Update Report

Update Report No. 2: Interdependence Between Security and Development


Expected Council Action
On 11 February, at the initiative of Brazil, the Council will hold an open debate on the interdependence between security and development.

The debate will be presided over by Brazilian Foreign Minister Antonio de Aguiar Patriota. Five other Council members (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Colombia, Germany, India and Portugal) have indicated that their foreign ministers will be in attendance. The Secretary-General is expected to provide a UN Secretariat perspective on this issue. Sarah Cliffe, Special Representative and Director of World Bank’s 2011 World Development Report on Conflict, Security and Development, is also expected to address the Council.

On 2 February, Brazil circulated a concept note (S/2011/50) to assist delegations to prepare for the open debate.

A draft presidential statement is currently being discussed by Council members and could be adopted at the meeting.

In its concept note, Brazil notes an increasing trend in the Council of recognition that in order to achieve medium and long-term peace, a comprehensive approach is imperative. This invokes addressing the root causes of violence including social and economic factors. In a press conference held on 2 February Brazil’s Permanent Representative Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti explained that the aim of the debate is to encourage this comprehensive approach to the issues of peace and security and to explore options for the Council to cooperate with other organs in the UN system. The concept note suggests that the question remains as to the correct weight development considerations should bear within the work of the Council. The note suggests that the Council could seek to answer some of the following questions:

Key Recent Developments in Council Practice
The Council has recently held a number of closely related debates which also addressed the interconnectors between peacekeeping, peacebuilding and the need for a comprehensive approach to peace and security:

On 15 November 2010, the Council received a report from its group of experts on sanctions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (S/2010/596). Among other things, the report discussed at length the interconnection between peace and the management of natural resources. It noted that the illegal exploitation of natural resources by armed groups and elements within the Congolese National Army undermined security and the capacity to provide protection for the civilian populations in those regions.

In January, the World Bank introduced its ongoing work on the World Development Report 2011 on conflict, security and development, addressing violent conflict as a major impediment on development. A key early finding is the persistence of increased conflict after formal ceasefires, as well as cross-border violence, trafficking and organised crime. The report will likely highlight the need for the international community to focus on preventing the onset or recurrence of conflict, with a coherent, flexible and well-targeted approach.

Key Issues
A key issue is whether the presidential statement will repeat the general language of past statements (essentially repeating agreed past language) or whether the opportunity will be taken to begin to take decisions on concrete action and new processes for better addressing issues on the interdependency between security and development in future specific cases.

A second issue is whether the outcome will really build momentum from the recent discussions on the comprehensive approach to interrelations between conflict prevention, peacebuilding and peacekeeping activities and development. A related issue is whether the presidential statement will omit certain key elements of the comprehensive approach identified in past Council decisions, such as the interdependence of human rights and the rule of law with security and development.

Another issue is the appropriate role for the Security Council, under the UN Charter, with respect to development issues, and how to interconnect these with the Council’s responsibility to maintain peace and security.

Another issue in some delegations’ minds may seem to be the financing implications of tasks mandated for UN operations related to development and medium and long-term peace.

Options available to the Council include:

Council Dynamics
As with other thematic debates touching on the interdependency between security and issues such as development, most of the contemplated elements for the presidential statement have been agreed upon on many previous occasions. For this reason, some Council members are initially somewhat sceptical of the usefulness of this debate (as with previous ones) in achieving real progress or affecting the work of the Security Council. Other Council members, including Brazil, are of the opinion that the debate is itself an achievement and will serve to raise awareness of the topic and promote a platform for resolution of some of the key issues.

Brazil has been careful in its approach to avoid advocacy for the direct involvement of the Council in development issues. It framed the debate within the peace and security mandate of the Council. It stresses that the Council must be well informed about development aspects of conflict situations in order to better tackle peace and security issues. It has strong support from South Africa and Nigeria. Experience in Haiti and other peacekeeping missions has led these troop-contributing countries to the conclusion that mandates need to better reflect the development dimension. Russia, with varying degrees of support from other P5 members, seems to have concerns over the Council exceeding its competency under the UN Charter and possibly encroaching on the competences of other UN organs. For some P5 members possible costs also seem to be a factor.

The UK and Germany have advocated a comprehensive approach and that based on past Council decisions this should include human rights and strengthening the rule of law elements as integral factors to the medium and long-term perspective of achieving development and sustainable peace. Some other Council members also fear that downplaying or completely omitting human rights and rule of law from the presidential statement would lead to an unbalanced document.

UN Documents

Selected Presidential Statements

  • S/PRST/2011/2 (21 January 2011) recognised the need to support institution-building as part of post-conflict peacebuilding efforts.
  • S/PRST/2010/20 (13 October 2010) emphasised the importance of post-conflict peacebuilding as the foundation for building sustainable peace and development in the aftermath of conflict.
  • S/PRST/2010/18 (23 September 2010) was on the maintenance of international peace and security.
  • S/PRST/2010/7 (16 April 2010) stressed the need for a comprehensive peacebuilding strategy to prevent the recurrence of conflict.
  • S/PRST/2010/2 (12 February 2010) emphasised the importance of basic services and long-term development in relation to exit strategies.

Selected Group of Experts Report

  • S/2010/596 (15 November 2010) was the final report of the group of experts on the DRC, highlighting the interlinkages between natural resources and peace and security.

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