Pakistan shares ‘formula’ for achieving sustainable peace with world leaders at UNGA
UNITED NATIONS: Pakistan has underscored the need for addressing the underlying causes of longstanding conflicts at a big gathering of world leaders convened to help strengthen a new approach to sustaining peace, which aims to put prevention at the heart of the UN’s work.
“The path towards durable peace begins with a clear understanding of the root causes and nature of conflict,” Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi, permanent representative of Pakistan to the UN, said during the high-level debate in the General Assembly on sustaining and building peace.
She said while UN member states agreed on the importance of achieving and sustaining peace, they had not translated that broad agreement into real progress on the ground.
Sustained political processes must be at the core of all peace endeavours, covering all phases of conflict, the Pakistani envoy told the gathering.
It was the largest gathering of heads of state and government and ministers at UN Headquarters since the general debate in September 2017, and a “key legacy” event for the General Assembly President Miroslav Lajcak’s presidency, as his spokesman put it.
The two-day meeting was convened by the Assembly President in line with General Assembly resolution 70/262 and Security Council resolution 2282 (2016), renewing the United Nations’ commitment to conflict prevention, as embodied in its Charter.
In her remarks, Ambassador Lodhi emphasized that sustainable peace cannot be achieved until the underlying causes of conflict are adequately addressed. They include poverty; foreign occupation, external interference and interventions, political and economic injustice; ethnic, tribal and religious tensions; and also environmental degradation.
After outlining factors that were vital to the success of sustaining peace efforts, she said greater coherence and synergy across the United Nations system was needed, as were regional strategies that included the full participation of national actors. She also highlighted the importance of supporting the role of women and youth, as well as restructuring and prioritizing funds for peace-building activities.
“Building peace is hard work; sustaining it is, often, harder still,” the Pakistani envoy said.
“What we need are capacities to provide early warning, address the root causes, and include all stakeholders in trying to find comprehensive solutions,” she added.
In opening remarks, Assembly President Lajcak said that, while there had not been another world war since the founding of the United Nations, the Organization had not been there when people needed it. “We could have done more to respond to conflicts and more to prevent them from happening atall,” he said. With people facing unending conflict in parts of the world, a new approach was needed. The signs were already there: rising intolerance, hate speech and disregard for the systems that we had spent 70 years building.
Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that, two years after the General Assembly and the Security Council had adopted twin resolutions on sustaining peace, it was time to look at progress and forge a common path ahead. Remarking that more countries were experiencing violent conflict than at any time in nearly three decades, he highlighted the record numbers of civilians being killed or displaced by violence, war and persecution.
Emphasizing the central message of his report on peace building and sustaining peace, he said the coherence of international efforts to support Governments and their people must be enhanced. But, without progress on financing, efforts could be futile. Noting that $233 billion had been spent on humanitarian interventions, peacekeeping and hosting refugees, he said more must be invested in prevention” above all because it saved lives.