Multiple Conflicts Fuel Food Insecurity, Forced Displacement, Humanitarian Needs, Stresses Economic and Social Council Chief.
Enhanced coordination, adequate resources and increased integration of women and youth are necessary for delivering on sustainable peace and development, delegates heard at a joint meeting of the Economic and Social Council and Peacebuilding Commission today.
In opening remarks, Lachezara Stoeva (Bulgaria), President of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), noted that multiple conflicts in countries fuel food insecurity, creating high levels of forced displacement and exacerbating humanitarian needs. Grave insecurity and weak institutional capacity in countries facing protracted conflicts continue to impede achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, she pointed out, while also highlighting climate-related challenges.
Through united humanitarian, development and peace efforts, the United Nations can enable countries to achieve global goals and strengthen resilience against future shocks by promoting early recovery, reconstruction and stability, she said. There must be strengthened assistance to countries addressing root causes of conflict, a focus on enhancing interoperability between United Nations entities, data-sharing and scaling up of humanitarian and development funding, she urged.
Delegates then heard from a panel of development experts who spotlighted the work of their respective organizations. Asako Okai, Assistant Secretary-General and Director of the Crisis Bureau at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), said her agency is significantly ramping up its collaboration with the peacebuilding architecture and sister agencies in its work on conflict and fragility through joint advocacy and flagship inter-agency programming. Calling for a resourcing model for preventive, holistic and coordinated engagement, she stressed that “Member States must be in the lead to transform the environment in which we operate”.
Robert Powell, Special Representative of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to the United Nations, said the IMF’s new strategy focuses on the organization’s comparative advantage; emphasizes the role of partnerships with other humanitarian, development, peace and security actors; and aims to amplify impact by leveraging both complementarities and donor engagement. The Fund has also rolled out its initial country engagement strategies to identify key drivers of fragility and conflict, leverage other institutions’ analyses and expertise, and support a stronger dialogue with country authorities and partners.
Åsa Regnér, Deputy Executive Director of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN-Women), stressed that peacebuilding is about mindsets, norms, practices and powershifts – one of them being from men to women. As beneficiaries, equal partners and leaders, women peacebuilders have unique experiences, which should inform the work of the United Nations, donors and financial institutions. Development assistance to support women-led and local women’s organizations in fragile and conflict-affected countries must increase, she advocated.
António Vitorino, Director-General of the International Organization for Migration (IOM); Richard Arbeiter, Deputy Permanent Representative of Canada to the United Nations and Chair of the ECOSOC Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Haiti; and Khaled Emam, Executive Director of Justice Call, also delivered presentations.
In the ensuing dialogue, many delegates underlined the need for coordinated United Nations system-wide responses to peacebuilding and development, with the representative of Italy saying that business as usual is insufficient, while his colleague from Guatemala noted that there are no “one size fits all” approaches to conflicts.
There must be clear strategic objectives that provide a common frame of reference for peacebuilding agents, Egypt’s speaker added. Advocating for the maintenance of a clear division of labour between various organs of the system, the representative of the Russian Federation said this can make development budgets more secure.
Delegates then heard from a second panel of development experts. Karin Hulshof, Deputy Executive Director of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), highlighted her organization’s new Strategic Plan (2022-2025), which elevates peacebuilding to a cross-cutting priority. At the country level, UNICEF concentrates its comparative advantage on the socioeconomic side to ensure the equitable and inclusive delivery and effective management of basic social services.
Ib Petersen, Deputy Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), said his organization promotes the agency and leadership of women and young people, prevents gender-based violence and promotes access to reproductive and health services. Spotlighting UNFPA’s work with the Peacebuilding Fund and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), he stressed that “if we are to achieve a world in which 8 billion of us can thrive and prosper, we must ensure cooperation at all levels and focus on human rights and choices”.
Yoka Brandt, Permanent Representative of the Netherlands to the United Nations and President of the Executive Board of UNDP, UNFPA and the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), pointed out that peace and development are larger than the mandate or capacity of any single entity. United Nations entities must find a way to strengthen each other and elevate the entire system to better deliver on sustainable development and peace to people on the ground, she urged, underscoring the importance of adequate, predictable and sustainable financing.
David Beasley, Executive Director of the World Food Programme (WFP), and Julienne Lusenge, Executive Director of the Fund for Congolese Women, also gave presentations.
In the ensuing dialogue, the representative of the United States said international cooperation to pursue more inclusive development partnerships must put local partners in the driver’s seat. The United Nations should also lead by example, making the full, equal and meaningful participation of women a requirement in all mediation teams, political transitions and peace processes.
During closing remarks, Muhammad Abdul Muhith (Bangladesh), Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission, emphasized that the entire United Nations system must support Member States in a coordinated, coherent and collective manner. Today’s discussion will further enhance partnerships between alliances for peacebuilding and international financial institutions in facilitating coordinated and coherent support to achieve nationally determined peacebuilding roles, he said.
The Peacebuilding Commission and ECOSOC will reconvene for a joint meeting at a date and time to be announced in the United Nations Journal.