Remarks at a UN Security Council Open Debate on Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace

Ambassador Robert Wood
Alternate Representative for Special Political Affairs
New York, New York
January 26, 2023


Thank you, Mr. President. And although she has departed the chamber, let me thank the Deputy Secretary-General for her presence here and her commitment to peacebuilding. Let me also thank Japan for convening today’s open debate and the briefers for their insights.

Conflict prevention, preventive diplomacy, and peacebuilding efforts are critical to responding to shared security and development challenges around the world.

The United States takes seriously our shared ambitions as part of the Peacebuilding Commission. Peacebuilding efforts can help mitigate drivers of fragility and instability and ensure national governments and local communities are empowered with tools to reduce the recurrence of conflict.

We have been pleased to note that increase in briefings by the Peacebuilding Commission to this Council in the last year, and we would encourage more ambitious and structured collaboration between the Peacebuilding Commission and the Security Council. The PBC is ideally placed to raise awareness on regional efforts, local communities’ expertise, as well as the cross-border dimension of conflicts.

The United States reiterates its strong support for expanding the role of the PBC in regional settings and cross-cutting areas, including human rights and climate-related peace and security risks. Such expansion includes leveraging its convening power, particularly in its advisory role to the Security Council, to make peacebuilding activities integrated, coordinated, and responsive.

The United States sees value in a “New Agenda for Peace” as part of the Our Common Agenda initiative to ensure that the United Nations, and wider multilateral responses, are able to effectively manage existing and emerging threats to international peace and security.

One goal for peacebuilding is sustainability, and the gains we seek cannot be fully achieved unless they are inclusive and shared by everyone. Peace processes are often put to the test because they lack legitimacy among impacted populations.

International actors often cannot be the architects of peace; they should support local actors to find their own solutions. To this end, the UN should shift resources to increase the capacity of local, national, and regional peacebuilding entities.

Women, youth, local actors, and broader civil society must be actively engaged and sufficiently empowered to have a meaningful impact on the decision-making process.

As we have highlighted before, history has clearly demonstrated that when women are at the table and able to participate fully and meaningfully, they are much more likely to achieve lasting outcomes for all members of society.

Likewise, engaging youth in peace processes, as well as countering terrorism and violent extremism, is important because many of these youth in conflict settings are former children in armed conflict settings. Their positive engagement also mitigates the risk that they will be pulled back into conflict.

To that end, we encourage efforts by the UN to produce more detailed impact assessments of its peacebuilding work, demonstrating how and in what circumstances, it can contribute to impactful reductions in violent conflict.

Through these efforts, our hope is to build consensus around a future in which the UN system is fully activated and empowered to deliver in ways we know it can.

The U.S. commitment to peacebuilding is demonstrated by our implementation of the Global Fragility Act and subsequent issuance of the U.S. Strategy to Prevent Conflict and Promote Stability, which we see as complementary to UN efforts.

We hope that the Commission’s expanding role and increased engagement with the Security Council marks important progress towards this goal of building and sustaining peace.

Thank you, Mr. President.