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Statement by Mrs. Elisabeth Rehn for Finland at the UN General Assembly focused on UN Peace and Security - Suomen pysyvä edustusto, YK : Ajankohtaista

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Puheet, 11.5.2016

Statement by Mrs. Elisabeth Rehn for Finland at the High-level Thematic Debate on the United Nations, Peace and Security In a world of Risks: Today’s threats to international peace and security on 10th of May 2016.

Mr. President ,

Now I would like to deliver a statement on my national capacity.
I would like to thank you for convening this thematic debate on the United Nation’s peace and security architecture. It is important that we, the Member States, share our visions. I am also delighted that some Secretary-General candidates are here with us today, as renewing the UN peace and security architecture will be a vital part of the next SG’s work plan.

Last year the UN carried out significant and interlinked reviews on UN peace operations, peace building architecture, and the implementation of UNSC resolution 1325 on women, peace and security. I personally had the privilege of contributing to the last one as a member of the high-level advisory group supporting the Global Study. Finland strongly supports the recommendations of the three reviews and urges for their implementation.

The expectations of Finland can be summed up as follows. First, the UN should fully seize peacemaking as a possibility to solve every conflict. Second, women must participate in peace processes to make peace sustainable.
The UN needs more emphasis on conflict prevention and political solutions. Contemporary conflicts are solved at the negotiation tables, not on battlegrounds. Mediation and conflict prevention are the best – and most cost-effective – instruments to maintain peace. So, I would like to ask, why is mediation and conflict prevention not a top priority for the Member States?

Finland wishes to see mediation and dialogue at the forefront of UN’s work. To ensure this, political will and investments are needed. Finland is dedicated to support this together with Turkey, as co-chairs of the UN group of friends on mediation. Finland’s broad approach to mediation includes national dialogues and we will continue to support non-governmental actors, including religious and traditional leader’s engagement in peace processes.

Women’s participation is probably the issue about which the international community has spoken the most, yet done the least. We have to integrate gender fully and ensure women’s full and effective participation at all levels. To achieve this, we need creative solutions. Finland has, together with other Nordic countries, established the Nordic Women Mediators' Network which aims to bring value added for women’s participation in peace processes in cooperation with similar networks of other regions. I would like to welcome you all to the side event we are organizing tomorrow in which experiences on increasing women’s participation are shared. As a former chair of the board of directors of the ICC Trust Fund for Victims, I simply cannot omit the importance of transformative justice - which builds upon the participatory rights of the victims. Justice does not end at the courtroom. The decisions must give the victims a future.
It is time to recognize the value of Special Political Missions. We should embrace UN peace operations, which are defined based on the needs on the ground. Rigid operation categories and organizational silos should be eliminated. We, the Member States, should provide the political and financial support needed. In return, we expect accountability, including tackling sexual exploitation and abuse and efficiency in the use of resources.

Finally, we should develop UN peace operations, which harness modern technology and minimize the environmental footprint. UN needs a culture of innovation and we should see modern technology as a force multiplier. Finland has integrated new technologies in the curriculum of UN Military Experts on Mission –Courses. Potential includes smart phones applications to improve situation awareness, and databases for humanitarian demining.

The peace and security reviews, together with the Agenda 2030 for sustainable development and Paris Agreement on climate change have set an ambitious global agenda for the next decades. To successfully meet these targets and to maintain peace and security, the UN peace and security architecture needs to be redesigned.
United Nations, with its structures and tools, and with its legitimacy, is uniquely positioned to play a central role in sustaining peace. It is important now to uphold the momentum. This calls for leadership and strong political commitment from the Member States.


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