1 June 2004
UN Success Determined by Number of People Assisted and Protected through Swift, Decisive Action, Security Council Told
In Debate on Complex Crises and UN Response, Council Considers Military, Security, Political, Economic, Social, Humanitarian Dimensions
NEW YORK, 28 May (UN Headquarters) -- Opening a debate today in the Security Council on complex crises and the United Nations response, the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Jan Egeland, said that United Nations success would be determined by the number of people it assisted and protected through swift and decisive action.
Mr. Egeland said it was the millions of voiceless that required international attention and commitment: it was the father who was powerless to protect his family from brutal attacks; the mother who had no access to medical care and was helpless to save her sick child; the young child who woke up each morning faced with the trauma of war and violence and a life without a future; and the teenage girl who had been brutally raped and might never fully recover from the internal injuries she had suffered.
Emphasizing that the Councils continued commitment to the shared goals of assistance and protection was vital, he said it was the collective responsibility of all, within the United Nations and outside it, to assure sustainable results. Complex emergencies and their aftermath embodied, not only military and security dimensions, but also political, economic, social and humanitarian dimensions. In longer-running crises, the very process of conflict had a dramatic impact on societal structures, government institutions and the ability of extended families and communities to support each other.
Drawing the Councils attention to the Economic and Social Councils recent contribution to the United Nations response to countries in crisis was its President Marjatta Rasi (Finland), who noted the establishment of Ad Hoc Advisory Groups on Guinea-Bissau and Burundi. Their mandates included examining the humanitarian and economic needs of the countries in question, reviewing international support programmes and providing advice on their effectiveness. The lessons learned through the Groups work -- related to ensuring a coordinated approach and the proper consideration of the multiple causes of a conflict -- were relevant to other crises.
Todays discussion, convened by Pakistans representative, Munir Akram, who presided over the Security Council in May, said, in his national capacity, that the sharp increase in the number and intensity of complex crises had indeed imposed formidable political, economic and humanitarian costs. Evolving a coherent response to those crises was a formidable challenge. At the policy level, the first priority must always be preventive diplomatic action, for which a credible early warning capacity based on impartial and accurate analysis of situations was an essential requirement.
The quality of the Councils engagement, whether direct or indirect, was also of crucial significance, he said. While United Nations peacekeeping operations were performing an excellent job in some very challenging conditions, they were seldom the most effective instruments for conflict resolution. The Council must focus more on that aspect. There had to be clear recognition that durable peace could only be established when the underlying causes were effectively addressed. And, the peacekeeping missions were not a panacea for the whole range of complex and underlying causes.
Brazils representative asserted that the United Nations response to crises around the world had not been entirely appropriate, as the military approach had superseded the human approach. The intrinsic link between peace and development must remain at the core of the Organizations response. Preventive diplomatic action, or conflict avoidance, demanded a more energetic and consistent role by the United Nations collective security mechanisms and by regional organizations. That also required greater emphasis on the economic element of reconstruction in United Nations resolutions.
Noting that virtually every speaker had stressed the importance of the Council addressing itself to conflict prevention, the United Kingdoms representative said that, while the United Nations had some of the best short-term early warning systems in the world, long-range early warning, or horizon scanning for gathering conflicts, however, was more difficult. The United Nations had one of the best information-gathering networks in the world and, therefore, it should be one of the best informed institutions in the world, but it was not.
One reason, he submitted, was the refusal of Member States to give the Secretariat additional capacity to assess the vast amount of information to which it had access. A second reason was the question of how well the United Nations system in all its complexity used its existing capacity to coordinate and apply the available information. A third area to consider was outside capacity and tapping the United Nations into the capacities of non-governmental organizations, the private sector, regional organizations and academic institutions.
Statements were also made in the discussion by the representatives of Spain, China, Algeria, Benin, Philippines, France, Chile, Angola, Russian Federation, United States, Germany and Romania.
The meeting began at 10:15 a.m. and adjourned at 1:15 p.m.
The Security Council met this morning to debate complex crises and United Nations response, for which it had before a letter dated 24 May from the Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations and addressed to the Secretary-General (document S/2004/423).
The letter, a non-paper intended to help guide the discussion, states that complex crises test both the will of the international community to take appropriate decisions, as well as the capacity of the Organization to follow through with sustained action. The overall political, economic and humanitarian costs imposed by complex crises are of serious concern. An effective, collective response requires parallel action on several inter-related tracks, including containment and resolution of conflict, establishment of necessary security conditions, protection of civilians, security sector reforms, provision of humanitarian relief, end to impunity, establishing justice and the rule of law, promoting good governance, and development of democratic institutions.
Similarly, the paper states, such a response must also include strategies to spur economic revival and reconstruction and address the underlying causes of conflict, including, among other things, poverty, underdevelopment, socio-economic inequities and inequalities, systematic political and ethnic discrimination, proliferation of small arms and light weapons, and illegal exploitation of natural resources. The intrinsic link between peace and development must remain at the core of the United Nations response.
