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PREVENTIVE DIPLOMACY IS ABSOLUTELY VITAL TO LASTING PEACE - UN SECRETARY-GENERAL ON PEACE & SECURITY

UN Secretary-General António Guterres said conflict prevention is “the very reason the United Nations exists,” adding that the Organization was created “out of the ashes of the Second World War with the intention, embedded in our Charter, to never again subject humanity to war’s inhumanity.”

Speaking today (16 Nov) at a Security Council meeting on Preventive diplomacy, Guterres said prevention does not always get the attention it deserves, possibly because its results are difficult to measure, but it is absolutely vital to lasting peace.

The Secretary-General said he has consistently used his good offices — sometimes publicly, sometimes behind the scenes — to seek to defuse conflicts and advance peace. He reiterated that his agenda of prevention calls for a surge in diplomacy for peace, as well as a better integration of prevention and risk-assessment across UN decision-making.

This, the Secretary-General added, includes connecting the dots among all drivers of conflict — including poverty, inequalities, and climate change.

Guterres said, “Prevention is ultimately the business of stopping wars and conflicts before they happen. Of defusing — through dialogue — the tensions that spark division and war that put millions of lives in danger every day. But prevention is also the business of making sure that no mother has to skip a meal to feed her children. Of bringing hope for a better future through education, health care and the possibility of an income. Of fostering tolerance, trust, equality and respect for human rights — all the ingredients of a peaceful society. Of closing the development gaps that lead to conflict and bringing the promise of the Sustainable Development Goals to life for all people, equally. Of reversing the vicious cycle of conflict and division — and instead, setting in motion a virtuous cycle of development and peace.”

For the women and men of the UN, the UN chief said, preventive diplomacy and development go hand-in-hand, however he stressed that far more must be done to join-up humanitarian, peace and development efforts.

This, he said, means working to end inequalities that deny entire groups of people access to civil and economic life and the levers of decision-making. And it means transforming commitment to human rights from words to practice in every context.

The Secretary-General told Council members that “prevention is not a political tool — but a practical pathway to peace.” He said, for preventive diplomacy to succeed, "we need the full support of this Council, and indeed all Member States.”

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