As Geopolitical Tensions Escalate, United Nations, Regional Organizations Must Strengthen Cooperation, Preventive Diplomacy, Speakers Tell Security Council
Against the backdrop of a raging conflict between Israel and Hamas and a nearly two-year war waged by the Russian Federation against Ukraine, the United Nations and regional and subregional organizations must further strengthen their cooperation and promote among Member States full use of the diplomatic tools and mechanisms set forth in the UN Charter to peacefully resolve conflicts, and foremost prevent them, delegates told the Security Council today.
During a day-long open debate on the contributions of regional mechanisms for peace and security, more than 60 speakers highlighted successful initiatives to that end and offered concrete proposals to bolster conflict prevention and peace efforts amid an increasingly adversarial geopolitical landscape.
Mohamed Khaled Khiari, Assistant Secretary-General for the Middle East, Asia and the Pacific, first briefed the Council, citing a world of deepening divisions and retrenchment, with geopolitical tensions at their highest in decades. “The ensuing loss of trust — and the risks of escalation — affect almost all regions,” he said. Diplomacy must be the driving force for a more effective collective security system, and that demands a commitment to the pacific settlement disputes as set forth in Chapter VI of the UN Charter. “As A New Agenda for Peace recognizes, Member States have the responsibility — and the means — to meet the shared obligations entrusted to them by the Charter,” he said.
Regional organizations and frameworks have a critical role in resolving armed conflict, he said, noting that they can, among other things, bring credibility and legitimacy for preventive diplomacy. Meanwhile, the good offices of the Secretary-General remain at the disposal of Member States as an impartial vehicle to bring them together toward mutually acceptable solutions, he said, stressing: “we need courage to listen to the views of others and consider them in good faith”.
Michelle Bachelet, former President of Chile, called for a robust, universal approach to prevent conflict and violence, guiding action across the human rights and sustainable development pillars. Stressing that “conflicts breed where there is poor governance, human rights abuse and grievances over the unequal distribution of resources”, she said precipitating women’s meaningful participation in decision-making and eradicating violence against them would enable progress in sustaining peace.
The Council also heard from Thabo Mbeki, former President of South Africa, who said the African Union, will continue to cooperate directly with the Security Council on peace and security challenges. The 2015 report of the High-level Independent Panel on Peace Operations called for politics to be the hallmark of the UN’s approach in peacemaking and for global and regional partners to work together for peace and stability, he recalled, underscoring the continued importance of both given the need to strengthen the peace effort globally.
Josefina Echavarría Álvarez, Director of the Peace Accords Matrix, said that sustained dialogue is most needed when there are disagreements and political difficulties. Peace agreements are more likely to succeed when the commitments therein go beyond military and security provisions, and incorporate questions of political and social development, gender and ethnic rights, as well as justice-related reforms that benefit society as a whole.
In the ensuing discussion, several speakers underscored that regional and subregional organizations have in-depth knowledge of their respective regions that can greatly help in facilitating progress towards peace, with Ecuador’s representative stressing that: “Regional actors are the first to recognize the signs of a potential conflict.”
Ghana’s representative was among speakers who offered recommendations on how to better coordinate the United Nations’ and regional organizations’ peace efforts, stating that that the UN’s mediation capacities should be interlocked with those of regional arrangements in ways that can leverage their regional knowledge and experience with the Organization’s global resources.
Delegates also stressed the need to maximize use of the tools provided for in Chapter VI of the UN Charter regarding the pacific settlement of disputes. These include negotiation, enquiry, mediation, conciliation, arbitration, judicial settlement, resort to regional agencies or arrangements, or other peaceful means of their own choice.
Among them was Brazil’s representative, Security Council President for October, who spoke in his national capacity and called on Member States to rediscover the Council’s own tools and to learn from initiatives that have been successful elsewhere. Chapter VI of the UN Charter gave the Council wide latitude to be creative, but unfortunately, creativity in political solutions has waned recently as the Council focused on coercive measures, he pointed out, adding that it has been prolific in creating subsidiary bodies to monitor sanction regimes.
Noura Al Kaabi, Minister of State at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the United Arab Emirates, on that note, underscored that the impact of the Council’s work on preventing conflict will be in its results and “not in our statements”. The current crisis in the Middle East is the result of the belief that conflict can be managed indefinitely, without addressing its root causes, she emphasized, highlighting the need for international and regional actors to prioritize preventive diplomacy and conflict resolution.
Igli Hasani, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs of Albania, said it is imperative to reflect on the most efficient form of cooperation between the Security Council and regional organizations. Like many other speakers, he highlighted the European Union’s role in promoting peace, security and human rights, noting its work to meet humanitarian and development needs, mitigate climate change and strengthen accountability for violations of international law.
The Russian Federation’s delegate, on that point, said the role of regional and subregional organizations is unquestionable in their work to strengthen unity and find common ground. However, he deemed the European Union’s contribution to peace and security highly dubious, he said, noting that the bloc has been preparing Ukraine to oppose his country for years and supplies offensive weaponry to it. Similarly, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is focused on the strategic defeat of the Russian Federation.
Several speakers highlighted the positive contributions of the African Union in peace efforts and its strong partnership with the United Nations. Egypt’s representative welcomed the Council’s annual meeting with the African Union Peace and Security Council, as well as the briefings it receives on African issues. Echoing other delegates, he called on the Council to fund the African Union peace and support operations and to provide resources to the Secretary-General's Peacebuilding Fund based on Member States’ contributions.
Meanwhile, Indonesia’s representative, spoke on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), emphasizing his bloc’s adherence to the key principles, shared values and norms enshrined in the United Nations Charter, ASEAN Charter and other regional agreements. Spotlighting its efforts to promote constructive dialogue cooperation, he said his bloc is committed to assisting Myanmar on the implementation of the Five-Point Consensus in finding a peaceful solution to ongoing crises.
Giving testament to the power of Article 33 and Chapter VI of the UN Charter was Peru’s representative, who recalled the signing of the Brasilia Presidential Act in 1998. Ecuador and Peru reached that agreement by using many of the options of Chapter VI of the UN Charter as well as confidence-building measures. They negotiated directly and bilaterally, and when that did not resolve the issue at hand, they turned to guarantor countries — Argentina, Chile, Brazil and the United States — who played mediation, conciliation and arbitration roles.
Urging political will to combat underuse of the tools in the Charter, he called on the international community to make better use of Chapter VI, especially Article 33. Noting that bilateral conflicts have a wider impact beyond the two countries concerned, he said that his country’s agreement with Ecuador represents what can be achieved when there is political will.
PEACE THROUGH DIALOGUE: THE CONTRIBUTION OF REGIONAL, SUBREGIONAL AND BILATERAL ARRANGEMENTS TO THE PREVENTION AND PEACEFUL RESOLUTION OF DISPUTES
MOHAMED KHALED KHIARI, Assistant Secretary-General for the Middle East, Asia and the Pacific, noted that, today, the stakes for preventive diplomacy and dialogue could not be higher, warning that absent a negotiated two-State solution for Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory, the vicious cycle of violence risks plunging the entire region into conflict for years and generations to come. With the post-cold-war period over and a transition under way to a new global order, he noted that “the world has entered a new era”, but already it is marked by deepening divisions and retrenchment, with geopolitical tensions at their highest in decades. “The ensuing loss of trust — and the risks of escalation — affect almost all regions,” he pointed out, noting that many States have been sceptical about the multilateral system and have profound grievances regarding unmet commitments and double standards. “Women and men everywhere also have a deep sense that Governments and international organizations are failing to deliver for them,” he added.
