Statement by the Ambassador Permanent Representative of Spain to the United Nationes, Mr. Román Oyarzun.

At the UN Security Council open debate “Conflict Prevention: Maintenance of International Peace and Security”

New York, 21st august 2014

Mr. President,

My delegation wishes to thank the British Presidency for convening this open debate. We also wish to thank the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms. Navi Pillay, for her participation.

Spain fully aligns itself with the statement delivered by the European Union and wishes to make the following contribution to this debate, in its national capacity.

The global geopolitical situation as well as the nature of conflicts have much changed since the adoption of the Charter of the United Nations. It is therefore important to move from a culture of reaction, which most of the times comes slowly and inadequately, to a culture of prevention. This requires political will and sufficient and adequate resources.

Without forgetting that the primary responsibility to prevent conflict situations corresponds to the States, it is imperative to recognise that prevention must be central to the United Nations endeavours and that the Organisation must not skimp on resources to support the states in the fulfilment of this role. The Secretary-General has duly recognised it: the initiative “Rights up-front” is an excellent way forward.

Within the Organization, the Security Council has a primary and special responsibility in preventing and avoiding armed conflicts and atrocity crimes. The current unfortunate situation has highlighted the inadequacies of the Council and it should make us reflect on the measures needed to prevent tragedies like the ones currently happening.

As many delegations have insisted today, the Council has to be capable to use, with responsibility but also with boldness, the tools provided by the United Nations Charter, the commissions of inquiry and the mainly preventive nature of the sanctions. Furthermore, it should draw on the tools with which the United Nations System has been equipping itself, and whose preventive function can be essential: such as the Offices of the Secretary General’s Special Advisers, the mechanisms for fighting impunity and reach accountability, whose preventive efficiency has also been highlighted today.

Mr. President,

Spain has placed conflict prevention at the core of its foreign policy. It is crucial, in our opinion, to adopt a comprehensive and inclusive approach as well as to pay the necessary attention to the roots and structural causes of conflict to work on its prevention and to ensure the sustainability of the agreed solutions.

Therefore, I will focus on the two instruments Spain has invested remarkable political and financial resources in: peace mediation and consolidation.

We are committed to preventive diplomacy and mediation as instruments for conflict prevention and resolution and peace consolidation. Therefore, we are founding members of the UN Group of Friends of Mediation and we contribute to the Mediation Support Unit of the Department for Political Affairs.  Likewise, along with Morocco, we have launched a Mediation Initiative in the Mediterranean, in which we keep working.

As the Secretary-General points out in his reports, in order for the mediation efforts to be effective, certain conditions must be met:

First of all, it must be based on a deep knowledge of the local scenario. There is a need to monitor the evolution of the situation on the field, listen carefully to local actors and decide which would be the best timing to intervene.

Therefore, it must be based on local appropriation and be inclusive, awarding participation processes to civil society. Full participation of women on mediation and negotiation peace agreement processes must be guaranteed. The inclusive character of mediation must be balanced with the need of having an effective mediation. We must value when the inclusion or exclusion of certain actors may become counter-productive.

Thirdly, coherence, coordination and complementarity between the involved actors must be assured. Each actor must know how to recognize when the intervention of another actor may have an added value and turn out to be more efficient. They must also recognize when informal processes may result more efficient than formal processes, and use them. United Nations could perform a very important coordination role among actors and initiatives, be recognized and act as the ultimate guarantor of mediation.

Many armed conflicts follow cyclic patterns, so the adoption and execution of efficient peacebuilding and consolidation strategies in countries that have experienced recent conflicts with no doubt must contribute to prevent them.

In this sense, we believe that it is important to recognise the valuable role of the Peacekeeping Operations and the Special Political Missions as conflict prevention and peacebuilding tools. Increasing the efficiency of these missions will result in a greater sustainability and adaptability of the endeavours. Therefore we are of the mind that it is important to continue working to achieve an adequate definition of the mandates, paying attention to the monitoring and evaluation in their fulfilment and completion, taking into account the available resources and the evolution of the circumstances, needs and challenges on the field; it is important for this evaluation to inform of the decisions regarding the missions’ cycle of life.

We are also in support of a suitable training of the peacekeepers belonging to these missions, especially with regards to women, peace and security, as well as children affected by conflicts and we consider that keeping a regular and substantive dialogue with the troop contributing countries is of particular importance.

Furthermore, special attention should be paid to the support given to fragile and post-conflict countries to effectively advance in the Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration and Reform of the Security Sector processes, as well as the strengthening of cohesive structures, able to manage diversity and inequity, and perceived by the population as legitimate.

Mr. President,

We continue to defend the important task of the Peacebuilding Commission, in which Spain is a member, in countries that are experimenting conflict and post-conflict situations, taking into account its added value: knowledge of the local scenario; and the capacity to motivate the appropriation of the local actors. We support the active participation in the PBC works of the countries on its agenda and a relation based on a smooth collaboration between the PBC and the UNSC, which increases the effectiveness and coherence of its complementary actions.

Additionally, Spain is a firm advocate of the Responsibility to Protect, and contributes actively and constructively to the efforts aimed at advancing its effective application. Its second pillar is particularly important: the commitment of the international community to provide assistance to the countries so that they can prevent effectively the commission of atrocity crimes.

In conclusion, the prevention of armed conflicts and atrocity crimes is one of the most pressing priorities that the Security Council must address. Its actions need to be sensitive, flexible, and fast enough to respond and adapt to the evolution of circumstances and to the early warning signs on the field. Furthermore, these actions must be guided by a long-term approach.

The resolution the Council has adopted today is an excellent step in the right direction. It introduces a large number of elements that will contribute to overcome the current gap between early warning, which is an undeniable overwhelming reality at times, and early and efficient preventive action.

Thank you very much, Mr. President.