UNITED NATIONS, United States: The Security Council on Thursday (Friday in Manila) today expressed its commitment to consider and use the tools of the United Nations system to ensure that warning signals about potential conflicts trigger “early, concrete preventive action,” as senior UN officials urged the body to take up the challenge of helping move the organization from a culture of reaction toward one of prevention.
Unanimously adopting a resolution ahead of a day-long meeting on conflict prevention, the Council expressed its determination to enhance the effectiveness of the UN “in preventing and ending armed conflicts, their escalation, spread when they occur, and their resurgence once they end,” and underlined the overriding moral, political and humanitarian imperatives as well as the economic advantages of taking such a preventive approach.
Emphasizing that the UN, including the Security Council, “should heed early warning indications of potential conflict” and ensure prompt and effective action to prevent, contain or end them, the Council in its resolution also affirmed that a comprehensive conflict prevention strategy should include, among others, early warning, preventive diplomacy, mediation, preventive deployment, peacekeeping, and practical disarmament.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who briefed the Council alongside UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, said: “There is no more important challenge before us than improving our ability to reach a stronger and earlier consensus. It is time for a new era of collaboration, cooperation and action from the Security Council.”
Ban said that though the UN had risen from the ashes of “the war to end all wars” and had, over the past 64 years, saved countless lives, “we cannot speak of positive trends when we look at Syria, Iraq, Gaza, South Sudan, the Central African Republic a Ukraine and elsewhere.”
Providing the Council with a prescription of her own, Pillay, in her final address before ending her term as UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said that strengthening civil society actors; increasing participation by women in decision-making and dialogue; and addressing institutional and individual accountability for past violations of human rights, are vital good practices that address both proximate triggers of conflict and root causes.
“And yet, the conflict in Syria is metastasizing outwards in an uncontrollable process whose eventual limits we cannot predict,” she said, adding that other complex and potentially highly eruptive conflicts are underway hammer home the full cost of the international community’s failure to prevent conflict.