“With increasing geopolitical strife and challenges to international norms, negotiated settlements of conflicts have been harder to achieve,” he said, pointing to the pursuit of military solutions prominently featuring in recent conflicts for which the civilians are paying a heavy toll. Moreover, the deterioration of global and regional arms-control frameworks has increased the possibility of dangerous standoffs, miscalculations and escalation. He highlighted that: “Against this backdrop, the Secretary-General’s policy brief on A New Agenda for Peace outlines how Member States can take action to re-engage, deescalate, recommit to diplomacy for peace and rebuild trust.” While it takes risk-taking, persistence and creativity, diplomacy must be the driving force for a more effective collective security system, he said, stressing: “Diplomatic engagement is important among countries that think alike. But it is crucial between those that disagree.” Diplomacy demands, above all else, a commitment to the pacific settlement of disputes, he emphasized, pointing to Chapter VI of the Charter of the United Nations, which prescribes that all States shall rely on peaceful means as their first option to resolve disputes.
Regional organizations and frameworks, which have a critical role in resolving armed conflict, can bring credibility and legitimacy for preventive diplomacy, increase trust and reduce misperceptions, as well as enhance mechanisms for crisis management, he pointed out. They can also offer avenues for trust-building and détente, he added, highlighting that regional actions have successfully prevented conflicts and escalation throughout recent history. While not all lessons are transferrable from one region to another, they show how to initiate dialogue to overcome differences — and seek assistance of a trusted intermediary when needed; ensure that channels of communication remain open even when the disputes escalate into violence; and take account of the fears and concerns of one’s rival and actively work to reduce these by building frameworks that enhance trust. Strengthening, building or rebuilding regional frameworks and organizations is particularly important in regions where long-standing security architectures are collapsing or mired in stalemate — or where they have never existed, he stressed, adding that strong partnerships between the United Nations and regional organizations are also needed.
“As A New Agenda for Peace recognizes, the Member States of the United Nations have the responsibility — and the means — to meet the shared obligations entrusted to them by the United Nations Charter,” he said, noting that the good offices of the Secretary-General, and his envoys, remains at their disposal — not only as a tool to prevent and mediate conflict, but as an impartial vehicle to bring Member States together to seek mutually acceptable solutions. “In this increasingly divided world, we need at least one institution in which all can trust,” he emphasized. No stone can be left unturned in the search of avenues for de-escalation and trust-building, he said, stressing that: “For this to work, we need courage to listen to the views of others and consider them in good faith.” Regional frameworks and institutions play a key bridge-building conduit in this regard, he said, stating: “At a time of heightened tensions, it is our shared responsibility to do everything in our power to maintain the system of collective security that our predecessors built.”
MICHELLE BACHELET, former President of Chile, underlined that, amid a shifting world order, the world must adjust to a more fragmented geopolitical landscape. The growing complexity of the conflict environment makes its resolution more difficult, as local and regional dynamics intersect in complex ways with the interests of external parties. To address such challenges, she called for the building of a robust and universal approach to prevent conflict and violence guiding action across the human rights and sustainable development pillars, adding: “Prevention saves lives and safeguards development gains.” Outlining the provisions of Chapter VI of the Charter of the United Nations, which lays out tools for prevention of disputes, she noted that preventing crises is primarily the responsibility of Member States.
On Chapter VIII of the Charter, which contains provisions concerning the role of regional arrangements in maintaining peace and their relations with the Council, she said that, more than ever, the United Nations is called on to encourage dialogue among Members to strengthen regional organizations to enhance their role in maintaining international peace and security. She highlighted that, in the policy brief on the Secretary-General’s A New Agenda for Peace, published in July, he calls for robust regional frameworks and organizations in the face of growing competition at the global level and increasingly transnational threats. These regional frameworks and organizations should promote trust-building, transparency and détente. “But, we cannot forget that conflicts breed where there is poor governance, human rights abuse and grievances over the unequal distribution of resources,” she stressed.
At the seventy-fifth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, human rights are facing pushback in all regions, she went on, adding: “Painfully, we see a significant retrenchment of human rights and an erosion of the rule of law, including in contexts of armed conflicts.” Against this backdrop, she underlined the urgent need to return to core principles. The United Nations is a norms-based organization, she said, underscoring the need to rebuild consensus among Member States. Diplomacy should not just be a tool for reducing risks of conflict, but also to manage heightened fractures marking the geopolitical order today. On this, she emphasized the need for women’s participation in mediation for lasting peace, which goes beyond the silencing of guns. Precipitating women’s meaningful participation in decision-making, eradicating all forms of violence against women, among other measures, would help shift power and enable progress in sustaining peace, she added.
On the positive role of bilateral, subregional and regional arrangements in building confidence and maintaining peace, she spotlighted the imminent twenty-fifth anniversary of the signing of the Brasilia Agreements, a historic moment which ended a boundary dispute in the Americas, with the participation, as guarantors, of Argentina, Brazil, Chile and the United States, which provides evidence of the value of the regional actors in building sustainable peace.
THABO MBEKI, former President of South Africa, noting that for decades, the overwhelming majority of UN peacekeepers have been deployed to Africa, said that the continent, and more specifically the African Union, will continue to cooperate directly with the Security Council on peace and security challenges. Highlighting past failures, including in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, South Sudan and Mali, he reminded the Council of two elements of the 2015 report of the High-level Independent Panel on Peace Operations, which called for politics to be the hallmark of the United Nations approach in peacemaking and for global and regional partners to work together for peace and stability. These points are still important because of their direct relevance to what needs to be done to strengthen the peace effort globally, he said.
The African Union, with its strong peace and security architecture, is best placed to ensure the politics for prevention and resolution of conflict in Africa, he continued, adding that this idea applies equally to other regional organizations in other parts of the work. Going forward, a bold new agenda is required through partnerships. He called for some UN resources to be used to fund African Union peace operations, explaining that this will not weaken the Council, but rather help it to discharge its obligations through strong regional partners.
JOSEFINA ECHAVARRÍA ÁLVAREZ, Director of the Peace Accords Matrix (PAM), said that sustained dialogue is most needed when there are disagreements and political difficulties. “These are the best times to deepen our understanding on how and when the implementation of peaceful arrangements fails — not an uncommon occurrence — and focus our attention on how to design and implement peaceful arrangements that can succeed in the short, mid- and long term.” The Peace Accords Matrix project at the Kroc Institute has researched more than 34 intra-State comprehensive peace accords signed since 1989. The project’s data offers insights into the types of provisions that are more or less likely to be implemented, how implementation processes unfold over time and how implementation affects different post-accord outcomes. “We make use of this research-based knowledge to engage conflict parties, mediators, negotiators and civil society organizations in dialogues and with technical advice on process and content issues,” she said.
Most peace accords fail when they are not comprehensive in relation to the issues they cover, when not all actors and stakeholders are engaged in negotiation and implementation and, importantly, when a peace accord lacks strong and independent verification and monitoring mechanisms, she said. Peace agreements are more likely to succeed when the commitments included in the accord go beyond military and security provisions, such as those dealing with demobilization and reintegration of ex-combatants. “They are more likely to succeed when they incorporate questions of political and social development, gender and ethnic rights, as well as justice-related reforms that benefit society as a whole.” Research shows that peace accords with third-party mechanisms have almost a 47 per cent higher rate of implementation success over those that do not, she said.
Turning to the Final Agreement for Ending the Conflict and Building a Stable and Lasting Peace in Colombia, signed between the Government of President Juan Manuel Santos and the former Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia—People's Army (FARC-EP) in 2016, she said that the project provided technical support during negotiations in Havana. The signatory parties gave a mandate to the Kroc Institute to be part of the International Verification Mechanism and monitor the implementation of the entire accord in real time. “We created a matrix based on 578 concrete, observable and measurable commitments.” The peace accord’s strong, independent and reliable mechanism of verification also has a crucial component, namely the UN Verification Mission in Colombia, she added. This is vital for maintaining the momentum, support and resources of the United Nations and the international community on the peacebuilding process.
