Security Council: Peacebuilding

Note: A complete summary of today’s Security Council debate will be made available after its conclusion.


AMINA J. MOHAMMED, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, stating that peace – the United Nations’ raison d’être – “is now under grave threat”, observed that people’s sense of safety and security is at a low in almost every country. Six out of seven people worldwide are plagued by feelings of insecurity, the world is facing the highest number of violent conflicts since the Second World War and 2 billion people – a quarter of humanity – live in places affected by such conflict. Even before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, conflict-affected countries were lagging on achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, she reported, noting that conflict and poverty are deeply intertwined. Further, the war in Ukraine is devastating the lives of millions of Ukrainians and compounding a global food, energy and finance crisis – especially amongst the most vulnerable people and countries. Recalling the words of the Secretary-General, she said that “the world is at a key inflection point in history”, underscoring the need to rethink efforts to achieve sustainable peace.

“There is only one route to durable peace,” she stressed – the route of sustainable development. This is the only reliable tool with which to break through cycles of instability and address the underlying drivers of fragility and humanitarian need. Investments in development, people, human security and shared prosperity are also investments in peace. However, such investments have fallen short in recent years. Development deficits drive grievance, corrode institutions and allow hostility and intolerance to flourish. “When we fail to meet the development needs of our time, we fail to secure peace for our future,” she said, urging the Council to consider the fundamental role of sustainable development in securing peace for current and future generations. She then offered four observations for building and sustaining peace that is founded on inclusive, sustainable development.

First, she said that efforts to achieve peace must be based on a shared understanding of peace and the pathways thereto, spotlighting the United Nations “New Agenda for Peace”, which will aim to identify additional ways to support national prevention and peacebuilding priorities and channel international support to nationally owned violence-reduction initiatives. Inclusion will also be at the centre of the Agenda. Detailing her second point, she underlined that investing in the same is not only right, but wise. Inclusion leads to public support and greater legitimacy, strengthens societal resilience and addresses the structural inequalities that are major risk factors for violent conflict. She also stressed that, among other things, inclusion means addressing fundamental gender inequalities, urging transformational change to halt the erosion of women’s rights and ensure gender equality to build and sustain peace. Youth, peace and security should also be more widely reflected in the mandates of special political missions and peacekeeping operations.

Third, she underlined the need to explore how the Council can further leverage the role and advice of the Peacebuilding Commission. The Commission is a valuable complement to the Council’s work, and increasingly, provides advice on important thematic and cross-cutting agendas and highlights country-specific and regional peacebuilding needs. She therefore urged the Council to capitalize on the Commission’s comparative advantages and integrate crucial prevention and peacebuilding lenses more squarely into its work. Finally, she underscored that the success of collective efforts to advance sustainable peace worldwide depends on adequate investment in peacebuilding. The Secretary-General’s Peacebuilding Fund remains the United Nations’ leading instrument to invest in peacebuilding and prevention, she added, stressing that “we cannot allow crises – of which there are many – to divert funding away from these core efforts”.

MUHAMMAD ABDUL MUHITH (Bangladesh), Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission, emphasized the need to enhance the ability of individuals, societies and nations to cope with multifaceted and often interlinked challenges. This has led to an increased interest from countries and regions to engage with the Commission in expanding and strengthening its capacities for peacebuilding, he reported, noting that it learned from the experiences of several new contexts – including Timor‑Leste, South Sudan and the Central Asia region – for the first time last year. Supporting nationally owned and led efforts to build effective, accountable, inclusive and responsive institutions for reducing vulnerability and protecting and empowering citizens has repeatedly emerged as a critical lesson. In light of this, the Commission recognizes the need to increase investments in strengthening effective, accountable and inclusive public service institutions that deliver for all citizens within the rule of law, cutting across all the Sustainable Development Goals in an integrated and coordinated manner.

Inclusivity is key to advancing national peacebuilding processes and objectives to ensure that the needs of all segments of society are taken into account, he continued, underlining the importance of the full, equal and meaningful participation of women and called for the inclusion of both women and youth in capacity-building efforts at all levels. Further, as the demand for peacebuilding support continues to grow, stronger responses are needed, with a greater emphasis on efficiency, coherence, leveraging comparative advantages and ensuring impact on the ground. Achieving this while working in full respect of national ownership and existing United Nations mandates requires the full commitment of all towards finding agreed and often innovative solutions.

Noting the Commission’s strengthened advisory role on the Council’s request, he reported that the number of submissions to the Council has continued to grow, reaching 17 in 2022. This has supported the Council to take decisions benefiting from broader peacebuilding perspectives. Such progress was due to a number of informal arrangements which made better use of the Commission’s advisory, bridging and convening role and included: informal interactive dialogues; appointment of an informal coordinator enabling better alignment of programmes of work; and the sharing of advance copies of relevant reports of the Secretary-General allowing for substantive, complementary and non-duplicative advice. He encouraged all to further explore innovative ideas on how the Council can make better use of the Commission to complement its work. In addition, the Commission is open to exploring other forms of advice on relevant countries, especially those with the presence of a peace operation, which will build on its interactions with those countries and the Organization while taking advantage of its convening role vis-à-vis regional and subregional organizations, international financial institutions, regional development banks and civil society.

