Statement by H.E. Ambassador Valentine Rugwabiza, Permanent Representative and Member of Cabinet, at the Security Council Debate on Conflict Prevention and Sustaining Peace

Thank you, Madam President.

Allow me to thank the delegation of Sweden, through you Honorable Minister for organizing this important debate.  I also thank the new Secretary General Antonio Guterres for his briefing. Mr. Secretary General, your participation in this year’s first open debate is a testimony to your strong commitment to making conflict prevention a priority; prescribed at the center of the whole UN Mission;

Madam President,

Indeed, this debate is about our ability to deliver on the solemn  promise enshrined in the UN Charter some 70 years ago “ To save Succeeding Generations from the Scourge of War”

Despite that promise however, conflicts have not been only common, but also persistent and relapsing.

Today, there is a continued inability of our organization to credibly and accurately predict, preempt and or rapidly respond to conflicts.

Nevertheless, the increasing discussions of this nature raise hope that a multilateralization of conflict prevention could reduce the number of missed opportunities in the future;

Madam President,

While today’s threats to peace have become more complex, with intricate new trends and types; more room for multilateral and multifaceted actions against those threats have also emerged;  including partnering and working  with regions through already existing partnerships with the United Nations.

In Africa, experience in conflict prevention has shown that the African Union is better positioned in terms of knowledge, proximity and the capability to mobilize and respond quickly. More so, such ability often surpasses the bureaucratic and procedural processes of UN interventions;

We therefore believe that the UN – AU Partnership could be a collaboration framework through which conflict prevention in Africa can be discussed and practical measure taken.

In their Solemn Declaration adopted in Addis Ababa in May 2013, African leaders among other aspects, expressed their determination to achieve the goal of a conflict free Africa, and pledged in the Declaration not to bequeath the burdens of conflicts to the next generation of Africans. They also undertook to end all wars in Africa by 2020. Conflict prevention is therefore a priority for the African Union;

It is through this roadmap that the UN Security Council could collaborate closely with Africa to address scourges to peace and security through practical steps.

Allow me to highlight key possible priorities for cooperation:

First, the International Community should engage in strategic dialogue with Africa, including the UN system, on global policies and practices that negatively impact on Africa and its people. The holding of regular dialogue between the AU Peace and Security Council and the UN Security Council on conflict prevention, management and resolution at all levels and on other strategic issues  is of  Prime Importance ;

We believe that increased cooperation between these bodies will enhance complementarity and lead to effective coordination, while at the same time minimize the duplication of efforts.

Second, we believe that shifting attention in addressing the underlying causes of conflicts, while at the same time increasing the capacity to streamline efforts to intervene when civilians are endangered, including the ability to recognize and disseminate the signs of impending or potential conflict, would increase our collective preventive capabilities, and makes the UN lives its full purpose. We believe that Early Warning and Response capability is a critical requirement for effective early prevention;

Linked to this  is the  implementation of outstanding components of the African Peace and Security Architecture including the full operationalization  of the African Standby Force;

Fourth, to achieve a conflict free, we should also aim at addressing illicit inflow of arms and weapons into Africa, with a focus on stopping suppliers and recipients of these weapons from promoting and sustaining illicit business in arms and weapons.

Last but not least, we need to ensure that our post conflict reconstruction and peacebuilding capabilities are properly deployed to ensure institutional capacity that would help prevent the relapse into conflict.

Madam President,

Let me say few words on sustaining peace. Rwanda would be a different story today, if the post-genocide Government did not invest much in forging a new Rwanda, successful in ensuring inclusivity and equal opportunities of all its citizens, overcoming ethnic divisions, engaging reconciliation and restorative justice as well as recover trust in state institutions;

That alone is an indication of State’s primary responsibility in conflict prevention, including creating an environment conducive for the enjoyment of human rights. Success in promoting and protecting rights, and in ensuring accountability for their violation, offer effective means to de-escalate conflict and to forestall the human and financial cost of humanitarian crises.

It is our hope that this year will mark a turning point as we embark on the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals; which provided concrete ways in sustaining peace and development.

I thank you for your kind attention.