Jakarta: Indonesian Minister for Foreign Affairs Retno Marsudi presided the virtual meeting of the UN Security Council High-Level Open Debate on Pandemics and the Challenges of Sustaining Peace on Wednesday.
“The pandemic has raised the fragility of conflict-affected countries and even risk them to fall back into crisis,” she said in a media release on Wednesday.
According to her, the scourge caused by the pandemic puts conflict-affected countries at a critical juncture.
In some parts of Western Africa and the Sahel, conflicts continue to rise and exacerbate national peacebuilding priorities.
Between February and August, at least 69 countries have postponed their elections, some of which are critical part of a peace process.
Concerned over these growing challenges, Indonesia took the initiative to raise this issue during its tenure as President of the UN Security Council this month.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, former UN Security General and current member of the Elders, Ban Ki-Moon as well as Director of Center on International Cooperation from the New York University, Sarah Cliffe briefed the Council on the importance of maintaining international efforts to sustain peace amid the pandemic.
In her national statement, the Indonesian minister underlined three points in response to this crisis.
First, sustaining peace must be part of the comprehensive response to this pandemic. Countries must focus on strengthening institutional capacities and resources of conflict-affected countries. Subsequently, ensuring the inclusive participation of local stakeholders in sustaining peace agenda is a must. To achieve this, the international community must create conducive international environment to sustain peace during the pandemic.
Second, sustaining peace requires synergy between the works of all UN system. In this regard, the UN should integrate conflict-sensitive approach into its pandemic response. General cessation of hostilities and humanitarian pause would enable timely delivery of aid and covid-19 treatments to civilians in conflicts.
?Third, it is important that countries optimize the use of the limited resources at hand for sustaining peace, as the majority of these countries are now faced with a hard choice between spending on health infrastructure or peacebuilding. Indonesia highlighted the latest Report by the UN Secretary-General on Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace, which documented a decline in share of official development assistance (ODA) for peacebuilding in conflict-affected countries. Therefore, innovative funding for peacebuilding through the South-South and Triangular Cooperation as well as philanthropic institutions is essential in helping with this situation.
“Let us use this momentum to better sustain peace," she stated.
Indonesia's leadership in setting the agenda for this month's UNSC sessions are welcomed by Council members. Several high-ranking officials of UNSC member states, including Minister of Foreign Affairs of Viet Nam, South Africa, Estonia, as well as Minister of State of Germany participated in the meeting.