The paper suggests that during the debate, several questions should be considered:
-- What role the Security Council can play, within its Charter responsibilities, in addressing the multifarious dimensions of complex crisis;
-- How the capacities of the Secretariat can be enhanced for timely analysis and assessment, with a view to early warning and preventive diplomatic action;
-- How best coordination can be promoted between the good offices of the Secretary-General and actions of the Council during the different stages of conflict;
-- What measures can be taken to ensure that the Council devotes attention to the underlying causes of conflict more comprehensively and helps create conditions for durable peace;
-- In the context of peace and development, how could the various organs of the United Nations positively interact and contribute to durable solutions to complex crisis;
-- How could closer interaction with relevant regional and subregional organizations be promoted; and
-- How can the United Nations agencies and programmes, as well as international financial institutions contribute to the effort for evolving a comprehensive response to complex crises.
JAN EGELAND, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, said that complex emergencies and their aftermath embodied not only military and security dimensions, but fundamental political, economic, social and humanitarian dimensions, as well. They were longer-running crises where the very process of conflict had had a dramatic impact on societal structures, government institutions and the ability of extended families and communities to support each other. A comprehensive and integrated approach was crucial if real and sustainable achievements were to be made.
He said that it was the collective responsibility of all -- the Security Council, the General Assembly, individual Member States, regional organizations, the various United Nations departments, agencies and programmes, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) -- not only to perform their respective roles effectively, but to respond to those issues together, as a cohesive whole. Everyone had an important role to play.
Every single day, men, women and children in conflicts around the world were actively and deliberately targeted by parties to conflicts and subjected to extreme violence and other grave human rights abuses, he said. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo alone, more than 2 million people had been killed as a result of long-term conflict, and tens of thousands of women and children had been subjected to unspeakable forms of sexual violence. Currently, a staggering 50 million people were displaced from their homes by conflict, many struggling to survive in harsh conditions.
He said that the suffering inflicted on civilians in complex emergencies was all too often aggravated by the denial or restrictions on humanitarian access. The current crisis in the Darfur region of the Sudan provided an alarming example, where more than 1 million civilians, mostly women and children, had been displaced and were in dire need of shelter, water, food and medical supplies. Complex emergencies increased vulnerability, and where natural disasters occurred concurrently, the effects were extreme, such as the devastating floods in Haiti demonstrated today. Those grave concerns demanded a concerted response by all.
In situations of armed conflict, governments bore the primary responsibility to provide humanitarian assistance and to protect civilians, he said. When governments did not have the capacity or were unwilling to do so, the United Nations must execute its special role. But, it could not do so when it was denied access to populations in need, when the safety and security of its personnel was threatened, and when it did not receive adequate funding for its humanitarian work. Tragically, then, those who most needed United Nations assistance were often denied it.
He said that post-conflict situations exemplified the importance of ensuring that adequate funding was provided, not only for life-sustaining humanitarian assistance, but also for other programmes, which would impact significantly on sustainable peace. His experience with the Consolidated Appeals Process, however, had revealed that, while donor countries had been willing to support initiatives that addressed immediate humanitarian needs, the longer-term or medium-term tools of peace, such as education, health care, and disarmament, demobilization, reintegration and rehabilitation (DDRR) programmes were often under-funded.
The Security Council had a critical role in responding to complex emergencies and protecting civilians, he stressed. In resolution 1296 (2000), the Council had asked the Secretary-General to bring to its attention situations of grave concern in respect of the protection of civilians in armed conflict. More use should be made of that mechanism. Equally critical was that situations of concern be brought to the Councils attention as early as possible, and greater use should be made of resolution 1366 (2001) on the prevention of armed conflict, which encouraged the Secretary-General to convey to the Council his assessment of potential threats to international peace and security.
He said that early warning was critical to conflict prevention. Timely and effectively early warning analyses played a key role in helping the United Nations and the broader international community to detect and prevent complex humanitarian crises. For example, in Guinea-Bissau, contingency planning enhanced United Nations preparedness in the event that humanitarian assistance was required. But, there was no point in contingency planning if there were no resources to do something about that. Todays conflict management also required the strong and decisive involvement of regional organizations.
Issues such as human trafficking, illicit arms flows, illegal exploitation of natural resources, and cross-border movements of displaced persons and combatants required regional mechanisms and commitments if those were to be properly addressed, he said. The regional and international communities, in turn, had a responsibility to provide targeted long-term assistance to weak States to strengthen their institutions, to respond at an earlier stage in humanitarian crises, and to maintain a robust presence in post-conflict countries to promote respect for human rights, the consolidation of good governance and peace-building processes.
He said that at the root of most conflicts were issues of poverty, corruption, deliberate manipulation of minority groups and social inequity and exclusion. Dealing effectively with complex crises required that those root causes be addressed. In countries recovering from conflict, peace and national reconciliation ultimately depended on changes in attitude and behaviour within society. That was particularly the case where society had become polarized. Far too often, peace processes were seen as the prerogative of combatant forces, but lasting peace and national reconciliation depended on developing a social climate that sought to sustain peace.
