Remarks by Ambassador Richard Mills, Deputy Representative to the United Nations, at a UN Security Council Open Debate on Futureproofing for Sustaining Peace

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May 3, 2023

Thank you, Mr. President. I would like to congratulate the Swiss Delegation, the Swiss government, on assuming the Presidency – a historic occasion. My delegation looks forward to cooperating closely, so this is a productive month for the Council. And let me also thank you for chairing this important debate. I also want to thank our briefers for their thoughtful and very informative presentations.

I think it’s clear from the interventions that have gone before me that there is general agreement among all of us that conflict prevention, preventative diplomacy, and peacebuilding efforts are critical to responding to shared security and development challenges around the world if we are to reduce the recurrence of conflict.

We in the Security Council can contribute to sustaining peace in part, as many have said, through a more ambitious and structured collaboration with the Peacebuilding Commission. The United States reiterates its strong support for expanding the role of the Peacebuilding Commission in regional settings and on cross-cutting issues, including human rights and climate-related peace and security risks.

This includes leveraging the Peacebuilding Commission’s convening power, particularly in its advisory role to the Security Council, to make peacebuilding activities integrated, coordinated, and responsive to current dynamics.

Mr. President, as others before me have also emphasized, women, youth, local actors, marginalized groups, and broader civil society must be actively engaged and sufficiently empowered to have a meaningful impact on the decision-making processes intended to achieve peace.

We have said this many times in the Council, but it bears repeating, peacebuilding efforts are more effective and much more likely to achieve lasting, inclusive outcomes for all of society when women are included. That means full, equal, meaningful, and safe participation of women in decision-making, conflict prevention, and peacebuilding and sustaining peace processes.

Youth in conflict settings also tend to be unheard, even though they are often acutely impacted by violence and have a right to voice their perspectives on establishing peace and security in their communities. Youth engagement serves to enrich conversations around peace, particularly because they have a vested interest in long-term peace.

That’s why I was so pleased to hear from Ms. Chigwenya this morning; her message about rebuilding youth’s trust across the world, in institutions, especially in the UN and in this Council’s work, makes clear that this is an important task for all of us.

Mr. President, this moment is particularly ripe for big and some out-of-the box thinking. And a “New Agenda for Peace” has the opportunity to respond. The “New Agenda for Peace” should offer a range of proposals to tackle these challenges. Some of them – like a focus on youth, gender, climate adaptation and resilience, conflict prevention, and the intersections among all these issues – will hopefully be quickly and broadly embraced.

For our part, the U.S. Strategy to Prevent Conflict and Promote Stability comprises a new, whole-of-government approach with partner nations to prevent violence and advance stability in areas that are vulnerable to conflict.

The Strategy aims to address the drivers of instability and conflict with a longer-term view, through partnerships at all levels and adaptive learning to inform decision-making as the dynamics change. The 10-year country and region plans under the Strategy represent a meaningful, long-term commitment by the United States to making strategic investments in prevention that are critical to lasting peace.

As President Biden has said, “Prevention is hard work — measured not in days and weeks, but in years and generations.”

Thank you again for bringing us together on this topic. Thank you, Mr. President.

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