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Statement by Ireland at UN Security Council Open Debate, 12 December 2018

Statement by Dr Katherine Zappone, T.D., Minister for Children and Youth Affairs of Ireland, at the Security Council Open Debate on “Cooperation between the UN and regional and sub-regional organisations: the role of States, regional arrangements and the United Nations in the prevention and resolution of conflicts”


Mr President

Thank you for organising today’s important debate.  Increasingly, it is recognised that cooperation between the UN and regional and sub-regional organisations is crucial to conflict resolution and prevention. 

Regional organisations have a central interest in promoting peace, given the capacity for conflict to spread across borders. 

I am conscious, Mr President, that you are from a region of Africa which has witnessed some of the most successful cooperation between the UN and regional organisations.  Your own country emerged from conflict following vital support from ECOWAS and the UN. 

Indeed, as President Ouattara said in this Chamber yesterday, the Security Council passed over 50 “unprecedented and courageous” resolutions on Cote d’Ivoire, helping your country to overcome and resolve conflict.    

Ireland shares your strong support for multilateralism, and your President’s assessment that peace and stability in one country is largely dependent on stability of the region.

More recently, mediation by ECOWAS in the post-election crisis in The Gambia is a further example of the success that can be achieved when regional efforts are provided with wider international support. 

On the island of Ireland our own locally led peace process has benefitted hugely from the sustained, generous and sensitive support of the European Union - the regional organisation of which Ireland is a member.  Indeed, simply our membership of the EU played a key role in putting us on the road to ending violent conflict.

Mr President,

Ireland wishes to acknowledge the recent successes of regional actors in conflict prevention and resolution, such the African Union’s recent advances in developing Continental Early Warning Systems, the Panel of the Wise, Special Envoys, and ad hoc mediation panels. These steps all make a tangible and incremental difference to conflict resolution and peacebuilding.

We believe regional analysis, cooperation and shared outcomes can facilitate more effective responses to conflict and to building peaceful societies. With this is mind, Ireland has facilitated two workshops bringing together gender advisors from the AU, the EU, NATO, the OSCE, UN DPKO,  and UN Women, to enhance practical implementation of Women Peace and Security agenda priorities.

We all know that if women are included in peace processes, the agreements they reach are more durable.  Ireland’s support for the WPS agenda is wide ranging, including support for the work of AU Special Envoy on Women, Peace and Security and the Women’s Peace and Humanitarian Fund.

On peacekeeping, Ireland is aware of the importance of ensuring that our efforts respond to the needs of the situation, that resources match mandates, and that they are reinforced by political will and political support.

Irrespective of the environment, how we approach, design, and decide on a peacekeeping mission has to be cognisant of local needs.

Secretary General Guterres’ Action for Peacekeeping and accompanying Declaration of Shared Commitments provide us with the concrete steps we need to take.

The effectiveness of our peacekeeping operations depends not just on their design but on the conduct of those we task to implement them. There is a responsibility on Member States to ensure that the capabilities and capacities that will aid the delivery of effective peacekeeping are provided.    

Ireland is playing its part when it comes to effective peacekeeping.  We have put at the disposal of UN partners a range of courses that will respond to a number of the training needs identified. We will also ensure that Irish peacekeepers operate to the highest standards in accordance with international humanitarian and human rights law.  Ireland’s commitment to the highest possible standards has also led to a whole of government approach to the implemention of the UN Voluntary Compact on the Elimination of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse.   We must ensure that we continue to eradicate this behaviour from every part of our system.

In conclusion, Mr President, Ireland believes the most effective pathway to sustainable peace is through supporting inclusive, locally-led and nationally-owned peacebuilding initiatives. As we seek membership of the Security Council for 2021/22, we will continue to prioritise support for increased participation for women and youth in all mediation and peacebuilding activities, and we seek to work with local partners to support interventions that will bring about sustainable peace.


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