Delivered by: Her Excellency Noura Al Kaabi, Minister of State
Thank you to our briefers today – Assistant-Secretary-General Khiari, President Bachelet, President Mbeki, and Ms. Alvarez – for their valuable statements.
Peace-making is not the purview of the few alone, but a shared responsibility of the many.
This Council has often spoken with a united voice on conflict prevention, and today’s meeting presents us with the opportunity to reflect on how that shared responsibility can be best harnessed. Ultimately, the impact of our prevention work will be in its results, not in our statements.
In light of this, the United Arab Emirates would like to make three points today.
First, the diversity of the UN membership offers us entry points for conflict resolution when others have failed.
The pursuit of peace is too important not to rally all stakeholders guided towards the same goal.
Whether this Council, Member States, or regional organisations are involved, the focus should not be on who leads or who follows, but who is best placed to build trust.
The path to peace is a difficult journey. The efforts of a broad range of actors should not be seen in opposition to one another when their end goal is the same. Rather, the work of both regional and international organisations should be mutually reinforcing.
The endorsement of this Council of initiatives and outcomes from mediation efforts at the regional and bilateral level can go a long way towards peace, for example. This is why it is so important for the Council to speak with a united voice on the catastrophic crisis unfolding in Gaza. Regional efforts are critical to provide immediate humanitarian assistance, as well as to prevent the risk of the conflict spilling over. Their voices are also crucial in reviving the political horizon that Israel and Palestine so desperately need.
Second, trust must be in place as the foundation to build upon.
Confidence building measures can build crucial links during conflict when there is no end in sight.
At times, this means starting small.
Deconfliction efforts or the establishment hotlines among militaries can prevent miscalculations or escalation and begin to build confidence.
Humanitarian agreements, such as the exchange of detainees, can also serve to open channels of communication that would otherwise be closed. This does not mean politicizing humanitarian issues, but securing progress on humanitarian priorities, such as the protection of civilians or the safe delivery of humanitarian access. These measures, based in humanitarian principles, may one day contribute to a broader political discussion.
And where multilateral institutions struggle or fail in this endeavour, trust can be built from the ground up through regional and subregional organisations.
Harnessing the nuanced knowledge surrounding local dynamics, the threads of the social fabric and the historical context are valuable resources that regional and subregional actors possess when it comes to peace efforts. These can be leveraged for even greater impact.
The UN Secretary-General’s ‘New Agenda for Peace’ highlights the way in which local peace initiatives can foster this bottom-up approach. Security Council Resolution 2686 on ‘Tolerance and Peace and Security’ encouraged the UN to involve local communities, women, youth, civil society, and religious leaders in the mediation of peace agreements.
In particular, we welcome the growing establishment of and support for women regional mediator networks, as well as the growing commitment to ensure the full, equal, and meaningful participation of women in sustainable peace efforts.
Third, coordination is critical.
The benefit of a multi-level, multi-pronged approach is the reinforcement of efforts towards conflict prevention and mediation.
But the multiplicity of mediators-to-be can give rise to mixed messages and risks undermining progress.
Strengthening coordination mechanisms can help avoid ‘forum shopping’ and much of the confusion, especially in scenarios where urgency is key, so when crises arise, the Council and regional institutions are ready and able to leverage each other’s strengths for the best possible outcome.
For example, in Somalia, the UN support for the African Union mission and the work of the Quintet on security-related matters are good examples of the potential of a coordinated approach to achieve results on the ground.
The raging crisis in the Middle East today is the result of the belief that conflict can be managed indefinitely, without addressing its root causes. That is not a solution, and it highlights the need to mobilize all the tools available to international and regional actors to prioritize preventive diplomacy and conflict resolution.
The tools are clear, and so too are the best practices when it comes to preventive diplomacy. What we need is the political will to deploy them, even when the risks of failing are high.
Thank you, Mr. President.