All sectors and elements of society, and not just fighting forces, should be brought together towards that goal, he said. Womens critical role in peace processes must also be recognized and actively supported.
He said it was the millions of voiceless that required international attention and commitment: it was the father who was powerless to protect his family from brutal attacks; the mother who had no access to medical care and was helpless to save her sick child; the young child who woke up each morning faced with the trauma of war and violence and a life without a future; and the teenage girl who had been brutally raped and might never fully recover from the internal injuries she had suffered.
Those were the people depending on the United Nations, he said, and those would judge its success, success that would be determined by the number of people it was able to assist and protect as a result of swift and decisive action. He told the Council that its continued commitment to that shared goal was vital.
MARJATTA RASI (Finland), President of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), said that complex crises necessitated collaborative responses in which the various organs of the United Nations had a complementary role. Recently, ECOSOCs most important contribution to the United Nations response to countries in crisis had been its establishment of Ad Hoc Advisory Groups on Guinea-Bissau and Burundi, whose mandates comprised examining the humanitarian and economic needs of the countries in question, reviewing international support programmes and providing advice on their effectiveness, and making recommendations for long-term programmes of support, based on a comprehensive approach to peace and stability.
The ECOSOC had begun to assess the work of those Groups in preparation for its July 2004 substantive session, she said, and so far, the clear relevance and usefulness of the Groups as mechanisms to promote a comprehensive approach to peace and development and to mobilize support to prevent the countries relapse into conflict had been highlighted. The lessons learned through the Groups work were relevant to other types of crisis situations, as they related to ensuring a coordinated approach between major stakeholders and proper consideration of the multiplicity of causes of a conflict.
The ECOSOC Advisory Groups had fostered a coordinated approach to the situations in Guinea-Bissau and Burundi throughout the United Nations system at large, she noted, including the Secretariat and its political, economic, social and humanitarian branches, the heads of United Nations political offices in the countries concerned, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the funds, programmes and specialized agencies of the United Nations. The ECOSOC was in a unique position to facilitate greater coherence in the United Nations systems work, called for within the intergovernmental process.
To ensure coherence, she continued, ECOSOCs initiatives must be linked to the work of the Security Council. The two Councils could make the comprehensive approach to peace and development called for by the United Nations system a reality. The United Nations Development Group/United Nations Executive Committee on Humanitarian Affairs Working Group had recently submitted its report, which highlighted transition issues based on experiences in very different countries. Among the areas highlighted in the report, humanitarian assistance, rehabilitation, recovery and reconstruction activities often overlapped and must often be accompanied by continuous crisis mitigation and prevention to avoid setbacks. Peacekeeping and security must be part of the coherent approach.
Ownership at the central government and local levels in affected countries was also essential, she concluded. Capacity-building, participatory approaches and strengthened decision-making were all key elements to real transition. Moreover, adequate, flexible and sustained funding of the programmes was necessary, in which regard ECOSOCs forthcoming substantive session would surely reflect the ongoing discussion regarding external donors and conflict-related assistance. Finally, she wished to draw attention to the upcoming ECOSOC event on the transition from relief to development, to be held on 12 July.
JUAN ANTONIO YAÑEZ-BARNUEVO (Spain) said that complex crises frequently went beyond national boundaries and increasingly had regional implications. Mr. Egelands statement had emphasized the huge challenges posed to the afflicted peoples, the regions most directly affected, and to the entire international community and the United Nations family. It had been generally agreed that the threat of emergency of failed States was a threat to regional stability and even, in some cases, to world stability. Accordingly, the international community must decisively tackle such situations.
He said that political instability was only one aspect, however important, of the origin of such crises, and other factors also played a role. Those could include environmental aspects, lack of sanitation, extreme poverty, grave gender or social inequalities and forced displacement, among other factors. Some threats knew no boundaries and could only be dealt with through effective international cooperation and action. Peace-building frequently commenced in the peacekeeping phase and, accordingly, required a multidimensional approach. It should not be forgotten that most conflicts today were essentially internal and frequently recurred. Some 40 per cent of States that had emerged from conflict had found themselves, once again, involved in armed confrontation soon after, with 60 per cent of the recurrences in Africa.
In tackling complex crises, prevention was essential, he said. That must be based on a broad concept of security encompassing political aspects, good governance, sustainable development, respect for human rights and combating inequality, exclusivity or marginalization. The international community must be ready to take decisive action. Frequently, the need to tackle current crises diverted attention from potential conflicts.
Moreover, early warning was not useful if no effort was made to immediately mitigate an emerging conflict situation. Early warning and response should be accompanied by an analysis of the situation, including of deeply rooted causes, in combination with tools to respond to those causes. The time had come to seriously study ways to organize the early warning mechanisms available to the Organization.