SÉRGIO FRANÇA DANESE (Brazil), Security Council President for October, speaking in his national capacity, called on members to look inwards and outwards. The former means rediscovering the Council’s own tools while the latter means learning from initiatives that have been successful elsewhere. Chapter VI of the Charter of the United Nations gave the Council wide latitude to be creative, he pointed out, adding that, unfortunately, creativity in political solutions has waned recently as the Council focused on coercive measures. The over-reliance on Chapter VII has made consensus harder to reach. The Council must also examine where preventive diplomacy, mediation and other tools of peaceful settlement have proven successful. While it has been prolific in creating subsidiary bodies to monitor sanction regimes, there is scarcely any subsidiary body dedicated to supporting political processes under Chapter VI, he pointed out. Calling for “a healthy degree of humility”, he stressed the need to expand the Council. “More voices around the table can help overcome the logic of rivalry that periodically paralyses many decisions here,” he stressed.
IGLI HASANI, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs of Albania, pointing to the conflict in Ukraine and the escalating situation in the Middle East, said that the rules-based international order remains an essential tool for promoting peace and stability. Recalling that the Secretary-General’s policy brief “A New Agenda for Peace” calls for strong partnerships between the United Nations and regional frameworks, he said that it is imperative to reflect on the most efficient form of cooperation between the Security Council and regional organizations. He underscored the European Union’s role in promoting peace, security and human rights, meeting humanitarian and development needs, mitigating climate change and strengthening accountability for violations of international law. He also spotlighted the recent Summit of the Berlin Process for the Western Balkans, an initiative that has launched a process of reconciliation, peaceful resolution of bilateral issues and improved regional economic cooperation.
NOURA AL KAABI, Minister of State at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the United Arab Emirates, said the impact of the Council’s work on preventing conflict will be in its results and “not in our statements”. Underscoring trust as a critical foundation for peacebuilding, she said that deconfliction efforts or establishing hotlines among militaries can prevent miscalculations or escalation. Coordination is also critical, she added, as the benefit of a multilevel, multi-prong approach is the reinforcement of efforts towards conflict prevention and mediation. However, because a multiplicity of mediators-to-be can give rise to mixed messages and risks undermining progress, coordination mechanisms must be strengthened. The United Arab Emirates believes that the current crisis in the Middle East is the result of the belief that conflict can be managed indefinitely, without addressing its root causes. This clearly not a solution, but rather highlights the need for international and regional actors to prioritize preventive diplomacy and conflict resolution. While these tools are clear, “what we need is the political will to deploy them, even when the risks of failing are high”.
VANESSA FRAZIER (Malta) said that regional and subregional organizations have in-depth knowledge that can greatly help to facilitate progress towards peace. The European Union is a living example of how multilateralism and regional integration brings peace, stability, prosperity and growth, while the African Union actively contributes to sustainable peace and security in Africa through its peace support operations. “Partnerships between international and regional organizations are also worth investing in,” she said, pointing to UN-African Union-European Union cooperation on peace and security. The United Nations, and particularly the Council, must use all means and measures provided for in the UN Charter to prioritize the peaceful settlement of disputes and advance conflict prevention and resolution efforts. The Organization’s capacity to act as a mediator and implement effective UN-led mediation must be enhanced, while the use of the Secretary-General’s good offices remains crucial for promoting the peaceful resolution of disputes, she added.
MICHEL XAVIER BIANG (Gabon), pointing out that the current crisis in the Middle East calls on the Council to reflect on the scale and breadth of the responsibility it shoulders, underscored the need to commit to reinvigorating diplomacy and breathe new life into the prevention and peaceful resolution of disputes. The Charter of the United Nations contains tools which should be used more, he said, echoing A New Agenda for Peace, which pointed out that distrust had taken root around the world amid clashes, international law violations and expansionist logic. Trust must be rebuilt to restore peace, he said, noting his country’s participation in regional organizations to manage and prevent crises, including the Central Africa Early Warning System, headquartered in his country. The Luanda and Nairobi agreements show that subregional frameworks can build credible bridges with international action, he said, also highlighting cooperation between the United Nations and African Union across various fields, including peacebuilding and combating terrorism. In this context, he underscored the urgent need to ensure predictable and adequate financial support to peace operations undertaken by the African Union.
ROBERT A. WOOD (United States) called regional partnerships essential for addressing regional challenges, including climate change, conflict, violence and terrorism. Next year’s Summit of the Future will be an important opportunity to take stock of the tools for maintaining peace and security. He highlighted the United Nations’ critical convening role at the regional and national levels and its ability to bring together civil society, major donors and Governments. Welcoming A New Agenda for Peace’s focus on conflict prevention and an expanded role for the Peacebuilding Commission, he emphasized the need to fully integrate respect for human rights and the advancement of international law and the rule of law at the national level into the Commission’s work. “Development and peace cannot advance without full consideration of these issues.” For its part, the Council must be responsive to regional organizations’ requests for peace support, he said.
PEDRO COMISSÁRIO AFONSO (Mozambique) said that dialogue is at the heart of any conflict resolution. “It bridges differences, it leads to a mutual understanding, to shared values, to our common humanity,” he said, adding: “We speak from our own experience in our region: Southern Africa.” That region has suffered most from the lack of dialogue, but it has evolved from a past “infected” with tensions, conflicts and wars into a place of relative peace and a firm commitment to dialogue and cooperation. Today’s Council debate is particularly important because it is taking place at a moment of heightened geopolitical tensions, particularly at regional and subregional levels. He went on to say that the concept of “African solutions to African problems” is a clear recognition of the undeniable contribution of local, subregional and regional entities, as well as bilateral arrangements, in attaining sustainable peace and security.
ISHIKANE KIMIHIRO (Japan), noting the varied and complex crises of the moment, said the international community must use all tools available, including negotiation, mediation, arbitration, judicial settlements and regional arrangements. Highlighting the role of bilateral, regional and subregional arrangements based on mutual trust and geographic specificity, he commended the activities of the African Union, Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), European Union and others. Encouraging the utilization of such mechanisms, he said the Peacebuilding Commission is a platform for strengthening partnerships and sharing best practices. Noting the global impact of regional crises, he said the United Nations and regional arrangements must not be mutually exclusive. The most important thing is to prevent a crisis from happening in the first place, he stressed, adding that upholding the rule of law is key to that.
VASSILY A. NEBENZIA (Russian Federation) said the role of regional and subregional organizations is unquestionable and he noted the work of organizations around the world in strengthening unity and finding common ground. However, he deemed the European Union’s contribution to peace and security highly dubious. The European Union has been preparing Ukraine to oppose the Russian Federation for years and supplies offensive weaponry to Ukraine, violating their own standards, he said, adding the bloc has not brought anything positive to the normalization process between Armenia and Azerbaijan, and has only increased the divergences between the States. Brussels is only motivated by geopolitical ambitions and trying to acquire new spheres of influence and colonize vulnerable States, he said. Similarly, the North Atlantic bloc is a hangover from the cold war and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) operations are characterized by many civilian casualties and destruction of infrastructure, he said, adding the bloc is focused on the strategic defeat of the Russian Federation.
ZHANG JUN (China) said regional mechanisms, in working with the United Nations to maintain common security, must abide by international law and basic norms governing international relations, respecting sovereignty and territorial integrity of countries concerned. They should also reinforce each other’s strength in trust-building, prioritize preventive diplomacy and eliminate the root causes of conflicts. Describing the Palestine-Israel situation as the “most pressing crisis in front of us”, he urged the UN and the Security Council to heed the call of Arab countries and strengthen coordination with regional mechanisms to promote an immediate ceasefire and protect civilians. The Organization should help Africa maintain stability and combat terrorism, while forming synergy with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the Afghanistan Contact Group on Afghanistan; at the same time supporting ASEAN in resolving the Myanmar situation. China opposes the use of human rights as a pretext to interfere in the internal affairs of States, he said.
