Mr. Chairman,

Like my colleagues, I would like to thank Mozambique for convening us here today, and to thank Secretary-General and Commissioner Bankole for their insightful presentations. I would also like to thank the Peacebuilding Commission for its support to the peacebuilding efforts. In particular, I would like to thank Ambassador Danese for his briefing.

I would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate you on the adoption of the presidential statement, and to thank all the members of the Council, together with our co-penholder from Sierra Leone, for having reached a consensus on the UNOWAS Sahel statement.

"Africa is a continent on the rise, a land of incredible potential, and a market brimming with opportunity. It's time to start thinking about Africa in terms of its future, not its past." These are the words spoken in 2021 by the Director General of the World Trade Organization, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

Africa can indeed be synonymous with the future, with a powerful future.We can further mobilize the potential of African states, based on their experience in the field of prevention, to better address huge global challenges in terms of security and development. Prevention is part of the mandate of this Council, and has an important place in the Secretary-General's New Agenda for Peace, as well as in the African Union's Agenda 2063. I see three key lessons here:

Firstly, we need to think peace, sustainable development and human rights through a common vision. Instability and conflict on the African continent are fuelled by a mixture of different root causes: lack of economic prospects, marginalization, weak state presence in certain regions and competition for resources, but also, with a more indirect impact, climate change. Effective prevention addresses all these factors of instability, and in particular their interaction. With national prevention strategies, countries can draw on Africa's rich tradition of conflict resolution and mediation, often rooted at local level. A good example is an initiative launched in northern Benin with Swiss support, which aims to prevent the spread of armed extremist groups. By implementing a holistic approach that invests in territorial development and creates economic incentives, this initiative effectively prevents the recruitment of populations targeted by armed groups.

The second lesson is the importance of dealing with the past. At national level, there are many successful examples of innovative formats for delivering justice, such as the Special Court of our colleagues in Sierra Leone, or non-judicial means such as the Truth Commission in South Africa. These mechanisms can simultaneously serve to ensure that atrocities are not repeated, to deliver justice to victims and to foster community reconciliation.

The third lesson is the power of close regional coordination. We see the importance of instruments such as Agenda 2063, the African Governance Architecture, or the Silencing the Arms Initiative in uniting forces on the continent, and beyond. Indeed, while we fully support the principle of "African solutions to African problems", this does not relieve the international community of its responsibilities. This is because solutions often contribute to a global common good, such as combating cross-border factors of instability and creating conditions conducive to growth, sustainable development and integration. However, with greater implementation of the common normative framework, these dividends in terms of peace and prosperity could be multiplied still further.

Mr. Chairman,

African states and their regional institutions play an important role in prevention. We recognize their strong voice and their role as bridge-builders. The African Union has always been a driving force behind the Women, Peace and Security and Youth, Peace and Security Agendas. In this sense, initiatives such as FemWise and the Panel of the Wise are exemplary models for the African Union. We also welcome the development of a common African position on the links between climate, peace and security - an important signal that could inspire this Council too.

Closer cooperation between the African Union and the United Nations, including this Council, promises great potential. Security Council Resolution 2719 on the financing of AU peace support operations, adopted in December, provides a promising basis.  Among other things, it has enabled a first substantial exchange between the military staff committees of the AU Peace and Security Council and the Security Council. I am confident that the first cases of application of the resolution will soon be identified.

The Security Council has every interest in learning from the experience of African countries in conflict prevention. The annual exchanges between the Security Council and the Peace and Security Council are a crucial instrument in this respect. Switzerland looks forward to the next exchange between the two Councils, which will take place during our presidency in October. We will do our utmost to make it as visionary, effective and constructive as possible.

I thank you.