Secure peace with inclusive, sustainable development, UN chief says
The UN Secretary-General on Monday outlined the crucial link between development and sustaining peace, highlighting that socio-economic advances are often among the first casualties of war.
Addressing an open debate of the Security Council on the link, António Guterres said that while development alone cannot guarantee peace, it is an essential component.
“No peace is secure without inclusive and sustainable development that leaves no one behind,” he said, drawing parallels to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“Just as progress towards one goal lifts all others, failure in one area risks reversing gains across the board. And no failure is more calamitous than the failure to prevent conflict,” he stressed.
Mr. Guterres observed a global pattern where countries closer to conflict tend to be further from achieving any measure of sustainable and inclusive development.
Nine out of the ten nations with the lowest Human Development Indicators have experienced conflicts or violence in the past decade, he said, identifying inequalities, lack of opportunities, corruption, climate chaos, and environmental degradation.
“Organized crime, violent extremist and terrorist groups find fertile ground in such environments – fraying the social fabric and further aggravating insecurities and corroding effective governance,” he said.
The UN chief stressed the mutually reinforcing relationship between development and conflict prevention, emphasizing that human development promotes hope, prevention, security, and peace.
He called for simultaneous efforts to advance peace and sustainable, inclusive development.
To achieve this, Mr. Guterres outlined key steps, including ensuring food security, education, skill development, healthcare, social protection, and dignity for all.
SDGs off track
As 85 per cent of SDGs targets are off track, Mr. Guterres called for urgency and ambition.
Developing countries, especially the Least Developed Countries, face multiple crises, including crushing debt, climate catastrophes, widening inequalities, and the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I have been advocating for bold steps to make our global institutions – including the international financial architecture – more representative of today’s realities, and more responsive to the needs of developing economies,” he said, adding:
“I have also proposed a set of concrete actions we can take now – including an SDG Stimulus of $500 billion a year to reduce debt burdens and release resources for long-term, affordable financing from multilateral and private sources.”
He emphasized the need for collective action, recalling the New Agenda for Peace, which he proposed in July.
“We must recognize that – as an international community – we are only as strong as our weakest link,” he said.
Looking ahead, he urged Member States to approach the Summit of the Future in a spirit of solidarity and ambition.
“To secure peace and advance development, we must jettison the self-defeating logic of zero-sum competition, recommit to cooperation, and nurture the courage to compromise.”
The open debate
The open debate was organized by China, which holds the Council presidency for November.
An open debate is a meeting that allows for the participation of non-Council Member States, regional organizations and others as appropriate, providing a platform for a broader range of voices to address specific issues on the agenda.