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Debate: Interdependence Between Security and Development

(New York, February 11, 2011)

Statement by H.E. Mrs. María Ángela Holguín Cuéllar, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Colombia



Mr. President,

Allow me first of all to congratulate you for your work as President of the Security Council during the month of February and thank you for convening this thematic debate on the interdependence between security and development, as well as for circulating the document that serves as the basis for the discussion of this matter. We take note of the thematic continuation with regard to the recent debate promoted by Bosnia and Herzegovina on institutional strengthening.

Recent reports produced by the United Nations provide accounts of the transformation that Peacekeeping Operations are experiencing in their activities on the ground. Police forces and civilian experts are participating in them with more and more frequency and in a greater proportion. This trend shows that strictly military activities are not sufficient to face the task of achieving a sustainable peace.

The Security Council, upon making the Peacebuilding Commission operational, recognized that development, peace and security are interrelated and mutually reinforcing. Likewise, it agreed on the need to apply a coordinated, coherent and integrated focus in peacebuilding.

Today's debate on the interdependence between security and development, in the context of the responsibilities and situations under the purview of the Security Council, is relevant in establishing the need to examine ways to incorporate, or give greater presence, to the development dimension of the peacekeeping practice.

Mr. President,

It is advisable not to lose sight of the fact that peacebuilding, as a long-term objective, is a cross-cutting task that must start in the early phases of peacekeeping. This is supported by the need to provide long-term solutions, achieve the sustainability and strengthening of democratic institutions, seek the prosperity of the population and avoid the creation of dependency links that discourage development.

In this regard, the Council, in formulating its mandates, could place greater emphasis in the strengthening of coordination activities and structures with a high impact in the development of national capacities.

These types of activities are not new in the context of peacekeeping operations. Activities aimed at the strengthening of security institutions, of the judicial system, of the Rule of Law, the establishment of institutionality for the protection of civilians, and those aimed at disarmament, demobilization and reintegration, already constitute a substantive contribution to generating the basis for development.

For example, favoring working methods that reactivate local employment or the adoption of entrepreneurial programs that set social organization in motion, with an immediate emphasis on women and youth, can be considered as options that do not conflict with the goals of peacekeeping.

Adequate coordination in development-oriented activities by UN agencies with a presence on the ground is essential. The Council could adjust the mandates of peacekeeping operations in order to take care of matters in this area and avoid the dispersion of valuable efforts towards the long-term development of countries.

The Special Representative of the Secretary-General, in each case, can help coordinate between peacekeeping and peacebuilding tasks. In this coordination effort, the President of the Security Council could establish a strategic dialogue with the Peacebuilding Commission and through it with the World Bank and other actors, related to specific situations of concern.

It is clear that the Council is not the organ to make decisions regarding development. Nevertheless, we must not ignore that its decisions have an impact on the long-term development of countries and that this is a fundamental component of every sustainable peace, which is ultimately the first purpose of the Charter of the United Nations: to protect generations from the scourge of war.

Therefore, the Council, in its peacekeeping activities, could benefit from the practice and doctrine of the ECOSOC and the General Assembly, as well as from the lessons learned from the work of the Peacebuilding Commission. The presence on the Security Council of seven members of that Commission could serve as a bridge for establishing greater communication and consultation on good practices aimed at development.

Mr. President,

We understand that not all members of the Council have the same financial capacity. This should not become an obstacle to finding mechanisms that offer long-term solutions. After sixty years of existence, the United Nations must be able to allow the configuration of mechanisms with a comprehensive approach in favor of peacebuilding.

The United Nations of the 21st Century will be relevant as long it responds to the development needs of great sections of the world's population. In this regard, it is imperative that the actions of its main bodies transform realities, allow for meaningful changes for the welfare of populations and have a real impact on situations that have been considered by those organs for decades.

Thank you.


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