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DIVERSITY, STATEBUILDING AND PEACE - UN CHIEF BRIEFS THE SECURITY COUNCIL (12 OCTOBER 2021)

Briefing by António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, on "Peacebuilding and sustaining peace: Diversity, statebuilding and the search for peace" - Security Council, 8877th meeting.

"My thanks to the government of Kenya for convening today’s debate on the important issue of diversity, statebuilding and peace.

Your theme captures a crucial but often overlooked idea.

That peace is not found in a piece of paper.

It is found in people.

More specifically, a diversity of people from different backgrounds coming together to chart a common course for a country.

Parties to conflict can agree to end hostilities.

They can agree to begin the long process of rebuilding a country.

And they can even join forces to reconstitute a government.

But without including a wide range of diverse voices at every step of this process – without bringing all people along – any peace will be short-lived.

Longstanding grievances, inequalities, mistrust and social divisions do not simply vanish when the fighting stops.

They can easily flare up again.

And they can be worsened, if people and groups hungry for change do not see their needs and vision for the future being addressed.

We see this cycle playing out all around us.

Each week, this chamber echoes with updates on the grinding conflicts that scar our world and their devastating humanitarian toll.

One undeniable trend is the sharp increase in the number of non-state armed groups at the heart of these conflicts. Rebels, insurgents, militias, criminal gangs, and armed trafficking, terrorist and extremist groups.

Many coalesce around joint identities, or shared beliefs.

Others are opportunistic, driven by the profits of crime or the promise of power.

We’re seeing also a rise in military coups.

And as the joint UN-World Bank study Pathways for Peace found, many conflicts are deeply rooted in longstanding inequalities among groups.

People feel excluded and marginalized.

They’re denied the same opportunities and justice as their neighbours because of their culture, race, skin colour, ethnicity or income.

While inequalities exist in every country, they are particularly rampant in countries where social services like health, education, security and justice are lacking.

And where the scars of colonialism are still visible – seen in arbitrarily drawn borders, and historical advantages for certain groups over others.

Against this backdrop, the COVID-19 pandemic has compounded inequalities, and reversed development and peacebuilding gains.

These inequalities and weak governance structures create a vacuum that is easily filled by the voices of intolerance and extremism that can lead to violent conflict.

Conversely, inclusion is foundational to resilience and sustainable peace.

Nowhere is this clearer than in the linkages between women’s inclusion, gender equality and sustainable peace and security, as this Council will discuss later this month".
[Excerpt - António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations]

Full remarks [as delivered]: www.un.org/sg/en/node/260048

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