WANG GUANGYA (China) noted that, since the end of the cold war, some regions of the world had been afflicted by frequent intra-State conflicts, which had often affected the peace and stability of neighbouring countries, as well. The question of how to react to such conflicts called for serious thought. First among the priorities to be addressed by the United Nations system should be the enhancement of conflict prevention. The Security Council should formulate and integrate a comprehensive strategy for the strengthening of preventive diplomacy, and its Member States should work to create synergies in conflict prevention efforts, based on their particular strengths.
Furthermore, to eliminate the root causes of those conflicts, development must be made the top priority of the United Nations, he added. In that regard, ECOSOC had a greater role to play. Moreover, there must be increased synergy with regional organizations, which had unique advantages in maintaining regional stability. The Security Council should seek the views of regional organizations, share information with them and work to achieve mutual complementarity. For example, the Secretary-Generals envoys could join regional organizations envoys in good offices missions.
The experience of the United Nations had shown that there was no one-size-fits-all formula with which to respond to crises, he concluded. Every response must be tailored to the particular situation, including through incorporation of local views and political will. Only then could crises truly be brought to an end and peace maintained.
RONALDO MOTA SARDENBERG (Brazil) said that the response of the United Nations to crises worldwide had not been entirely appropriate, as the military approach had been superseding the human approach. The intrinsic link between peace and development must remain at the core of the Organizations response to complex crises. Preventive diplomatic action, or conflict avoidance, required a much more energetic and consistent role by the collective security mechanisms provided for in the Charter. That meant a rededication of the Organization and all of its Members to the resolve of the peoples of the United Nations, as made clear in the Charters preamble.
That also meant a renewed commitment to the lofty aims of the Charter, he said. The sixtieth anniversary of the United Nations in 2005 was a golden opportunity that must not be missed. That should be the culmination of the many efforts carried out in the field of peace and security. International realities were changing at an alarming pace, requiring an institutional change, including Security Council reform, as its composition and procedures had become clearly inadequate with respect to the present needs. A revitalization of the General Assembly was also required, enabling it to make full use of the potential envisaged in the Charter, including with respect to cooperation.
Regional organizations had an increasingly important role to play, he said. Their primary role was of a preventive nature. Their particularly important contribution lay in addressing root causes and human rights violations early before they escalated into major conflict. Those organizations were closer to the sources of conflict than the United Nations and, thus, in a better position to detect the early symptoms and to react promptly. Root causes were often region-specific. At the same time, they differed between regions. Those in Kosovo might be very different from those in Darfur, which might also differ widely from the Haitian question.
He said that when prevention failed and enforcement actions were needed, military action should remain the prerogative of the Security Council. Underdevelopment and under-education were at the root of most conflicts. Economic inequalities and poverty exacerbated differences and intolerance and invariably kindled friction. The root causes would recur after any peacekeeping intervention, thereby creating a very vicious cycle, if sufficient attention was not also paid to sustained development.
Of the 15 missions presently deployed, he noted that eight of them were complex ones in which the State and society had eroded. Beyond military security, a much broader concept of security had to be applied to those situations -- populations must be protected, humanitarian assistance delivered, reconciliation among factions forged, law and order restored, elections organized, government institutions reformed, and so forth. That list was exhaustive, but far from complete.
Also, he stressed, the economic element of reconstruction had not been underscored enough in United Nations resolutions. Resources should be devoted to quick impact programmes, which could quickly transform the daily realities of individuals and small communities.
ABDALLAH BAALI (Algeria) recalled that among the causes of complex crises figured poverty, corruption and ethnic or religions tensions fed by extremism, as well as the lack of civil rights and situations of exclusion and social inequality. And while the exact mix of causes differed from crisis to crisis, all had common consequences, including massive flows of internally displaced persons and refugees and the concomitant deterioration of systems of production. Economic breakdown accelerated the breakdown of the State, whose powers and authority were further challenged by burgeoning criminal elements. Adding to the complexity, neighbouring countries bearing the burden of refugees were often drawn into such crises for reasons that varied from ethnic or tribal solidarity to seeking recompense for harm done to designs on the resources of the failing State. The development of conflict economies also served to lengthen and deepen the original crises.
The United Nations had a fair idea of the complexity of such situations, he concluded, but it was still premature to talk about genuine, global and integrated strategies to cope with complex crises. The current situation was that the number of crises was growing rapidly, yet the annual budget dedicated to dealing with such crises had never been equal to the demand on it. The lack of sufficient budgeting demonstrated the gap in the international communitys response to complex crises. To bridge that gap, there must be increased emphasis on detecting and preventing conflicts and on introducing the development dimension into United Nations responses.
There should also be increased coordination with regional bodies to integrate them as part of the architecture of international security, he concluded. In that regard, he welcomed the support extended by the European Union to the establishment of an African standby force. Finally, improving the response to complex crises required an in-depth reform of the way in which the international community intervened in them, including through reform of the funding process and the expansion of the Security Council.
