Prof. U. Joy Ogwu
Ambassador and Permanent Representative
Permanent Mission of Nigeria to the United Nations
New York, NY.
11 February, 2011
My first words must be to thank the Brazilian presidency for the choice of theme for this debate. Since the 1992 Rio Summit, Brazil has demonstrated undisputed leadership on the question of security and development. We believe that leadership remains strong as we prepare for the 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development. The Council has often called for an integrated approach to issues of peace, security and development. This debate takes us a step closer to realizing that aspiration.
I also want to thank the Secretary-General for his useful briefing, as well as Ms. Cliffe for the insight she has provided on this complex and multi-faceted issue. I also welcome and thank my colleague Ambassador Gasana for his significant contribution.
Although development is not strictly within the scope of the Security Council’s remit, we recognize not only the inextricable linkage but also the interdependence between security and development. Our work, whether it relates to peacekeeping, peacebuilding or preventive diplomacy, does not and should not operate within a vacuum. In his 2005 report entitled “In larger freedom: towards development, security and human rights for all” (A/59/2005), then
Secretary-General Kofi Annan told us, as the South African Ambassador has already pointed out, that we would not enjoy development without security, we would not enjoy security without development and we would not enjoy either without respect for human rights. At the 2005 World Summit, our leaders stressed the need to translate that conceptual understanding into concrete actions in the field and in the Security Council — which, I must point out, is well-placed to promote that process. In championing development efforts in tandem with activities related directly to peace and security, we in fact further our conflict prevention objectives, which go to the very core of our Charter obligations.
The draft presidential statement before us today recognizes that allowing space for national actors to determine security and development priorities early enough will no doubt ensure sustained goodwill and sustained impact alike. It is our duty to remember that, in securing any society, we are but one actor among many committed to the long-term stability of that nation.
That long-term perspective is crucial, as guarding against a relapse into conflict preserves the gains from development, which are frequently among the first casualties of war. Indeed, the complementarily between security and development can also lead to more efficient deployment of efforts and resources towards achieving development and security. Moreover, by standing on points of principle such as the full participation of women in peace and governance processes, the provision of youth employment and the promotion of human rights we can assist a society emerging from conflict in achieving lasting peace. Our work here in the Council is very pivotal to strengthening Governments, civil society and the private sector in readiness for an orderly transition from peacekeeping to peacebuilding and, ultimately, to a timely exit and the sustenance of peace.
Although the task of maintaining a peaceful and just society is the primary responsibility of national Governments, the expertise that the United Nations system can provide to societies at a tipping point can make an immense difference. I wish to highlight the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) as a key interlocutor in that regard. Sierra Leone is a concrete example of how the PBC can bring all relevant international and national actors together to settle upon a long-term peacebuilding strategy. The momentum following last year’s PBC review must not be lost. It is our sincere hope that the Security Council will have a stronger relationship with the PBC.
Many developing countries, including those experiencing recent unrest, are home to large youth populations that place pressure on already strained labour markets, which is a point well made in the concept note to the World Bank’s 2011 World Development Report. Such problems are exacerbated by the march of globalization, which has not only increased overall global wealth but has also led to more uneven distribution of wealth within countries, regions and the world as a whole. The challenges of the security-development paradigm are starkly in evidence in Somalia, for example, where it is widely recognized that youth unemployment, poverty and weak governance are the major contributing factors in the persistent piracy problem. Development activities can help to rehabilitate economies, thereby playing a critical conflict-prevention role. It is therefore important that United Nations agencies directly engaged in development possess the resources and political backing to be effective.
Nigeria takes very seriously its responsibility to facilitate peace through development. In 2009, 0.7 million units of account of debt relief under the Nigeria Trust Fund was approved for Burundi and Togo. Easing fiscal pressure in that way may create room for homegrown development activities. In addition, within the Economic Community of West African States, we have provided enormous support to Guinea-Bissau and other members in diverse ways, including concessionary sales of crude oil. Those measures are aimed at promoting sub-regional economic integration as the bedrock for lasting peace in our sub-region.
The Security Council has the challenge and opportunity to promote security policies that integrate development in order to progressively rid humankind of the scourge of war. Through our work in that regard we can help countries avoid conflict altogether and reap the benefits of development. All peoples deserve freedom from want as well as freedom from violence. Development is therefore in itself freedom. However, if we fail to recognize the impact that our policies have on a society’s path to development and larger freedom, I submit that we leave our task only half done.
Let me emphasize that the consideration of the development-security paradigm in the Council today should by no means be regarded as an attempt to duplicate the work of either the General Assembly or the Economic and Social Council. Rather, it provides the missing political link that is so essential to promoting synergy in the United Nations partnership for peace, security and development. In supporting the call for a new security consensus based on the interdependence of security and development, we must recognize that development is indeed a foundation for peace. We hope that the Council will build on today’s debate to harness its role in helping countries transition from war to irreversible and sustained peace. That is a plea for genuine cooperation, and indeed an appeal to make good on our commitment to deliver as one in the United Nations family.