Statement at the UNSC Open Debate on Peace and Security in Africa
Statement08 August 2022
Thank you Mr. President.
I would like to thank China for convening this important discussion.
I would also like to thank Commissioner Adeoye, Ambassador Muhith, and Special Advisor Duarte for their briefings. And Ambassador Muhith, you are very welcome to New York and we look forward to working with you in your capacity as Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission.
As we have heard, many regions in Africa are facing multi-faceted crises. Countries that already reeling from the impacts of conflict, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the climate crisis are now also facing food and energy crises exacerbated by Russia’s war in Ukraine.
As always, these crises impact the most vulnerable first.
In the Sahel, where civilians live in constant threat from extremist violence and acts of terrorism, drought and displacement now threaten their livelihoods.
In the Horn of Africa, where the population is facing a historic drought, over 18 million people are acutely food insecure.
In the eastern provinces of the DRC, where there has been persistent violence and insecurity, a staggering 27 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance.
Local populations in many sub-regions bear the brunt of these crises, and it is at local level where solutions can be found.
It is critical that we listen to, and pay heed to, women leaders, youth, human rights defenders, and civil society. By providing capacity-building for these local peacebuilders, and enabling their work, we can promote inclusion, better governance and lasting peace.
As we work together in a global effort to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, compliance by all states with their obligations under international law, including international humanitarian and human rights law, is vital.
The international community can support African partners to build sustainable peace by addressing the root causes and drivers of conflict.
This includes mitigating against the shocks of climate change that undermine community resilience.
It includes investing in education, particularly of women and girls, as well as healthcare and food systems, to build long-term resilience.
It also includes the development and strengthening of national human rights frameworks, adherence to international law, support for democracy, good governance and national dialogue initiatives.
Today’s complex and interconnected challenges require a holistic and inclusive response, coordinated across all three pillars of the UN’s work - peace and security, human rights, and development.
The Peacebuilding Commission is uniquely placed to guide these collective efforts. And indeed, as we’ve heard today, it is already doing so.
Through its important convening role, the PBC brings together diverse actors and provides the Security Council with comprehensive advice on country and regional situations on our agenda, such as the Central African Republic and the Great Lakes Region. And it is high time that we heeded that advice.
The African Union and sub-regional organisations play a vital role in bringing these three pillars together, including by promoting good governance and responding to the alarming number of coup d’état in recent years. I want to particularly commend ECOWAS preventative diplomacy and efforts to promote dialogue, democracy, good governance and regional stability in this respect
The AU-EU partnership shows how regional organisations can work together for peace and security. We are proud to support the transition from AMISOM to ATMIS in Somalia, and to support the strengthening of the national security and defence capacities of our African partners through EU Missions and Operations. UN peacekeeping missions also play a vital role in this regard.
Security support must be consistent and continuous. Adherence to human rights due diligence policies is key to effective capacity building and we call on the Council to ensure that these policies are implemented.
Since 1960 when Ireland’s first Embassy opened on the African continent in Lagos, and Irish peacekeepers were first deployed in Africa, sustaining peace has been central to Ireland’s partnership with the continent.
And we proudly stand by that partnership today.