Statement by Deputy Permanent Representative Anna Evstigneeva at UNSC debate on peacebuilding and sustaining peace
We thank Deputy Secretary-General A.Mohammed and Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission M.Muhith for the briefings. We also closely followed the remarks by Ms. Diago Ndiaye.
We are convinced that in order to build a sustainable and prosperous society, a well-considered national policy strategy is absolutely essential. State laws need to take into account people’s ethnical and religious properties, whereas state institutions need to protect rights and interests of all citizens of a country effectively and without exceptions.
A competent state policy to create responsible authorities and build fair relations in society is key to having a stable state. As well as building a sustainable, independent and competitive economy, developing national health and education programs, youth outreach, and instilling respect for history. Achievements in these areas will give states an opportunity to ensure by their own efforts the well-being and security of their citizens, overcome the consequences and prevent recurrence of conflicts.
We cannot fail to note that many countries on the UNSC agenda, especially on the African continent, continue to experience the consequences of their colonial past. These tragic events disrupted the natural historical process of state formation, drew state borders in an arbitrary manner, divided many peoples or, on the contrary, arbitrarily brought them together in state formations. Long-term cultivation of customs and spread of languages that were alien to the local population could not but contribute to the emergence of inter-confessional and inter-ethnic conflicts, as it opposed the development of united societies. Some colonial empires deliberately left behind artificial dividing lines, hoping to preserve their influence in the spirit of the "divide and rule" policy. This was also accompanied by economic exploitation.
In general, the UN Security Council, perhaps, is not able to significantly influence the elimination of these deep-rooted problems. Nothing can replace political decisions and principles of building a state on the basis of national interests and priorities.
However, it is obvious that the Security Council has the opportunity and obligation to stop acute phases of conflicts, including through the work of peacekeeping and political missions that have broad mandates and billions-worth resources, and can contribute to the cessation of violence and protection of civilians.
Peacebuilding activity of the United Nations is an important instrument for providing assistance to states in overcoming the consequences of conflicts and preventing their recurrence. In this regard, we note the role of the UN Peacebuilding Commission, which serves as a consultative platform for elaboration of comprehensive strategies for prevention and post-conflict reconstruction. The PBC is called to link maintenance of peace and security to assistance for development, i.e. issue recommendations not only for the Security Council, but also for the General Assembly and ECOSOC.
There must be no unified recipes or automated actions in the peacebuilding area. Each situation needs a delicate and unbiased approach, and a painstaking search for a unique solution. The main responsibility for prevention of conflicts and mitigating their consequences rests with states. International support, if needed, must only be provided upon consent of the host government, in accordance with its priorities and given unconditional respect for national sovereignty. It is unacceptable for the donors to proceed from their own preferences and condition assistance on some political demands. This approach does not serve the cause of peace.
We are being very cautious about attempts to link issues of peace and security, development, human rights and humanitarian assistance together under the umbrella of "sustaining peace". We are convinced that despite interconnectedness of certain aspects of the UN activity, it is feasible to observe the principle of “division of labor” and clearly distinguish between mandates of UN bodies. Using human rights violations and other random factors as “signs” of conflict creates opportunities for abuse and interference in states’ sovereign affairs.
We believe that political settlement of conflict and stabilization of situation in the area of security lays the groundwork for improvement of human rights and establishment of democratic institutions, and not vice versa.