The United Nations has backed the role of Kuwait in the ongoing crisis in the region, said Miroslav Lajcak, the president of the 72nd Session of the UN General Assembly. He was interacting with a gathering at Doha Institute for Graduate Studies.
He delivered on the occasion a talk on ‘Conflict Prevention in the 21st Century-What can UN do?’ The session was moderated by Prof Sultan Barakat, director, Centre for Conflict and Humanitarian Studies.
“I believe this region has its own internal capacity or potential to sort out its internal problems. Solutions put forward by the local or regional mechanism can be the best and long lasting ones. Therefore, I do not advocate any involvement by the UN but strongly call for an early resolution as the crisis is detrimental to all the countries involved.” he noted.
“We are all sorry to see the latest developments in the region. GCC, traditionally, has been very powerful, an effective voice for the countries in the region. Right now, it is going through a difficult period,” he continued.
Speaking about the conflict prevention, he said that diplomacy, dialogue and mediation are the best methods for solving the crisis around the world.
“The UN has the expertise, capacity, tools, mechanism and the experience in prevention of conflicts but has no clear mechanism for prevention of conflicts. All these elements were used in resolving a number of conflicts but were worked on an ad-hoc basis. However, we do not have a system in place for implementing them on a permanent basis,” he explained.
Lajcak said that recently there have been several efforts to find a permanent system for conflict prevention. “There is no early warning mechanism for conflict prevention and we lose precious time. We need a new approach in preventing conflict and maintaining peace. Things are happening now and several resolutions are being discussed in this regard, he pointed out.
According to the UN official, strengthening partnerships with regional organisations, financial institutions, private sector, civil societies and better partnership with all the nations, is the best way for conflict prevention.
He maintained that the human and economic aspects are of great importance in conflict prevention. “By preventing conflicts, we save a lot of money. In 2016, the UN spent about $8bn on military peacekeeping missions. The UN also spent about $20bn for humanitarian aspects out of conflicts while $14.6bn was lost on account of humanitarian conflicts and violence.
“One dollar invested in peace saves 10 dollars spent in conflicts. Conflict prevention is the best thing for global economy,” he highlighted.
“The UN was built on the ambition of avoiding any further conflicts. Conflict prevention is at the core of the UN agenda. It is more urgent than ever. Conflicts are becoming more complex and the opponents are becoming more prolific and they are difficult to define,” the official felt.
“Conflicts have moved from battle grounds to hospitals, schools and religious places. Civilians are unfortunately becoming more of deliberate target in the conflicts,” added Lajcak.