Statement by Ambassador Dr. Maleeha Lodhi, Permanent Representative of Pakistan at the Security Council open debate on ‘Addressing complex contemporary challenges to international peace and security’ (December 20, 2017)

Mr. President,

I would like to begin by thanking Japan for organizing this debate and the Secretary General for his briefing this morning.

Mr. President,

We are living in a remarkably more dangerous world in which a wide range of new threats have emerged even as older ones continue to persist. Challenges to international peace and security are intensifying at a time when the foundations of global order are fraying.

Conflicts continue to rage across the world, from Africa to Afghanistan. Civil wars and factional fighting in Syria, Libya and Yemen are becoming more vicious and consequential, generating record levels of human displacement. Efforts to change the status of Jerusalem threaten to drive an already volatile Middle East into further turbulence and chaos. And as Secretary General Antonio Guterres has warned, in the Korean peninsula, we may be sleep-walking into a catastrophe.

At the same time longstanding, internationally recognized disputes of Palestine and Jammu and Kashmir continue to fester. The Palestinian and Kashmiri people continue to suffer horrific human rights violations at the hands of occupying forces, while the world continues to watch without addressing these egregious situations.

All this is compounding the challenges of a more turbulent and volatile world.

Mr. President,

To effectively address these challenges we must identify its drivers. And the drivers of international conflict include unresolved long-standing conflicts and disputes, foreign military interventions, political and economic injustice, terrorism and violent extremism, and displacement of populations due to persecution, poverty and conflict.

We have to ask, are we preventing and resolving conflicts, or just managing them, and that too partially. After all the primary purpose of establishing the United Nations was to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war.

What we certainly need is a shift from a culture of reaction to a culture of prevention.

Effective preventive strategies rely on: early reaction to signs of trouble; efforts to alleviate the factors that trigger violence and, resolution of the underlying root causes of violence such as foreign occupation, lack of resources, and social and political systems that lead to injustice and grievance.

There is obviously no one-size-fits-all solution to conflict prevention and mitigation. Moving a country towards durable peace begins with a clear understanding of the sources and nature of conflicts.

Ambitious conflict prevention strategies have to avoid the pitfalls of either a delayed reaction or incorrectly reading the signs of an impending conflict.

Mr. President,

More blue helmets are currently deployed than at any time in history. UN peacekeeping has always been a cost-effective tool for the maintenance of international peace and security. But peacekeeping, on its own, would not be able to deliver the dividends of peace. Peacekeeping needs to be strengthened through support for political solutions for it is only by reinforcing the primacy of politics that we can make peace durable and sustainable.

The focus on sustaining peace therefore is welcome. But to sustain peace, we have to first build peace, address the drivers of conflict and create the enabling conditions that allow peace to flourish.

Mr. President,

Let me set out a number of suggestions that we see as essential to address the complex contemporary challenges to peace and security:

Mr. President,

Proliferation of conflicts today is a clear sign of the need for urgent action. The proposed reform of the peace and security architecture is necessary but not sufficient to make a real difference. Fundamental change in the way we deal with conflicts is required. Only then will we be able to succeed in our collective quest for sustainable and enduring peace and security.

Thank you.