Statement by Mr.Dmitry Polyansky, First Deputy Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations, at the Security Council on peacebuilding and sustaining peace
I am pleased to welcome the eminent participants to this important discussion, preparations for which took a number of years.
We thank the Secretary-General for finding the time to participate personally in this discussion. We further thank the Peruvian presidency for the initiative of convening today’s meeting. Today, on the second day of deliberations in the General Assembly, those present here already have a view as to how Member States envisage the way ahead in the important work of the United Nations in building and sustaining peace.
It is well known that those who do not recall the past cannot count on a dignified future. For that reason, I wish to turn to the very sources of peacebuilding to recall how it began and the noble goals set forth by the General Assembly and the Security Council when they established these avenues of work.
Thirteen years ago, through General Assembly resolution 60/180 and Security Council resolution 1645 (2005), two United Nations Charter bodies established the Peacebuilding Commission to deliver assistance to countries in the post-conflict period. The main aim of this decision was to help set countries on the path to development and recovery as expeditiously as possible.
The Commission was instructed to deliver assistance in crafting peacebuilding strategies for host States on the basis of their priorities, to bring together the key stakeholders within and beyond the United Nations, and to coordinate their efforts. Ten years later, the identical General Assembly resolution 70/262 and Security Council resolution 2282 (2016) specified the goals of the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC). Above all, States agreed on defining the concept of sustaining peace to help them understand differences among tasks implemented at the national and international levels to achieve sustainable solutions.
For States, this is a matter of national ownership in defining and implementing peacebuilding strategies, the importance of considering public opinion and the need to prevent the emergence, escalation, perpetuation and recurrence of conflicts, and to eliminate their root causes. To that end, it is important that the task of sustaining peace lie not only with Governments, but equally with all national stakeholders. While international assistance in the area of sustaining peace plays a supporting role, the same term has a slightly different meaning at the United Nations. It implies that such support must be based on the experience of all bodies of the Organization and that attention must be accorded from the very outset and at all stages of conflict.
In that regard, every United Nations body must act strictly within its mandate. Since the adoption of the twin resolutions two years ago at the United Nations, there has been ongoing debate on exactly how activities in this area should change. Secretary-General António Guterres has made an important contribution to the discussion with his recent thematic report (S/2018/43). His proposals and recommendations will undoubtedly provide a basis for further discussion among Member States to strengthen the effectiveness and capacity of the United Nations in the area of peacebuilding support.
I will not pre-empt our statement to be delivered at the General Assembly tomorrow. I will note only the main points. First, peacebuilding and sustaining peace are inextricably linked. With the introduction of the new term, traditional peacebuilding must not be relegated to the back burner.
On the contrary, as the work of the PBC demonstrates, it is becoming ever more necessary. We are therefore sceptical about the idea of positioning sustaining peace as a new central task. Secondly, conflict prevention is an independent domain. Its principles are enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations and United Nations resolutions. The primary role in that respect is also played by States themselves within their national territories. It is they that determine whether or not they need international support and what form it should take.
Thirdly, by definition, one-size-fits-all approaches and reliable universal crises indicators do not exist. Every case requires an individual approach, a unique solution and, most importantly, a State’s consent to be provided with international support. That also applies to human rights issues, which are often artificially politicized to influence sovereign domestic political processes.
It is interference in the internal affairs of others under the pretext of the protection and promotion of human rights that has led to most of today’s bloody conflicts. There are many examples of such situations and, unfortunately, many of them are to be found in States neighbouring the Russian Federation.
Fourthly, the main task of resident coordinators should be to step up the reliability and effectiveness of State institutions without duplicating or supplanting their work. Monitoring less-than-obvious indicators instead of helping to resolve urgent issues is fraught with the risk of reducing, not increasing, effectiveness.
Fifthly, concerning theoretical linkages connecting human rights, development, peace and security, it is important to understand that each of those areas should be addressed by specialized bodies in full adherence to their current mandates. Whether or not certain issues are discussed in the Security Council should not determine their importance to the international community.
The Security Council will soon adopt a draft resolution identical to that agreed by the General Assembly. We support the core message of those documents that Member States closely follow issues concerning peace and intend to continue to discuss them. We appreciate the Secretary-General’s contribution to that discussion and hope that the procedural consensus on procedural resolutions will be properly interpreted.
Peacebuilding and sustaining peace are far too multidimensional in nature to operate on what is largely an artificial consensus. Much work remains to be done in the future, in the course of which United Nations Member States and bodies should learn to better understand and consider one another’s priorities.
We believe that the primary goal and purpose of peacebuilding, sustaining peace and the United Nations as a whole are to help States build their own capacities so that they can dispense with international assistance and ultimately begin helping those that continue to require such assistance.