, Mozambique and Lesotho.  In the latter two, as well as in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, it had played a mediating role, while its former President, Festus G. Mogae, was currently serving as Chairman of the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Committee in South Sudan.

DENIS RÉGIS (Haiti) said the nature of peacekeeping operations had been questioned, with some critics denouncing costs, personnel size or the artificial politicization of missions.  However, peacekeeping operations were needed, albeit being tools that had their limitations, such missions must be adapted to new threats to peace and security and to the often-hostile environments where they operated.  Indeed, reform was needed and issues should be examined, including strengthening the Council’s role to be a central instrument in, among other areas, the prevention and settlement of conflicts.  Sustaining peace must go beyond preventing the start or recurrence of conflict and must cover also the root causes.

In Haiti, he said, where the United Nations stabilization mission was coming to an end, the Council had agreed that efforts to make gains had been consolidated.  Guided by a shared vision, Haiti and the United Nations were shaping a new partnership to foster further positive change on the ground.  The Council must learn from the past and take on the goal of sustaining peace, overcoming institutional blockages.  The debate on the aim of sustaining peace could not be examined without considering extreme poverty and the Organization must work towards goals such as ending impunity and upholding human rights, he said, emphasizing that the aim of ensuring sustainable peace was inextricably linked with sustainable development.

TEODORO LOPEZ LOCSIN JR. (Philippines), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said greater effort must be invested in local political solutions to conflicts, with peacekeeping playing a supporting role.  Sexual exploitation and abuse must be addressed aggressively.  Peacekeeping missions should work more closely with local communities and non-governmental organizations, while the Secretariat should be more transparent in selecting contingents from troop- and police-contributing countries.

LUKE DAUNIVALU (Fiji), noting his country’s participation in several peacekeeping missions, said peacekeepers today were expected to act as nation builders, in sharp contact to that type of activity the United Nations was originally designed to handle.  Cardinal rules applicable in the early days of peacekeeping might need to be reviewed to respond to new security threats.  It was critical for mandates to have clear goals, he said, emphasizing also effective collaboration and structured consultation between the Council, troop- and police-contributing countries and the Secretariat, as well as the engagement of minorities, women, youth, civil society and faith-based groups, among others.


Senior Political Official, Briefing Security Council, Urges Immediate Peace Talks, Compromise to Avert ‘Impending Abyss’ in South Sudan

Noting that “little meaningful progress” had been made in implementing South Sudan’s landmark 2015 peace agreement, a senior United Nations peacekeeping official called on the warring parties today urgently to embark on peaceful negotiations and compromise to “bring the country back from the impending abyss”.

El Ghassim Wane, Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, briefing the Security Council via video-conference from Juba, said more work was needed to implement the peace accord — known formally as the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan — which had marked its second anniversary last week.  Calling on the Council to express itself “strongly, unanimously and unreservedly” in support of that effort, he noted that the country’s political, security and humanitarian situation remained a cause for serious concern, with continuing clashes between armed militias and negative impacts on the provision of humanitarian aid to a population in dire need.

Nicholas Haysom, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Sudan and South Sudan, also expressed concern about the security situation and the trajectory and depth of the crisis.  Calling for a clear commitment to an inclusive and credible peace process, he described several recent international and regional support efforts — including Uganda’s initiative to reunify factions of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement and Kenya’s initiative to host opposition parties — which had achieved varying levels of success.  Also gaining some momentum was the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) effort to convene a High-Level Forum to revitalize the peace accord, in which both the Government and opposition groups were participating, he said.

Festus Mogae, Chairperson of the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission and former President of Botswana, also briefed via video link, echoing the importance of the High‑Level Revitalization Forum as well as that of IGAD’s related “One Voice Initiative”.  Recalling that the 2015 peace agreement had been signed amid high expectations, he said “from day one” its implementation had been hindered by lack of compromise, leading to a spate of violence in July 2016.  He also echoed concerns about South Sudan’s deteriorating humanitarian situation and described initial “confusion” in the deployment of the United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS) Regional Protection Force, urging the Government to resolve such issues and allow for the Force’s prompt deployment in line with Council resolution 2304 (2016).

Several Council members then took the floor, with some expressing regret that the situation in South Sudan had not improved since the Council last addressed it in July.

Uruguay’s representative reiterated his delegation’s concern that the country’s leaders were responsible for the crisis, which continued to have a negative impact on the civilian population.  What was most important was that population’s protection, he stressed, urging all parties to cease hostilities and commit in good faith to the dialogue process.  Regarding the Regional Protection Force, he noted the slow progress in its deployment and reiterated his country’s call for all parties to abide by the measures set forth in resolution 2327 (2016) and remove all restrictions on UNMISS personnel.

