Peacebuilding and sustaining peace: Report of the Secretary-General (A/72/707–S/2018/43)

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General Assembly
Seventy-second session
Agenda item 65
Peacebuilding and sustaining peace

I. Introduction

  1. Two years ago, the General Assembly and the Security Council came together to express their commitment to building and sustaining peace. They emphasized, in the twin resolutions on the review of the peacebuilding architecture, General Assembly resolution 70/262 and Security Council resolution 2282 (2016), that Member States needed to work better together to sustain peace at all stages of conflict and in all its dimensions and stressed that sustaining peace was imperative to preventing the outbreak, escalation, continuation and recurrence of conflict. It was recognized in the resolutions that sustaining peace should be broadly understood as a goal and a process to build a common vision of a society, ensuring that the needs of all segments of the population were taken into account.

  2. In the resolutions, the General Assembly and the Security Council recognized that sustaining peace was a shared task and responsibility of Government and all other national stakeholders and should flow through all three pillars of the United Nations’ engagement at all stages of conflict. They further reaffirmed the primary responsibility of national Governments and authorities in identifying, driving and directing priorities, strategies and activities for sustaining peace and emphasized that inclusivity was key to advancing national peacebuilding processes and objectives.

  3. An important breakthrough in the twin resolutions was the recognition that efforts to sustain peace were necessary not only once conflict had broken out but also long beforehand, through the prevention of conflict and addressing its root causes. More countries have recently experienced violent conflict than at any time in nearly three decades. Forced displacement has reached unparalleled levels. In too many places, the cohesion of societies and the well-being of people are at risk. Building a common vision of society must involve paying attention to the causes of those problems. In the resolutions, it was recognized that the international community must redouble its efforts to support Member States in preventing crises that exact such unacceptable and growing human and financial tolls. Another important element of the resolutions was the recognition of the importance of women’s leadership and A/72/707 S/2018/43 2/19 18-00829 participation in conflict prevention, resolution and peacebuilding and the need to increase the representation of women at all decision-making levels in national, regional and international institutions and mechanisms for the prevention and resolution of conflict. The consideration of gender-related issues in all discussions pertinent to sustaining peace should remain at the front of the efforts of the United Nations and the international community.

  4. The present report is submitted pursuant to paragraph 30 of the resolutions on the review of the peacebuilding architecture. It provides an update on the progress made in the implementation of the resolutions and contains specific recommendations to address existing gaps. My aim is to forge a common vision and common systems and capacities across the United Nations to consistently and adequately support Member States in their endeavour to sustain peace and build resilient and prosp erous nations in line with their commitments to leave no one behind.

  5. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development contains the blueprint of the common vision of society towards which the world is trying to move. Inclusive and sustainable development not only is an end in itself but also happens to be the best defence against the risks of violent conflict. The 2030 Agenda also contains the promise to leave no one behind in the quest to build such societies. In the twin resolutions, it was recognized that development was a central goal in itself, and the important contributions of the United Nations development system to peacebuilding, in particular through economic development and poverty eradication, were acknowledged. The United Nations system needs to continue to strengthen cooperation and coordination for that purpose in the field through United Nations country teams and at United Nations Headquarters, in accordance with their respective mandates, with respect for national ownership and the priorities of countries affected by conflict, including through the overarching framework of the United Nations operational activities for development.

  6. The scale and nature of the challenge of sustaining peace calls for closer strategic and operational partnerships among the United Nations, national Governments and other key stakeholders, including international, regional and subregional organizations, international financial institutions, civil society organizations, women’s groups, youth organizations and the private sector, taking into account national priorities and policies. In today’s complex world, those partnerships need to harness the energies of all sectors of society. The United Nations is one partner among others, and all partners need to come together in support of the efforts of Governments.

  7. I am convinced that the fragmentation of efforts across the United Nations system undermines its ability to support Member States in their efforts to build and sustain peaceful societies and to respond early and effectively to conflicts and crises.
    I have therefore introduced a set of mutually reinforcing reforms to ensure that the United Nations is more fit for purpose, including in the realms of development, management and peace and security. The reforms aim to ensure greater coherence and accountability within those pillars and generate greater coherence and synergies across the United Nations system.