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Permanent Mission of the Republic of the Philippines to the United Nations
H.E. MR. LAURO L. BAJA, JR.
Ambassador and Permanent Representative
Permanent Mission of the Republic of the Philippines to the United Nations
Public Meeting on Complex Crises and UN Response
Security Council Chamber, 28 May 2004
Simple problems call for simple solutions. But complex problems do not necessarily require complex solutions. The key to solving complex crises faced by the international community today is to have a comprehensive, coordinated and sustainable response from the UN system. A comprehensive and integrated approach would ensure that we will have assertive effort in addressing the complexity and the multi-dimensionality of each of the crisis.
Crises confronting the UN have grown in complexity. They are often imbued with intertwining and overlapping dimensions. The mere mention of conflict areas such as Somalia, Rwanda, Haiti, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, to name a few, are enough to conjure in our minds the complex nature of these crises, what the response from the UN were, or what could have been. The experience in Rwanda continues to remind us that the so-called “preventable genocide” should not be repeated. And at this stage, we are confronted by yet another complex situation where the UN is called upon to help – the peace-building in Iraq. We are in the process of defining and refining the UN response and its strategy on this issue.
Conflict prevention and post-conflict peace-building lie at the helm of the UN mandate in the maintenance of international peace and security. The activities of the UN in this regard are not new. In fact, many of the programs and projects of this global body have the so-called “preventive effect or at least preventive potential.” Unfortunately, they are often disparate and inchoate. We need to address the overlapping concerns on conflict prevention and post-conflict peace-building, as well as the blurred distinction of when conflict prevention ends and when post-conflict peace-building begins.
The United Nations’ activities on conflict prevention and post-conflict peace-building are embodied in the Secretary-General’s report to the General Assembly and the Security Council entitled, “Prevention of armed conflict” (A/55/985-S/2001/574). The Secretary General has also submitted a “Framework for cooperation in peace-building” in his letter of 12 February 2001 to the President of the Security Council.
The Philippines believes that these reports are central to our discussion today. Allow me to highlights in on some seminal elements which the Philippines considers important, and which could form part of future follow-up actions in the field of conflict prevention and post-conflict peace-building.
On conflict prevention strategy, the Philippines agrees with many of the Secretary-General’s observations. First, conflict prevention and sustainable and equitable development are mutually reinforcing activities. Second, an effective preventive strategy requires a comprehensive approach that encompasses both short-term and long-term political, economic, diplomatic, humanitarian, human rights, developmental, institutional and other measures taken by the international community in cooperation with national and regional actors. Third, preventive action should address the deep-rooted socio-economic, cultural, environmental, institutional and other structural causes that often underlie the immediate political symptoms of conflicts. And fourth, we need to address the structural and operational aspects of conflict prevention and peace-building. This means addressing the need to define the mandates of the various actors in the UN system, and the need to ensure synergy and coordination of those mandated functions.
As regards the framework for cooperation in peace-building (S/2001/138 Annex 1), the Philippines supports the guiding principles and the possible cooperative activities that will help build an enabling environment for peace-building activities. These include the need to ensure speedy operational response and optimum mobilization of human, technical and financial resources, among others, and the need to direct efforts at preventing the outbreak or recurrence of conflicts. The Philippines also supports the idea of establishing an information exchange mechanism for early warning analysis and better understanding of the root causes of conflict.
The Philippines commends the Secretary-General’s efforts to address these concerns. We note, however, that some of these efforts have been limited to certain sectors and only involve some actors. There is lacks of comprehensive and integrated approach that includes the participation of all stakeholders, and one that addresses the multi-dimensional and complex aspects of crisis situations.
The Ad Hoc Working Groups on Guinea Bissau and Burundi, for example, are laudable efforts by the Security Council and the ECOSOC. But the advisory role and the ad hoc nature of these working groups are not adequate. There are concerns, for instance, on what to do after the mandate has lapsed. We therefore need continuity and an institutional mechanism that will integrate the security policy, economic development and institution building in those areas.
There is a need to integrate the various programs undertaken by the UN and other multi-stakeholders on conflict prevention and peace-building, and mold them into a general strategy – one that will address the various concerns in a comprehensive, coordinated and sustainable manner.
We need to develop a practical ‘roadmap’ to implement the specific recommendations of the Secretary-General in his seminal reports on conflict prevention and post-conflict peace-building. More importantly, we need to follow-up on those mechanisms that have already been identified.
And we need to develop or formulate an overall conflict prevention strategy that will ensure the integrated and comprehensive work of the General Assembly, the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council, the International Court of Justice, the Secretary-General, and the participation of other actors including regional organizations, funds and programs, civil society/NGOs, business community, and the Bretton Woods Institutions, among other players.
The best possible UN response in addressing complex crises is, and has always the need to root out the major causes of conflict. The big challenge for the UN is how to prevent the outbreak of conflict or the recurrence of such conflict. This is only possible if the UN can address the root causes of conflicts, and channel scarce resources to development. Unfortunately, while global expenditures on defense and military amount to $900 billion, only about $500 million go to development. If we want an honest to goodness approach to conflict prevention and post-conflict peace-building, we should address and confront this harsh irony.
Again, I wish to thank you and your Presidency for choosing this very timely and relevant topic. The need for a comprehensive UN response to complex crises also underlines next months presidency on the thematic issue on the role of civil society in post-conflict peace-building Search for appropriate UN response to complex crises should involve those one able and will be able to contributes to an effective response to such crises.
Thank you, Mr. President.
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