Turning to the Secretary-General’s “New Agenda for Peace”, he said the Commission looks forward to further discussions which echo the need to enhance support for national peacebuilding priorities and the inclusion of women and youth. As well, the Commission has reiterated its call for adequate, predictable and sustained financing for peacebuilding with a view to reinforcing efforts to build and sustain peace at the national and local levels. It will convene a dedicated discussion on the New Agenda for Peace next week which will be an opportunity for its members to complement the ongoing consultation process by providing peacebuilding-specific ideas, he announced.

DIAGO NDIAYE, President of Network on Peace and Security for Women in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), reflecting on how the Council could better address emerging threats, pointed out that domestic conflicts are triggered by governance issues, poorly organized elections and non-compliance with Constitutions, and encouraged the Council to find way to preventing such situations, including by expanding discussion frameworks to involve non-State actors – civil society, young people, political and trade union organizations – in consultations and discussions. Noting that social inequalities and exclusions related to religious, regional and ethnic differences constitute sources of conflict in African countries, she urged the Council to find approaches to rectify such trends in countries with inequality and discrimination. Encouraging the Council to promote collaborative security, she urged it to ensure dissemination of resolutions with stakeholders concerned.

Turning to building resilient and effective institutions, she pointed out that countries that decided to rebuild State institutions should be supported through citizens initiatives. Advocacy should be conducted to ensure democratic processes and to combat corruption she added. Spotlighting the key role of schooling children during the conflict periods, she recalled that thousands of girls had to leave school in the Sahel, whereas abduction of women and girls was on the rise in other regions, pushing back women empowerment. In this regard, she underscored the need of building capacity, funding institutions that work on women, peace and security agenda and cooperating with Ministries that promote women-related issues.

Mediation teams in all regions of the world should also include women participating in peace processes, she continued, calling for greater integration of women and young people in conflict prevention and in combatting inequality. Underscoring the importance of integrating women and young people in conflict prevention and combatting inequality, she cited the Secretary-General saying that “we should not wait for a conflict to erupt to start working on sustaining peace; we have to start earlier through conflict prevention and eradicating its root causes”.

She went on to underscore the need of putting together basic infrastructure, including, community schools and health clinics, to ease women’s burdens, while also promoting women empowerment through literacy and functional programmes to help raise awareness and development in rural areas. Government must put together sociocommunal infrastructure to meet the needs of vulnerable groups, she stressed. Turning to recommendations for the “New Agenda for Peace” in the context of peacebuilding, she spotlighted climate change; new security threats impacting women, including abductions and kidnappings; health emergencies and economic, energy and food crises; good governance of natural and environmental resources; digital gap and migration that need to be approached in the framework of development.


ISHIKANE KIMIHIRO (Japan), Council President for January, speaking in his national capacity, highlighted the importance of establishing resilient institutions that should offer basic socioeconomic services and development, including health care and education. Underlining the crucial role of investing in people in all segments of society, he encouraged the Council to strengthen the humanitarian-development-peace nexus in its mandates, promote inclusivity and mainstream the concept of human security. He further advocated for convening a meeting where all Peacebuilding Commission and Council members engage through informal interactive dialogue. Encouraging the Council to reflect the Commission’s advice relating to peacekeeping operations mandate renewals and special political missions, he noted that the Council could request the Commission to provide advice before a penholder starts working on a draft mandate resolution and could ask the head of a peacekeeping operation to brief the Commission to help it develop advice. Noting that the development of the “New Agenda for Peace” was under way, he called it a historic opportunity to rebuild a common vision on peacebuilding and conflict prevention, while also upgrading the United Nations toolbox to that end.

CAROLYN OPPONG-NTIRI (Ghana) said the best guarantor for sustaining peace is to prevent conflicts by addressing their underlying drivers. Council decisions should reinforce actions that support programmes building the resilience of systems, institutions and individuals. The Council could work more closely with other organs and bodies within the United Nations system, especially with the Peacebuilding Commission, which plays an advisory role to the Council and General Assembly. Early warning systems are more effective if anchored in regional arrangements, including the African Union and its regional economic communities, such as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). These regional organizations are closer to the conflict settings and usually have an institutional memory and keen awareness of sensitivities that help to better defuse conflicts. She also advocated for the equal inclusion of women and embracing youth-led organizations in decision- and policymaking at national and local levels on peace and security. They should be actively empowered through local peace initiatives as the local ownership of peace processes helps ensure the success of every peace mission, she stressed.

