Intervention by H.E. Ms. Rabab Fatima, Permanent Representative of Bangladesh at the Ambassadorial-level virtual meeting on the impact of COVID-19 on peace-building and sustaining peace on 08 April 2020

I thank you Mr. Chairman, for convening today’s meeting.  I also thank DSG, ASG Taranko, and the representatives of FAO and World Bank for sharing important updates and their valuable perspectives with us.

Mr. Chairman,

The Covid-19 pandemic is impacting our societies and our lives in an unprecedented manner. As we are already witnessing, this will have serious impact on our economies and our development gains. And there is real concern about its impact on our hard-earned gains in peace-building and sustaining peace.

This is clearly a testing time for the PBC as it is for all other UN organs. But I am happy to see that under your leadership, PBC has made an early start to respond to this crisis within its mandate. And we believe that PBC would have an important and relevant role to play as we address this global crisis.

Allow me to reiterate briefly a few points in this regard:

  • Countries with fragile contexts are especially vulnerable and can aggravate further from the global risk of the pandemic. Keeping this in mind, we strongly support the SG’s call for a Global Ceasefire, which aligns with the mandate of the PBC for peace-building and sustaining peace, through resolving ongoing conflicts and supporting peace processes.
  • The Secretary General’s call for a Global Ceasefire cautioned about the uncertainties the pandemic has created in conflict settings, which may potentially lead to a spike in violence. The PBC, we believe, can complement the efforts being undertaken following SG’s call for global ceasefire. The immediate work PBC can embark on is to help build on the entry points and facilitate the political momentum and political efforts being undertaken. PBC would need to remain closely engaged with the SRSG’s, Special Envoys and UNCTs and all national stakeholders to bring the conflicting parties together, especially in the post-pandemic phase. It would also be important to coordinate closely with the peacekeeping architecture.
  • It is important that the peace processes in the countries under the PBC’s agenda stay on course, and are not overtaken or come to a halt due to pandemic related priorities. It is also important to ensure that there is no diversion of resources from peace-building efforts during the pandemic period. For that to happen, the PBC should enhance its engagements through country configurations; and if required, mobilize additional resources.
  • I will join the call for PBC to undertake an immediate needs assessment. The humanitarian-devlopment-peace nexus is undeniable in this crisis. National governments would need crtical support to ensure that reconstruction and institution building efforts, particularly in the areas of reconciliation, transitional justice, holding of elections remain on track (to the extent possible).  PBC will have a critical role to play in this regard.
  • PBC’s priority should now be to sustain its gains and achievements and prevent a slide back. And Mr. Chairman, you can count on our support as you steer the PBC during this challenging period.
  • I thank you, Mr. Chairman. Please stay well.