What's In Blue

Posted Mon 19 Dec 2022

Arria-formula Meeting on “Transitioning from Protracted Conflict and Fragility into Peace Through Sustainable Development”

On Thursday (22 December) at 3 pm EST in UN Conference Room 1, Security Council members will hold an Arria-formula meeting on “Transitioning from Protracted Conflict and Fragility into Peace Through Sustainable Development’’. Kenya is hosting the meeting, which is being co-sponsored by Brazil, China, incoming Council member Ecuador, Ireland, the UK and Sierra Leone.

The expected briefers are Vice President of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), Ambassador Paula Narváez (Chile); Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC), Ambassador Muhammad Abdul Muhith (Bangladesh); Director of the Fragility, Conflict and Violence (FCV) Group at the World Bank Soukeyna Kane; and UN Development Programme Assistant Administrator and Regional Director for Africa, Ahunna Eziakonwa. An AU representative may also speak on the AU’s Policy on Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Development (PCRD). Additionally, representatives of countries in different phases of the peace transition continuum have been invited to speak. The meeting will be broadcast on UN TV. A compilation document will be prepared containing the interventions of briefers and speakers.

In convening tomorrow’s Arria-formula meeting, the organisers apparently seek to highlight the links between conflict, peace and development, as well as to consider how UN agencies and programmes can better integrate development needs into the peacebuilding programmes of countries transitioning from conflict. The concept note that Kenya has circulated ahead of the meeting observes that UN peace operations are sometimes deployed for decades in protracted conflicts, or conversely, that often missions are withdrawn amid incomplete peace processes. It thus argues that the Security Council can benefit from a “fresh appraisal” of the interaction between sustainable development and conflict to guide the Council’s decisions and resolutions.

The concept note highlights how the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)—because of their holistic nature, clear targets and ability to mobilise international support for fragile states—can provide an important framework to address the major drivers of instability and conflict. It also highlights resolution 2282 of 27 April 2016 that sought to establish greater coherence among the activities of the General Assembly, ECOSOC, the Security Council, and the UN system more broadly. In addition to the resolution stating the Council’s intention to regularly seek the PBC’s advice, the concept note recalls that resolution 2282 stressed the importance of closer cooperation between ECOSOC and the commission. Among other points, the concept note observes that the state of global geopolitics and shifting investment priorities risk decreasing development assistance. It also argues that development and the provision of services in conflict-affected countries are necessary to shift the negative incentives that contribute to protracted conflicts.

A key focus for tomorrow’s meeting will be the need to improve the link between peacebuilding, including the work of the PBC and the Council on this matter, and the broader UN development system. The concept note lists several main objectives for the meeting:

  • to highlight the existing gaps in the UN system’s linking of development to national peacebuilding efforts and how these can be addressed;
  • to identify missing links between peacebuilding norms and practice, and UN-assisted development work;
  • to discuss how peacebuilding programmes can consciously incorporate the SDGs as targets, including through adequate financing;
  • to examine how UN agencies and programmes can better support states transitioning from conflict to coherently address security and development needs; and
  • to encourage closer coordination among the General Assembly, the Security Council, ECOSOC and the PBC for achieving peace through sustainable development.

As set out in a list of guiding questions, participants may discuss whether UN peacebuilding is conducted in accordance with development work in conflict-affected countries, how this can be improved, and how Security Council can more effectively address the root causes of conflict, particularly those linked to livelihoods, development and sustainability. Among other questions, participants are asked to consider the skills, competencies and models that are required for UN agencies and programmes to support states in transition more effectively.

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