Statement at UNSC briefing on Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace
Statement27 July 2022
Thank you, Mr. President.
I want to begin by thanking Brazil for organising this crucial debate.
Ireland has long advocated for a strengthened relationship between the Security Council and the Peacebuilding Commission.
I am approaching the end of my term as Permanent Representative of Ireland and I am reassured that there remain such staunch supporters of this important UN organ around this table.
I also want to warmly welcome the current and former chairs of the PBC here today and recognise Kenya’s role as Coordinator.
Your presence and your briefings are powerful reminders.
Reminders that while we come in to this Chamber, day in, day out, with eloquent words in support of peace, there are other UN bodies that simply put their shoulder to the wheel, and get the job done.
They do this quietly and without fanfare. They seek not to make headlines, but headway.
I believe the Peacebuilding Commission is one such body.
In my time as Ireland’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, I have had the privilege of serving both as an elected member of the Security Council and the Peacebuilding Commission.
Both bodies work towards the same goal, albeit from different angles. Both are critical to building and sustaining peace.
I would like to offer some reflections on how we can learn from and support each other to do just that, to build peace and finally live up to our promises under the UN Charter.
First and obviously, we need to invest in prevention.
This not only makes sense politically and morally, but financially. Prevention saves lives and it saves money.
That means moving away from our default position of responding to crises, and taking a more proactive role in actually preventing them.
Sitting around this table, we hear of similar situations around the globe. Situations of poverty, gender inequality, food insecurity, human rights violations.
The question is: when will we wake up and face the facts?
The writing appears on the wall long before the first bullet is fired.
The longer we take to invest in prevention, the hungrier people grow, the more destitute their poverty becomes, and the more likely it is that conflict will arise.
Colleagues, the time to act is now.
Just as no one country can address these challenges alone, the same is true for the UN. We need to respond in a coordinated manner, including through support for the Secretary-General’s “new agenda for peace”.
This should be matched with a genuine commitment to ensuring peacebuilding activities are adequately supported and sustainably financed. I want to commend and encourage the PBC’s convening role on discussions on peacebuilding financing, most notably on synergies with the Peacebuilding Fund.
Second, Mr. President, this Council could learn valuable lessons from the PBC’s work on promoting inclusivity, most notably of women and young people.
As colleagues know, my country is no stranger to conflict.
For generations of young people, myself included, violence on our island was a daily reality.
Our conviction, borne of that experience, is that we cannot build lasting peace without including those who ultimately inherit it.
The PBC has engaged with youth issues in a tangible manner, particularly in regions on the Council’s agenda such as the Great Lakes and the Sahel.
This requires, and deserves, our full support.
Similarly, the PBC has an important role to play in ensuring women’s full, equal and meaningful participation.
Let me be clear here: gender equality is neither naïve idealism nor an aspiration reserved for peace times.
Women are demanding fulfilment of their right, I’ll say it again, our right, to participate in peace processes. To be in the room and at the table where peace is made.
Our participation disrupts the status quo that begot the conflict in the first place. It establishes an inclusive and sustainable vision of peace.
Put simply, it leads to better and longer lasting peace.
Third, Mr. President. This Council needs to respond to the changing world around us and empower others, including the PBC.
Every month, the PBC empowers us with knowledge and advice. It is high time for us to turn that advice to action, where we can. It is vital that we ensure that the PBC and the Member States it represents are empowered to fulfil their important role.
The recent PBC briefing on UNOWAS, its engagement on regional issues and its advice on enhancing the links between peacekeeping and peacebuilding, are all concrete examples of how we can effectively work together.
I want to be clear: enhancing the synergies between the PBC and the Security Council makes our work here more effective. That is true not only of our deliberations in New York, but of our impact on the ground, where it matters most.
This is not about overstepping mandates, it is about using them to their full potential.
Colleagues, I ask you, is that not the essence of multilateralism? Pooling our strengths, our resources, our knowledge. Working side by side, super powers and small islands alike, for the betterment of our shared and vulnerable planet.
As I listened today to examples of protecting the gains of peacekeeping transitions, of empowering women and youth in peace processes, examples of addressing the interplay of climate and conflict, I am encouraged by what we have achieved, both at the Council and at the Peacebuilding Commission.
But to those who seek to use the Charter as a means, some might say, as an excuse, to protect their own power instead of fulfilling their obligations to maintain international peace and security, I ask, what are you really afraid of?
We know that the road to sustainable peace is long.
It does not end with the signature of a deal.
It takes time, commitment, fortitude and, always, hope.
As I approach the end of my time as Ireland’s Permanent Representative here at the United Nations, I call on this Council to open its doors to these possibilities. To strengthen its cooperation with the Peacebuilding Commission. To open our ears to the calls of our members. Particularly to open our minds to those on the frontlines, striving for peace every day.
Millions of vulnerable people are relying on us to do just that. We really cannot let them down.
Thank you, President.