PASCALE CHRISTINE BAERISWYL (Switzerland) said that, when regional organizations take the lead in conflict mediation, the Council’s role is three-fold: a normative guardian, a catalyst and a preventive role. As a normative guardian, the Security Council has a duty to ensure that regional arrangements comply with universal norms. As a catalyst, the Council can amplify regional conflict-mediation efforts through the sharing of views and recommendations, such as during its field visits or informal interactive dialogues. The Council must assume its preventive role by focusing on cooperation in the broadest sense of the term. The UN’s special political missions must be able to engage more in prevention, while the Secretary-General should make full use of all his mediation tools. “The New Agenda for Peace can serve as a common point of reference for all of us,” she emphasized, stressing that Member States for whom the peaceful settlement of disputes remains an obligation must be “guided by a shared conviction: that every conflict avoided benefits humanity as a whole”.
JAMES KARIUKI (United Kingdom) observed that people are living — and dying —through an unprecedented period of conflict, pointing to figures from the Peace Research Institute of Oslo, which found that, last year, there were 55 active conflicts, and more battle-related deaths than in any year since 1984. With conflict “trending relentlessly the wrong direction” for decades, he asked what the Council, United Nations and other actors can do to change that trend. In that context, he underscored the need to do more, and in a more coordinated manner, to support national actors to prevent and resolve conflict, pointing to his country’s bilateral and multilateral conflict-resolution efforts, including as a major voluntary donor to global United Nations peace programmes. Coordination and support for regional organizations, such as the Council’s with the African Union Peace and Security Council, could be deepened and extended, through various measures, including stronger linkages between early warning mechanisms. “Where national and regional efforts fail, it is the duty of this Council to take action to safeguard international peace and security,” he added.
HERNÁN PÉREZ LOOSE (Ecuador) said States’ underutilization of the means available to them for peacebuilding, as established in the Charter, is one of the greatest shortcomings of the international community in achieving the peaceful resolution of disputes. He said regional, subregional and bilateral agreements have the potential to complement and strengthen UN efforts to settle disputes. “Regional actors are the first to recognize the signs of a potential conflict. They are also able to guarantee the implementation of peace agreements through the creation of demilitarized zones, ceasefires and supporting political and negotiating processes, amongst others,” he said. The experience of Latin America in this area speaks volumes, he continued, and the region has demonstrated in recent decades that conflicts can be prevented and resolved peacefully. The Brasilia Peace Agreement that Ecuador and Peru signed in 1998 was aided by negotiations including regional countries as guarantors. The peace settlement proved that conflicts between nations can be resolved, he said.
NICOLAS DE RIVIÈRE (France) said that regional integration is of invaluable service to the maintenance of international peace and security. Such cooperation continues to be the “driving force of growth” on the European continent. It is a model which respects the fundamental principles laid out in the United Nations Charter. “We support all of the regional actors that share that vision,” he added. The European Union is by far the number-one donor to the African Union and will continue to offer its support. In Latin America, the European Union continues to work in partnership with the region’s organizations to address threats to international peace and security, mainly the scourges of climate change. In Asia, the European Union’s cooperation with ASEAN is one of strategic partnership. He also stressed that regional action must remain complementary to Security Council action. The Council retains primarily responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security.
HAROLD ADLAI AGYEMAN (Ghana) said it is ironic that the Council has often not resorted to the use of pacific tools, despite options to do so, within national mechanisms, regional protocols and international treaties, including the Charter of the United Nations. While some hold that peaceful means would not produce desirable outcomes, or necessarily be swift, in fact, they have usually led to just and enduring outcomes. Highlighting the Secretary-General’s good offices, he said the Organization’s mediation capacities should be interlocked with those of regional arrangements in ways that can leverage regional knowledge and experience with the global resources of the UN. Pointing to the success of many regional arrangements on his continent, he said they have mechanisms that are deployed to defuse tensions, elicit commitment to peaceful settlement and resolve disputes. Calling for additional resources in support of their effective functioning, he proposed periodic informal interactive dialogues between the Council and such arrangements.
GERARDO PEÑALVER PORTAL (Cuba) said the indiscriminate bombing by Israel against the Palestinian population and the destruction of housing, hospitals and civilian infrastructure, and the withholding of food, water and fuel from the Palestinian people, must stop immediately. Nothing can justify such actions which constitute serious violation of international law, he said, calling for an immediate ceasefire, access to humanitarian assistance for the civilian population and the prevention of forced displacement of Palestinians from land which belongs to them by right. There cannot be peace if atrocious violations of international humanitarian law are allowed, such as those being perpetrated by Israel, the occupying Power, against Palestine, he said, adding that the complicity of the United States in the commission of these war crimes is shameful and sets a dangerous precedent. The path towards peaceful coexistence is by the preservation of multilateralism and respect for the Charter of the United Nations, he said.
ALEXANDER MARSCHIK(Austria) said just as human rights are universal, all countries likewise need to play their role in building inclusive, just and ultimately peaceful societies. Endorsing the Secretary-General’s New Agenda for Peace, he encouraged the Secretariat, while discussing operationalization modalities, to utilize existing structures in providing guidance in the run up to the Summit of the Future. He said the United Nations and the Security Council must foster stronger partnerships with regional and subregional organizations, even as Austria hopes for sustainable financing for their operations, including the African Union Peace Support Operations mandated by Council. These efforts, however, do not translate to a reduction of or a departure from classic UN peacekeeping, which “must remain a core function” of the Organization, he noted. Describing trust as the lifeline for multilateralism, he called for greater cooperation and adherence to the rule of law.
OSAMA MAHMOUD ABDELKHALEK MAHMOUD (Egypt) said African mechanisms directly linked to the African Union and those alongside it have made notable successes but are facing significant challenges posed by different approaches and lack of coordination among them. He thus welcomed the Council’s efforts to coordinate those African mechanisms, including within the framework of its annual meeting with the African Union Peace and Security Council, as well as the briefings it receives on African issues. To step up the continent’s efforts in peace and security, the Council must fund the African Union peace and support operations and provide resources to the Secretary-General's Peacebuilding Fund based on Member States’ contributions. Although the Council has been unable to resolve the situation in the Middle East, his country spared no effort to that end. The current challenges reaffirm the urgency of reforming the Security Council, he stressed, stating: “We need a permanent Arab and African presence within the Security Council with all the prerogatives of a permanent member of the Security Council.”
MATHU JOYINI (South Africa) said that instead of speaking about preventive diplomacy, as is fashionable to do, “we must instead ask why is it that preventive diplomacy and measures provided in Chapter VI of the Charter of the United Nations are seldom utilized.” However, for these tools to be used, political will and visionary leadership are vital, as is restoring trust among conflicting parties. Due to its history of avoiding a civil war, South Africa believes in the peaceful resolution of conflicts, she said, highlighting participation in engagements that have contributed to finding political solutions in many countries in Africa, including the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi and Tigray, Ethiopia. As well, South Africa is part of Southern African Development Community (SADC) and African Union efforts to prevent and resolve disputes, she said, underscoring the need to support regional organizations, which are often best placed to mediate conflicts under their geographical scope.
IVAN ŠIMONOVIĆ (Croatia), speaking on behalf of the Group of Friends of the Responsibility to Protect, recognized the value of bilateral, subregional, regional and multilateral efforts to protect populations. Regional organizations are often well-placed to guide multilateral action on emerging atrocity situations and threats to peace and security “as they may have a better political understanding of dynamics within the countries where atrocities or conflicts are taking place”, he said. Subregional organizations have previously addressed imminent risks to prevent prolonged conflict, he noted. Effective strengthening of prevention must be predicated on early warning signs and clarity on what early action can be taken. Effective early warning, including by regional and subregional organizations, should be rooted in accurately identifying all factors that increase the risk of violence, he said, rather than solely focusing on the risk of conflict. He encouraged the Secretary-General to carry out preventative actions and called Council members to address the risk of mass atrocities.
