Peace-building and sustaining peace.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Ms. Ine Eriksen Søreide addressed a high level meeting on peace-building and sustaining peace in the UN General assembly.
The very first point of the preamble of the UN Charter states that the aim of the United Nations is to "to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war". Since the beginning, the prevention of conflicts has been at the very core of what the UN should do – and it still is. But the changing scope and nature of today's conflicts presents a challenge to the UN system. Since 2010, the number of major violent conflicts has tripled.
Fighting in a growing number of low-intensity conflicts have escalated. At the same time: UN peacebuilding efforts is severely underfunded. This is a fact, and a collective problem. We need to ensure adequate, predictable and sustained financing in order to make progress in the sustaining peace agenda. Norway is one of the largest donors to the Peace Building Fund, with a substantial increase in our contribution for for years to come.
The recent, joint UN - World Bank report, Pathways for Peace, clearly shows how and why conflict prevention is crucial. The report also shows the potential of closer collaboration between the UN and the World Bank. The report shows that at present, spending and efforts on prevention is one billion US dollars, and the amount spent on crisis response and reconstruction is 7 billion US dollars.
We must shift away from today's focus on managing and responding to crisis, and instead move towards preventing conflicts from breaking out in the first place. This will not only greatly reduce our costs, but it will also save many lives. This will save countless lives, and we will wiser in how we spend our money.
Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals is both an end in itself and an efficient way to prevent conflict and build lasting peace. There can be no peace without development, and no development without peace.
Norway spends approximately 1 % of GNI on ODA, and we will continue to do so. The sustaining peace report of the Secretary General presents many interesting suggestions about financing of peace-building.
We need to explore these options, including the possibilities of using assessed contributions. The UN Secretary General pointed to the fact that millions of dollars are left unutilized in trust funds or returned unspent to member states after having not been spent in peacekeeping operation budgets.
Re-allocating these kinds of funds for peace-building must be further explored. Channeling assessed contributions towards peace-building initiatives does not necessary mean an increased financial burden, but rather a reallocation of existing resources. It could be a smarter way of spending our funds.
Norway has mobilized to highlight financing issues in the Peace-building Commission, and we are committed to continuing this work.
I encourage all fellow member states to join us.
Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Ms. Ine Eriksen Søreide.
Credit Logo - Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.