Sumario: 16 July 2010, New York - Statement on behalf of the European Union by Pedro Serrano, Acting Head of the Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations, at the Security Council Open Debate on Conflict prevention and settlement of disputes
Many thanks for giving the floor to the European Union.
The Candidate Countries Croatia* and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova and Georgia align themselves with this declaration.
The EU commends the Nigerian Presidency of the Security Council for having scheduled this important debate on conflict prevention, and for building on Security Council resolutions 1265, 1296 and 1674 which had emphasized conflict prevention and resolution. It goes without saying that, for many reasons, preventing the escalation of disputes into conflicts is the much better approach, and the EU strongly supports political and practical conflict prevention activities. We see this discussion also as a continuation of the Council's discussion of protection issues, including the highly relevant debate on protection of civilians last week.
We welcome that today's debate puts conflict prevention in Africa on the agenda of the Security Council. It illustrates the determination of African partners to make good use of the year 2010 which the African Union Assembly last summer proclaimed Year of Peace and Security in Africa [on 31 August 2009]. Moreover, it gives all the opportunity to share lessons of concrete country situations, brief on recently developed or refined tools, and examine the increased cooperation with regional organizations in this regard.
For its part, the EU has strengthened its capacities to deal with tensions and insecurity, in order to prevent violent conflicts and to contribute to a global culture of prevention. As stated in the 2001 EU Programme on this subject [Prevention of Violent Conflict], conflict prevention is one of the main objectives of the EU's external relations. In this framework, the EU pursues a wider range of policies and actions, from development co-operation and external assistance, to efforts aimed at strengthening human rights, the rule of law and accountability, as well as co-operation with international partners and NGOs.
The African Union is a crucial partner for the European Union, notably in the framework of the Joint Africa-EU Strategy and in particular the Partnership on Peace and Security, which embraces a wide set of objectives and activities addressing short and long-term security challenges. We hold regular consultations on crises or emerging threats, for instance between the AU Peace and Security Council and the EU Political and Security Committee. Close co-operation is facilitated by a designated Special Advisor on African capabilities. Furthermore, the support provided by the EU [EC and EDF funds] provides essential funding for Africa-led Peace support operations and enables the operationalisation of the Africa Peace and Security Architecture [APSA], including early warning and early action, and disarmament and counter-terrorism activities.
In addition to this type of assistance, we are often invited to assist or provide support in many crisis situations in Africa through further tools at our disposal, such as EU Special representatives, EU crisis management operations and missions.
We commend the growing role of the AU and regional and sub-regional organisations, usually referred to as the regional economic communities [RECs ], also in conflict prevention and mediation efforts in Africa. We also believe that International Contact Groups [ICGs] are good examples of internationally coordinated efforts to tackle crisis situations where the AU, RECs, the UN, and the EU as well as other relevant partners work together. We believe that the relations between these organisations could still be strengthened, for instance through the development of a methodology for jointly identifying and addressing emerging conflicts and required capacities.
In implementing the AU-EU Action Plan on the Peace and Security Partnership, we have put a particular emphasis on cooperation in the field of mediation, which the EU promotes as a tool of first response to emerging or ongoing crisis situations, in line with a concept recently adopted by the EU at highest level [Concept on Strengthening EU Mediation and Dialogue Capacities, adopted by the European Council in November 2009]. The UN is, without any doubt, the most important and experienced actor in the area of mediation and has developed a high level of expertise. At the same time, regional and sub-regional actors are increasingly the first to respond in view of their knowledge on local and regional dynamics and credibility with third parties in the regional context.
In view of that, our cooperation aims at developing a common understanding and broad guidelines, through regular joint AU-EU-UN lessons learned exercises, joint workshops and the exchange of staff. The next event under this umbrella will be a high-level meeting of the organisations' Special Envoys and Representatives for Africa end of August 2010 in Addis Ababa. The EU is also associated to the AU-UN Framework aimed at enhancing the AU mediation capacity, and we are committed to developing a shared mediation strategy, knowledge management as well as further joint mediation tools.
As other speakers before me have stressed, justice contributes to the consolidation of peace and to conflict prevention. The experience in Africa shows how accountability for the most serious crimes of international concern are part of any lasting solution, and the deterrent effect of international justice, in particular the International Criminal Court, on ongoing conflicts has to be acknowledged as a valuable element in conflict prevention. We also believe that the principle of accountability for past violations of human rights as well as the overall reform of the judiciary should be integrated in SSR and other institution-building efforts.
We wish to highlight the importance of post-conflict action of the Peace Building Commission to help prevent countries on its agenda from relapsing into conflict. For its part, in all countries on the PBC agenda and beyond, the EU has lent assistance to capacity and institution building, including through support to DDR, SSR and rule of law activities, which are all very important for state-building and also have a conflict-preventive effect.
In our view, the Peace Building Support Office [PBSO] should further deepen its interaction with other actors within the UN system, such as UNDP and DPA, in particular the Mediation Support Unit, in order to exchange experiences and build on best practices. In this context we would also like to welcome the work of the UN Interagency Framework Team.
Looking ahead to the coming months and in particular the tenth anniversary of Security Council resolution 1325 in the fall, the EU wishes to emphasize the role of women also in the context of conflict prevention. Women are often powerful and capable actors in their communities and the information provided by women's groups can be valuable in detecting arising tensions. Equal and active participation of women in both formal and informal mediation processes and peace negotiations after a conflict should be encouraged. Africa has led the way in operationalising resolution 1325. In this anniversary year much more remains to and should be done to fully implement this landmark document, including through an enhanced role of women in conflict prevention. The EU will afford strong support to such efforts.
Thank you very much, Mr. President.
* Croatia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.