HYUN WOO CHO (Republic of Korea) said that it is imperative that the international community finds ways to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to peace. This must be done in accordance with the principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations. The Security Council must make full use of its comparative advantage of proximity and existing mechanisms to promote confidence-building and dialogue in its ongoing efforts to prevent and peacefully resolve conflicts. For its part and over the past years, the Republic of Korea has been actively expanding its horizon of engagement through regular consultations with various regional mechanisms throughout the world. More recently, it hosted the first ever Korea-Pacific Islands Summit in May 2023 and is working with partners in Africa for a future Korea-Africa Summit, he noted.
SERHII DVORNYK (Ukraine) noting that multilateralism is especially necessary in regions where longstanding security architectures are collapsing, cited the United Nations many results-oriented partnerships with the European Union and African Union among others. While “one could hardly doubt the importance of partnership between the Organization and those regional organizations that strive for peace”, he expressed concern about the Collective Security Treaty Organization, the Russian federation-led military bloc and attempts to such bring organizations onto the UN platform under the guise of Chapter VIII. Expressing support for role of bilateral arrangements, he said that the Russian Federation’s ongoing war against his country has highlighted the impact of ad-hoc frameworks to support victims of aggression. Condemning the “legally dubious” presence of the aggressing country on the Council, he said addressing that should be part of the reform of the Organization’s collective security mechanism.
ERIK LAURSEN (Denmark), also speaking for Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, said that dialogue is a key tool in resolving conflicts as well as a conflict prevention tool, and he encouraged the Security Council to better utilize its potential preventive role under Chapter VI of the Charter of the United Nations. He suggested that leveraging the potential of the Peacebuilding Commission to facilitate inclusive conflict prevention and resolution and that the Secretary-General’s New Agenda for Peace is an opportunity to strengthen the role of Member States in addressing current security challenges and evolving threats.
Turning to the role of regional and subregional organizations, he said they play a significant role with their local knowledge and that the Charter of the United Nations is clear on this role. He encouraged more frequent use of Chapter VIII, including deepening the cooperation and information-sharing between the Security Council and regional organizations. In conflict prevention and resolution, inclusive ownership is key, he said, adding that the parties need come up with — and own — their solutions. Peace processes should always reflect the needs and perspectives of those affected by conflict, and strengthening the full, equal and meaningful participation of women, youth and civil society is critical, he said. If a process is not inclusive, it is hard to reach sustainable peace, he added, and stressed his delegation’s commitment to a future with peace, stability and development for all.
RENÉ ALFONSO RUIDÍAZ PÉREZ (Chile) said that regional organizations’ role in international peace and security heightens trust and fosters institutionalization, thus minimizing uncertainty and the risks of clashes. They also curtail the danger of war as well as transnational security threats such as organized crime. Lessons learned from these cooperation mechanisms can provide great value. Highlighting the role of coordination in regional stability, he said that the Security Council can not only promote the creation and strengthening of regional agreements, it can also foster their effective implementation. Chile hopes that the situation in Gaza will be an opportunity to show how regional bodies can play a crucial role in safeguarding international humanitarian law and the principles of the UN Charter, he added.
MAURIZIO MASSARI (Italy), aligning himself with statement to be delivered by the European Union, said that current devastating crises confirm the urgent need for a paradigm shift from crisis management to conflict prevention. They also underscore the importance of working on three levels of trust, namely relations between States, between States and citizens and between the United Nations and its Member States. Solid partnerships between the Organization and regional organizations are essential for effective multilateralism. Coordination among regional organizations makes their action more effective, he added, describing cooperation between the European Union and the African Union as a leading example in that regard. The Peacebuilding Commission is in a unique position to offer help and solutions to regional organizations that turn to it, but that will require adequate funding, he said, noting that Italy has just doubled its annual contribution to the Peacebuilding Fund.
AMIR SAEID IRAVANI (Iran), noting his country’s proactive diplomatic engagement, including in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, regretted the United States’ withdrawal from the latter, followed by actions by that country and United Kingdom, France and Germany that violated both their obligations under the agreement and Security Council resolution 2231 (2015). Full implementation of the Plan of Action is still possible if those countries demonstrate a pragmatic approach. As of two days ago, all remaining restrictions, including those on missile activities, have terminated and are no longer subject to Council resolutions, he stated. Iran deplores the uptick in atrocities and collective punishment against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip by Israel, particularly the attacks on the Al Ahli Arab Hospital. Voicing disappointment at the Council’s inability to adopt a basic resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire and addressing the catastrophic humanitarian situation in Palestine, he urged the organ to take action to end a tragedy that amounts to genocide and crimes against humanity.
TESFAYE YILMA SABO (Ethiopia) said that in peacebuilding, a fundamental feature distinguishing regional organizations is the way they are guided by solidarity and equal participation, and how they allow for the consideration of local contexts, relevant policies and programmes. “We believe eradication of poverty, and a governance system rooted in basic freedoms and principles of inclusivity and participation, is the foundation for peace and security.” Peace endures when development is sustainable and all sections of society participate, including women and young children. The African Union has demonstrated its clear comparative advantage in peace enforcement, he said, adding that with adequate financial and other resources it can further excel in conflict prevention, peacemaking, peace support operations, peacebuilding and post-conflict reconstruction. The United Nations should assume its responsibility to bridge the resource gap by availing finances from assessed contributions, he said, adding: “This is a position that is long overdue.”
ANA JIMENEZ DE LA HOZ (Spain) said that regional and subregional organizations and agreements complement multilateral efforts and can help speed up implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. “A Security Council which is broadened with a greater number of elected members would be more legitimate and would better represent the realities and strategic concerns of a regional and subregional nature at any given moment.” From the point of view of its foreign policy, Spain seeks to bolster multilateralism around regional integration to improve global governance. In recent years, Spain has been working on projects to increase regional mediation work, focusing on the role of women, including in Latin America, where it is helping to train women mediation experts, she said.
SURIYA CHINDAWONGSE (Thailand), emphasizing that peaceful bilateral relations are the cornerstone of international peace, said that his country has promoted friendly relations with its own neighbours and with States beyond its region. The countries of each region understand their common challenges as well as the solutions, he said, highlighting the work of various regional arrangements such as the African Union, Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and ASEAN, with the latter being formed during the Cold War to provide a foundation for regional peace and stability. Noting that ASEAN is driven by pragmatic and shared interests, he said that economic and social progress is just as vital as political stability. “We respect our diversity as we build consensus,” he said, calling for closer engagement between regional organizations, with the ASEAN-Gulf Cooperation Council summit being one example. The international community must invest in new roles for regional arrangements and new models of diplomatic engagement, he added.
MHER MARGARYAN (Armenia) said that Azerbaijan’s destructive war, launched in September 2020, is a grave violation of existing ceasefire agreements and the UN Charter. Azerbaijan has sought to normalize violence to finalize its policy of ethnic cleansing in Nagorno-Karabakh, he said, adding that the European Parliament and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe have adopted resolutions strongly condemning Azerbaijan’s recent military aggression against Nagorno-Karabakh, while also referring to the removal of a civilian population from their territory as amounting to a crime against humanity. When regional and bilateral security arrangements have failed to prevent military aggression and protect the lives of the Armenian population in Nagorno-Karabakh, the United Nations and the Security Council have a particular responsibility to uphold justice and accountability, and to establish an effective international framework for the safe and dignified return of the displaced population, he said.
