Addressing how best United Nations peacekeeping operations can augment global efforts to sustain peace, Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed said the nature of today’s challenges required seamless work across peace and security, human rights and sustainable development.
“Peacekeeping operations need clear, realistic and up-to-date mandates, with well-identified priorities, adequate sequencing and flexibility to evolve over time,” Mohammed told the Security Council during an open debate on peacekeeping operations and sustaining peace.
“Coherence, complementarity and collaboration between UN peace and security efforts and its development and humanitarian work are also essential to prevent conflict and mitigate risks, foster more sustainable outcomes and ensure no one is left behind,” she said.
‘Sustaining peace’ is a term from the 2015 review of UN peacebuilding architecture. In their resolutions on the review, the Security Council and the General Assembly defined sustaining peace “as a goal and a process to build a common vision of a society […] which encompasses activities aimed at preventing the outbreak, escalation, continuation and recurrence of conflict.”
Mohammed told the debate: “Implementing the Sustaining Peace Agenda requires an inclusive strategy supporting the diverse range of our missions and taking account of the entire peace continuum, from prevention, conflict resolution and peacekeeping to peacebuilding and long-term development”.
In this regard, she said, reform of the UN system was designed to reinforce links between the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustaining Peace Agenda.
“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.
The debate also explored how peacekeeping operations can adapt to changing political and operational challenges through the various stages of UN missions’ engagement and how they can be designed around support for building inclusive and effective national institutions and strengthening national capacities.
Sustaining peace can only be achieved through a broader vision of prevention, she said, adding prevention measures and peace processes must be driven by national leadership and inclusive ownership recognising the needs and contributions of all segments of society, including women and youth as agents of development and peace.
The complexity of current conflicts requires a multi-dimensional approach that prioritises a range of initiatives, including crucial protection for civilians under threat and strengthening institutions, as well as the rule of law to enable respect for human rights to be strengthened at all levels.
Also on current conflicts she said they require disarmament, demobilisation and re-integration of armed groups as well as a focus on justice and reconciliation, credible elections and the extension of legitimate and accountable State authority.
In many ways, one of peacekeeping’s most important contributions to peace is preparation for a smooth and effective peacekeeping drawdown and handover to the UN Country Team. This was seen recently in Cote d’Ivoire and soon in Liberia.
“To ensure we are on the right peacebuilding track, we must get the politics right,” the Deputy Secretary-General said.
Peacekeeping operations are political instruments that ideally accompany a locally-owned peace process. To this end, missions provide good offices and work closely with different parties and communities to achieve and implement peace agreements.
In considering all these areas, a broader and more sustained level of engagement by a united and strong Security Council – individually or collectively – is essential to ensure Member States, the UN system and its partners are aligned behind a common purpose and common vision for action integrating all pillars of the UN and bringing all its activities together in “a truly integrated fashion” Mohammed told the debate.