The imbalance between spending on conflict, and spending on peace, must be tackled head-on, Secretary-General António Guterres said Monday, urging the United Nations to rally all international actors “for our efforts across the peace continuum – from prevention, conflict resolution and peacekeeping to peacebuilding and sustainable long-term development.”
“Two years ago, the General Assembly and the Security Council came together to send a clear joint message: while Member States have primary responsibility for building and maintaining peace, we can all do more to strengthen the foundations of stability, wellbeing and cohesion,” he told an informal gathering of the Assembly where he presented his report on Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace.
Noting that the UN must offer “coherent, comprehensive and integrated support, working with Member States and other partners, before, during, and after conflict,” he informed the room that his report puts these messages into practice.
He discussed how inclusive and sustainable development makes a critical contribution to conflict prevention.
“Sustaining peace is both a goal and a process that relies on building a common and cohesive vision of a society that takes the needs of all into account,” he stated, noting that “the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is our global path to a safer, more sustainable and resilient world.”
Mr. Guterres stressed that gender considerations must remain front and centre in all efforts to sustain peace, noting that the importance and effectiveness of women’s leadership and participation in conflict prevention, resolution and peacebuilding are not in doubt. “We need to increase women’s representation in a systematic and meaningful way that goes far beyond tokenism. Women must be in decision-making roles at all levels in national, regional and international institutions and mechanisms for the prevention and resolution of conflict,” he said. The UN chief underscored that national efforts to build and sustain peace are more effective if they are inclusive. “This must start from a shared understanding of the risks that a country or region faces, and of how we can support efforts by Member States to build resilience against these risks,” he stated. He also argued that a failure to adequately finance peacebuilding would undermine other efforts to save lives, stabilize countries in crisis, alleviate suffering and protect the vulnerable.