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Nordic Joint Statement on the occasion of the UN Security Council Open Debate on the Challenges of Maintaining Peace and Security in Fragile Contexts

06.01.2021  14:30

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Mr President,

Members of the Security Council,

I have the pleasure to submit this statement on behalf of the Nordic countries: Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark.

As we turn the page and look back on a most extraordinary and challenging year, we have an occasion to renew and strengthen our joint resolve to address drivers of conflict and fragility to achieve stability and sustainable peace. We welcome today’s debate on how to address the challenges to peace and security in fragile contexts, and consequently how the Security Council can play its part in this important effort.

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed and exacerbated existing local, regional and global conflict dynamics and drivers of fragility. As you have done, Mr President, we will focus particularly on Africa. As the African continent is battling the combined consequences of the current pandemic, key existing and underlying challenges persist. The consequences for the poorest and those in vulnerable situations are most severe. Furthermore, the spread of conflict and violent extremism in parts of Africa, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, has seriously affected countries’ development and in some areas led to unprecedented levels of displacement.

 

For many African nations, the pandemic has already reduced government revenue and increased health expenditure.  We risk that hard-earned development progress is undermined and that Africa’s progress towards attaining the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals is further constrained. As we strive to build back better and greener, an integrated approach must be at the heart of our efforts to address the drivers of fragility in order to attain international peace and security. This includes addressing the challenges of chronic poverty, socio-economic inequalities, human rights violations, youth marginalisation, marginalisation of women, sexual and gender-based violence, weak governance and institutions and security risks related to climate change and environmental degradation. A strong African leadership in responding to these multifaceted challenges on the continent remains key.

 

We must ensure closer and more systematic cooperation between the Security Council and the Peacebuilding Commission as well as the Human Rights Council and ECOSOC respectively, including in briefing and advisory capacity. In this connection, we wish to reiterate our support for the Secretary General’s Sustaining Peace Agenda, as well as the Action 4 Peacekeeping Agenda. Following the Informal Interactive Dialogue between the Security Council and the Peacebuilding Commission, we encourage the Security Council to adopt peace operation mandates that are adequately resourced, adaptable to changing conflict dynamics on the ground, and already from the start planning for a transition to broader peacebuilding efforts. This will enable those operations to contribute to breaking the vicious cycle of fragility and violence.

We see an increased number of protracted crises, exacerbating humanitarian needs, internal displacement, refugee flows and irregular migration, not least on the African continent. We strongly support the Secretary-General’s call for a global ceasefire to provide space for efforts to ensure sustaining peace. We know that efforts to prevent conflict and sustain peace are more effective when we also consider sustainable development, human rights and inclusive approaches. We must therefore accelerate a coherent and integrated approach across the humanitarian, development, human rights and peace nexus. Our efforts to address fragility must at all times be coupled with a strong emphasis on protecting and promoting human rights and ensuring women full, equal and meaningful participation in societies as well as in peacebuilding, peace processes and conflict resolution. We know that peace is more sustainable when women participate. Advancing the full implementation of the Women, Peace and Security agenda must remain a priority. It is also critical to ensure the full participation of youth in all efforts to sustain peace.

In order to handle an increasingly complex set of inter-related conflict and fragility drivers, we must ensure close cooperation and coordination between UN peace operations and other UN entities as well as with broader humanitarian, development, human rights and peacebuilding efforts. This requires strong coordination and collaboration between all partners on the ground, not least the UN, the African Union, the EU, the World Bank and IMF, the regional banks and the regional economic communities. In this regard, we must draw on the lesson learned from the historic and recently completed African Union-United Nations Hybrid Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) to protect civilians and help build peace in Darfur. The UN Security Council must ensure to engage with all relevant actors, especially civil society and local actors, so that we can understand the specific drivers of conflict and fragility, and tailor mandates and adapt approaches to achieve sustainable peace.

In closing, the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated existing fragilities around the globe. The impact of the pandemic also increases the obvious need for the UN and global actors to foster increased cooperation to ensure women’s full enjoyment of human rights and women’s equal and meaningful participation in all aspects of peace and security, bolster institutions, leverage regional and continent-wide capacity and support, and prohibit current socio-economic challenges to become reinforcing cycles of fragility. We all have an obligation to ensure that human rights and the rule of law are ensured.

 

The Nordic countries remain committed to supporting the UN in preventive diplomacy, mediation, peacemaking and peacebuilding by effectively addressing the drivers of fragility. As we embark on a new year, we have a renewed opportunity to turn the tide on conflict and insecurity and build sustaining peace and a more sustainable future towards realizing the agenda 2030. The UN 75 Declaration is guiding us in the way forward and we stand ready to support its implementation together with other Member States.

 

Thank you.

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