Kazakhstan’s representative welcomed the arrival of the Force, adding that his delegation looked forward to the deployment of additional troops and echoing calls for the Government to alleviate all impediments to its full deployment.  Voicing concern that continuing violence was negatively impacting internally displaced persons — most of whom were women and children — he said attacks against humanitarian personnel must stop so that access to famine-affected areas was not adversely affected. 

Also addressing the Council, South Sudan’s representative reiterated that it was not, and never would be, the Government’s policy to hinder or impede access to any humanitarian organization.  What was lacking was honest, open dialogue and understanding between the Government and the humanitarian agencies.  Recalling President Salva Kiir’s unilateral ceasefire declaration, he nevertheless warned that the ceasefire was not a blank cheque for the rebels to continue their attacks and provocations against the local population.  Regarding the Regional Protection Force, he pointed out that the Government had agreed to work closely with the United Nations, the African Union and IGAD for the smooth implementation and operationalization of its mandate in South Sudan.

Also speaking were the representatives of Japan and Bolivia.

The meeting began at 10:08 a.m. and ended at 11:05 a.m.


EL GHASSIM WANE, United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, speaking via videoconference from Juba, said the deployment of the Regional Protection Force was under way and the United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS) continued to regularly engage with the Government in order to expedite it.  While some misunderstandings had initially arisen with the latter on the accommodation of the advance party of the Force’s Rwandese contingent, they had since been cleared. 

However, he said, in a statement on the recent commemoration of the second anniversary of the signing of the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan, Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission Chairman Festus Mogae had declared that “little meaningful progress” had been achieved in the accord’s implementation.  In that regard, he called on the Council to express itself “strongly, unanimously and unreservedly” in support of the efforts of Nicholas Haysom, the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan, and those of the region.

The situation of the country remained a cause for serious concern, he said, noting that the ceasefire remained elusive as military operations continued, largely in the Upper Nile state.  Clashes had resumed between the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) [renamed South Sudan Defence Forces] and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army-In Opposition in Kaka, on the west bank of the Nile.  Such incidents directly affected the humanitarian operations, in particular the most vulnerable, which were in dire need of assistance.  Listing several recent violent incidents against the humanitarian community, he went on to note that Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix had recently visited South Sudan and met with President Salva Kiir Mayardit and others, reiterating that there was no military solution to the conflict and that inclusive and credible political processes were the only way forward.

While the national dialogue had made some progress, achieving the key enablers for a credible process remained a challenge and the dialogue continued to be criticized for its lack of inclusivity, he said.  Some progress had been reported in the negotiations related to the establishment of the South Sudan Hybrid Court, with the Government and the African Union Commission recently agreeing, on the technical level, to the text of its legal instruments.  “The conflict in South Sudan is a man-made conflict for which the leaders of South Sudan bear a direct responsibility,” he stressed, concluding that those same leaders could “bring the country back from the impending abyss” through political will, peaceful negotiations and compromises.

NICHOLAS HAYSOM, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Sudan and South Sudan, expressed concern about the security situation and the trajectory and depth of the crisis, but said he remained hopeful that five ongoing international and regional initiatives could help.  While a first impression may be that those initiatives might undermine each other, they could instead harness the potential complementarity of the processes.  Such an outcome would require clear commitment to an inclusive and credible peace process.  The High-Level Revitalization Forum, the National Dialogue or the other initiatives should neither adopt the agenda of the other nor overload the agenda with competing efforts with their own, he said, expressing his commitment to supporting initiatives towards a sustainable peace.

Elaborating on some recent efforts, he said Uganda’s initiative to reunify factions of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement had led to expediting the implementation of the Arusha Agreement, but given the absence of Riek Machar’s faction and the former detainees’ reluctance to reconcile with President Salva Kiir, it had fallen short of achieving its goal.  Kenya’s initiative to host opposition parties had not gained much traction, stalling apparently because the Government of South Sudan was focused on elections while the former detainees were preoccupied with the Kampala discussions.

Gaining some momentum, he said, was the Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD) effort to convene a High-Level Revitalization Forum, with the Government and opposition groups participating.  Raising concerns about IGAD and its cautiousness before engaging the opposition, he said being overly cautious could raise suspicions that its agenda was partisan.  Further, President Kiir continued to prioritize national dialogue and reunification, with the revitalization process playing a secondary role, he adding, noting IGAD had warned that persistent challenges may affect the timeline for holding the forum in September.  Turning to the pending African Union’s engagement strategy, he said mutual complementarity with IGAD initiatives was crucial when approaching more intensive public engagement by the Council, the African Union Peace and Security Council and forums on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly.