ANA PAULA ZACARIAS (Portugal) said the complexity of current crises underscores the need for a collaboration between the United Nations and regional and subregional organizations. She encouraged those entities to adopt relevant recommendations of the Secretary-General’s New Agenda for Peace, as “we need more complementarity and coordination on preventive peace efforts”. To this end, she urged them to engage the Peacebuilding Commission on matters germane to their regions and highlighted the need to strengthen cooperation between the Commission and the Security Council. Such a relationship will help prioritize necessary, predictable and sustainable financing for the Commission. She went on to say that the Council, as guardian of international law and guarantor of international peace and security, should more systematically address questions of prevention, mediation and peacebuilding, while also considering ways to authorize peace enforcement actions by regional and subregional organizations.
THOMAS PETER ZAHNEISEN (Germany) said that over the past years his country has been a major, often the biggest, donor of the UN Mediation Support Unit, the Peacebuilding Commission and the Secretary-General’s good offices. Voicing support for the Secretary-General’s calls for the Council’s better utilization of Chapter VI tools, he said that comprehensive toolbox must be reflected more systematically and frequently in Council mandates. He expressed hope that today’s debate is the start of an in-depth collective reflection on how to achieve this objective. He underscored the need to start investing collectively in the development of national and regional prevention plans and noted his country’s support for the deployment of Peace and Development Advisers by the Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). UN peacebuilding efforts require adequate, predictable and sustained funding, he stressed, calling on all Member States to listen to the great majority of UN membership, especially to countries from conflict-stricken regions, and stop blocking a consensus on assessed contributions for the Peacebuilding Fund in the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) of the General Assembly.
OMAR HILALE (Morocco) said that, while Chapters VI and VIII of the Charter of the United Nations are vital, regional and subregional mechanisms can support the Organization’s efforts but must in no way telescope efforts by the Security Council. There is a need for the prior agreement of parties to conflict for the peaceful resolution of disputes. Morocco’s commitment to the maintenance of peace is borne out by its having more than 1,500 police troops participating in United Nations peacekeeping. He outlined its participation in mediation initiatives in Africa, which have been fruitful in peacebuilding and preventing conflicts. As well, he noted its participation in the humanitarian sector, by its provision of 19 mobile hospitals in 14 countries. He also highlighted its active participation in the African Union Peace and Security Council, and the “Tangiers process”, which aims to tackle the root causes of conflict.
BJÖRN OLOF SKOOG, Head of Delegation for the European Union, in its capacity as observer, noting his bloc’s ongoing contributions to mediation efforts across the world, said there is no predetermined format for mediation and peace efforts. Usually, mediation on the ground involves several actors: national, subregional, regional, and or the UN, he pointed out, adding that the diversity of actors can be an asset, if the division of tasks asks between the various actors is clear, but can jeopardize the prospects for peace if their efforts are competing with each other. Regional organizations can provide space for dialogue and compromise and should be the first ones to ring the alarm bell, take prevention measures and facilitate mediation, he said, noting that their geographical proximity and culture make them more likely to be familiar with local issues, the situation and the parties in conflict. Moreover, they have the greatest interest in managing or mitigating a conflict, to avoid a spillover throughout the region.
Regional initiatives are not exclusive and can be complemented or supported by the UN, when needed, he continued. Cooperation between regional organizations is also key, he said, noting that the European Union has a strong cooperation with the main regional and subregional organizations, including the African Union, the League of Arab States (LAS), ASEAN and the Gulf Cooperation Council. Regional organizations can play an important role, even in countries that are not part of their constituencies, he pointed out, adding that the Union is a major supporter of conflict prevention and peacebuilding efforts outside of Europe and does so based on its peacebuilding experience at home. Its network of special envoys and mediators are working around the world to enhance trust between local populations and national authorities, he added, detailing his bloc’s efforts to that end.
AKAN RAKHMETULLIN (Kazakhstan) said regional and subregional organizations are well-placed to understand the root causes of conflict. “In times of global crisis and sweeping insecurity, multilateralism and inclusiveness have become the only possible approach to peace and stability at the regional and global levels.” He highlighted the emerging role of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-building Measures in Asia, which his country established in 1992. Its founding principles converge with those of the UN Charter and its remit is constantly updated to deal to new emerging tensions, like epidemiological security, climate change and water insecurity. The Conference, which unites 28 countries, is the only pan-Asian organization that stretches from the Pacific to the Mediterranean and from the Urals to the Indian Ocean; it is also only institution in which Israel and Palestine each have a seat as full and equal members, he added.
SEDAT ÖNAL (Türkiye) said that at a time of multiple crises, there is an urgent need for the international community to act with reason, common sense and integrity. No crisis can be resolved sustainably without addressing its root causes. Respect for the fundamental purposes and principles of the UN Charter, international law and human rights should be “our compass”. It is equally important to avoid double standards and to ensure that rights and laws are applied equally to all. Situated in a geostrategic location, Türkiye has contributed via a dialogue-driven response to several events in the region, including with regard to Syria, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Ukraine. The consultative platform proposed by Türkiye and Azerbaijan aims to strengthen dialogue, trust-building and mutually beneficial cooperation in the South Caucasus. “We continue to fully support the peace process launched in Azerbaijan and Armenia,” he said, adding that a “window of opportunity” for sustainable peace has opened.
KRZYSZTOF MARIA SZCZERSKI (Poland), noting his country’s participation in various regional arrangements, from the European Union to the Central European Initiative, said that such arrangements have great expertise in pinpointing the root causes of instabilities and finding tailor-made approaches to peace enforcement. However, when “outsourcing” peace operations, it is crucial to keep in mind that some regional groupings may lack the required resources and capabilities. Noting the transboundary nature of climate change, scarcity of water, human trafficking and terrorism, he said regional and subregional organizations have the mandate to “flag them up” and pool experiences together to tackle them. Noting that his country recently chaired the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), he said one of its greatest achievements was the mobilization of public opinion on a regional conflict “by clearly defining who is the aggressor, and who is the aggressed”, despite Moscow’s continuous violations.
MYRIAM OEHRI (Liechtenstein) said the reputation of the Security Council, for better or worse, rests on its Chapter VII powers, the acid test of its performance is how well it exercises its functions under Chapter VI and VIII. The question is how to apply the framework in practice, she said, pointing to United Nations support in the ASEAN leaders’ latest review of the implementation of the Five-Point Consensus relating to Myanmar. The crisis illustrates the importance of the two organizations working together, she said, additionally noting the strong relationship between the Security Council and the African Union Peace and Security Council. She concluded by saying that a Council member that commits aggression against another Member State is clearly a party to a dispute for the purposes of Article 27(3) and that the effectiveness of the 15-member organ would benefit from the practical application of this provision.
ARRMANATHA CHRISTIAWAN NASIR (Indonesia), speaking on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), said the Group is concerned with the escalation of armed conflicts in the Middle East and urges immediate end of violence to avoid further casualties. The Group reaffirms its strong commitment to upholding regionalism and multilateralism, and emphasizes the importance of adhering to key principles, shared values and norms enshrined in the United Nations Charter, ASEAN Charter, the Zone of Peace Freedom and Mutuality Declaration, the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation, and other regional agreements. He stated current complex challenges underscore the urgency to uphold the rule of law. Therefore, ASEAN and ASEAN-led mechanisms “shall remain inclusive and open avenues that facilitate constructive dialogue and constructive cooperation”, contributing to the region’s evolving architecture. The Group is committed to assisting Myanmar on the implementation of the Five-Point Consensus in finding a peaceful solution to ongoing crises.
