NEW YORK – Welcoming the new UN Secretary General’s pledge to make 2017 a year for peace, Pakistan urged the 15 member Security Council to resolve outstanding international disputes.
Speaking in an open debate on the Maintenance of International Peace & Security, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the UN Maleeha Lodhi said, “We welcome and endorse the Secretary General’s call to make 2017 a year of peace and assure him of our full support and cooperation to translate this resolve into reality”.
She said that the world was witnessing unprecedented human suffering caused by conflicts and violent upheavals as entire regions were being destabilised and millions of lives destroyed by long drawn out conflicts.
Ambassador Lodhi emphasised that sustainable peace was a challenge and could not be achieved unless the underlying causes of conflicts were addressed. These causes, she said, included poverty; environmental degradation; political and economic injustice; ethnic, tribal and religious tensions; and external interference and intervention. “It also means addressing longstanding political disputes”, she added.
The Pakistani envoy urged the need for political, security and development actors to support each other in striving for sustainable peace. “It is a comprehensive activity requiring holistic, long-term thinking that connects development, peace and security and human rights”, she said.
Highlighting the importance of political processes in building sustainable peace, Ambassador Lodhi said, “All our discussions from the past year have brought forth the understanding that sustaining peace entails a political process. It encompasses prevention of outbreak, escalation, continuation and recurrence of conflict”.
Pakistan, Dr Lodhi said, believed that prevention should be taken as a task to be shared by national governments and national stakeholders. She said that inclusive dialogue, mediation, accountable institutions, good governance, access to justice, gender equality and youth participation all feed into the processes of conflict prevention and ultimately sustainable peace.
“Inclusivity is the lynchpin for sustaining peace. We believe that only national actors can drive the processes for sustainable peace”, she added.
Ambassador argued that when we look at sustainable peace through the lens of conflict prevention then it is important to shift from a culture of reaction to a culture of prevention.
She said that national ownership was essential for any effective preventive strategy.
“Moving a country towards durable peace begins with a clear understanding of the sources and nature of local conflicts”, she added.
She warned that ambitious UN conflict prevention strategies have to avoid the pitfalls of either a delayed reaction or reading incorrectly into signs of an impending conflict.
Ambassador Lodhi concluded by saying that the United Nations cannot fulfil the role of sustaining peace and preventing conflict without adequate financial resources, the political support of the Member States and efficient management and coordination by the several concerned UN organs and entities.