FESTUS MOGAE, Chairperson of the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission and Former President of Botswana, also speaking via videoconference from Juba, underscored the importance of IGAD’s High‑Level Revitalization Forum aimed at implementing the 2015 Peace Agreement as well as its related “One Voice Initiative”.  Also spotlighting the Council’s critical support for those processes, he said “your support shows all IGAD members that the world is watching.”  Last week, the Peace Agreement’s second anniversary had passed relatively unnoticed.  At the time of its signing, there had been high hopes that the accord would resolve a number of substantive issues and it was largely expected that the international community’s only task would be to simply guide and oversee its implementation by the Government of South Sudan.

“From day one”, however, the Agreement’s implementation had been slowed to a standstill by lack of compromise, ultimately leading to a spate of violence in July 2016, he said.  Two years on, there had still been little meaningful progress and the international community remained shocked at the rapid deterioration of South Sudan’s political and humanitarian situations.  International and regional actors were now focused on restoring the Peace Agreement’s prominence.

Outlining the situation on the ground, he said operations between the SPLA [renamed South Sudan Defence Forces] and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army-In Opposition in Upper Nile State had caused the humanitarian situation to deteriorate, and condemned that violence in the strongest terms.  Demanding that all such military operations end immediately, he said tens of thousands of people had been forced to flee their homes, while humanitarian actors had been forced to evacuate and suspend the provision of aid to those in need.  “This has led to untold misery for those who seek only to live peacefully and provide for their families,” he said.

Regarding the deployment of the Regional Protection Force, he said there had been some confusion, including the temporary grounding of all United Nations flights.  In that regard, he urged the Government to promptly resolve all issues with UNMISS and allow for the Force’s urgent deployment in line with Council resolution 2304 (2016).  The IGAD Council of Ministers had met in Juba in July, tasking its Special Envoy with guiding the Peace Agreement’s revitalization process and urging all actors to collaborate with him to achieve a positive outcome.

Drawing attention to the importance of the Revitalization Forum, he recalled that it had been established with three objectives:  first, implementing the ceasefire agreement; second, overseeing the full and inclusive implementation of the Peace Agreement; and third, establishing a revised and realistic timeline for elections in South Sudan.  However, those outcomes were “not predetermined”, and it was up to the parties to commit to those goals.  Expressing hope that the revitalization process would be pursued in the spirit of inclusivity and compromise, he emphasized that “we must speak with one voice” to the country’s leaders, put in place clear consequences for spoilers and secure adequate financing for the revitalization process.

ELBIO ROSSELLI (Uruguay) expressed regret that the situation in South Sudan had not changed since the Council last dealt with the issue in July.  He reiterated his delegation’s concern that the country’s leaders were responsible for the crisis there as well as the impact that the situation continued to have on the civilian population, particularly given the difficulties in humanitarian access and the low level of food reserves.  What was most important was the protection of the civilian population, and in that context, he urged all parties to cease hostilities and commit themselves in good faith to the dialogue process.  Regarding the Regional Protection Force, he noted the slow progress in its deployment and reiterated his country’s call for all parties to abide by the measures set forth in resolution 2327 (2016) and remove all restrictions on UNMISS personnel.

KORO BESSHO (Japan), expressing concerns about the growing number of displaced persons, continued clashes and limited humanitarian access, urged all parties to take prompt and effective action.  Achieving success in ongoing peace process initiatives to address some of those concerns depended on complementarity, inclusivity and transparency.  He urged the Government to continue to take steps towards creating an environment to advance an inclusive political process, observe a unilateral ceasefire, release political prisoners, establish a hybrid court and improve media freedom.  For their part, oppositions groups must honour the ceasefire agreement and constructively participate in the political process.

SACHA SERGIO LLORENTTY SOLÍZ (Bolivia) noted that the crisis in South Sudan had grave domestic implications as well as serious impacts on neighbouring countries.  The first step to bringing about peace was the immediate cessation of hostilities between the parties.  The solution to the conflict must be achieved through an inclusive political process, and, in that regard, his delegation supported work under way by the main regional actors.  The IGAD initiative, in coordination with the United Nations and African Union, represented the best option for achieving a stable peace in South Sudan.  Regarding the Regional Protection Force, the deployment of the advanced units was an important event that should be stressed.  The Force’s presence would make it possible for UNMISS to expand its activities to more parts of the country, including rural areas.

KAIRAT UMAROV (Kazakhstan) welcomed the Force’s arrival and looked forward to the deployment of additional troops.  The Government should immediately take steps to alleviate impediments to the full deployment of the Force, which could help ensure that UNMISS personnel were able to work efficiently.  He expressed concern that continuing violence negatively impacted internally displaced persons, most of whom were women and children.  Attacks against humanitarian personnel must stop so that access to famine-affected areas was not adversely affected.  He called for efforts to ensure that the National Dialogue was truly inclusive and transparent, which would require the support of UNMISS and the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy.

