Statement by Sweden at the UN Security Council Open Debate on Maintenance of international peace and security: Addressing complex contemporary challenges to international peace and security


Statement delivered by Ambassador Olof Skoog on behalf of Sweden at the United Nations Security Council Open Debate on Maintenance of international peace and security: Addressing complex contemporary challenges to international peace and security, 20 December 2017, New York.

Mr President,

I would like to align myself with the statement to be made later today on behalf of the European Union and the Nordic statement.

Let me begin by thanking you for scheduling today's open debate, which provides us with an opportunity to continue our important discussions on the increasingly complex security challenges facing the world today and how this Council can better address them. I would also like to thank the Secretary-General for his, as always, insightful briefing on this subject. Thanks for visionary reform agenda. In many ways aim to improve the UN-s response to these challenges.

Multi-dimensional poverty, climate changes, transnational organised crime, food insecurity, weak governance, abuses and violations of human rights and growing inequality are only a few of the challenges that are increasingly influencing the situations that appear on this Council's agenda. The negative impacts of these threats on international peace and security are likely to intensify. As the body responsible for maintaining international peace and security, the Security Council's preventive role is, perhaps, now more important than ever. However, prevention will not be possible without a comprehensive and holistic strategy to address thesechallenges. This means dealing with root the causes of conflict as well as conflict amplifiers in order to sustain peace.

Mr President,

The evidence in support of more comprehensive and holistic approaches to prevention and sustaining peace are building. The recent joint UN and World Bank report 'Pathways to Peace' identifies exclusion, inequality and power imbalances as the principal causes of many of today's conflict. Inequalities and lack of opportunity provide fertile ground for conflict, radicalization and instability. In our visit to the Lake Chad Basin region, we ourselves saw, first hand, the adverse effects of climate change on the stability of the region. This has also been obvious in the Council's consideration of the situations in Darfur, Somalia and the Sahel. In our work on Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Sahel region and Colombia, amongst others, we have seen how organized crime, illicit financial flows, the drugs trade, as well as trafficking in persons and natural resources funds warfare and have a devastating impact on civilians.

True conflict prevention requires an understanding of the structural nature of such challenges and their interplay with political decisions. So, building on the sustaining peace agenda, and in line with the UN reform processes, what, then, is needed to put conflict prevention at the core of our actions and to enhance our collective ability to deal with these contemporary complex security challenges?

Well I would like to make three suggestions.

Firstly, we need a thorough understanding of the drivers of risk; the political will and adequate resources to address them early on; and a United Nations system that has the flexibility to respond.

Frank, timely and cross-pillar analysis and information are critical if the Security Council is to be effective at preventing, managing and resolving conflicts. Enhancing the UN system's joint analysis and integrated strategic planning capabilities (including improved risk assessments and risk management strategies) would allow the Security Council and the United Nations system to address conflicts at the early stages. We are confident that the ongoing reform efforts, led by the Secretary-General, will better position the United Nations system in this regard.

As highlighted by numerous countries at the Arria meeting on climate and security last Friday, there is a clear need for the UN to enhance its capabilities to better foresee, understand and respond to climate-related security risks. This includes identifying and responding to the risks of instability and insecurity arising from how the effects of climate change interact with social, economic and political factors.

Secondly, research, and experience, shows us that conflicts are more likely to become armed in unequal societies. The promotion of gender equality and women's participation in peace and security efforts is therefore essential to sustaining peace. For this reason, it is important to consistently integrate a gender perspective into our long-term strategies, and when responding to complex challenges ahead, to understand how they affect women and men and better target responses.

Finally, there is an evident and inherent link between respect for human rights and international humanitarian law and the maintenance of international peace and security. Respect for, and protection of, human rights contributes to efforts to address the root causes and drivers of instability. It thereby helps to prevent and resolve conflicts, and to sustain peace.

A general erosion of respect for international humanitarian law is straining our peacekeeping efforts and putting the people we send to the field to great risk The attack against MONUSCO earlier this month is a shocking example, adding further impetus for a shift toward a more proactive and preventive stance in dealing with contemporary security challenges.

Responding early to violations of international humanitarian law and violations and abuses of human rights can effectively prevent conflicts, before they become a threat to regional and international peace and security. When conflicts do occur, accountability for such violations is vital for both justice and reconciliation.

Mr President,

To conclude, the best way to prevent societies from descending into violence and crisis is to ensure that they are resilient through investment in inclusive and sustainable development. The 2030 Agenda and the sustaining peace resolutions provides a blueprint for addressing the root causes of conflict. Now we need to make sure that its implementation is risk-informed and adaptive to enable sustainable development, including in contexts with an emerging risk of violence. Implementation of Agenda 2030, together with the Sustaining Peace agenda and the UN Charter constitutes a powerful strategy for prevention.

Thank you


Lisa Laskaridis
Head of Press and Communication, Permanent Mission of Sweden to the UN
Phone +1 212 583 2543
Mobile +1 917 239 0941
email to Lisa Laskaridis