UN urges preventive action on emerging crises

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UNITED NATIONS: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday called on the world leaders to address emerging crises before they become bigger and costlier for all.

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He made the call at the UN headquarters in New York during the Security Council’s open debate on conflict prevention.

“We know that if we do not address emerging crises, they risk becoming bigger and costlier for all,” Ban told the 15-member Council.

He stressed that, with the surge of violent crises around the world, the United Nations needs to re-examine and refine its approach to preventing conflicts.

“As secretary-general, one of my core priorities is improving our organization’s ability to act early and act preventively,” he said.

Ban noted that although the UN had risen from the ashes of “the war to end all wars” and had saved countless lives over the past 64 years, “we cannot speak of positive trends when we look at Syria, Iraq, Gaza, South Sudan, the Central African Republic, Ukraine and elsewhere.”

According to the UN chief, those situations around the world not only “demonstrate the changing nature and complexity of contemporary conflict,” — repeated cycles of turmoil, exacerbating factors such as extreme poverty, weak institutions or terrorism — but also pose a major challenge to the UN’s prevention work.

“Are our common tools fit for purpose? What must we do better? How can we anticipate what lies ahead?” Ban asked. “The Security Council, which bears the primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, has a unique responsibility.”

“Hard-won experience has taught us a number of lessons about what works in prevention,” Ban said, highlighting five relevant points: being present early, including mobilizing effective, unified diplomatic action to diffuse tensions; honing skills in prevention and mediation; building partnerships and coalitions, including regional-level peace and security initiatives; learning from collective mistakes; and empowering the UN Secretary-General to speak on “behalf of a common voice”, drawing on the leverage of the UN Charter.

“Even modest United Nations actions can have an important impact when we have the Security Council’s united support — speaking with one voice — for early engagement,” Ban said.

“It is time for a new era of collaboration, cooperation and action from the Security Council,” he added. PNA

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