Statement delivered by Mr Alvin Botes, Deputy Minister of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation of South Africa, during the UN Security Council High-Level Debate on Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace: Contemporary Drivers of Conflict and Insecurity, 3 November 2020
Mr President and Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines, Your Excellency Ralph Gonsalves, thank you for convening this meeting.
Your Excellencies, Ms Amina Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations; Dr Ibrahim Mayaki, Chief Executive Officer of New Partnership for Africa’s, Development (NEPAD); Sir Hilary Beckles, Vice-Chancellor of the University of the West Indies; and Ambassador Munir Akram, President of the Economic and Social Council, thank you for your insightful briefings.
I wish to congratulate you on this historic occasion of your country’s non-permanent membership of the Security Council and for presiding over the Council for the first time ever.
South Africa is grateful for the decision you took to coordinate and work closely with the African members of the Security Council, which has led to the establishment of the historic A3+1. This partnership has strengthened its voice and has firmly solidified the historic and cultural bonds between the Caribbean countries and the African Continent.
I also take this opportunity to commend you, Mr President, for your sterling leadership of CARICOM,
As the recent report of the Group of Independent Eminent Persons and the UN Secretary-General on peacebuilding and sustaining peace point out, “today’s conflicts are multidimensional, marked to varying degrees by persistent exclusion, inequalities and grievances, including refugee flows, internal displacement and humanitarian spillovers of conflict, weak governance and State capacity, and compounded by climate change, violent extremism and the perverse use of new technologies”.
We wish to thank the Group of Independent Eminent Persons and the UNSG for highlighting these contemporary drivers of conflict. We also wish in this regard to thank the Peacebuilding Commission and the Co-facilitators of the ongoing formal phase of the 3rd peacebuilding architecture review, New Zealand and St Vincent and the Grenadines for the commendable work done thus far.
It is indeed necessary that the Council organise more periodic discussions on socio-economic and other emerging conflict drivers to raise awareness of their destabilising effects and to promote efforts to address such problems.
It is important to understand the impact of contemporary drivers of conflict and insecurity, as we look at the dynamic between peace and security and sustainable development. Indeed we agree, that peace and security are inextricably linked to development, and countries that grapple with armed conflict also face significant challenges to their sustainable development, due to their institutional and governance capacities becoming overwhelmed.
Equally important is to understand how contemporary drivers of conflict bring about conflict and perpetuate insecurity. We must be cognisant that countries that struggle with under-development also struggle with the maintenance of their own security and may be particularly susceptible to the effects of organised crime, inter-communal violence and terrorism.
In 2020, we have seen how the COVID-19 pandemic has added a further layer of complexity to conflict resolution, peacebuilding and sustaining peace. Our view is that COVID-19, Climate Change and other such system-wide social and ecological stressors should motivate the UN and its partners to work more closely together, including with national and local peacebuilders, to maximise their collective capabilities and resources, and to focus their efforts where most needed.
Drought, water scarcity, food insecurity, and desertification, as well as violent and erratic natural disasters, which are thought to be caused or exacerbated by climate change, increase the risk of violent conflicts. There is evidence to suggest that this is the case in the Sahel, the Lake Chad Basin, as well as the Horn of Africa and some parts of the Caribbean. Climatic pressures associated with climate change are contemporary drivers of conflict and insecurity; they escalate tensions and conflict, by placing further strain on scarce resources.
Sustainable Development Goal 13: Climate Action, together with the other 16 Sustainable Development Goals, remains critical to the effective pursuit by all of humanity of the basic tenets of the 2030 Agenda: namely, the alleviation of poverty, by leaving no one behind on the path to Sustainable Development and by assisting those furthest behind, first.
In order to mitigate the effects of contemporary drivers of conflict and insecurity, we need to work closely with relevant UN agencies to address the root causes of under development and draw on the experience of the Security Council in resolving conflict. It is clear that a holistic approach is needed to deal with the ramifications of threats and risk multipliers, which escalate tensions and conflict.
We encourage the Security Council to work closely with other UN organisations and processes such as the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), as well as with relevant regional organisations, such as the African Union. These collaborations will ensure that the Security Council may obtain information on the potential impact of contemporary drivers of conflict and insecurity.
Coordinated action between the Security Council, its sister UN agencies and bodies as well as relevant regional organisations will give us the best chance to manage disputes before they occur; resolve conflict when it arises and manage ensuing instability through peacebuilding measures after conflict has been resolved.
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