AKUEI BONA MALWAL (South Sudan) reiterated that it had not been and never would be the policy of the Government to hinder or impede access to any humanitarian organization given the critical role such organizations played in helping the South Sudanese people.  What was lacking was honest, open dialogue and understanding between the Government and the humanitarian agencies.  He recalled that the President had declared a unilateral ceasefire in the country and called on the army command to heed that call, although he stressed that the ceasefire was not a blank check for the rebels to continue their attacks and provocations on the local population while the army stood aside and watched.  He commended the Government of Ethiopia for their prompt action to hold security meetings and discourage those who had sought refuge across the border from using it as a launching pad for attacks in South Sudan.  On the implementation of the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan, many efforts had been undertaken by the Transitional Government of National Unity.  Regarding the Regional Protection Force, his Government had agreed to work closely with the United Nations, African Union and IGAD for the smooth implementation and operationalization of the mandate of those troops in South Sudan.


Speeches: Trans-Africa Security: Combating Illicit Trafficking and Organized Crime in Africa

Good morning.

It is an honor to join you today at this year’s Senior Leaders Seminar hosted by the Africa Center for Strategic Studies (ACSS). Let me first thank ACSS for their leadership over the years in fostering critical partnerships with African nations on combating today’s transnational security threats.

Let me also thank all of you for your commitment in participating in this important program. Having studied myself at the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, I believe that these peer-based learning seminars are very important, not only to assess, evaluate, and discuss the broad array of security challenges facing the continent and international community, but towards developing and harnessing more effective strategies and cross-border responses.

As you have no doubt heard throughout the week in your seminar, the United States remains a strong partner in helping safeguard communities against the threats posed by illicit trafficking networks and is keen to elevate our partnership with all of your governments.

In this regard, the U.S. Department of State is similarly committed to strengthen international cooperation in support of our U.S. law enforcement and security agencies, and the capacities of our allies and partners in Africa to disrupt and dismantle transnational organized criminals.

Converging Threats: Corruption, Crime, and Terrorism Pave Illicit Trafficking Corridor

Today’s reality is one in which we live in a world where there is no region, no country and no community who remain untouched by the destabilizing effects and corruptive influence of transnational organized crime and violent terrorism.

Their impact is truly global and their real threat centers in some cases in their convergence. In particular, we must recognize that trans-regional illicit trafficking of drugs, arms, humans, and other illicit trade goods and services, are fueling greater insecurity and instability across Africa, and in other parts of the world.

While the world’s attention has in recent months been focused on the conflicts in Syria and Afghanistan, or the efforts by North Korea and others on the weaponization of nuclear missiles, the threats posed by transnational organized criminals remain very real in the United States, Latin America, Africa, and globally.

This is especially true as it relates to the increasing links between cross-border narcotics trafficking and other forms of transnational organized crime across Africa that imperil not only the rule of law, economic development efforts, the promotion of trade and investment, but helps to fuel greater instability and insecurity.

In fact, according to General Thomas D. Waldhauser, U.S. Marine Corps, AFRICOM Commander, “parts of Africa remain a battleground between ideologies, interests, and values: [where] prosperity, and peace are often pitted against extremism, oppression, and conflict. The strategic environment includes instability that allows violent extremist organizations to grow and recruit disenfranchised populations.”

This strategic environment today that General Waldhauser underscores is also impacted by other transregional threats that further complicate security in Africa including issues related to the webs of corruption and cross-border criminality, and related converging threats.

Convergence: I often talk a lot about convergence, and this is something that I encourage you to examine more closely moving forward – and to view today’s transnational security threats through a prism of “convergence crime”.

Because the reality on the ground is that we can no longer simply focus on one component of a threat. In a world of converging threats – where various threats collide to form a more potent mix of insecurity globally; each is individually dangerous but whose sum represents a far greater threat across borders.

Thus, we need to see the threat environment more holistically – how, for example, corruption and complicit facilitators enable the illicit space for criminals and terrorist groups alike to thrive, and to exploit weaknesses in our borders and institutions that imperil our security.

And because as illicit trade operates in the shadow of the global economy, increasingly sophisticated traffickers are diversifying their portfolios in everything from narcotics, people, arms, and wildlife to counterfeits including fake medicines, and illicit tobacco and alcohol goods.

On the governance front, the proceeds of drug trafficking and other forms of illicit trafficking are fueling a dramatic increase in corruption among the very institutions responsible for fighting crime.

The collusion and complicity of some government officials with criminal networks have helped carve out an illicit trafficking corridor that stretches from the West African coast to the Horn of Africa, from North Africa south to the Gulf of Guinea.

Through these illicit trafficking routes, criminals and terrorists alike are moving people and products. From the coca and opium poppy fields of Colombia and Southeast Asia to the coasts of West Africa and its hashish plantations, drug cartels and other criminal networks navigate an illicit superhighway that serves illicit markets across the continent and around the globe. Along across these illicit routes, bad actors and networks are corrupting critical institutions and enforcement systems that exacerbate everyone’s security.

