I would like to thank you for convening this high-level meeting on such a vital and pressing issue. We commend the efforts of Lithuania and Bangladesh as co-facilitators of intergovernmental consultations leading to the adoption of the resolution at the end of this meeting.
Latvia aligns itself with the statement delivered on behalf of the European Union.
Important efforts have been made and are underway to develop a more efficient and streamlined UN. Latvia welcomes the vision of the Secretary General on peacebuilding and sustaining peace, and his focus on the prevention of conflicts before they arise by addressing the root causes of discontentment and aggression.
Conflict prevention is an effective tool to protect those who need it most; investing in prevention is a smart thing to do.
In order to ensure sustainable peace, human rights protection and promotion must be included in all aspects of peacebuilding. The international community must make sure that the efforts of sustaining peace and development fully respect international law and human rights.
Support to good governance, strong democratic institutions, rule of law and inclusive economic development have always been priority areas of Latvia’s contribution to the implementation of sustainable development and sustaining peace through projects ranging from water and waste management to e-governance and green technologies, connectivity and border control.
Women are disproportionally affected by conflict, and should play a key role in achieving lasting peace. In this regard, I would like to highlight the longstanding commitment of the Government of Latvian and Latvian NGOs in promoting women’s empowerment by supporting other countries in their efforts to broaden the economic opportunities of women and girls by ensuring access to education and preventing early marriage, as well as to reduce the risk of social exclusion, marginalization and radicalization.
Education is vital for addressing security challenges, for tackling radicalization risks among youth and for building resilient societies.
Latvia supports efforts to modernize the public sector of European Neighborhood Policy countries, Central Asia and the Western Balkans, educating future and present public service and civil society leaders, sharing our experience in e-governance, civil service reforms, local governance, or fighting corruption.
While the United Nations plays a central role in coordinating and focusing efforts on conflict prevention and sustaining peace, regional mechanisms are essential in delivering sustainable development and preventing violent conflict in a particular state. Latvian civilian experts are part of the EU Monitoring Mission to Georgia and OSCE Special Monitoring Mision to Ukraine, monitoring the fulfilment of the peace agreements and facilitating peace and security in the conflict zones. Latvia is committed to assisting Georgia and Ukraine to recover sustainably from the impact of the ongoing conflict and building lasting peace.
As a member of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, Latvia stands with the government and people of Iraq in their fight against international terrorism. Latvia continues the training of Iraqi security forces, and is ready to provide expertise and financially support reconstruction projects.
UN peacekeeping missions are useful political tools to prevent escalation of existing conflicts, thus laying ground for sustaining peace. Latvia is taking part in MINUSMA in Sahel region since 2016, and has gradually increased our involvement as a practical contribution to peace and security.
All Member States of the United Nations are the guardians of this international system and of the UN Charter. Member States of the Security Council have a particular privilege and responsibility. With the veto power also comes the responsibility to use this power in the interests of universal peace and security. For instance, when debating the crisis in Syria, the Council has not always lived up to this special responsibility and thus has hampered peacebuilding.
More needs to be done. We need new, tailored strategies for sustaining peace. It is high time to pay more attention to prevention, to peacebuilding and to sustaining peace. Latvia fully supports the steps taken by the Secretary General in this direction and we see today’s meeting as an important element to support this change.