The United Nations Security Council on Friday unanimously issued a statement pointing out a close link between international security and economic development.
The 15-member Security Council heard repeated references to the linkage between poverty and conflict throughout the world. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, speaking to the Council, said evidence abounds that peace, security and development are interdependent.
"Nine of the 10 countries with the lowest Human Development Indicators have experienced conflict in the last 20 years. Countries facing stark inequality and weak institutions are at increased risk of conflict."
Ban added that just as the lack of development can feed the flames of conflict, economic and social progress can help prevent it and secure peace.
"Sustained broadly based development can help address the roots of conflict, by such steps as ensuring the equitable sharing of wealth, better access to agricultural lands, strengthening governance and justice for all."
The United States representative in the Security Council, Rosemary DiCarlo, said the links between security and development are complex, but compelling. Stalled development and violent conflict, she observed, deal a double blow to far too many people.
"Ninety percent of today’s conflicts arise in countries where we have been unsuccessful in consolidating peace after prior wars. There are no easy answers here and we should not overestimate the international community’s role in rectifying deep-seated problems that may have been festering for decades. Peace is ultimately in a country’s own hands. But we must do more," said DiCarlo.
The U.S. representative saw the possibility of new ways for United Nations peacekeepers to have a positive impact on daily life in their host communities.
The Security Council discussion was organized by Brazil, whose representative is this month’s Council president. Brazil’s foreign minister, Antonio Patriota, speaking for the Security Council, emphasized the importance of linking U.N. peacekeepers with peacebuilding activities.
"The Council recommends that particular focus be given to improved integration of U.N. effort where peacekeeping missions are operating together with peacebuilding activities of other U.N. actors such as in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Sudan," said Patriota.
The Security Council’s statement points to the role played by the illegal exploitation of natural resources in fueling conflicts and says the U.N. can play a role in helping countries prevent illegal access to those resources.