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  • May 4th, 2016

From peacebuilding to sustaining peace

Panorama_of_the_United_Nations_General_Assembly,_Oct_2012

Global Observatory, a publication of the International Peace Institute, recently featured an analysis of the groundbreaking new vision for the UN’s peacebuilding architecture. See With New Resolutions, Sustaining Peace Sits at Heart of UN Architecture (by Youssef Mahmoud and Andrea Ó Súilleabháin, 29 April 2016).

This holistic vision stands in sharp contrast to the primacy of military approaches that we have seen applied to such disastrous effect in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Iraq again.

Here are some excerpts from the article:

The United Nations Security Council and General Assembly adopted identical resolutions on a new vision for the UN’s peacebuilding architecture on April 27th. This was the culmination of a tireless intergovernmental negotiation process guided by the findings and recommendations of last year’s The Challenge of Sustaining Peace report, produced by a group of experts convened by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

But what exactly is “sustaining peace”? And how will the UN’s key peacebuilding instruments work within this new conceptual framework?

The preamble of the dual resolution defines sustaining peace as including:

activities aimed at preventing the outbreak, escalation, continuation and recurrence of conflict, addressing root causes, assisting parties to conflict to end hostilities, ensuring national reconciliation, and moving towards recovery, reconstruction and development.

It is an inherently political process that spans prevention, mediation, conflict management, and resolution.

This expansive definition means putting UN member states and their populations in the lead, putting politics and political solutions front and center, giving prevention an uncontested home, and leveraging the UN’s three pillars—human rights, peace and security, and development—in a mutually reinforcing way.

From Peacebuilding to Sustaining Peace

During the General Assembly debate following the adoption of the resolution, most member states hailed the conceptual shift from peacebuilding to sustaining peace as transformative and forward-looking. It means peacebuilding is no longer confined to post-conflict situations but applies to all phases: before the outbreak, during the conflict, and after it has abated.

Sustaining peace is “a goal and a process to build a common vision of society,” according to the new resolution. Its building blocks include:

– greater links between peace, development, and human rights;
– inclusive national ownership, where local actors have a consistent voice and women and youth play a critical role; and
– more strategic and close partnerships with diverse stakeholders.

All require sustained support and attention by the international community.

With “sustaining peace” now firmly in the mindsets of member states, the General Assembly resolution decided that the Assembly will convene a high-level meeting in September 2017 on “Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace.”

For the full analysis, see With New Resolutions, Sustaining Peace Sits at Heart of UN Architecture (by Youssef Mahmoud and Andrea Ó Súilleabháin, 29 April 2016.)

 

Photo credit: UN Photos: UN General Assembly

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