JOEL W. ADECHI (Benin) said that the last two decades had been marked by the considerable development of the role of the United Nations in addressing armed conflict. The complexity of todays conflicts had forced the international community to further analyse its response and find new ways to adequately cope. Henceforth, it had to meet the urgent need to address non-military threats and to take further into account the preventive dimension of peacekeeping and international security. Recognition had grown of the need to consider non-military sources of instability, such as economic and social conditions, humanitarian aspects, and even ecological circumstances as threats to peace and security.
Then, he said, the United Nations family should work through the appropriate bodies to give the highest priority to the quest for solutions to those issues. The changes taking place, above all, were due to the multifarious factors contributing to the crises, including their outbreak and their continuation and recurrence, which should be further considered in peacemaking and peace building endeavours. The United Nations system had gradually had to establish a strategy to create a culture of reaction, another of prevention, and to replace the practice of action with global coordination of its intervention. In that connection, development assistance must serve as a framework to increase and intensify dialogue between donors and beneficiaries, in order to promote the creation of inclusive structures to build national capacities. That, in turn, could prevent conflict.
He appealed to the Council to look anew at its mandate in the face of new conflicts and the steps it had had to take by legislating where international norms and rules were absent. Facing the changes in conflicts required the commitment of substantial resources over longer periods. Development was the best way to prevent conflicts. The Council must, henceforth, deal both with the nature of crisis and the prevention of major violations of the principles of humanity underlying those conflicts or flowing from them. Increasingly, the major criteria for deciding when to intervene were the human and social cost. He also highlighted the role to be played by regional and subregional organizations.
LAURO L. BAJA (Philippines) said that the key to solving complex crises faced by the international community today was to have a comprehensive, coordinated and sustainable response from the United Nations system. Todays complex crises were often imbued with intertwining and overlapping dimensions, as demonstrated by such conflict areas as Somalia, Rwanda, Haiti, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Liberia and Sierra Leone. And now, the Organization had been called on to help with yet another complex situation - peace-building in Iraq. The United Nations was in the process of defining and refining its response and strategy on that issue.
Continuing, he emphasized the need to address the overlapping concerns of conflict prevention and post-conflict peace-building, as well as the blurred distinction of when one ended and the other began. Central to todays discussion were the Secretary-Generals reports on conflict prevention (document A/55/985-S/2001/574) and the framework for cooperation in peace-building (document S/2001/138, Annex 1). Conflict-prevention and development were mutually reinforcing activities. An effective prevention strategy required a comprehensive approach that encompassed both short- and long-term measures, to be taken by the international community in cooperation with national and regional actors. It was also necessary to address the deep-rooted causes of conflicts and define the mandates of various actors in the United Nations system, ensuring synergy and coordination of various functions.
He supported the guiding principles and possible cooperative activities that would help build an enabling environment for peace-building, he said. Those included the need to ensure speedy operational response and optimum mobilization of resources, and the need to direct efforts at preventing the outbreak or recurrence of conflicts. He also supported the idea of establishing an information exchange mechanism for early warning analysis and better understanding of the root causes of conflict.
Commending the Secretary-Generals efforts to address those concerns, he noted that there was no comprehensive and integrated approach that would ensure participation of all stakeholders and address the multidimensional and complex aspects of crisis situations. The Ad Hoc Working Groups on Guinea-Bissau and Burundi, for example, were laudable efforts by the Security Council and ECOSOC, but their advisory role and ad hoc nature were not adequate. Therefore, the
Organization needed continuity and an institutional mechanism that would integrate security policy, economic development and institution-building in those areas. It was necessary to integrate various programmes undertaken by the United Nations and other stakeholders and mould them into a general strategy.
It was also necessary to develop a practical road map to implement specific recommendations of the Secretary-General and to follow up on the mechanisms that had already been identified, he said. Also needed was an overall conflict prevention strategy that would ensure the integrated and comprehensive work of the Assembly, the Security Council, ECOSOC, the International Court of Justice, the Secretary-General and the participation of other actors, including regional organizations, civil society, the business community and the Bretton Woods institutions.
In conclusion, he stressed the need to address the root causes of conflict and channel scarce resources to development. Unfortunately, while global expenditures on defence and military amounted to $900 billion, only about $500 million went to development. An honest to goodness approach to conflict prevention and post-conflict peace-building should address and confront that irony.
MICHEL DUCLOS (France) said that the concept of integrated strategies had made considerable progress over recent years. Work on ways to accompany a country on its path from the humanitarian emergency phase to that of sustainable development had also made considerable headway.
Stressing the importance of blending the various aspects of every peacekeeping operation, he said that disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programmes were critical in that regard. Follow-up strategies were also among the most crucial because the lack of them was probably the quickest way to failure. Once the operation was over, attention tended to lapse. Sustained attention was required over the years.
He said there was need for political and administrative follow-up machinery considering what had been achieved. Such machinery must include the Security Council, the countries concerned, regional and subregional organizations, donors, as well as United Nations and other agencies. Some groups established by the Economic and Social Council had been designed for that very purpose.
