Addressing ‘fragility’ of societies key to preventing conflicts, stresses UN chief

Addressing ‘fragility’ of societies key to preventing conflicts, stresses UN chief

Noting that a key trigger common to nearly all conflicts is the element of fragility – fragility of States, of institutions, or of societies – United Nations Secretary General António Guterres has called for increasing investments in preventative measures that address the problem of fragility before it turns into conflict.

“This means strengthening States, strengthening institutions, strengthening civil societies [and] combining the peace and security approach with the inclusive and sustainable development approach and with human rights,” explained Mr. Guterres, speaking at a World Bank-European Union event in Washington DC, where the Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) are holding their annual Spring Meetings.

In his remarks at the panel discussion on , the UN chief noted that the traditional forms of development aid are not enough and said that new approaches that create the conditions for investments in building resilience of communities and addressing fragility is needed.

He also praised the World Bank for the innovations it has already in place in countries like Jordan and Lebanon, to help them cope with the refugee crisis in the region.

“In my opinion, this is essential and, [given the scale of needs] should also include the private sector,” he said, adding that it is essential to find ways to divert the massive use of resources in managing crises to what is necessary to do to prevent them and to build the capacity of societies to solve their own problems.

Prior to attending the panel discussion, Secretary-General Guterres met with top United States officials, including President Donald Trump and National Security Advisor General H.R. McMaster at the White House.

According to the UN chief’s spokesperson, Mr. Guterres and Mr. Trump had constructive discussion on cooperation between the US and the UN and agreed to meet again in the near future.

Also today, Secretary-General Guterres joined the High-level Steering Group for Every Woman Every Child as its third and senior Co-Chair, joining Co-Chairs President Michelle Bachelet, of Chile, and Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, of Ethiopia, alternate Co-Chairs former Presidents Tarja Halonen, of Finland, and Jakaya Kikwete, of Tanzania, as well as other 16 members of the Group.

“In a time of complex development challenges, the investments we make today in women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health and wellbeing will help build the peaceful, sustainable and inclusive societies we have promised to achieve through the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” affirmed Mr. Guterres.

“Peace cannot exist without development and development cannot exist without health and wellbeing, for healthy and empowered women, children and adolescents can bring about the change needed to create a better future for all,” he added.

As a global multi-stakeholder partnership, Every Woman Every Child, launched in 2010, provides a unique platform to unite stakeholders across sectors to deliver on an integrated agenda for women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health and wellbeing.

“Every Woman Every Child welcomes the UN Secretary-General as Co-Chair of the High-level Steering Group, as we work together to ensure that global advocacy is translated into local action and impact for results,” Steering Group Co-Chair President Bachelet of Chile noted, highlighting that the movement is ready for its next phase under the leadership of the Secretary-General.

UN seeks more ‘cost-effective’ flight logistics in peacekeeping, political missions

UN seeks more ‘cost-effective’ flight logistics in peacekeeping, political missions

Secretary-General António Guterres today launched an initiative to boost efficiency of United Nations planes and flights, as it was revealed that the Organization spent close to $750 million from 2015 to 2016 on air assets in its peacekeeping and political missions.

“While these assets provide essential logistics and military enabling capabilities, given their significant cost implications, the Secretary-General has asked the heads of field missions to systematically analyze and adjust the composition and utilization of their air fleet and to seek alternative solutions that may be more cost-effective,” UN Spokesman Stéphane Dujarric told journalists in New York.

Immediate changes include reducing fleets, limiting passenger movement to essential needs and cutting the number of non-mission passengers traveling on UN flights, and reducing the number of special flights.

The UN currently deploys 58 fixed-wing and 157 rotary-wing aircraft in 12 peacekeeping missions and 6 special political missions, the Spokesperson said.

The effort to reduce costs is being led by the Department of Field Support, which provides logistical support to the Department of Peacekeeping and the Department of Political Affairs.

