Joint Nordic Statement on the occasion of the UN Security Council open debate on Peace and security through preventive diplomacy:
A common objective to all UN principal organs
delivered by Under-Secretary of State Kai Sauer, on 16 November 2021
I have the pleasure to deliver this statement on behalf of the Nordic countries: Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and my own country, Finland.
We thank the briefers for their valuable insights and welcome this exchange on preventive diplomacy and how the UN principal organs can work together to achieve this common objective.
Recently, we have witnessed several outbreaks and escalations of violent conflicts. Unfortunately, responses to crises have too often been reactive and sporadic, rather than preventive. Vital signals might have been lost, driving factors behind conflicts not properly understood or maybe our foresight and analysis have not been comprehensive and inclusive enough. Recent events have underlined the need for better preparedness, strategic foresight, and above all, enhanced cooperation and coordination to enable effective early action.
As we speak about conflict prevention, the pacific settlement of disputes - namely; political, diplomatic solutions - should always be the primary option. This applies, whether we talk about active peace mediation in the event of crisis or more long-term, structural work addressing the root causes of conflicts. Inclusive political structures and processes should also be ensured, with full and meaningful participation of women and youth.
As violent conflicts are becoming more complex, the need for integrated multi-sectoral approaches linking conflict prevention, human rights, protection and the 2030-Agenda are vital. Effective conflict prevention is not possible without a comprehensive approach, underlining the importance of understanding political realities of a context and including all relevant stakeholders in the process. In this, we need long-term commitment and cooperation by all the actors on the development-humanitarian-peace nexus. Moreover, protection of civilians and civilian objects should be at the center of crisis response in order to achieve sustainable peace and reconciliation.
The UN’s principal organs all have key roles to play in preventing conflicts and sustaining peace – within their respective mandates. We encourage closer cooperation between the Security Council and the Peacebuilding Commission as well as the Human Rights Council and ECOSOC, respectively. We urge the Security Council to strengthen its engagement with the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) and its unique advisory role. Interaction and cooperation with Human Rights Council and the wider human rights architecture is also crucial as human rights violations are often the first signs of emerging conflicts.
The International Court of Justice contributes to the prevention and resolution of international disputes in accordance with its mandate. The submission of a dispute to the Court should not be regarded as an unfriendly act. It is rather an act to fulfil the obligation of all States to settle their international disputes peacefully. We call upon States that have not yet done so to consider accepting the jurisdiction of the Court.
In his Report “Our Common Agenda”, the Secretary-General pays special attention to enhancing conflict prevention by investing in prevention and peacebuilding and strengthening international foresight. He also calls for better preparedness, partnerships, digital cooperation, and a more participatory UN, to name but a few of Secretary-General’s proposals, which can all contribute to more comprehensive and effective conflict prevention.
The Nordic countries support this broad approach to peace and security, and we will do our best to help to turn these commitments into concrete actions. We hope that through strengthening system-wide cooperation within the UN system and improving our tools for early warning, we can build a true culture of prevention and deliver on the promise of the UN Charter to “save succeeding generations from the scourge of war”.