It was crucial to involve United Nations agencies already in place in the planning phase of designing peacekeeping operations, he said. Also, the institutional structure of the peacekeeping operation must take into account the appointment of an assistant special representative of the Secretary-General, who would also play the role of resident coordinator. The Special Representatives themselves must be familiar with humanitarian and economic questions, and if they were not, suitable training should be provided to facilitate the effective discharge of their duties.
CRISTIÁN MAQUIEIRA (Chile) said that various organizations and governments had made proposals aimed at coherence, but the kinds of interventions needed - from humanitarian aid, rehabilitation, economic recovery and post-conflict reconstruction - often were not working in concert with each other. The Council should focus on important longer-range solutions, but it did not have an effective capacity in that regard. That was the institutional dilemma confronting the United Nations and its Members, for which appropriate solutions had not yet emerged.
He highlighted as one aspect deserving consideration the improved use of joint or ad hoc working groups. The Brahimi report had proposed composite working groups, which might work to address the range of peace operations concerns, from the political aspects to reconstruction and assistance for development. The Secretariat could commend the establishment of those ad hoc composite committees. For example, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) would become involved in political affairs, and so forth, in ways that would make it possible for the United Nations to face conflicts from multiple angles.
Today, he said, it was widely understood that there was a need to ensure association, which would enable the United Nations system and its membership, together with NGOs, to work collectively and confront the challenges arising from complex crises. It was very difficult for United Nations bodies, development agencies and NGOs to follow a joint comprehensive strategy, with a view to alleviating the effects of conflicts and providing sustained solutions through a holistic approach, thereby making it possible to evolve achievable goals. The greatest challenge might be overcoming the lack of coordination.
Faced with extraordinary circumstances, everyone was working to find the ways and means to grapple with complex crises effectively, he said. Todays discussion might pave the way to devise tools to make possible an assessment of the effectiveness and conduciveness of the decisions adopted and the machinery set up. That assessment, in turn, would lead to achieving the goals.
ISMAEL ABRÃAO GASPAR MARTINS (Angola) said that complex crises stemmed from conditions of total insecurity resulting from ethnic conflict, genocide, generalized suffering and displacement of populations within and across borders. There was a need to establish the link between security and development and to recognize that what happened within countries could have international implications.
While conflict prevention was one of the primary responsibilities of Member States, an effective preventive strategy needed a comprehensive approach, he said. In order to succeed, such an approach required the active cooperation of many actors within the United Nations and in the various regional and subregional organizations, as well as NGOs.
The Security Councils focus remained almost exclusively on emergencies, he said, adding that contrary to the purely disengagement nature of past peacekeeping, todays operations involved both military and civilian tasks. Some of them included direct administration of territory and populations, following the destruction of the social fabric as had happened in Kosovo and Timor-Leste. The Economic and Social Council had been called upon to play an ever-increasing role in the sustainable development sphere, as it was doing in Guinea-Bissau and Burundi. Its critical role in addressing the root causes of conflict was invaluable in the task of conflict prevention.
ALEXANDER KONUZIN (Russian Federation) said that the nature of current global challenges and their threat determined the need for collective action on the basis of concern and respect for the legitimate interest of all members of the international community, in strict observance of international legal norms and the comprehensive involvement of multilateral institutions at the universal and regional levels. Over a relatively short period of time, it had been possible to achieve substantial success in settling complex regional conflicts. Those successes had clearly demonstrated the inextricable link between the task of ensuring the establishment of peace and the rebirth of statehood in full-fledged social and economic recovery.
He said there had been a radical change in the tasks confronting the United Nations -- there had been a shift from a traditional ceasefire monitoring role to the resolution of complex problems, which went as far as the governing of territories. The United Nations and the international community, to a significant extent, had restructured their peacekeeping work in accordance with the new challenges. The coordinating meeting of the Secretary-Generals special representatives had been a positive development in enhancing the effectiveness and output of United Nations peacekeeping operations. The Afghanistan settlement provided an effective scheme.
Important work was also being carried out by lead countries, in terms of military and legal reforms, establishing national police and combating drug trafficking, he said. The broad settlement of the Afghan crisis, under United Nations aegis, was showing its effectiveness. The agreed international steps had turned out to be successful, owing to the unique ability of the Organization to combine its leading role in the area of security and the restoration of peace with a division of labour with regional and subregional organizations. That potential should be further developed.
He said he was convinced that only close cooperation among all of the players would enable the most effective and comprehensive treatment of complex crises. He attached special significance to further developing the partnership between the United Nations and regional organizations. He highlighted as needing work, rapid reaction, the effective use of resources and proper financing, transport and staff training, among others. He urged everyone to press ahead based on the shared desire to render United Nations peacekeeping as effective as possible.
STUART HOLLIDAY (United States) noted that in most complex crises, the economic, political and social roots of a conflict could not be disentangled. However, the response should continue to come from the whole United Nations family. The specific combination of agencies, the structure and functions of a peacekeeping operation and the responsibilities of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General should vary depending on the specifics of the crisis. There could be no template; complex crises required complex and case-specific responses.