They employ the latest technological advances and use commercial jets, fishing vessels, and container ships to move drugs, people, small arms, crude oil, cigarettes, counterfeit and pirated goods, and toxic waste through the region, generating massive profits.

How massive are these profits? As I will point out shortly in my slides on the recent research of the OECD Task Force on Countering Illicit Trade, the illegal markets in Africa, and globally, are booming with staggering levels of illicit wealth in the global economy. Hundreds of millions of USD every year enable criminals and other threat networks to corrupt the regional economies and the global financial system.

At a time when many are heralding the rise of some of the world’s fastest-growing economies in sub-Saharan Africa, these criminal entrepreneurs are undermining that economic development and growth by financing flourishing illicit markets, turning many vulnerable communities into a corridor of insecurity and instability, and siphoning the real potential of the legitimate economy.

The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the World Economic Forum (WEF), Global Financial Integrity (GFI), and other international organizations, generally estimate that the illicit trade in arms, drugs, and people, and other forms of “convergence crime” generate approximately between 8–15 percent of GDP, or several USD trillions to include corrupt proceeds and illicit financial flows.

Cocaine trafficking remains among the most lucrative illicit activities. In April 2017, the UNODC reported that developing markets are fueling a resurgence of cocaine trafficking through West Africa. UNODC further added that seizures on the Atlantic island of Cabo Verde, in the Gambia, Nigeria, and Ghana had contributed to a 78 percent increase in cocaine seizures from 2009-2014 compared to the previous reporting period.

Smugglers and traffickers who intake the cocaine from the Americas will typically transport drugs and other contraband overland across the Sahel and North Africa, before crossing into destination markets in Europe and these new developing markets in the Middle East and Southeast Asia.

West Africa has also become a major transit point for heroin destined for the United States.

Illicit markets are growing across Africa to meet global demand for arms, counterfeits, cigarettes, natural resources, diamonds and other precious minerals, wildlife, illegally-harvested timber, illegal fishing, stolen luxury cars, and other illicit commodities.

The Crime-Terror Continuum: Regional Spillover Effects

Unfortunately, what happens in Africa does not stay in Africa.

A convergence of actors is further paving the corridor of illicit trafficking and crime-terror continuum across Africa – including North Africa – as criminal insurgencies are becoming players themselves in illicit markets and using the proceeds to finance their terror campaigns, secure their training camps, establish safe havens, and export violence to other regions. Violent extremist and terrorist groups draw on public anger towards corruption as a means to radicalize, recruit new members, and deepen sectarian division.

We only have to look at some of the current regional hot spots to clearly comprehend how certain crime-terror dynamics continue to contribute to insecurity and instability that have a ripple effect across borders.

Today’s thriving illegal economy is so lucrative that terrorists are increasingly turning to criminal activities to fund their violent campaigns such as those that we are witnessing today by al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Boko Haram, al-Shabaab, and others.

In Mali, as drugs are trafficked through the country, the Sahel, and Maghreb, AQIM and its sympathizers are manipulating socio-economic conditions to further advance an illegal economy that allows them to tax the drugs through the territory that they control and finance their terror campaigns.

Libya also continues to be challenged with violence and insecurity. AQIM and ISIS are attempting to forge alliances with violent extremist networks in Libya and across the Maghreb, Sahel, and West Africa, and are involved in smuggling and trafficking in persons. Organized crime networks exploit a currency black market, irregular migration and illicit trade across borders to enrich themselves and militias that defy law and order.

Nigerian organized criminal networks remain a major player in moving cocaine and heroin worldwide, and have begun to produce and traffic methamphetamine to and around Southeast Asia. In addition to drug trafficking, some of these criminal organizations also engage in other forms of trafficking and fraud targeting citizens of the United States, Europe, and globally.

Widespread corruption in Nigeria further facilitates criminal activity, and, combined with Nigeria’s central location along major trafficking routes, enables criminal groups to flourish and make Nigeria an important trafficking hub.

Nigeria is also confronting a terrorist insurgency led by Boko Haram and its offshoot ISIS-West Africa, which remains the cause of the insecurity in the Lake Chad Basin.

Maritime crime has also captured the attention of the regional states and international community. The reported number of incidents in the Gulf of Guinea and the level of violence associated with those acts remain a concern.

The Economic Communities of West and Central African States, the Gulf of Guinea Commission, and their member states should be commended for the continued commitment to implement the June 2013 Yaoundé Summit. The signed Gulf of Guinea Code of Conduct (GGC) covers not only armed robbery at sea and piracy, but also other illicit maritime activity such as illegal fishing, maritime pollution, and human and drug trafficking. The Yaounde Code of Conduct, along with the updates to the Djibouti Code of Conduct to cover other transnational maritime crime, and the newly adopted Lomé Charter, provide excellent frameworks for African states to adopt strategies and implement programs to counter transnational crime in the maritime domain.

