"The Role of the Security Council in Humanitarian Crises: Challenges, Lessons Learned, the Way Ahead"

Statement by Ambassador Ronaldo Mota Sardenberg
 Permanent Representative of Brazil to the UN
 Security Council, July 12, 2005


  Mr. President,

I would like to express the special satisfaction of the Delegation of Brazil to see Your Excellency presiding over the work of the Security Council on this timely item.  I am grateful to the Delegation of Greece for the   very useful background paper it has provided so as to serve as a basis for our discussions today.

 Mr. President,

This meeting of the Security Council is a clear evidence of   a growing international awareness of the need to strengthen our capacity to respond to international humanitarian crises.  Brazil is pleased to see notions such as conflict prevention and peace-building, which arose some ten years ago, being firmly incorporated into the United Nations agenda. 

 The UN, and the Security Council in particular, must adapt to contemporary realities and be better equipped - both at the institutional and conceptual levels - in order adequately to address the fast-increasing contemporary challenges and threats.  

 These ideas are likely to be reflected in important decisions our Governments are to take throughout the following months up to the end of 2005.  Brazil is highly committed to this opportunity of improving, in a comprehensive manner, the collective security mechanism, rendering it more effective and efficient.

Mr. President,

Efforts by the Security Council to break conflict cycles and to prevent  relapses to humanitarian crises presented mixed results in recent years.  It is therefore important, as your Delegation proposes, to look into the lessons learned - to identify winning strategies as well as shortcomings in our approach. 

The first of these - it can never be understated - is that temptations of "one size fits all" policies must be resisted.  Every situation comprises cultural, political, social and economic diversities.   Information is a key requirement - and the Council can certainly benefit from views on different situations not only from the Secretariat, as it does, but also from individual members - especially those from the region affected - as well as regional and sub-regional organizations directly involved.

A second aspect is to recognize the complexity of the tasks to be undertaken.  Recent issues under consideration by the Council tend to demonstrate that, in parallel with security-oriented efforts, growing attention should necessarily be given to promoting democratic institutions, dialogue and national reconciliation, as well as to addressing social and economic roots of conflict.  That is why Brazil and other States have advocated, throughout the years, greater and more systematic coordination between the Council and other UN organs, as well as with other international actors. 

Mr. President,

Ultimately, we believe, peace is contingent not only on political and security factors, but also on economic development with justice and on granting equal opportunity for all.

 An effective collective system should be based, therefore, on a comprehensive vision that may be sustainable in the long term.  The proposed creation of a Peace-building Commission, by including the ECOSOC and the Bretton Woods Institutions, as well as other stakeholders, can help bridging the institutional gaps we face in the social and economic field.

We certainly favor the on-going debate on the issues of transition and on the need to address the funding and strategic planning gap between relief and development, particularly in post-conflict settings.

Mr. President,

Prevalence of the rule of law, strengthening of national security sectors and programs of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration can be catalysts of the promotion of economic development and justice.

National ownership of the transition process from the end of a conflict to the attainment of lasting peace and sustainable development is crucial. My country is committed to the establishment of a democracy fund at the United Nations.

In post-conflict situations, it is essential that national pacts take place, fostering inclusiveness and participation.  These arrangements should be freely discussed and aim at long-standing stability. Institutions to be established should be based on compromise and common interest. 

The rule of law must be absolutely consistent with international human rights norms and standards, and the rights of victims and vulnerable groups must be fully upheld. In fragile post-conflict settings, an independent, impartial, accountable and effective judiciary seems indispensable.

Tangible results can only be achieved with the necessary financial resources and highly qualified personnel for a solid investment in justice and the rule of law. The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights should also be given more resources to work with countries in order to strengthen the institutions that uphold the rule of law.

Throughout the years the Council has been applying different modalities in promoting justice and addressing abuses in order to achieve reconciliation - strengthening of local courts, support of truth commissions, establishment of international Tribunals, support for the establishment of mixed Tribunals and referral to the International Criminal Court.  Yet the dynamics is different in every experience.  Local ownership and local consultations and are crucial, as the SG has stressed this morning.  True reconciliation may require a delicate balance between the values of justice and peace, however difficult that may be.

Mr. President,

Security sector reform, through the restructuring and training of military and civilian police forces, is also essential.   Foreign assistance, either financial or technical, can prove to be useful and positive.  But our attempts should also seek to ascertain that security forces, as any other level of governmental institutions, are sensitive to the broader views of society.  Most importantly, they should be clearly subordinated to civilian oversight.

Mr. President,

DDR activities, and their variations, including resettlement and repatriation are a matter of outstanding importance for the consolidation of longer-term peace and stability.  The core components of DDR programs should be funded from the assessed PKO budget, in order to guarantee predictable funding.

As a matter of fact, DDR programs remain continuously under-resourced, especially in the reintegration phase. Experience shows that effective alternatives for subsistence should be afforded to ex-combatants.  In this sense, we stress the importance of quick impact projects on the ground that can provide economic occupancy to them.  Providing economic occupancy is a key element of peace-building. Reintegration in the civilian life will only be effective if conditions are provided for ex-combatants to live in safe conditions, participate in the political process and pursue an economic activity with social benefits.      

Mr. President,

 As I have stated at the beginning, the Council has a mixed record in undertaking these activities.  I would add that this is not a fault of the Council itself, but yet a symptom of the deficiencies of an inadequate structure that the Member States are now willing to correct.

Considering the current needs of this field, it seems also necessary that States   that  are in a position to assist seek to  formulate new policies and create or revamp their domestic institutions. Enhanced participation of as many States as possible in this process would have beneficial effects, including that of   providing options for the countries to be assisted. This is a potential area for international cooperation with the participation of the Secretariat, including adequate UN programs   and agencies.

My delegation is thankful for this opportunity of addressing, in wider terms, the challenges that the Security Council has to address in its daily work.  This is a task that the Council has to undertake in order to comply with its mandate, and it must be prepared and instrumented in order to perform effectively.

 Thank you.