Statement by H.E. Ambassador Rabab Fatima, Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the United Nations at the UNSC High Level Open Debate on “Challenges of maintaining peace and security in fragile contexts” on 6 January 2021 

I thank the Tunisian Mission for organizing today’s open debate. I also thank the President of Tunisia His Excellency Mr. Kais Saied for chairing today’s debate as well as the briefers for their insightful remarks.

Fragility and conflict usually move in a circular direction. While conflicts are often created by fragility, unresolved and unaddressed drivers of fragility tend to exacerbate their impacts. Addressing the conflicts, without looking into its drivers could lead to relapse of conflicts.

What are the factors that lead to fragility? Our experience in Africa as a peacekeeping contributing country shows that, there is no particular class of drivers. It could be stemmed from chronic poverty, weak and ineffective national institutions, systematic discrimination and inequality, illegal exploitation of natural resources by internal and external entities; and also, from violence, organized crimes and terrorism and violent extremism. Often these drivers keep stemming from one another. Lately the pandemic has also exacerbated those vulnerabilities.

As such, maintenance of peace and security in fragile contexts, including in Africa, would require sustained investments in peace, including in prevention of threats to peace, through concerted actions. The process needs to be inclusive, nationally owned and sustainable. This is particularly important in post-conflict situations, where national institutions suffer from acute trust deficit, and economic recovery is heavily dependent on international cooperation. This however, does not require any new policy framework or new approach. The concept of sustaining peace and its implementation, as reflected in the relevant twin resolutions, need to be strengthened.

In this regard we would like to share some points:

First: achieving agenda 2030 should continue to be the primary tool for addressing drivers of fragility. The sustainable development goals are meant to take care of all aspects of human life by creating an inclusive society where no one is left behind. Such a society would make violence and conflict unprofitable.

Second: addressing underlying root causes of all drivers of conflicts is essential for breaking the cycle of violence. This would require policies and actions by the governments aimed at economic emancipation of individuals and empowerment of national institutions.

Third: early signs of instability must be heeded to. Systematic discrimination based on race, religion and other identities often leads to violence and humanitarian situations. We must treat the symptoms before it takes over the body.

Fourth: all relevant UN entities have responsibility to collectively support national governments in pursuing sustaining peace. As such the efforts should be coherent, coordinated and tailor-made, taking into account socio-cultural context of conflict-affected countries and their specific needs. Cooperation with regional organizations, African Union in particular, would benefit all stakeholders.

Fifth: participation of all segments of society, especially women and youth, in peacebuilding has no alternative. Civil society, business community and other national and grassroot organizations play a vital role in this regard.

Sixth: the UN peacekeeping and stabilization missions can help address certain drivers of fragility in the conflict affected countries, by protecting civilians as well as by supporting in institution and capacity building with adequate mandates and corresponding resources.

Finally sustained, adequate and predictable financing to support initiatives that are aimed at addressing fragility in conflict-affected countries in Africa must be ensured.

I thank you.