The policy change is part of the Secretariat’s “ongoing review of costs and the use of resources provided by Member States,” the Spokesperson added.

UN blue helmets and Malian forces targeted in ‘cowardly’ terrorist attacks

The head of the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Mali today strongly condemned the “cowardly” attacks that took place against its personnel as well as members of the national armed forces, and voiced deep concern at ongoing insecurity in the northern and central parts of the country.

Early this morning, a vehicle belonging to the peacekeeping mission (MINUSMA) struck an improvised explosive device or mine about 30 kilometres south of Tessalit in the Kidal region, according to a news release issued by the mission. Two peacekeepers and one civilian were seriously injured; the vehicle, part of an escort of a logistics convoy, was damaged.

Also today, unidentified armed men targeted positions of the Malian Armed Forces and the National Guard at Gourma Rharous, located about 120 kilometres east of Timbuktu, according to the mission.

MINUSMA deployed its attack helicopters to the site in support of the Malian Forces and facilitated the medical evacuation of the wounded by air.

“There is hardly a day when reports of abominable acts of terrorism committed by the enemies of peace and the enemies of this country and its people are not received,” said Mahamat Saleh Annadif, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of MINUSMA, calling the attacks “cowardly.”

“Their real target is the failure of the peace process and their goal is to impose the reign of violence and chaos,” he said, adding that the UN remains more committed than ever to support the Malian authorities and the country’s defense and security forces.

Mr. Annadif also stressed the need for all Malian parties to redouble their efforts to advance the peace process.

Haiti: Recent political advances have set stage to address pressing challenges and reduced UN role

Haiti: Recent political advances have set stage to address pressing challenges and reduced UN role

Head of the UN Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) Sandra Honoré (right) visits voting stations in Port au Prince, during the country’s 29 January 2017 elections. Photo; UN/MINUSTAH/Logan Abassi

Head of the UN Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) Sandra Honoré (right) visits voting stations in Port au Prince, during the country’s 29 January 2017 elections. Photo; UN/MINUSTAH/Logan Abassi

Highlighting improvements in Haiti’s political situation, including the recent elections and opportunities to address longstanding disputes, the senior United Nations official in the island nation has urged the international community to continue its partnership with Haiti and its people to help consolidate the gains achieved.

“The elections provided for the installation of all directly-elected officials at all levels of Haiti’s governance structure for the first time since 2006, including the peaceful transfer of power to the third democratically-elected President since 2004” the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Sandra Honoré, told the UN Security Council today.

“Haiti’s return to Constitutional order and the full functioning of the Executive, the Legislature and local government has now set the stage to address the many pressing challenges facing the country,” she added.

In her briefing, Ms. Honoré, also the head of the UN Stabilization Mission (MINUSTAH), noted that the security situation in Haiti remains largely stable and that while the island’s police force continues to show increased capacity in planning and executing complex operations as well as in combating crime and maintaining public order, its further development, including in the areas of internal management and oversight, police-to-population ratio and the geographic coverage were needed.

She went on to cite political challenges as a major impediment to consistent progress in the administration of justice and human rights to truly anchor the rule of law and render police work more effective while creating conditions conducive for foreign and domestic investment and job creation.

Further, noting that some deficiencies continued to undermine the effectiveness of the justice and human rights system, the senior UN official also urged the Government to assign a ministerial-level focal point for human rights as well as to expedite the transparent and merit-based appointment of the National Ombudsperson.

“The progress achieved during the past 13 years in Haiti’s stabilization process is notable,” she said, adding that reshaping the partnership among the international community, the UN system and Haiti is important to ensure such progress remains sustainable.


Also, recalling the recommendation of the Secretary-General on the closure of MINUSTAH in six months and the establishment of a smaller operation with focus on the rule of law, with strong good offices and human rights monitoring roles, Ms. Honoré said:

“With your support, the transition to a new and smaller Mission would be guided by a Joint Transition Plan that underpins the gradual transfer of tasks to the Government, international partners and the UN Country Team.”