“Peace never settles permanently. It must be nurtured every day, every moment, no matter if we are a great politician or a simple schoolboy.”
These were the words of young Franco-Colombian peace activist Léa Narjoud, delivered at the Geneva PeaceTalks, which are held in Switzerland since 2013. She thereby illustrates three key conditions for sustainable peace: Long-term commitment, a continuous investment in trust and a frank and transparent discourse at all levels. These three elements have also long guided Switzerland's work.
Sustainable peace is a priority for Switzerland at the Security Council, and I thank you for organizing this open debate. We welcome the participation of Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed, of the Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission Muhammad Abdul Muhith and of Ms Diago Ndiaye in this debate and thank them for their informative contributions.
I would like to further illustrate the three elements mentioned – time, trust and transparency – in view of our urgent upcoming discussions on the Secretary General's New Agenda for Peace:
First, building sustainable peace is a long-term endeavour, as the various causes of conflict must be addressed through a holistic approach. This Council reaffirmed in its resolution 2558 (2020) that "development, peace and security, and human rights are interlinked and mutually reinforcing". To implement this nexus, we encourage the members of this Council to carry on constructive discussions and to strengthen the links between these elements, for example, in the field of transitional justice or in peacekeeping operations transitions.
Second, we need to focus on local actors and on inclusion. This is how we can build trust. Switzerland, which is organised according to the principle of subsidiarity, speaks from its own federal experience. Local communities and authorities, in all their diversity, are always at the front line for building sustainable peace and preventing a relapse into violence. We must build on their skills and capacities. Switzerland welcomes the pioneering work of the Peacebuilding Commission in strengthening the role of national and local actors. It encourages the Commission to intensify them in close cooperation with this Council. Sustainable peace also requires strong and accountable institutions that protect and advance the rights of the people who depend on them. If human rights are violated, those responsible must be held accountable so that trust in institutions is maintained.
Third, we must promote transparency and truth as a basis for concrete action. We face an unprecedented complexity of factors underlying conflict. This includes new threats to international security and risk multipliers, from climate change to the challenges of cyberspace. To address them effectively, the Security Council needs to have up-to-date, relevant disaggregated scientific information, such as gender, and data at its disposal and to integrate it into its daily work. It must take into account and counter the threat to peace and security posed by disinformation.
During the last review of the UN peacebuilding architecture in 2020, eminent experts reminded us [and I quote] that "peacebuilding is the concrete manifestation of the United Nations's commitment to save future generations from the scourge of war". This responsibility towards young men and women remains very important. With the agendas "Women, Peace, and Security" and "Youth, Peace, and Security", this Council has relevant tools and above all a pool of peacebuilders. We should now use this enormous potential.
By building on the achievements and experiences of the past decades, the New Agenda for Peace must serve as leverage for building sustainable peace. In these dark times, we owe it to all generations, everywhere in the world, to join our efforts and seize this opportunity.
I thank you.