The President of the General Assembly convened a high-level dialogue entitled “Building Sustainable Peace for All: Synergies between the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Sustaining Peace” on 24 January 2017 at UN Headquarters in New York, with the participation of the President of the Security Council, the President of the Economic and Social Council, and the Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission.
The overarching objective of the New York event was to discuss the mutually reinforcing linkages between Sustaining Peace and the 2030 Agenda, including at country level and ways in which to leverage them optimally in an integrated framework that can assist Member States, United Nations bodies and entities, civil society and other stakeholders to coordinate and enhance their efforts in implementing the SDGs and achieving sustainable peace.
The event featured three dedicated workshops, addressing the interrelationship of sustainable peace and development to empowerment of women and youth; the management of natural resources; and the strengthening of transparent, inclusive and accountable institutions.
After the New York high-level dialogue, the Human Rights Council decided to convene on 27 February 2017 a panel focused on the theme “The contribution of human rights to peacebuilding through the enhancement of dialogue and international cooperation for the promotion of human rights”.
The Geneva event was aimed at highlighting the importance of addressing human rights concerns and applying a human rights framework to any peacebuilding initiative as an essential ingredient of its effectiveness and sustainability in the long term. The panel discussion helped to generate practical ideas and recommendations on how to best mainstream human rights into the United Nations peacebuilding work, including by looking at the commonalities between human rights, peacebuilding and sustainable development. The event also provided an opportunity for discussing the role of the Human Rights Council and other human rights mechanisms in light of the new peacebuilding framework.
Throughout the debate all Member States and NGO recognised that seventy years ago, the UN Charter established the three founding pillars of the United Nations: peace and security, human rights and development.
Member States also underlined that in compliance with the resolution 60/251 on the Human Rights Council adopted by the General Assembly on 15 March 2006, the Council has an important role to play in the field of conflict prevention taking into account that development, peace and security and human rights are interlinked and mutually reinforcing.
However, the different approaches to peacebuilding still persists amongst States and regional groups, which clearly impedes to achieve a global agreement about the most effective ways aimed to strengthening the interlinkage between the three UN pillars. Some regional groups support the idea of the right to peace and culture of peace.
Both the New York dialogue and the Geneva panel discussion will surely help to prepare the High-Level meeting on “Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace”, which will be convened during the 72nd session of the General Assembly in 2017. The General Assembly and Security Council resolutions on United Nations peacebuilding architecture recognised the fundamental interconnectivity between peace, sustainable development and human rights, and the need for organizational reform within the UN system.
The current discussion on the importance of conflict prevention to peacebuilding efforts has served to break down ‘silos’ within the UN system, and overcome any fragmentation of approach across the three pillars, or indeed between Geneva and New York.