In recent years, INL has partnered with the Africa Center for Strategic Studies, AFRICOM, and our African partners on maritime security and regional threat mitigation strategies and to build the capacities and capabilities to disrupt and dismantle transnational criminal networks.

U.S. Diplomatic Efforts and International Cooperation in Africa

The United States strongly supports the great strides many African countries have made to improve security, good governance, rule of law, and sustainable economic development.

As President Donald J. Trump highlighted in new Executive Order on Transnational Criminal Organizations (E.O. TCO), the United States will continue to assist our partners to strengthen their security footprint and capabilities to combat today’s threat networks.

In support of the President’s E.O. TCO, the United States is committed to strengthen and sustain our resolve and capabilities to protect the homeland and break the corruptive power of transnational criminal networks, attack their financial underpinnings, strip them of their illicit wealth, and sever their access to the financial system.

The United States and its partners continually recognize the importance of net-centric partnerships to confront converging threats and the lethal nexus of organized crime, corruption, and terrorism along global illicit pathways and financial hubs.

For example, targeted financial actions like the 2011 311 finding against LCB can have a major impact, strengthening deterrence and showing that the international community is keeping close watch on Hizballah’s global financial architecture. Through years of cooperation with the Lebanese banking sector and the Lebanese Central Bank, the country has significantly improved its capacity to detect the kinds of behavior that led the United States to designate LCB six years ago.

Let me now share how the Department of State helps fight transnational crime, and in particular the organization I work for, the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL).

INL training efforts help countries build effective rule of law institutions, strengthening criminal justice systems, and strengthening their police, courts, and anti-crime efforts—everything from anti-corruption money laundering, cybercrime, and intellectual property theft to trafficking in goods, people, weapons, drugs, or endangered wildlife.

In coordination with partners in sub-Saharan and North Africa, INL develops and executes foreign assistance programming to promote civilian security and criminal justice sector reform in support of U.S. policy objectives. INL programs improve access to justice, promote stability and democratic reform, professionalize law enforcement entities, support local justice sector officials, and strengthen correction systems.

INL’s sub-Saharan and North Africa projects support partner governments’ efforts to respond effectively to the growing demand for peace and security. INL’s four main objectives are to assist African partners in combating transnational organized crime, drug trafficking, and terrorism, and their effects; support post-conflict stabilization operations and security sector reform; strengthen criminal justice systems to be accountable to the public and to respect human rights; and promote regional cooperation. INL implements its Africa program through a comprehensive range of bilateral and regional initiatives designed to maximize positive change in host countries and regions.

Let me highlight a few examples of these bilateral INL projects across Africa on criminal justice reform, anti-crime, and in support of counter-terrorism efforts:

Deployment of Resident Legal Advisors (RLAs) and Senior Legal Advisors: U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) prosecutors embedded in U.S. Embassies to support justice sector development and capacity building: Some countries hosting RLAs include Ethiopia, Nigeria, Benin, Senegal, Niger, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, and others.

Kenya: Build the capacity of vetted units within the National Police Service and the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission investigations unit to investigate and prosecute high-level and government-wide corruption

Tanzania: enhance the criminal justice system in Tanzania to successfully prosecute wildlife crimes.

Benin: Build capacity of Benin’s law enforcement and judicial sectors to investigate and prosecute cases involving transnational organized crime, particularly drug trafficking; support to Benin’s border security agency; training of Formed Police Units (FPUs) for peacekeeping deployment; support to the Office Central de Répression du Trafic Illicite de Drogue et des Précurseurs

Ghana: Training police-prosecutors, creating a counternarcotics unit, training police SWAT unit; training FPUs for peacekeeping deployment; and improving the investigations and administration of justice related to maritime crimes, cyber-crime, and border-related crimes

Nigeria: Advise and support the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency; Justice and security dialogues project with law enforcement and civil society; international police education and training; curriculum reform; forensics support; Embedding advisors to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

South Africa: Senior law enforcement advisor support to professionalize law enforcement and fundamental police operations; building investigative and enforcement capacities to combat wildlife trafficking

Finally, INL also administers the Transnational Organized Crime Rewards Program (TOCRP) which offers rewards up to $5 million for information, leads, and tips that help hobble transnational criminal organizations involved in activities beyond drug trafficking, such as human trafficking, money laundering, trafficking in arms, counterfeits and pirated goods, and other illicit trade areas.

Our embassies and/or our INL offices would be happy to share further information on INL bilateral and regional programming in specific countries in Africa as requested.

