Ban urges 'sharp focus,' shared responsibility for continued momentum on UN peace agenda
With the continuing rise in interlinked political crises and challenges around the world, United Nations Member States must draw on shared expertise supported by a multilateral peace and security architecture to attain a more peaceful future for all, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon declared today.
“Success demands a strong sense of shared responsibility among Member States and between Member States and the Secretariat,” the Secretary-General said in a briefing to the General Assembly at an informal meeting at Headquarters in New York this morning on the implementation of the recommendations outlined in the most recent reviews on UN peace operations, the peacebuilding architecture, and the implementation of UN Security Council resolution 1325 (2000) on 'women, peace and security.'
“We must keep this in sharp focus going forward,” he added.
Mr. Ban underlined that the UN reviews make common calls for more effective conflict prevention, stronger partnerships, more predictable financing, and greater participation of women and youth.
On the issue of peace operations, the Secretary-General noted that the recommendations he had made in response to the report of the High-level Independent Panel on Peace Operations were now being carried out.
In that vein, he stressed the importance of improving system-wide planning and analysis, and of having UN partners work together to improve early response strategies and transitions.
“Peace operations must be flexible. They must be tailored to prevailing conditions. And they must benefit from a comprehensive understanding of the operating environment,” Mr. Ban said.
The Secretary-General said that in order to be more agile, key administrative and logistical processes were being reviewed to see how they can better support operations. Following that, Secretariat policies and procedures will be examined more broadly in order to be more responsive.
At the same time, Mr. Ban highlighted, priority was being given to realizing the potential of the UN's uniformed personnel. In that regard, he recalled that a productive review of the Police Division had just been completed ahead of the Chiefs of Police Summit this past week.
Moreover, the Secretary-General noted that Member States will have a chance to advance progress this September at the defense ministerial conference in London.
“There, we can examine our new, strategic approach to force generation – and efforts to enhance performance,” Mr. Ban said.
Expressing hope that Member States will pledge new units and deploy them, the Secretary-General also called on Member States to furnish high-quality personnel for the UN's operations, appealing for more female and Francophone peacekeepers in particular.
“We must also be bold in confronting the disturbing and deplorable problem of sexual exploitation and abuse. I am acting decisively to stop this crime – and I urgently need Member States to match this resolve,” he said, adding that the UN is striving to better assist victims, end impunity and ensure accountability.
Mr. Ban also underscored that the General Assembly and the Security Council have adopted historic resolutions that recognize the inclusive nature of sustaining peace.
“They also underscore that sustaining peace is a core United Nations responsibility,” he said, adding that Member States are “enthusiastically maintaining the momentum.”
For its part, the implementation framework will bring together senior officials of all concerned entities, the UN chief said, highlighting that the collaboration with partners such as the African Union (AU) and World Bank was already being strengthened.
In addition, Mr. Ban noted that the Peacebuilding Commission has broadened its scope, and will soon adopt a gender policy. In that regard, he encouraged Member States to strengthen the Commission's advisory role to the Security Council to reflect the growing consensus on preventing conflict and sustaining peace.
Moreover, the Secretary-General said that his successor will prepare a report to the General Assembly on major issues related to peacebuilding, with Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson already developing options for the report on the critical issue of funding.
Women, peace and security
Turning to the Security Council resolution on women, peace and security, the Secretary-General said that the Global Study and High-Level Review presented the strongest evidence yet that women's empowerment transforms societies.
He recalled that the Security Council had reflected the Global Study's recommendations in its resolution 2242 (2015), as well as followed up by establishing an Informal Experts Group on women, peace and security, which had already met to discuss Iraq and Mali.
The Secretary-General also noted that the Global Acceleration Instrument had been established to channel resources to civil society actors working on women, peace and security issues.
In addition, Mr. Ban noted progress on his Seven-Point Action Plan on gender-responsive peacebuilding, and that the UN Peacebuilding Fund is the first entity that reached the target of 15 per cent allocation for projects focusing principally on gender equality and women's empowerment.
“The reviews set out ambitious agendas that demand your commitment. We need Member States to take responsibility, engage fully and make political and financial investments for success,” the Secretary-General said.
Ending fragmentation, focusing on prevention and providing financing
The Secretary-General also called on Member States to help end fragmentation, noting that the resolutions on sustaining peace, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Human Rights Up Front initiative and the Commitment to Action of the World Humanitarian Summit all aim for comprehensive approaches.
Member States should also focus on prevention, as all three reviews call for putting conflict prevention at the heart of the UN's work.
“These reviews – and the World Humanitarian Summit – showed that we are stretched to the breaking point. We have to finally invest more in preventing violent conflicts, ending existing ones and avoiding any relapse,” the Secretary-General said.
Mr. Ban also said that while all three reviews praised the Peacebuilding Fund, the Fund faces a desperate funding shortfall.
Thanking those Member States that will hold a pledging conference for the Fund in September, the Secretary-General urged all States to make a contribution.
“The migration and refugee crisis has caused some Member States to channel resources to domestic responses – but this should not be at the expense of the UN's ability to prevent and tackle the underlying causes that force people to flee,” Mr. Ban said.
“Let me be clear: the reviews call for ambitious responses to dire threats. The reaction cannot be business-as-usual. I count on you to help the United Nations give real meaning to these reviews by making good on their recommendations,” he concluded.