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National statements

United Nations Security Council regarding the maintenance of international peace and security

Thematic issues

  • Natural Resources
  • Peace and Security
  • Peace building commission
  • Peacebuilding
  • Peacekeeping
  • Peacemaking
  • Regional Organisations
  • Rule of Law
  • Women

Statement by H.E. Mr Gary Quinlan, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Australia to the United Nations Security Council regarding the maintenance of international peace and security: the interdependence between security and development.

Madam President

I would like to thank Brazil for convening this important debate, which goes to the heart of the UN's role and responsibilities – to help foster conditions for peace, stability, prosperity and economic opportunity for all Member States and their people.

All speakers today have reaffirmed that peace, security and development are inextricably linked, and require a comprehensive approach. The UN Security Council has an organic role to play in this.

We see constantly that lack of development opportunities are one of the fundamental underlying causes of conflict. We have heard the statistics – no low income fragile or conflict-affected country has yet achieved a single Millennium Development Goal. This fact should be compelling. Lack of development is itself of course an important contributor to conflict.

When the Council seeks to fulfil its responsibilities under the Charter, it must be fully appraised of the root causes of conflicts before it. The Council must continually seek fresh approaches to inter-act and work with the UN system – including the Peace Building Commission and international financial institutions – in order to fulfil its own responsibilities.

This is needed not only in the post-conflict peace-building phase, but also as part of the Council's preventive diplomacy tool-kit and in its mandate formulation. Inclusive economic development can of course help to prevent conflict and the recurrence of conflict.

Australia has learned from its own work on peace and security issues, particularly in our region, the importance of taking comprehensive, whole of government approaches, combining development assistance with defence, law enforcement and diplomatic resources.

Madam President

The Council is obviously not the place to take on the core business of development – and no one is suggesting it should be. Different actors must play to their mandates, strengths and comparative advantages. The UN General Assembly, UN Committees, UN agencies, UN Member States and others – we all must do a better job in meeting development goals.

The Council should continue to mandate peacekeeping operations to support peacebuilding activities from the earliest stages of planning and implementation, and give this due attention in the renewal of mission mandates. It should continue to mandate integrated missions to ensure coherent approaches. It should encourage coordination and coherence within mission structures, and between missions and other actors. We also need to encourage better definition of roles and responsibilities within the UN system in key peacebuilding sectors.

To properly consider development issues, the Council needs access to contextual socio-economic information. We welcome the request by the Council that the Secretary-General include such information in his reporting to the Council.

As mentioned by the Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission, the Permanent Representative of Rwanda, the Commission is a unique organ in the UN which brings together security and development actors. It has a key role to play in coordination, and in sharing lessons and best practice. We welcome the Council's intention to make greater use of the advisory role of the PBC. Peace, stability and development objectives are key throughout the peacemaking, peacekeeping and peacebuilding continuum. We welcome recent steps to include the participation of PBC country-specific configuration chairs in Council briefings and informal interactive dialogues.

Australia also encourages greater coordination between the Council and the World Bank, and welcomes this very useful interaction today. And we support South Africa's comments regarding the important role of regional organisations.

Madam President

Whether we are helping with the immediate task of restoring the rule of law, facilitating basic service delivery, or helping build the stable institutions for governance and economic growth, we must do so with a view to promoting local leadership and ownership, and inclusiveness, particularly of women and youth. And we will not have security unless we give balance to promoting development in both urban and rural settings.

As others have said, it is important to identify those activities that are most relevant to securing long term stability and security. We agree strongly with others who have emphasised the importance of security sector reform and the rule of law. I would like to add our voice to those who have emphasised two further issues: youth unemployment and management of natural resources.

As we know, youth unemployment can potentially be one of the most destabilising elements in a society. This has to be addressed not just through supply-side activities, such as training and skills development, but through generation of demand. UN agencies and the banks need to give prominence to drawing young people into productive society.

We will not have security unless we ensure sound management of natural resources. In so many countries, resource wealth has not translated into stability, and as mentioned by the Representative of South Africa, natural resources have had a particular role in fuelling a number of conflicts. Much has been written and said about the so-called 'paradox of plenty', but little has been done in a coordinated way. This something the United Nations has yet to grapple with effectively. But the Intergovernmental Forum on Mining and Metals, chaired by Malawi, has done good work including on guidelines. And we welcome the fact that sustainable mining is one of the themes to be addressed at this year's Commission on Sustainable Development.

But in the meantime, much can be achieved at the national level – and the onus does not rest solely with the host country. In Australia we are acutely conscious that our companies are operating in about 40 African countries, with investments worth more than $20 billion. These investments are enriching both our continents, but they also bring obligations. Australia has expertise to share in the field of resource management, and is supporting countries to improve mining regulation and management of natural resources in Africa and elsewhere.

Also in the area of natural resource management, Australia's aid program focuses on boosting agricultural capacities and ensuring sustainable fisheries, in order to promote jobs and prosperity.

To conclude, I would like to reiterate the Secretary-General's call for stronger coherence by the United Nations across the security-development spectrum, and stronger coordination with other actors. It is imperative that we turn this enhanced coherence and coordination into a reality, in the interests of the vulnerable communities of the world, and most compellingly for the 1.5 billion people living in countries affected by recurrent cycles of violence.

Thank you.

Last Updated: 18 June 2015
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