The Council had recently moved to empower Special Representatives of the Secretary-General heading peacekeeping operations to coordinate all United Nations activities, he noted. While that model made sense in terms of ensuring a coordinated approach to security and development needs, and responding to the complexity of most crises, it might not be appropriate in all cases. The humanitarian community had some concerns about combining humanitarian and peacekeeping operations. Sensitivity to those concerns was required when assessing and creating appropriate coordination mechanisms on a case-by-case basis while, at the same time, prioritizing coordination and the efficient uses of resources.
The Councils focus today was on the United Nations response to complex crises, but it was important to recall that the Organization did not operate in a vacuum. Bilateral responses should also be coordinated within the United Nations. The United Nations and Special Representatives of the Secretary-General could play a useful role in coordinating and encouraging bilateral actors and donors, rather than discouraging them by suggesting that the Organization had it all under control. In addition, a national response should also be encouraged since national actors had the local knowledge and the long-term commitment necessary to resolve complex crises. Their potential contributions should not be underestimated.
ADAM THOMSON (United Kingdom) noted that virtually every speaker had stressed the importance of the Council addressing itself to conflict prevention. In terms of early warning, long-range early warning was difficult. His own Government was working through the issues involved in trying to develop a more systematic methodology for horizon scanning. Short-term early warning was less difficult. Over a time scale of some six to 12 months, it was not too difficult to spot a crisis coming. The humanitarian community, including in the United Nations, had some of the best short-term early warning systems in the world.
Noting that the United Nations had one of the best information-gathering networks in the world, he said it should be one of the best informed institutions in the world, but it was not. One reason was the refusal of Member States to give the Secretariat additional capacity to assess the vast amount of information to which it had access. A second reason was the question of how well the United Nations system in all its complexity used its existing capacity to coordinate and apply the available information. A third area to consider was outside capacity and tapping the United Nations into the capacities of NGOs, the private sector, regional organizations and academic institutions.
To be truly effective and to keep its staff safe, he believed that the United Nations system should strengthen its ability to deal with short- and long-range early warning factors. Translating early warning into early action would increase United Nations capacity for early warning, thereby making it easier to address conflict avoidance, as several delegations had requested. That was a complex task, however, requiring political will and resources. The Council could play a role in that regard. In its resolution 1366 (2001), it had confirmed that armed conflict prevention was an integral part of its primary responsibility for the maintenance of peace and security, but the Council had not kept situations of potential conflict under close review since adoption of that text.
For example, he continued, the Council rarely held briefings on new such situations. Of course, there was sensitivity about doing so, but a way should be found to make their inclusion more welcome to all concerned. He would welcome the greater use of Article 99 of the Charter, suggesting that the Secretary-General might bring to the Councils attention any matter that might threaten peace and security. He also called for greater use Council briefings by the Emergency Relief Coordinator and other relevant agencies to brief its members on situations. Those could remind the Council of so-called forgotten emergencies. He also supported the Secretary-Generals intention to appoint a special representative on genocide.
Tackling root causes was necessary, not only by addressing easily understood threats, such as arms proliferation, but also by addressing harder-to-measure threats, he said. Those included, among others, human rights abuses, the spread of disease, weak governance, the lack of democracy, poverty, social injustice, environmental degradation, and an almost endless list of other important issues. Clearly, sustainable security is intimately bound up with development, he said. The United Nations family, including the Bretton Woods institutions, had an indispensable role to play in mitigating those threats.
WOFGANG TRAUTWEIN (Germany) said action must be guided by a close look at the underlying causes of conflict, which may include a mix of poverty, socio-economic inequalities, weak governance institutions and practices, and deficits in -- if not a total lack of -- justice and the rule of law. Germany had moved to apply a broad concept of peace and security, including the political, socio-economic, rule of law and ecological dimensions. In order to be sustainable, peace and security must be rooted in societies endowed with inclusive and participatory institutions. They must guarantee dignity, well-being and the chance for everybody to live up to their human potential.
He said that while the United Nations needed to apply a broad security concept, the Council should not be overburdened with tasks for which it was ill-equipped. A far better way to address the multidimensional aspects of conflict was to find meaningful arrangements of the division of labour between those who, in one way or another, had comparative advantages in dealing with a given complex situation.
The United Nations was increasingly called upon to look beyond its intergovernmental horizons, he noted. The emergence of non-State actors was not only a debit on the challenges side of the equation, it was also -- much more so -- an asset on the side of expertise, public communication and action. While United Nations decision-making would remain the business of governments, the integration of non-State stakeholders and non-State expertise into the deliberative process was in everybodys interest.
GHEORGHE DUMITRU (Romania) said an integrated and comprehensive United Nations strategy to respond to complex crises must support structures aimed at strengthening peace and at promoting development, so as to transform the conditions that allowed crises to grow. The intrinsic link between peace and development must remain at the core of the United Nations response, he stressed.
He said the implementation of a strategy for addressing crises from a peace-building perspective required cooperation between the security and development structures and agencies of the United Nations. This demanded a change in the policies and operations of United Nations organs, programmes and funds, specialized agencies, departments and offices of the Secretariat. He noted that development agencies were revisiting traditional concepts of economic aid and were establishing mechanisms to link their approaches to the security community.
