Former Minister of State for External Relations
Speech by the Brazilian Foreign Minister, Antonio Patriota,
at the High Level Open Debate of the UN Security Council
on the interdependence between security and development
New York, 11 February 2011.
I am greatly pleased that Council members have adopted such a positive response to our proposed debate on the interdependence between peace and security and development. Allow me to start by making a brief historic digression before looking at some of today’s challenges and suggesting courses of action.
As we are all keenly aware, the United Nations were created to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, by avoiding a repetition of the mistakes made after World War I. An important aspect of this approach involved parallel initiatives aimed at creating improved economic and social conditions for recovery of the countries that had suffered most severely the ravages of World War II, whether they had been victors or not. Instrumental for the success of this effort was the Marshall Plan, which embodied the notion that a more stable and peaceful international order required not only a credible system of collective security, but also a “development agenda”.
Even though the term "development" was not so much in use then, the Charter of the United Nations already incorporated the idea of interdependence between peace and security and development. Article 55, on "International Economic and Social Cooperation", states that "with a view to the creation of conditions of stability and well-being, which are necessary for peaceful and friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principles of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, the United Nations shall promote: a) higher standards of living, full employment, and conditions of economic and social progress and development…"
In subsequent years, the concept of development was further refined through the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and the First United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). In the aftermath of the decolonization process, demands for improved terms of trade and increased development assistance would motivate, in the 70s, the adoption of a UNGA resolution calling for a new international economic order. The right to development was recognized in a General Assembly Declaration in 1986. In 2000, the UNGA established the Millennium Development Goals, thereby calling attention to the centrality of combating poverty to our overall agenda.
Over the past two decades, challenges to peace and security brought before this Council have followed new patterns. Once the East-West rivalry was superseded, many situations placed before the Council involved parts of the developing world recently emerged from colonialism in vulnerable conditions. In some cases their plight was made worse through the proxy wars of the bipolar period.
I am not implying that the most serious threats to peace are to be found today in comparatively poorer and less developed places. This would be a serious misreading both of the current international scenario and of historic trends. Many of the situations we are called upon to deal with in the Security Council - from East Timor to Haiti, from Liberia to the RDC - involve societies that do not, in and of themselves, represent a global threat to peace and security. Yet these are countries that have, to varying degrees, suffered conflict and instability in the context of pre-existing situations of poverty, unemployment and fragile institutions, among other conditions.
We are convinced that purely military or security strategies will not, by themselves, be able to adequately deal with the overwhelming majority of today’s situations of conflict. The Council has indeed already recognized this by incorporating reconstruction tasks into some peacekeeping mandates. As early as 2001, the Security Council noted the “need for enhancing peace-building activities by formulating a strategy based on the interdependence between sustainable peace, security and development in all its dimensions” (PRST 2001/5). But the main point I would like to make in our debate today is that we can do more and we should be able to do better.
We are not proposing to reconfigure the responsibilities of different UN organs or agencies, neither to transform this Council into a development programme. Today’s debate will, in our view, achieve its objective if it contributes to raising awareness on the importance of associating development to the security strategies we conceive towards sustainable peace. This is particularly relevant when dealing with situations in Africa, the Middle East, and the one situation in the Americas which is part of our agenda – namely that of Haiti. From the early stages of MINUSTAH's development, Brazil has, with the invaluable support our Latin American partners and others, argued for mandates that incorporate reconstruction and peace-building activities in parallel to peacekeeping actions. Though challenges in Haiti remain enormous, we must persevere in that approach and deepen its roots in the country. The same perception guides us in leading, for the past three years, the PBC’s configuration for Guinea Bissau, a sister-lusophone country, and where the linkage between security and development is plain to see.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Sustainable peace implies a comprehensive approach to security. Without economic opportunity, disarmament, demobilization and reintegration in and of themselves will rarely lead to the desired results. Peace-building activities such as support to youth employment and the provision of basic services play an essential role in increasing support for peacekeeping missions and therefore have a bearing on their political sustainability on the ground. Unfortunately, we are all aware of the worrying levels of frustration sometimes associated with the presence of the United Nations in certain parts of the world. We believe this situation could improve if the Council were also to focus on the positive impacts of a well-executed integrated strategy on the part of the agencies, funds, programs and international financial institutions.
With these considerations in mind, increased cooperation of this Council with the Economic and Social Council is clearly needed, as well as greater interaction between this body and the Peace-building Commission. The PBC came into being to fill an institutional gap in the United Nations. It was born out of the many bitter lessons the UN learned from countries lapsing and relapsing into conflict and instability. Its mission is to act as a catalyst or coordinator, within and beyond the UN system, for support and dedicated efforts in consolidating peace and promoting development in countries emerging from conflict – apart from its mandate as source of advice when there is a risk of conflict.
I hope today’s debate will enhance the ability of the United Nations and this Council, in particular, to help post-conflict societies move from a vicious circle of violence and instability onto a virtuous circle of peace, security and development.