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Rede von Europa-Staatsminister Michael Roth bei der DSRSG Dialogue Series in Berlin “Sustaining Peace in the Field”

08.02.2018 - Rede

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Ladies and Gentlemen,
A very warm welcome here in Berlin from my side – not only as Minister of State for Europe, but also as Chairperson of the Supervisory Board of the Center for International Peace Operations – our hosts tonight!
I would like to thank the Center, together with the United Nations System Staff College, for bringing us all together.
The topic of this year’s Dialogue Series “Sustaining peace in the field” might appear somewhat ironic to some of you in places like Bangui, Damascus, Kinshasa or Mogadishu. Often it seems as if there is no peace in sight. 
2017 was the worst year for the United Nations when it comes to staff members being killed in the field. Altogether 71 people lost their lives serving to preserve peace - among them 55 peacekeepers and 18 civilian staff. The mission in Mali proved to be the deadliest of all. 
But let me tell you: for this very reason I have tremendous respect for your dedication, personal commitment and hard work and in particular your perseverance, at times under the most precarious circumstances. This is what makes the UN so unique and indispensable. Therefore and on behalf of the German Government, let me express my profound appreciation and sincere gratitude to you for your work. 

Ladies and Gentlemen, 
We attach great importance to sustaining peace, which presents a huge opportunity in offering a comprehensive approach to peace and in putting conflict prevention, stabilization and peacebuilding at the center of international engagement. We are encouraged that this concept is guiding the current UN reform efforts and is gaining more and more momentum among Member States and within the UN as a whole. 
On implementation, however, much remains to be done. For instance, key lessons drawn from the past have shown that international engagement needs to be underpinned by sound conflict analysis and a comprehensive political strategy. It takes leadership and responsibility. Paying attention to the entire peace continuum instead of just to a snapshot in time is another crucial lesson for managing transitions more successfully. We need to avoid gaps in strategy, funding and political attention. 

In practice, this will mean ensuring the continuity of relevant peacebuilding programs, improving continuous UN engagement throughout transitions, and strengthening the capacity of UN country teams to absorb relevant peacebuilding functions once peacekeeping missions have left. And, to be very frank: This also means ensuring the attention of political decision-makers, both in governments and in the parliaments which will provide the necessary budget lines. 

You will have to be able to convince the members of parliament of continuing to invest in places where “hot” conflict has ended.
Until today, the coordination of our engagement remains a challenge – to the UN, to regional organizations, as well as to national governments.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Germany is already substantially contributing to the Sustaining Peace Concept and its implementation. And we intend to even strengthen our contributions.

In 2017, we have adopted comprehensive policy guidelines on crisis prevention, peacebuilding and post-conflict recovery. As Foreign Office, we have built up expertise, committed significant funds and expanded partnerships, in particular with the United Nations, in all of those areas to be able to better respond to crisis and fragility. For instance, since 2016 we are one of the biggest donors to the Peacebuilding Fund. 

Together with the Center for International Peace Operations, we are seconding civilian experts to international missions in a multitude of areas. So, this is also a good opportunity to thank the Center for all the excellent work it is doing! We will continue to support you in all your efforts.

Sustaining Peace is also about human rights and the substantive inclusion of women in these processes to help prevent, resolve and rebuild after conflict. Transforming the rhetoric of some of these discussions into action, Germany has implemented concrete measures under our second national action plan on the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325. We are supporting, to name but one example, the African Women Leaders Network, an initiative of the African Union and UN Women that seeks to enhance the leadership of women in the transformation of Africa with a focus on governance, peace and stability.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Almost everywhere around the world, we are working side by side with the United Nations. We need the United Nations to remain at the center of the international community’s efforts in sustaining peace. 
Exchanges with experts like you, who are at the forefront of what sustaining peace means today, are extremely important to us. We hope this dialogue series provides inspiration for you too, to support you in your work on the ground. 
As candidate for the Security Council 2019/20 and current Vice-Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission and the Human Rights Council, we aim to advance sustaining peace in these intergovernmental settings. The Peacebuilding Commission, in particular, can play an even more important role. In this regard, we are also looking forward to an active role in the High-Level Event on Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace in April 2018. 

Let me conclude by underlining Germany’s support for the Secretary-General’s reform agenda. We share his vision for the United Nations as the cornerstone of a rules-based international order. 

Thank you so much!

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