8 February 2001

Secretary-General Lists Main Points of United Nations Discussions
With Regional Organizations on Peace-Building

NEW YORK, 7 February (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the text of a statement made today by Secretary-General Kofi Annan, at the concluding session of the fourth High-Level Meeting between the United Nations and Regional Organizations:

I think you will all agree that we have had a very productive exchange of views on the crucial subject of peace-building. Before we disperse, I would like to highlight some of the main points of the discussion, which appeared to command a broad measure of agreement:

-- Peace-building is essentially a home-grown process, in which the role of the United Nations, and of regional organizations, is to support national endeavours;

-- An effective peace-building strategy must address the root causes of conflict;

-- Peace-building has a fundamentally political character. The different components of a peace-building strategy need to contribute to the overall goal of preventing the outbreak or recurrence of conflict;

-- Peace-building must be seen as a comprehensive strategy, involving political, social, developmental and humanitarian measures. The precise mix of measures needs to be carefully tailored to each situation, and to involve a broad range of national or international actors;

-- Peace-building must include measures for promoting good governance, the rule of law, democratization and human rights as key components of a sustainable peace;

-- The specific needs of women, and of vulnerable groups such as children and minorities, are a key component of any peace-building strategy;

-- Quick-impact projects can play an important role in the early phases of a peace-building operation;

-- Peacekeeping operations should incorporate peace-building as an integral component. Efforts should be made to ensure a smooth transition from peacekeeping to long-term peace-building, particularly with regard to demobilization, disarmament and reintegration, the training of civilian police, and measures to prevent the spread of small arms and light weapons;

-- Each organization must conduct its peace-building activities on the basis of its own mandate, so as to ensure the legitimacy of its actions;

-- The United Nations and regional organizations must cooperate more closely in sharing information, in order to better analyse and understand the multifaceted roots and dynamics of conflict;

-- Ideally, all relevant actors in peace-building should come together early in the negotiating phase of a peace agreement to ensure effective implementation and to avoid duplication of efforts.

-- We all need to be more aware of each other's capabilities in this field, in order to ensure that our efforts complement each other.

Our discussions also identified a number of obstacles to more effective peace-building. Often, for example, there is a lack of sustained political support by the international community for long-term peace-building after the signing of a peace agreement. In addition, the mandates given to the United Nations and regional organizations frequently exceed their capacities. And the resources for peace-building are limited, often drawn from the same pool of funds provided by Member States for other activities.

There is also a fundamental paradox inherent in peace-building. On the one hand, effective peace-building requires the long-term engagement of the international community. On the other hand, there is always the danger of making a society permanently dependent on development assistance. That is why so many of us stressed that peace-building needs to be a home-grown process, supported by the international community, but aimed ultimately at promoting national self-reliance.

At our last meeting, in 1998, we established a practical framework for cooperation in the field of conflict prevention. This meeting has expanded that framework to the complementary field of peace-building. We have also agreed to bring these two efforts together in future follow-up activities.

I hope we have moved the international community another step forward in its journey from a culture of reaction to a culture of prevention. And I hope that the Security Council will be able to support the results of our meeting when it reconvenes next week.

Our organizations have now had four meetings aimed at better cooperation and partnership. My sense is that we are making important progress. Let us hope that the next in this series of meetings is equally productive. And meanwhile, let us ensure that there is effective follow-up to this one. Thank you for coming.

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