Dr. Workneh addresses the High-level Open Debate of the UNSc on “Conflict Prevention & Sustaining Peace”

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Workneh Gebeyehu addressed the Ministerial-level UNSC Debate on "Conflict Prevention & Sustaining Peace" today (January 10, 2016) at the United Nations Security Council in New York.

The forum which was chaired by Sweden, (which took up the January Presidency of the UNSC) was attended by the new United Nations Secretary-General, Mr Antonio Guterres, foreign ministers, state ministers of foreign affairs and or permanent representatives of members of the UNSC.

Opening the forum, UN Secretary-General, Mr Antonio Guterres emphasized on the need to embark on the instrumentality of conflict prevention to sustaining peace. He said a whole new approach is needed to make sure that there has been "a shift from responding to crisis and conflicts to preventing them." To this end, the Secretary-General underlined on the need to reform the global peace and security infrastructure, which he said called for reconfiguration of strategies, structures and operations. He noted translating early-warning systems depends on the trust between and among members states and the constructive engagement with the united nations. As "the cost of inaction was simply too high," he added " let's make 2017 a Year of Peace."

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Workneh Gebeyehu underscored that the timing of such a high-level UNSC debate on "Conflict Prevention & Sustaining Peace" cannot be more appropriate given the unprecedented challenges in the maintenance of peace and security.

He said, "in view of the enormous peace and security challenges we're facing today, prioritizing conflict prevention is not really an option."

While expressing his appreciation to Mr. Ban Ki-moon for his tireless efforts and key achievements during his tenure, Minister Workneh said the leadership role of the new UN Secretary-General, Mr Antonio Guterres will surely be imperative in bringing fresh impetus to the pursuit of solutions to the many conflicts and crisis situations around the world.

The Minister however noted that the efforts of the Secretary-General will not be fruitful without the full support and cooperation of all members states. Equally important is the need to address institutional fragmentation and ensure coherence across the entire UN system.

In such regards, Dr. Workneh pledged Ethiopia's strong commitment to extend support to Mr. Guterres. Ethiopia, the Minister said had been playing active role in the prevention, management and resolution of conflicts.

As the UN cannot address the myriad of global peace and security challenges alone, Minister Workneh underlined the critical need to to enhance strategic partnerships with regional and sub-regional organizations across the whole spectrum of conflict cycles, including prevention, peacekeeping and special political missions, conflict resolution and peace-building.

"In this regard, we appreciate the strong commitment the Secretary-General have shown to the partnership between the United Nations and theAfrican Union," the Minister added.

Ms. Margot Wallstrom, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Sweden on her part emphasized that a close and proactive working relationship between the Secretary-General and the Security Council is the cornerstone of the UN's ability to deliver lasting peace and security.

On the way forward, she touched upon some areas for priority actions, including the need to make prevention a priority for the whole UN system, improve the capacity of the UN to address the root causes of conflicts, make use of system-wide analysis and accommodate independent, authoritative advice from the Secretary-General , harness the agency of women to create sustainable peace through inclusive processes and recognize that humanitarian action can never be a substitute for political dialogue and mediation.