november 17, 2015
Statement at the Security Council Open Debate on the Maintenance of International Peace and Security: Security, Development and the Root Causes of Conflict
As delivered in New York on November 17, 2015

Statement of H.E. Archbishop Bernardito Auza
Apostolic Nuncio and Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations Security Council Open Debate on the Maintenance of International Peace and Security: Security, Development and the Root Causes of Conflict

17 November 2015

Mr. President,

At the very outset, my delegation expresses profound sympathies for all the victims of the heinous terrorist attacks in Paris, Beirut and elsewhere. Our hearts go out to all those who mourn the loss of loved ones.

My delegation wishes to thank the United Kingdom for convening this timely Open Debate with a special focus on Security, Development and the Root Causes of Conflict.

Pope Francis, in his Address to the General Assembly of the United Nations onSeptember 25, affirmed: “War is the negation of all rights and a dramatic assault on the environment. If we want true integral human development for all, we must work tirelessly to avoid war between nations and peoples.”

United Nations’ affirmations that development, peace and security and human rights are intimately connected and mutually reinforcing abound,[1] making this link one of the guiding principles of peacekeeping and peacebuilding. Member States have just adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, thereby expressing their determination “to foster peaceful, just and inclusive societies which are free from fear and violence. There can be no sustainable development without peace and no peace without sustainable development.”[2]

This consensus must be translated into reality if we are to succeed in sparing present and future generations from the scourge of violence and to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. The evaluations on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) show that countries in conflict have lagged far behind in the realization of the MDGs and, indeed, many have suffered regression, thereby amply demonstrating that development can only thrive in the context of peaceful societies.

This recognition at the level of principle must be translated on the ground into a common approach to building peace, sustaining development and fostering human rights. To avoid fragmentation, the insight that development, peace and security, and human rights frequently overlap and coincide, must find concrete expression in the manner in which the various UN bodies and agencies operate.

The total budget for Peacekeeping operations for the period from 1 July 2015 to June 2016 approved last June by the General Assembly, amounts to US$ 8.2 billion. A rather significant amount when compared with the Official Development Assistance (ODA) received by Least Developed Countries (LDCs), or also with the total amount of ODA received by all countries.[3] Such figures show how conflicts are not just an intolerable burden for people, but also an enormous burden for the International Community. A substantial increase of ODA and a fairer organization of trade and financial relations between the various categories of countries will alleviate, in the medium-term, the economic weight of peacekeeping operations.  

Such figures are an indirect appeal to break down silos that treat development, peace and security and human rights as separate tasks. Development projects, which could help prevent conflicts, must come first and could substantially lessen future expenses on peacekeeping operations. Resources spent on peacekeeping operations should be shifted to development projects as soon as possible once situations start to stabilize. Even though the Security Council’s objective is not development per se, it could help to mobilize resources for development as a key component of its peace and security objectives.

Mr. President,

The Holy See wishes to underline the important role that grassroots movements, faith-based organizations and local communities play in the prevention of conflict and in peacebuilding. Their strengths lie neither in material resources nor in scientific expertise nor in political power, but in their being locally rooted enablers of individuals and societies, in their capacity to produce and nurture leaders who are able to inspire concrete action, develop a rapport of immediacy with individuals and communities, and rally people to work together for something greater than themselves. They can also be major obstacles to peace if they show partiality or, indeed, become parties to the conflict.

Mr. President,

Conflict prevention and peacebuilding are not as dramatic and urgent as winding up active conflicts, but do require greater attention, commitment and, sometimes, more resources than ending wars and civil strife. They require perseverance, long-term vision and commitment. They are consolidated through thousands of daily actions that are the building blocks of just and peaceful societies. They are realized when both leaders and citizens transcend selfish interests for the common good, reject a spirit of vengeance and take the high road of healing and reconciliation. These elements underpin every effort towards achieving sustainable development, durable peace and societies more respectful of human rights. Without them, military interventions and peacekeeping missions alone will not solve the root causes of conflict.

Thank you, Mr. President.


[1] Cfr. A/RES/70/1; A/RES/70/1; A/RES/70/1.

[2] Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Preamble (Peace) and SDG 16.

[3] According to OCDE, respectively 31 and 134 billion US$.