Guterres, Security Council is crucial in addressing conflicts

UN Headquarters, Non-Violence sculpture UN Headquarters, Non-Violence sculpture © Photo by Matthew TenBruggencate on Unsplash

In Focus by Alessia Rossinotti; Editor: Alexander Collin

António Guterres, the Secretary General of the United Nations, took the floor during an open debate of the Security Council (UNSC) to underline the UNSC’s critical role in addressing the link between state fragility and conflict, issues that represent the greatest obstacles to the full implementation of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. The UNSC plays an important role with regard to these issues, as it can act both to prevent the outbreak of conflicts, and to address their roots. Moreover, the UNSC is of the utmost importance for mobilizing international support to address conflicts, and fostering commitments to promote global peace. 

In his speech, Guterres  discussed the interdependency between state fragility, poverty, sustainable development, and conflict. He called for a holistic approach to peace, which recognizes this interdependency. This link is visible, he observed, in the Sahel and in the Horn of Africa, where fragility is currently exacerbating other threats such as terrorism and the proliferation of armed groups. In this context, he stressed the importance of regional organizations, such as the African Union (AU), in addressing these concerns. The AU plays a key role in addressing conflicts throughout the African continent, however, its peace missions need support, especially in terms of funding, an issue that needs to be faced up to by the UNSC. 

Covid-19 continues to exacerbate state fragility, contributing to the outbreak of hostilities and to the vicious circle of violence. Guterres, therefore, reiterated the call for a global ceasefire that he had made on 23 March 2020, in order to allow countries to focus on fighting the pandemic. He also urged the international community to invest more in conflict prevention and peacebuilding, which are still underfunded. During the open debate, Liberia’s former President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf,  took the floor to underline a crucial point: “The United Nations must continue to represent more than hope”. Concrete actions must be taken by the organization to address the link between fragility and conflict, which has been made even more visible by the pandemic. Only in this way can they realize the goal of a sustainable global peace.


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