Similarly, the United Nations security community had expanded its conflict management activities, moving peacekeeping beyond traditional military functions, as in Somalia, the Balkans, and East Timor, where the United Nations missions took on responsibility for governance and development tasks, as well as transitional administrations. Department of Political Affairs (DPA) field offices, too, had witnessed a diversification of their tasks, he said, noting that DPA political offices established in Liberia, Guinea-Bissau and Tajikistan were tasked with peace-building activities.
He said, for its part, the Security Council had broadened its concept of peace and security and acknowledged the human dimension as a security threat. In addition to mandating a number of multidimensional peacekeeping operations, the subject of its monthly debates now covered issues such as peace-building, HIV/AIDS and the protection of civilians and armed conflict.
He added that while such developments demonstrated the emerging trend within the United Nations of the convergence of development and security strategies, challenges remained at the political, institutional and operational level. He recommended greater support by the Security Council of the security and development efforts of United Nations organs and mechanisms and urged Member States to provide increased support and clear mandates to United Nations efforts in integrated and comprehensive activities.
MUNIR AKRAM (Pakistan), in his national capacity, said that the sharp increase in the number and intensity of complex crises had imposed formidable political, economic and humanitarian costs. The Council had been seized with several such crises around the globe. There had been noteworthy successes -- Angola, Timor Leste and Sierra Leone, among them -- and visible failures, such as Rwanda. Currently, there was active and full engagement of the Council with several situations in West and Central Africa and the Horn of Africa. At the same time, some crises, while on the Councils agenda, had lingered far too long for lack of particular attention and other reasons. Somalia was a classic example. Conflicts and crises had also recurred in Liberia and Haiti.
He said that evolving a comprehensive, integrated and coherent response to those crises remained a formidable challenge for the international community. At the policy level, the first priority must always be preventive diplomatic action. A credible early warning capacity based on impartial and accurate analysis of situations was an essential requirement. If that analysis pointed in the direction of potential conflict, then the United Nations system must act promptly and with cohesion, for which there were several means at its disposal.
The scope and time-scale of United Nations involvement in preventive diplomatic action might be carefully designed, he continued. It should be neither too little nor too late. At the same time, that should not be too intrusive. Nor should it be coercive. That would entail evolving a calibrated policy response, with the Secretary-General, the Security Council, and the United Nations system at large working in synergy within their respective roles and mandates. In the event of an outbreak of conflict, the Councils role became most prominent.
He said that the quality of the Councils engagement -- whether direct or indirect -- was of crucial significance. Of late, the Councils missions had become an important tool to gain better understanding of ground realities and to find ways of containing conflict and promoting peace processes. Its interaction with regional and subregional organizations was also increasing. But, the Council must go beyond conflict management in addressing complex crises. It must pay greater attention to resolving conflicts.
While United Nations peacekeeping operations were performing an excellent job in some very challenging conditions, they were seldom the most effective instruments for conflict resolution, he said. The Council must focus more on that aspect. There had to be clear recognition that durable peace could only be established when the underlying causes were effectively addressed. The need to do so was no more imperative than in complex crises. While peacekeeping missions working within their mandates could help in various ways, they were not the panacea for the whole range of complex and underlying causes. Sierra Leone was a relevant example.
He stressed that the root causes of conflicts were many and diverse. In the long list, however, poverty and underdevelopment seemed omnipresent. A look at the issues on the Councils agenda revealed that the theatre of nearly all of those conflict situations was the developing world -- a striking observation indeed, but not a startling one. The inter-linkage between peace and development was now well recognized, and was also at the heart of the Millennium Summit, which had taken several far-reaching decisions concerning the dual objectives of peace and development. The approach to complex crises must take into account that vital inter-linkage.
Peace-building was now seen as another crucial component of another strategy for sustainable peace and development, he continued. Thus, interaction between the two Councils -- Security Council and ECOSOC -- should continue to develop. Intra-organ coordination must be accompanied by closer coordination between the Secretariat and the agencies, funds and programmes. The humanitarian and development dimensions of complex crises could not be effectively addressed unless those components of the system operated within agreed parameters and on common premises.
He said that, in order to promote coherence in response to multifarious challenges, several initiatives had been suggested. Recently, the President of Mozambique and the Prime Minister of Portugal had proposed the creation of a new commission to promote peace and development, mandated by and in conjunction with the Security Council and ECOSOC. Pakistan had proposed the establishment of ad hoc composite committee of the three principal organs of the United Nations -- the General Assembly, the Security Council and ECOSOC -- to effectively address the complex crises and emergencies, including in Africa.
The crux of todays debate had been that the United Nations system must work more coherently to develop comprehensive and integrated responses to complex crises, he observed. Hopefully, the discussion would guide efforts within and outside the United Nations system to respond to complex crises and emergencies and to make the world a safer and more liveable place.
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