ZHANG JUN (China), highlighting the nexus between peace and development, stressed that development is the ultimate solution for many developing countries’ challenges. The lack of development is a root cause for many issues on the Council’s agenda, he pointed out, drawing attention to the situations in South Sudan and the Sahel. Peacebuilding needs to identify its aspirations, prioritize development and distribute resources towards poverty elimination. Further, developed countries need to fulfil their commitment to climate financing and international financial institutions should fulfil their responsibilities and be deeply involved in peacebuilding. Given that post-conflict countries have a lot on their plates, “we have to pivot from blood transfusions to blood generation”, he said, adding that strengthening capacity-building across the board is an imperative. Detailing China’s cooperation with Africa, he spotlighted projects that have effectively helped countries address lacking infrastructure and have brought tangible opportunities to the African people. Turning to the peaceful reconstruction of Afghanistan, he said the rights of women and girls to education and employment should be guaranteed. He called on the Taliban authorities to make positive efforts to that end. He also stressed that parties in developing countries with internal conflicts must transcend differences to ensure lasting peace. External forces should refrain from recklessly interfering in the internal affairs of other countries, he asserted.

NAME TO COME (France), stressing that the Council must prevent new threats to peace, called on the 15-nation organ to support the work of regional organizations, such as the African Union’s efforts to resolve the conflict in the north of Ethiopia. Peace operations must support security sector reform, she emphasized, adding that they must also ensure the participation of civilians, especially women and youth. In addition, the entire United Nations system must take better account of the impact of climate change on peace and security, she stressed. She also pointed out that human rights and access to justice are key preconditions for the prevention of conflicts. Reaffirming support for the efforts of institutions combating impunity, she also highlighted the work of the Peacebuilding Commission, which has shown its ability to bring together States, civil society and other regional actors. She urged that the Commission focus its action on specific geographic locations and must be present in the transitional and post-conflict periods. Noting that France will continue to support the Peacebuilding Fund financially, she stressed: “We also need to mobilize the private sector.” She also highlighted the importance of preventive diplomacy in combating the root causes of conflict.

FERIT HOXHA (Albania), stating that “peace means life”, emphasized that the United Nations strives for life, freedom, dignity and prosperity. History proves that countries that invest in their people are better equipped to make peace sustainable, prevent conflict and achieve prosperity. This begins by respecting all rights – civil, political, socioeconomic and cultural – as systemic violations of the same serve as a prelude to conflict. Underscoring that a rights-based understanding of peace and security requires the international community to address injustice directed at women – half of the world’s population – he said that in no country do women enjoy full equality with men. However, democracies – with freedom and rights, dedicated institutions, strong civil society and uncompromising free press – seek for ways to improve, do better, correct mistakes and hold themselves to account. In other places, though, regimes – under the guise of local tradition and culture – systematically exclude women from public life and political participation, including by going to extremes such as excluding them from education, like in Afghanistan. No country, he stressed, can afford to underinvest in human capital as, without urgent global efforts to do so, millions will be excluded from future prosperity and the Sustainable Development Goals will not be met.

NAME TO COME (Brazil) said the Peacebuilding Commission is uniquely positioned to bridge discussions across different United Nations pillars, and to garner international support to tackle the root causes of conflict. Calling on the Council to adopt a comprehensive approach to the interlinked political, economic and social roots of conflict, he said his country would welcome more frequent exchanges between the 15-nation organ and the Peacebuilding Commission. “We believe [this cooperation] is a key element to be included in the ‘New Agenda for Peace’, which we hope will be drafted in a transparent, member-driven manner,” he said. Among other things, the Commission can mobilize regional organizations and international financial institutions and foster South-South and triangular cooperation. Outlining other areas of added value, he said the Commission’s advisory role should be strengthened, and proposed holding relevant consultations before the formation, review, drawdown and transition of peace operations and special political missions. He also proposed that written advice by the Commission be regularly submitted, and that the work programmes of the Commission and the Council be further aligned. In addition, among several other suggestions, he called for greater interaction between the Commission and the Council’s penholders.

NAME TO COME (United States) called for more ambitious and structured Council collaboration with the Commission since it is ideally placed to raise awareness of regional efforts, local communities’ expertise and the cross-border dimension of conflicts. He voiced his strong support for expanding the Commission’s role in regional settings and cross-cutting areas, including human rights and climate-related peace and security risks. Such an expansion would support making peacebuilding activities integrated, coordinated and responsive. Peacebuilding gains cannot be fully achieved unless they are inclusive and shared by everyone, he stressed, noting that peace processes are often put to the test because they lack legitimacy among impacted populations. As well, international actors often cannot be architects of peace. Local actors must be supported in finding their own solutions. In that regard, the United Nations should shift resources to increase the capacity of local, national and regional peacebuilding activities. He spotlighted the importance of actively engaging and empowering women, youth, local actors and civil society and encouraged the Organization to produce more detailed impact assessments of its peacebuilding work. “Our hope is to build consensus around a future in which the UN is fully activated and empowered to deliver in ways we know it can,” he said.

/Public Release. View in full here.