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Statement by Ms Anne Sipiläinen, Finland and the Group of Friends of Mediation, at the United Nations Security Council Open Debate on “Conflict Prevention and Sustaining Peace”, 10 January 2017 - Permanent Mission of Finland to the UN : Current Affairs

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Speeches, 1/11/2017

Madame President, Your Excellency Mr. Secretary-General,

I have the honor to speak on behalf of the Group of Friends of Mediation and its two co-chairs first.

I would like to congratulate Sweden for organizing this very timely debate; we very much welcome the presence of Secretary-General António Guterres here with us today.

The Group of Friends of Mediation gathers 44 United Nations Member States from different regions and eight international and regional organizations. With a broad representative capacity, the Group has made significant contribution to the efforts to increase international awareness on mediation. In addition to its other activities, the Group of Friends of Mediation has initiated four General Assembly resolutions on mediation that were adopted by consensus. The resolutions have contributed to strengthening the framework of mediation and the mediation support functions of the United Nations as well as the development of the mediation capacities of different mediation actors, encouraging them to use the UN Guidance for Effective Mediation. The resolutions have also encouraged enhanced cooperation between the United Nations and regional and sub-regional organizations.

The most recent General Assembly resolution on mediation, adopted in September last year, recognized the contribution made by the 2015 reviews of the UN peace and security architecture, in particular their attention to the importance of conflict prevention and sustaining peace including the use of mediation. It acknowledged the good offices of the Secretary-General and the importance of seeking long-term, inclusive political solutions for sustaining peace.

Considering the increasing humanitarian concerns and needs, globally and in many regions, the 2016 Ministerial Breakfast Meeting of the Group of Friends of Mediation gave an opportunity to discuss how best to respond to the call for global leadership to prevent and end conflicts, as highlighted in the report of the Secretary-General  on World Humanitarian Summit.

The Group of Friends of Mediation strongly believes that strengthening the role of mediation in the peaceful settlement of disputes, conflict prevention and resolution and in sustaining peace is a cost-effective tool for the United Nations in its work for peace and security. We also acknowledge the need to empower more women to serve as mediators. For these, sustained political support, coherence and cooperation, systematic efforts and adequate resources will be needed.

The Group of Friends of Mediation welcomes the new Secretary-General's commitment to advance "diplomacy for peace" and stands ready to support his work and the efforts that strengthen the role of mediation in the prevention and resolution of conflicts and sustaining peace.

Madame President, Mr. Secretary-General,

I would also wish to add some remarks in my national capacity.

Finland aligns itself with the statement of the European Union.

Let me again thank Sweden for this debate. I am particularly delighted to see Secretary-General Guterres here with us, as an uncomplicated, trust-based and tight partnership between the Council and the Secretary-General is of vital importance. The time to improve the UN's ability to prevent conflicts more effectively is now. The Security Council, Secretary-General and all member states must grasp this momentum and turn it into concrete action.

I am very pleased to see that you Mr. Guterres have already taken a very proactive role in this field and shown great initiative with your decisions on structural and other arrangements to improve UN's performance.

The three reviews on peace operations, peacebuilding and women, peace and security, and their implementation, can truly transform the UN peace and security sector. Recommendations from the HIPPO report remain valid and should be implemented without delay. Securing solid funding for both "Primacy of Politics" and the sustaining peace agenda, including mediation and Special Political Missions, is of key importance. Equally important is that the UN member states support and contribute to peacekeeping, as it is a central element of the UN Peace and Security sector.

The Security Council and the UN as a whole needs to strengthen its own capacities to undertake prevention, including by conducting better horizon-scanning exercises, developing and making use of the early warning tools, better assessing the root causes of conflicts and addressing them in a timely manner, upholding universal human rights, and leveraging sustainable development by implementing the 2030 Agenda. Technology and innovations can help in this task. More efforts should also be invested in dialogue with those countries themselves that are experiencing a fragile situation.

Finland wishes to see political solutions, mediation and dialogue at the forefront of UN's work. Mediation and conflict prevention are the most cost-effective instruments to work for peace. Finland’s broad approach to mediation includes national dialogues and other formal and informal processes which contribute to more inclusive peace processes and thereby, to lasting solutions. We continue to support non-governmental actors, including religious and traditional leaders’ engagement in peace processes. It is also time to recognize the value of Special Political Missions. We, the Member States, should provide the political and financial support they need.

We urge the Council and Secretary-General Guterres to pay particular attention to the active role of women in conflict prevention. Women remain the single greatest under-utilised resource in more effective peacebuilding. Experience shows that empowering women and supporting their full and active participation in peace-related, political and economic decision making can lead to more inclusive and lasting agreements.

The Security Council holds a special responsibility in conflict prevention. One concrete line of action to this end would be the commitment of all Council members to support timely and decisive action by the Council to prevent or end mass atrocities and not use the veto in those situations.

Finland continues to stand ready to support the Council and you Secretary-General Guterres in strengthening the mutual partnership, as well as making conflict prevention the UN's top priority.

Thank you.

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Updated 1/11/2017


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