Remarks at a UNSC Arria-formula Meeting on “Transitioning from Protracted Conflict and Fragility into Peace Through Sustainable Development”

Ambassador Lisa Carty
U.S. Representative to the UN Economic and Social Council
New York, New York
December 22, 2022


Thank you, Ambassador Kimani, for bringing us together this afternoon. We extend our sincere gratitude to Kenya for its leadership in peacebuilding and its co-facilitation of the peacebuilding financing resolution this year. As an elected member of the Security Council over these past two years, Kenya has been a critical partner in addressing threats to international peace and security.

Today’s discussion comes as the world is facing unprecedented conflict and fragility challenges – and breaking the worst kind of records. An estimated 340 million people are expected to need humanitarian assistance next year, an all-time high, and more than 100 million people are currently displaced. We are facing catastrophic food insecurity and climate crises, as well as deadly and protracted conflicts – the root causes of which remain largely unaddressed.

On all these fronts, the United States is doing its part to meet these urgent, global challenges. We remain the largest single humanitarian and development donor, and consistently rank among the biggest supporters of the UN development system. We are expanding our post-conflict and peacebuilding support activities through implementation of the U.S. Global Fragility Act, which we see as complementary to the efforts of both the Peacebuilding Commission and the Peacebuilding Fund.

Today, I would like to share three suggestions on what more we can collectively do to blunt these trends and ensure that we are better coordinating our efforts across humanitarian support, peacebuilding, and sustainable development to help deliver the progress we urgently need.

First, we should recenter our efforts to advance the 2030 Agenda and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. They are our universally agreed framework and provide a road map for how to best accelerate our efforts – including by ensuring that no one is left behind. As the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development recognizes, development must be advanced alongside the other equal and interlinked pillars of the UN Charter – human rights and peace and security. The United States looks forward to participating actively in the preparations for the SDG Summit in September 2023.

Second, we need a UN System that is fully activated and empowered to deliver in ways we know it can. We call on the UN system to pursue more systematic alignment and cooperation across organizations engaged in humanitarian assistance, peacebuilding, and development. This will require identifying complementary roles within existing mandates, strategic cooperation at Headquarters and at regional and country levels, and leveraging the critical role of UN Agencies, Funds and Programs.

And this leads me to my third point – the gains we are working towards will neither be fully achieved nor sustainable unless they’re inclusive and shared by everyone. That requires meaningfully engaging all actors, particularly women, across the continuum of humanitarian, peacebuilding, and development work. History has demonstrated that when women are at the table, we are much more likely to achieve lasting, inclusive outcomes. The importance of inclusion also means engaging marginalized populations and vulnerable groups – including indigenous persons, persons with disabilities, and LGBTQI+ individuals. We must also provide a voice to civil society.

As Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield stressed during last week’s Security Council briefing on reformed multilateralism, we must reinvigorate the UN system to respond to current and future crises. Through more coordinated and connected efforts, our hope is to find a way forward that helps address urgent global challenges, advance peacebuilding, and achieve the SDGs.

Thank you.