Statement at the UNSC Open Debate on Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace
Statement26 January 2023
Thank you, Mr. President.
I want thank Japan for organising this crucial debate and I also thank the briefers who spoke earlier today. Their presentations are a reminder that despite the Council holding the primary responsibility for peace and security, there are other UN bodies and grassroots organizations that are crucial if we are to achieve this goal.
Having recently concluded our term as an elected member of the UN Security Council, I would like to identify three actions the Council can take towards investing in peace.
The first step we must take is to focus on prevention and early action. An area where the Council consistently fails to deliver. A focus on prevention not only makes sense politically and morally, but financially also - saving both lives and money.
This means having the courage to act when we see the first signs of crises, and taking a more proactive role in preventing them. The focus on prevention in the “New Agenda for Peace” offers an opportunity to advance this work.
During our Council term, we saw the importance of an early response to an unfolding crisis in Ethiopia. Right now, the Council’s ongoing attention to the situation in Armenia and Azerbaijan is critical.
We won’t always find solutions quickly. But early responses from the Council, prompt action, and working in tandem with regional approaches, are how we can fulfil our mandate.
The longer we take to understand and heed the root causes of conflict, the hungrier people grow, the more destitute their poverty becomes, and the more likely conflict is to arise. For peace to be sustained and human rights to be protected, drivers of conflict such as inequality, climate change and displacement must be tackled.
This requires joined-up action by humanitarian, development and peace support actors, to get back on track towards achieving the SDGs.
It also requires sustainable financing for peacebuilding activities. This includes enhanced voluntary and assessed contributions to the Peacebuilding Fund, of which Ireland is a longstanding partner.
Second, Mr. President, this Council needs to respond to the changing world around us and empower others, including the Peacebuilding Commission. Every month, the PBC empowers the Council with advice. It is high time for the Council to turn that advice to action, where it can.
The PBC’s advice on UNOWAS included the need to address the adverse effects of climate change and to strengthen democratic institutions. We believe this should be heeded in the mandate renewal and PRST currently being considered.
Listening to such advice is not about overstepping mandates, but about using them to their full potential. Pooling our strengths for the betterment of our planet and its people is the very essence of multilateralism.
You ask us whose voices should be heard. My third point, as Member States and the Secretary General embark on crafting the new agenda for peace, is that Council must address inclusivity, most notably for women and young people.
For generations of young people on the island of Ireland, violence was a daily reality. As we approach the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday agreement, our conviction remains resolute - we cannot build lasting peace without empowering those who ultimately inherit that peace.
We must also harness the active involvement of civil society in peacebuilding. In particular, we must implement Resolution 2594 to ensure that transition processes of UN peace operations are inclusive and effective in order for them to last.
As we craft the new agenda for peace, the Council must play its part. Millions of vulnerable people are relying on us to do just that. We cannot let them down. Thank you.