He said ASEAN remains concerned with the intensifying geopolitical tensions in the region, and underscored the value and relevance of the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific to its peace, stability and security. ASEAN is determined to promote the Outlook through concrete projects and activities on maritime cooperation, connectivity, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and economic and other possible areas of cooperation. Reaffirming the important role of the ASEAN Plus Three cooperation framework in promoting peace and prosperity on East Asia, he said the Group looks forward to revitalizing the ASEAN Regional Forum so it can be the leading security forum in the Indo-Pacific region. To this end, ASEAN underscores the significance of ASEAN-UN comprehensive partnerships on regional community building and global concerns.
MUNIR AKRAM (Pakistan), pointing to the Council’s paralysis on Ukraine and its failure to “stop the slaughter in Gaza”, said the Council has also failed to live up to the Charter’s vision, such as in the dispute over Jammu and Kashmir where India’s occupation army of 900,000 troops has sought to brutally oppose the freedom struggle of the Kashmiri people. The Council’s failures must be addressed by making it more representative, more democratic and more accountable. Regional and subregional organizations can play a role in promoting peace and security and resolving disputes, but that role must be subsidiary to that of the Council, the General Assembly, and the Secretary-General. Moreover, their actions must remain consistent with the principles of the Charter of the United Nations and UN resolutions. The European Union and the African Union could effectively represent their members on the Security Council as they do in the Group of 20 (G20) now, he said, adding that Uniting for Consensus has consistently proposed that regional representation could offer the basis for an agreement on the issue of Council reform.
ZORAYA DEL CARMEN CANO FRANCO (Panama), noting that the provisions of the United Nations Charter provide the legal framework structuring relations between States, said that bilateral, regional and subregional agreements can be effective tools to prevent and resolve conflicts. Cooperation must be fostered between countries sharing geographic, cultural and economic interests, as working together on trade, security and resource-sharing can help prevent future disagreements. In this context, she highlighted her country’s participation in the Contadora Group, founded in 1983, which played a decisive role in peace negotiations in Central America during that decade, eventually evolving into the Rio Group. She underscored the need for political will and diplomacy in preventing conflicts and disputes, as well as the elimination of factors that jeopardize trust, including the possession of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. The United Nations plays a crucial role in shoring up peace processes, she added.
BOŠTJAN MALOVRH (Slovenia), aligning himself with the European Union, said the Council “could do more in identifying crises and addressing them early when the opportunities for constructive dialogue and the use of peaceful means are highest”. The complexity and increasingly transnational nature of crises call for greater engagement of regional and subregional organizations. “In some instances, they are best suited to prevent, manage and resolve conflicts, and they have been proven to be highly successful,” he said. Regional groups possess an in-depth understanding of situations and can provide early warning mechanisms, confidence-building, and cross-border cooperation. He could imagine a toolbox with good practices for regional organizations for global use. He strongly supported partnerships between regional organizations and the UN. Real inclusion is needed for true peacebuilding, including on gender. He added that climate change, in the context of conflict, is an example of how the UN and regional and subregional organizations can work together to enhance knowledge and prevent problems.
RUCHIRA KAMBOJ (India) said that the basic premise underlying the discussion is the erosion of trust in multilateral institutions and the need for reforms. As the world confronts multiple challenges, it is important to have an honest conversation on how to rebuild trust, she said, offering several suggestions, including the use of bilateral discussions and regional and subregional mechanisms in achieving mutually acceptable solutions. Peacekeeping forces, meanwhile, need to be reconfigured to actively liaise with regional forces, and she offered support for African-led peace operations with resources and well-defined mandates. Furthermore, the Security Council needs reform and the 2024 Summit of the Future provides an opportunity for change, including through the expansion of the Security Council in both categories of its membership. In conclusion, she rejected Pakistan’s unfounded and baseless claims on the union territory of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh, which is an integral part of India.
JAMES MARTIN LARSEN (Australia) noted that the world faces an excessive rise in instability, violence and armed conflict, pointing to successive coups in the Sahel region, the Russian Federation’s war in Ukraine and Hamas’ attacks on Israel, which his country condemns. Australia reiterates its call for the full respect of international humanitarian law, including the protection of civilians and provision of humanitarian access. Regional groups can act as first responders and intermediaries during times of conflict and can be effective in negotiating safe access and facilitating the delivery of critical supplies, he said. The Council must continue to support the vital role of regional groups in mitigating human suffering during conflict and contributing to the restoration of stability and peace in affected regions. Australia supports the call in the “New Agenda for Peace” to strengthen the Peacebuilding Commission’s role, funding and inclusivity.
Mr. OMAR (Malaysia), associating himself with ASEAN, said sustaining peace is a collective effort that requires the active involvement of all relevant actors. Many regional and subregional organizations have long histories of engagement in conflict prevention and mediation, and peacekeeping and peacebuilding, which accord them useful insights and mechanisms to facilitate constructive dialogue. Malaysia regards the role of ASEAN in promoting peace, security, and stability in the region as crucial. Established in 1967, ASEAN solidarity is built on mutual understanding, trust and confidence. “We share the same goal: to live in peace with one another, and with the world at large in a just, democratic, and harmonious environment,” he said. Strengthened cooperation between the United Nations and regional and subregional organizations is indispensable for the maintenance of international peace and security. Malaysia will continue to work with fellow ASEAN members and the Council towards achieving a peaceful solution to the Myanmar political crisis.
ALYA AHMED SAIF AL-THANI (Qatar), noting the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip, called for continuous coordination by international mechanisms. The United Nations must adopt a comprehensive approach to address the root causes of conflicts, especially the one in the Middle East, she said, reaffirming support for the Secretary-General’s Our Common Agenda and A New Agenda for Peace. Preventive diplomacy and mediation are cornerstones of her country’s foreign policy, she said, highlighting its long record of regional mediation efforts. Peace is not just the lack of fighting; it should also include economic development. Noting that Chapter VIII of the Charter underscores the role of regional organizations in maintaining peace, she said the Council must shoulder its responsibility by enhancing its joint initiatives with them. Further, it must invest in early warning systems and peacebuilding, she stressed.
NEVILLE GERTZE (Namibia) said that the world faces heightened tension and a perilous war raging in the Middle East. He commended the Secretary-General’s New Agenda for Peace which argues that diplomacy must be the driving force for a new multilateralism. The peaceful settlement of disputes is not a lofty ambition but requires the right conditions and players, enablers and interlocutors, he said and commended the efforts by Egypt and other stakeholders, including the UN Secretary-General, for initiating tomorrow’s Peace Summit in Cairo which will bring together a multitude of perspectives on the ongoing crisis in the Middle East. He concluded that the events of this week were a stark reminder of the urgent need for reform of the Security Council as it is untenable that the Council fails to respond appropriately and with a sense of urgency in times of crisis, especially when civilian lives are at stake.
MARÍA DEL CARMEN SQUEFF (Argentina) said regional and subregional organizations are best positioned to understand the root causes of conflicts, opening doors for dialogue, given their thorough knowledge of the region in which they operate, adding that the subregional confidence-building processes in Latin America occasioned a transition from a logic of confrontation to one of cooperation. She highlighted the sovereignty dispute between her country and the United Kingdom, emphasizing the relevance of the various alternatives adopted at the regional and subregional levels in this area. Her delegation underscores the importance of the Brazilian-Argentine Agency for Accounting and Control of Nuclear Materials, now in its thirty-second year, which has consolidated the idea of a nuclear-weapon-free Latin America. He said while the Council has improved its interactions with regional and subregional organizations over the past two decades, these contacts have been outside the area of conflict prevention. “It is our responsibility to increase their contribution,” she said.
MUHAMMAD ABDUL MUHITH (Bangladesh) noted the topic of the open debate cannot be timelier as the Council held urgent back-to-back meetings amid the escalation of the crisis in Palestine, affecting millions in Gaza. He underscored the importance of the peaceful settlement of disputes and the participation of regional arrangements in such efforts, as set out in Chapter VI and Chapter VIII of the Charter of the United Nations. Regional countries are in a better position to resolve disputes, as they are familiar with local dynamics and can propose the best solutions for root causes of conflicts, he said, pointing to the acknowledgement of ASEAN’s role in Council resolution 2669 (2022) on Myanmar. On that, he urged for that body’s five-point consensus to be implemented to find a solution for the situation in Rakhine State, creating a conducive environment for the return of the Rohingya.
