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Joint Nordic statement at the UNSC Open Debate on Capacity-building for sustaining peace in Africa

Mr. President, Your Excellencies,

On behalf of the Nordic countries – Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and my own country Denmark – I want to thank China for convening this timely meeting. 

The need to explore ways to further strengthen conflict prevention measures, and peacebuilding capacities across Africa have become ever more pertinent. The Nordics are and will continue working to strengthen the UN’s capacity to create cohesion, efficiency and accountability across the humanitarian, development, and peace nexus – particularly through the UN Peacebuilding Commission with its Peacebuilding Fund, and through regional and sub-regional organizations. We recognize the Agenda 2030 also in this context and underline the importance that its implementation contributes to peacebuilding and sustaining peace in countries in conflict and post-conflict situations.

In the context of conflict prevention and peacebuilding, regional and sub-regional organizations are instrumental in developing context-specific and tailor-made approaches. They are often the first to react in crisis response and to engage with concerned parties to ensure protection of civilians. They are uniquely placed to build trust and promote dialogue among concerned parties; to offer support in mediation and reconciliation; and they can be influential in advocating for the full, equal and meaningful participation of women and youth in all aspects of peace and security.

The Nordic countries will continue to strengthen our cooperation with regional organizations, particularly the African Union. Our support focuses on adequate training, capacity building and equipment, strengthening African-led peace operations. In this vein, we are working to ensure funding for African-led peace operations in support of African solutions for crises on the African continent. We commend the progress on the African Union Peace Fund, including the efforts made by AU Member States to ensure predictable and sustainable financing. Regional organizations can also play a critical role in supporting political transitions and upholding democratic principles, as seen with ECOWAS’ commendable efforts in the Sahel, which have played a crucial role for not only national but also regional security and stabilization.

An integral part of capacity building for sustaining peace is strengthening the capacity of judicial actors and law enforcement officials to ensure accountability for conflict-related crimes, in particular conflict-related sexual violence. Conflict-related sexual violence and gender-based violence remain cruel tactics of war, terror, political repression and torture. The fight against Sexual and Gender Based Violence must be at the centre of our work to secure international peace and security. Ensuring access to comprehensive services, including sexual and reproductive health, for survivors of conflict-related sexual violence and fighting impunity for perpetrators should be fundamental to any peace effort.

In line with the Women, Peace and Security agenda, we all need to further step up our interaction with civil society and support for local women’s organizations and women peacebuilders. We must establish partnerships with women-led organizations that involve capacity building, and their inclusion in the decision-making processes. Their contextual, local expertise is crucial for the full implementation of the WPS agenda. At the same time, we must not forget the criticality of including youth. We fully support the implementation of the Youth, Peace and Security Agenda. Engaging youth in conflict prevention, resolution and peacebuilding is essential to building inclusive and lasting peace.

We recognize that conflict prevention and enduring peace cannot be sustained without addressing the root causes of insecurity and conflict. To ensure long-term sustainable peace, we must support economic and social development, address poverty, inequality and climate change in line with the 2030 Agenda and the African Union Agenda 2063.
A comprehensive whole-of-system response by the UN in cooperation with regional actors should work preventively to address the factors, which cause and exacerbate conflict, including poverty, inequality, and climate change - amongst others by promoting the rule of law, strong democratic institutions and protection of human rights. This entails working across the humanitarian-development-peace nexus to promote greater cooperation, coherence, coordination and complementarity among development, disaster risk reduction, humanitarian action and sustaining peace.

We hope that by further strengthening the cooperation between the UN and regional partners, we can build a true culture of prevention whilst placing an emphasis on bolstering regional peacebuilding capacities.

Thank you.