Amidst multiple conflicts that have disrupted supply chains, fuelled food insecurity, and contributed to the rising risk of famine and forced displacement throughout numerous countries, the UN convened a high-level meeting on Friday to discuss solutions surrounding building and sustaining peace and stepping up development.
Convened by the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and the Peace Building Commission (PBC) participants set out to promote greater international coherence and resilience in support of communities living in conflict-affected States.
As UN agencies, funds and programmes discussed how they are improving cooperation and coordination, ECOSOC President Lachezara Stoeva, upheld the need to “further strengthen our efforts to assist countries in addressing root causes of crises and ensuring long-term sustainable development”.
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, countries in or recovering from conflict were “gravely off track” from achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
At the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development in July, several post-conflict and crisis-affected countries underscored the centrality of peace and security as a prerequisite to reaching the development goals, or SDGs.
“In countries with protracted conflicts, grave insecurity and weak institutional capacity remain major bottlenecks to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda”, she continued, adding that some dealing with the impacts of climate change have further led to “resource scarcity, widespread displacement, and food shortages”.
That enhanced cooperation over humanitarian, development and peace interventions, leads to better results, was the strong message that resonated throughout the ECOSOC Operational Activities Segment in May, as well as the Humanitarian Affairs Segment and ECOSOC Transition Meeting.
“United efforts on humanitarian, development and peace objectives can play a critical role to reduce risks and build resilience, providing much greater positive impact for the affected communities”, said Ms. Stoeva.
To this end, the UN system can help countries identify opportunities to promote early recovery, reconstruction, and stabilization; enable them to realize the SDGs; and increase resilience against future shocks that could jeopardize the global goals.
The deliberations are also geared toward the 2023 SDG Summit and the New Agenda for Peace leading up to it, as well as the planned 2024 Summit of the Future.
Break ‘vicious cycle’
PBC chair Muhammad Abdul Muhith, maintained that peace and development are “both ends and means in themselves”.
He explained that ongoing conflicts and other threat multipliers such as climate change, are jeopardizing the realisation of the SDGs, while a lack of progress towards the goals are fuelling discontent and exacerbating conflict, violence and instability.
“This vicious cycle must be broken if we want to build and sustain peace. And as the Agenda 2030 itself suggests, this would require the entire United Nations system to work collectively and support the Member States’ efforts in a coordinated and coherent manner”, he said.