MARTIN KIMANI (Kenya) said when the Council is fragmented by national interests or used as a platform for geopolitical rivalries, “regional peace initiatives can be weakened or even brought to a standstill”. Not all regional frameworks contribute to security, he said, adding that some heighten risks, so the international community must only endorse those underpinning the UN. He said the Council can foreground regional perspectives and should contemplate joint on-the-ground assessments with regional entities to generate joint diagnoses of the complex factors leading to conflict. The Council should be a learning environment. Other regions should consider adopting a similar model to the Ad Hoc Working Group on Conflict Prevention and Resolution on Africa. The Council should deepen cooperation with the Peacebuilding Commission whose convening and advisory roles allow for inclusive dialogue with regional mechanisms and national actors, he said. He added that the Council should consistently consider the interplay between diversity and State-building in the quest for sustainable peace.
MICHAEL IMRAN KANU (Sierra Leone) said that in these times, it seems as if the Council is unable to act promptly, effectively, and with unity of purpose. It is essential therefore to enforce the involvement of regional and subregional arrangements in the peaceful settlement of disputes. The increasing role of the African Union gives credence to arguments for developing effective partnerships between the United Nations and regional arrangements, he said, emphasizing that such cooperation helps enable early responses to disputes and crises. Regional and subregional organizations are well-positioned to understand causes of conflict. They have a better understanding of bilateral relations between countries and are best placed to act as credible mediators. The missing link in the puzzle has been — and still is — a lack of adequate, predictable, and sustainable financing. “There is need to deepen the cooperation and partnership between the United Nations and the African Union,” he said.
LUIS UGARELLI (Peru), recalling the signing of the Brasilia Presidential Act in 1998, said that Ecuador and Peru reached that agreement by using many of the options of Chapter VI of the UN Charter as well as confidence-building measures. They negotiated directly and bilaterally, and when that did not resolve the issue at hand, they turned to guarantor countries — Argentina, Chile, Brazil and the United States — who played mediation, conciliation and arbitration roles, he said. Calling on the international community to make better use of Chapter VI, especially Article 33, he said that it will take political will to combat the underuse of its tools. Noting that bilateral conflicts have a wider impact beyond the two countries concerned, he said that his country’s agreement with Ecuador represents what can be achieved when there is political will. Reaffirming Peru’s commitment to pacific settlement of disputes, he called on all States to recommit to the UN Charter.
BRIAN CHRISTOPHER MANLEY WALLACE (Jamaica), speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), said that the increased number of conflicts in the world underlines an imperative to ensure that solutions to conflicts, including preventative measures, are durable and inclusive. The Latin American and Caribbean region is known as a zone of peace not merely for its proud status as a denuclearized area, but also for its collaborative initiatives aimed at furthering peace and security, which are important pillars in the foreign policy of CARICOM member States. Those States have collaborated bilaterally and as a region with third parties to develop common positions in the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) as well as in the Security Council on matters related to peace and security, he said.
CARICOM’s contribution to the peace and security agenda is evident in areas of counter-terrorism, nuclear disarmament and combatting the use of small arms, light weapon and weapons of mass destruction, he said, adding that its approach respects democratic values and adheres to the principles of international law and the UN Charter. Restoring peace, stability and sustainable development to Haiti is a key priority for CARICOM, he said, noting its role in the Council’s adoption of resolution 2699 (2023) which, among other things, authorizes the deployment of a multinational security support mission to assist Haiti’s national police to re-establish security. In that regard, he thanked Kenya for its leadership on the issue. The Council’s decision provides valuable support to the Government of Haiti and helps all CARICOM member States to safeguard the regional security environment, he said. As a group of small island developing States, CARICOM is cognizant that instability in one state can destabilize the entire region, he added.
NATALIA JIMÉNEZ ALEGRÍA (Mexico) recalled that the Central American region hosted the first permanent international court, the Central American Court of Justice, created at the beginning of the twentieth century by the Washington Peace Conference to resolve conflicts. By approaching the International Court of Justice 15 times in the last decade, the region has demonstrated its trust in the United Nations main judicial body. It is therefore surprising that only 74 States, including one permanent member of the Security Council, accept the Central American Court of Justice’s jurisdiction. She called on all outstanding States to do so. Highlighting her country’s regional mediation activities, she urged the international community to strengthen the rule of law and commit to the peaceful settlement of disputes. “It is by talking to one another that people can reach understanding,” she said.
AMAR BENDJAMA (Algeria) highlighted his country’s efforts in resolving conflicts through peaceful means, including its role in the difficult mediation process between Malian parties in 2015. This led to the signing of the Agreement on Peace and Reconciliation in Mali, whose Monitoring Committee’s maintenance of channels of communication between Malian sides resulted in a cessation of hostilities for eight years. He also highlighted his country’s role in other efforts, alongside the African Union, in organizing the national Libyan reconciliation conference, “to unify the State structure and heal the wounds of the people”, and in working towards a political solution to the institutional crisis in Niger. On the strategic partnership between the African Union and the United Nations, he echoed the Secretary-General’s statement on the need for guaranteed, predictable funding for African Union-led counter-terrorism operations. As underdevelopment is a root cause of conflicts, Algeria is organizing an international conference on development in the Sahel, he added.
TOFIG MUSAYEV (Azerbaijan) said that regional, subregional and bilateral efforts should be based first and foremost on international law, impartiality and the consent of the parties concerned. He said that Azerbaijan’s experience of nearly 30 years of occupation of its sovereign territories by neighbouring Armenia, in blatant violation of the Charter of the United Nations and international law, is an illustration of the need to do much more at the regional and international levels to confront the misinterpretation of international law and safeguard the sovereignty and territorial integrity of States. Now that the occupation has ended, he expected the international community to encourage Armenia to strictly abide by its international obligations and engage faithfully in efforts for peace and stability in the region. Those countries arming Armenia and supporting its hate propaganda do not serve peace. His country is firm in its determination to further advance peacebuilding and reintegration in the region and to ensure justice.
PETER MOHAN MAITHRI PIERIS (Sri Lanka) said that the maintenance of international peace and security is a critical objective of the United Nations and of the Security Council. The UN has made significant efforts to address various global challenges and promote the peaceful resolution of disputes and conflicts through its regional mechanisms. It has been said that the Council can do more by taking proactive approaches to conflict prevention rather than responding to already ongoing conflicts. This could involve early warning mechanisms and preventive diplomacy to address conflicts before they escalate. Additionally, the Council and its regional mechanisms could work to address the root causes of conflict, such as poverty, inequality and political instability through long-term development initiatives. Permanent members of the Council indeed have a critical role as trustees of global security, he said.
Mr. AKRAM (Pakistan), taking the floor to make a further statement, said that Jammu and Kashmir is disputed territory and not a so-called integral part of India. Stressing that repeating a wrong position does not make it acceptable, he recalled Council resolutions stating that the final disposition of Kashmir shall be determined by its people through a United Nations-supervised plebiscite. “Jammu and Kashmir is completely relevant to today's debate,” he said, adding that it has been on the agenda of the Council for more than 75 years. Instead of crying foul all the time, if India has any moral courage or respect for the UN Charter, it would let the Kashmiris freely decide their future, he said.
Mr. FRANÇA DANESE (Brazil), Council President, concluded the meeting by thanking all Security Council members and other delegations for participation in the meeting. He described an extensive, valuable and timely exchange of views. “We saw today from various angles that there is hope for peace and security around the world,” he said.