Let me say also few words on several regional initiatives that INL supports:

The West Africa Regional Security Initiative (WARSI)

WARSI funds assist the 15 Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) members to establish and sustain effective, professional, and accountable criminal justice and civilian security sectors. Technical assistance facilitates partner-country efforts to counter transnational threats including illicit trafficking and to strengthen conflict mitigation and state legitimacy. WARSI focuses on security sector reform (SSR) in countries with more foundational assistance needs and criminal justice sector reform to counter transnational organized crime (TOC) in countries with more stable institutions. Counter-TOC assistance is more advanced, and often includes training specialized units, such as counter narcotics task forces.

The Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership

The Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership (TSCTP) is a multi-faceted, multi-year U.S. strategy aimed at developing resilient institutions that are capable of preventing and responding to terrorism in a holistic, long term manner. INL TSCTP programs in Africa work to counter and prevent violent extremism by empowering partner countries to (1) provide effective and accountable security and justice services to enhance citizen cooperation with and trust in law enforcement and (2) develop the institutional foundation for counterterrorism and related capabilities, including border security and prison security and reintegration efforts. In doing so, INL focuses on enhancing and institutionalizing cooperation among TSCTP countries so that they increasingly learn with and from each other. Partner countries include Algeria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, and Tunisia.

The Partnership for Regional East Africa Counterterrorism

The Partnership for Regional East Africa Counterterrorism (PREACT) is the U.S. government’s multi-year, multi-sector initiative to build the long-term capabilities of East African partners to contain, disrupt, and marginalize terrorist networks in the region. INL’s PREACT funds empower East African criminal justice institutions to confront complex challenges posed by cross-border terrorism. INL’s active PREACT partners include Kenya, Somalia, and Tanzania.

Security Governance Initiative

The Security Governance Initiative (SGI) is a multi-year effort between the United States and partner countries to improve security sector governance and capacity to address threats. SGI partners with countries to undertake strategic and institutional reforms required to tackle key security challenges. Together with six current partners – Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, and Tunisia – SGI focuses on shared security priorities and enhance security sector management. SGI is managed by the State Department’s Africa Bureau but leverages expertise and experience from across the Departments of State, Defense, Justice, and Homeland Security, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and the National Counterterrorism Center. Coordination and collaboration both within the U.S. government and with partner countries is a hallmark of SGI. INL’s activities undertaken as part of SGI seek to develop, support, and strengthen criminal justice institutions and capabilities to ensure citizen security and promote the rule of law, including sound policies, institutional structures, systems, processes, and effective management methods so that governments can efficiently and effectively deliver security and justice in a sustainable manner.

Regional Anti-Wildlife Trafficking Efforts

As many of you are aware, the United States continues to partner with the international community to combat the illegal wildlife trade.

INL is part of a whole of government approach to combating wildlife trafficking. We work closely with other parts of the Department and other agencies to support the global fight against wildlife trafficking through assistance to multiple countries in Africa. Under the National Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trafficking (CWT), INL builds the capacity of law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute wildlife crimes and develops regional cooperation mechanisms.

Activities can include training, mentoring, and equipment provision for park rangers, police, prosecutors, non-governmental organizations, and civil society entities to address the multiple dimensions of poaching and wildlife trafficking. Our first projects began in Kenya and South Africa, followed by Namibia and Tanzania. Future projects will cover larger areas of central and southern Africa, and address both source and transit countries.

Regional Law Enforcement Training

Finally, I would be remiss if I did not highlight INL’s International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) in Gaborone, Botswana. The ILEA program delivers courses on a wide range of law enforcement topics, and builds regional law enforcement networks to detect, disrupt, and dismantle transnational criminal organizations regardless of their means of operation and income.

Since inception in 2001, ILEA Gaborone has trained thousands of mid- and senior-level criminal justice officers in specialized skills on counter-terrorism, counter-narcotics operations, forensic accounting, customs interdiction, various forms of trafficking, document fraud, and illegal immigration. The program also engages with senior officials on the factors that facilitate these criminal networks, addressing public corruption, discussing modern community-oriented policing models, and cooperative international security networks that hinder illicit networks from flourishing.

As an outbranch of the successful ILEA network, INL opened the West Africa Regional Training Center (RTC) in Accra, Ghana, in January 2013. The RTC has convened hundreds of law enforcement, security, and judicial officials from multiple countries in West Africa and the Sahel, creating relationships across the region, and building knowledge and skills on topics ranging from investigative analysis to anti-corruption to counternarcotics.

We continue to explore future areas of assistance to include strengthening capabilities to preserve crime scenes for complex investigations, create strong case packages, and build more effective, evidence-based trials.

Conclusion: Partnerships for Sustainable Security

In closing, I want to again extend the appreciation on behalf of the U.S. Department of State for your commitment to work across borders, improve coordination and information-sharing, and leverage our respective capabilities and capacities to defeat our common adversaries.

