Opening statement by Isabella Lövin at the Fifth Global Meeting of the International Dialogue on Peacebuilding and Statebuilding

Opening statement by H.E. Isabella Lövin at the Fifth Global Meeting of the International Dialogue on Peacebuilding and Statebuilding, Stockholm, 5 April 2016. Talet hölls på engelska. Det talade ordet gäller.

Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, (UN High Commissioner for Refugees), Chair of the g7+ and Co-chair of the International Dialogue of Peacebuilding and Statebuilding, Distinguished Ministers, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a pleasure and an honour to welcome you to Stockholm for the fifth Global Meeting of the International Dialogue on Peacebuilding and Statebuilding.

The world has changed quite dramatically since the International Dialogue on Peacebuilding and Statebuilding was created less than ten years ago.

As a result of the efforts made to meet the Millennium Development Goals, extreme poverty has decreased significantly in most developing countries over the last two decades.

Probably all of us in this room have heard the success stories. Extreme poverty has been halved; child mortality has been drastically reduced – in most developing countries.

With one exception: in fragile and conflict-affected countries. Very few of fragile and conflict-affected states have met the poverty target. The ten worst performing countries on maternal mortality globally are all in conflict affected countries.

Syria has shown that conflict and violence means development in reverse – 20 million people who used to live in a middle-income country have been thrown into poverty and half of the population has been forced to leave their homes.

60 per cent of the population is unemployed; 4 million children are out of school.

The cost of rebuilding a country once it has been destroyed by war is incalculable. Yet the World Bank has tried to quantify it: some 35 billion dollars have been lost since the outbreak of the Syrian war only.

The total cost of conflict in 2014 was 14.3 trillion US dollars; equal to the size of the GDPs of Germany and France. And the UK. And Canada. And Spain.

These figures are of course staggering. But what it worse that it will take at least a generation to rebuild a country affected by serious conflict.

Not since the Second World War have we seen such huge numbers of refugees, and the trend is extremely worrying: after declining for many years, the number of major civil wars almost tripled from four to eleven between 2007 and 2014.

We can't afford to allow this to continue! Not in terms of human suffering, not in terms of global security.

And if we want to achieve the new Global Goals that the world committed to in September, we urgently need to address conflict, and start working on peacebuilding and conflict prevention in new ways.

This is why we are here today. The world needs to focus on addressing the underlying issues that lead to conflict, fragility and chronic poverty. We must address the root causes and deal with them.

Peace and development are interlinked.

Where there is no peace, there is no development.

Where there is no development, there is no peace.

The two cannot be regarded as two different things the way the international community still tends to do.

But we have an opportunity to change that now.

The entire international system is shifting. If 2015 was an important year for global governance - with worldwide agreements, the climate agreement, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda and the 2030 Agenda, 2016 is the time to allocate resources and shift from setting the targets, to acting to achieve them.

It's time to focus on conflict prevention and peacebuilding, to commit to inclusive peace processes and to invest the necessary political capital in international cooperation for peace; this is ultimately a matter of political will and pro-active leadership. I know that this transition is not easy, but utterly necessary.

This is where the International Dialogue on Peacebuilding and Statebuilding comes in.

The dialogue was the driving force behind the New Deal for fragile states, with its 5 Peace building and State building Goals. The Dialogue also successfully pushed to have goal 16 on peaceful societies included in the 2030 Agenda. With the Dialogue as a platform, and the New Deal as the tool, we can make sure that the Sustainable Development Goals set last year are implemented also in fragile and conflict-affected countries. This is the force and added value of the IDPS. It is the coalition of the willing.

The five peace- and statebuilding goals identified in the New Deal by the fragile states themselves – legitimate politics, security, justice, economic development and service delivery – should, in my view, be the guiding principles of all peacebuilding, statebuilding and development work.

I actually see a lot of that language and thinking in the recent review of the UN Peacebuilding Architecture. This is a good sign. We should work together, we must work together, to achieve concrete results on the ground, not only preventing conflict from re-emerging, but also sustaining peace – that is, working on conflict prevention before conflict erupts, costing lives, livelihoods, time and reversing development.

Recognising the urgency of addressing these global challenges, we would like today to seek members' commitment in the following four areas:

First. We need to renew our commitment to the New Deal.

Through local ownership, by addressing the root causes of violence, conflict and fragility, the New Deal can achieve concrete results in difficult environments. To achieve this we need to improve our systems to ensure inclusion and rebuild trust between states and citizens. We must show that we can use the New Deal to achieve results. This will also include strengthening gender approaches and women's active participation in peacebuilding, as well as recognizing and harnessing the positive potential of young people.

Secondly: We should use the New Deal principles to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

The New Deal is a key framework for achieving resilience and development outcomes in fragile and conflict-affected environments and for meeting the commitment to 'leaving no one behind'. The New Deal provides a unique platform for political, economic and social reforms by strengthening dialogue between national authorities and development partners, and by including civil society. We must lead by example and show how to implement the 2030 Agenda in fragile and conflict-affected situations.

Thirdly: Development partners should provide smarter, more effective, more innovative and more targeted development support in fragile and conflict-affected situations, especially in protracted humanitarian crises and in g7+ countries. It is important to strengthen country systems and to make relevant development aid conflict-sensitive, based on an analysis of conflict and fragility drivers and 'do no harm' principles

Finally, we must strengthen our partnerships. If we want to improve our responses to conflict we need broader, deeper and more effective coalitions for peacebuilding and statebuilding.Achieving sustainable peace and development in conflict-affected countries requires the international community to work together like never before, in new partnerships and in new ways. Here, I would highlight in particular 'fragile-to-fragile' cooperation, a closer cooperation with civil society and the need for the International Dialogue to have closer cooperation with the UN. The International Dialogue is a flexible and ready partner in this regard.

Mr Co-chair,

To conclude:
responding to the challenges of today, and drawing on the experiences of the past, we need a new global partnership to prevent violent conflict, reduce humanitarian needs, and sustain peace. This meeting here today, taking place just before the WHS, is a key moment in which the principles of the New Deal for fragile states can lay the foundation for such a partnership. The New Deal can be used as the tool for implementing goal 16 in fragile states. It provides a relevant framework that brings together partners and stakeholders. It´s difficult to reinvent the New Deal, because its principles are still valid. But by renewing our commitment to it we can revitalise it, and make it a central part of implementing and achieving the entire 2030 Agenda.

Because without peace – no development.

And without development – no peace.