We must continue to leverage all national economic, intelligence, and diplomatic powers to make it riskier, harder, and costlier for threat networks to do business within Africa, and externally.

Illicit trafficking remains the lifeblood of the numerous bad actors and networks, creating vulnerabilities for nations.

We must crackdown on corruption at all levels and cut off the ability of kleptocrats, criminals, and terrorists to enjoy the fruits of illicit enterprise and that enable the financial capacity to execute their operations.

By combating corruption, we can also shut the door and keep violent extremists from exploiting their grievances to wage jihad. We must prevent narco-corruption from destroying countries like Guinea and Guinea-Bissau.

In addition to our law enforcement and security cooperation, we also need to address underlying causes that are contributing to today’s conflicts and insecurity in Africa: food and water security, poverty, economic integration and development, and other socio-economic areas that empower communities and nurture growth markets, investment frontiers, and resiliency.

With careful, targeted assistance, and smart diplomatic engagement, together we can advance our common objectives and strategic interests.

If we do not act decisively, the region will remain an exporter of terror and a provider of safe havens where terrorists from other conflicts all over the world find refuge, illicit trafficking will continue to expand, arms and weapons will dangerously proliferate, women, men, and children will be trafficked, and drugs and illicit enterprise will corrode the rule of law and the gains of globalization.

We can only tackle these threats effectively if we work together and jointly synchronize our full spectrum capabilities and capacities. We must stay connected and continue to harness our network of networks at every level – local, regional, and global to win our fight against convergence crime.

If we do this, we can create hope, stability, opportunity, and an enduring peace.

Thank you.


UNDP Goodwill Ambassador Crown Prince Haakon of Norway lauds Liberia’s Ebola survivors and Response Workers

Apr 4, 2017

Crown Prince Haakon meets with Ebola survivors and orphans in Caldwell, Montserrado County. Photo: UNDP Liberia

Monrovia, LiberiaUnited Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Goodwill Ambassador His Royal Highness Crown Prince Haakon of Norway today met with Ebola survivors, and Ebola Response Workers and paid tribute to their efforts in caring for people infected and affected by the disease.

“We salute the courage and commitment of all the people who led the fight against Ebola,” Crown Prince Haakon said in Liberia’s capital Monrovia, on the second of a three-day visit to the country.

“The Sustainable Development Goals call for leaving no one behind. The doctors, nurses and technicians; the volunteers, casefinders and burial workers who went into communities; the survivors; and the ordinary Liberians who took in survivors and orphans, should not be forgotten, especially now as they rebuild their lives.”  

Liberia was hit by the Ebola Virus Disease epidemic in 2014. Some 4,806 people lost their lives, and more than 4,500 children were orphaned. Since the disease waned, some survivors have faced stigma, finding it difficult to find employment or receive healthcare.

The Crown Prince is an advocate for UNDP’s efforts to assist Member States achieve Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 1- to end poverty in all its forms everywhere. His visit to Liberia is an opportunity to see first-hand the country’s progress in Ebola recovery, in consolidating peace, and plans for taking forward the SDGs.

The Goodwill Ambassador’s visit comes as Liberians prepare for two milestones. Elections scheduled for October 2017 are expected to bring in a new government, and the departure of the UN peacekeeping mission in Liberia (UNMIL) in early 2018 will see Liberians take their future into their own hands, and an increased focus on peacebuilding which UNDP, other UN agencies, and partners stand ready to support.

While in the country, the UNDP Goodwill Ambassador is meeting with senior government officials, young entrepreneurs and women’s groups, civil society organizations, local communities and other partners.  

He is also visiting UNDP-supported initiatives focused on post-Ebola recovery and building resilience against shocks, national reconciliation, and support to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).

UNDP’s work in Liberia is aligned with the national development plan, the Agenda for Transformation. 

Key focus areas include supporting the government to develop a strategy to achieve the SDGs; technical assistance to the National Electoral Commission for free and fair elections in 2017; improving access to justice and the functioning of rule of law institutions; boosting social cohesion and decentralization efforts; and advocacy and engagement on laws and other actions related to women’s empowerment.

Crown Prince Haakon has been a UNDP Goodwill Ambassador since 2003, focused on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and now on the SDGs.

He has visited several African countries in this capacity including Tanzania (October 2003), Sierra Leone (February 2005), Burundi (October 2007), Botswana (November 2009), Zambia (October 2013), and now Liberia (April 2017).

Follow on Twitter: @UNDPLiberia, @Kronprinsparet, @UNDPNorway

For more information or media interviews, please contact:

Augusta Pshorr, Communications Analyst,, +231 770 003 819/886 521 425.
Sam Zota, Communications Associate,, +231 886 474 563/770175162