Statement by H.E. Dr. Ali Naseer Mohamed, Foreign Secretary of the Republic of Maldives at the 

 High Level Thematic Debate on the UN, Peace and Security

10 May 2016, Trusteeship Council


Mr. President, Excellencies, and Distinguished Guests:

I congratulate you Mr President for your insightful initiative in holding this timely debate on a subject that defines the very existence of this Organisation.

The United Nations was established with the noble objective of maintaining international peace and security, and addressing situations, which may lead to a breach of the peace. A tall order, no doubt.  But, as Dag Hammarskold, the third UN Secretary General puts it: "the United Nations was created not to lead mankind to heaven, but to save humanity from hell".

The UN may not have delivered us an ideal world in the past seventy years. But much suffering has certainly been averted because of the work it accomplished: From the peacekeeping efforts that have saved countless, to the development and public health gains that have made innumerable lives better, to the human rights efforts that have given hopes to billions - the world is undoubtedly a better place because of the United Nations.

But that does not mean we cannot do more. The global community should become better equipped to manage the new and emerging challenges to the world, especially in the context of peace and security. In order to keep the UN relevant, we need a change in approach. We need an evolution in the institutional architecture.

In recent years we have come to understand how poverty, famine, pandemics and epidemics, competition over natural resources, and indeed the impacts of climate change have given rise to social discord and political unrest. The violent extremism that has destabilized entire countries and infiltrated every corner of the globe is a striking example of how disenfranchisement, inequality, and injustice can corrupt the hearts and minds of people.

The climate change crisis has also added a new dimension to the concept of security.  Droughts, storms, and sea level rise have already displaced populations within and over boundaries.  Food security and water security, which are prerequisites for social stability, have also been undermined. Low-lying Small Island States such as the Maldives face threats to their very existence.

The nature of the threats we face today are new and less understood. Our capacity to resolve conflicts and promote peace in this complex world is being tested like never before. But this is not to suggest that we are powerless to respond or that we don't appreciate the kinds of change needed to fulfill our mandate in the face of new realities. To do this, we need to redefine how we think of threats, security, and indeed, the concept of peace.

Confronting these new multidimensional risks requires an equally intricate response. A response that is comprehensive and holistic. Continuing to address security, development, and human rights in silos, guised under the explanation of mandates, is no longer adequate. Solutions driven through such discussions are ineffective and unsustainable.

For instance, the links between sustainable development and peace and security are clear: inhibited development within a country can stoke social and economic antagonisms that often lead to conflict. On the other hand, there can be no sustainable development without peace and stability in the country. Focusing on promoting one of these objectives without regard for the other is therefore futile.

We also need to have a better understanding of the risks we face in order to tailor adequate prevention and response measures. Risks that we understood in the past are not the same anymore. Today, terrorism has evolved from a known risk to a global threat of unprecedented proportion. The war against terrorism can no longer be won with just military means. We need to identify the root causes for propagation of terrorism and eliminate terrorist ideologies.

As the guardian of peace and security, the UN not only has an instrumental role in the resolution, and most importantly, in the prevention of conflicts. The UN needs to take a more proactive role in promoting peace before a situation results in conflicts and bloodshed.

A new approach to peace and security also requires a new institutional structure. We must correct the anachronism in the Security Council in a world of modern risks. We need a more balanced representation in this primary organ that is mandated to promote and protect the peace. As Small Island States, we are the countries that are most vulnerable to these risks, and yet, we are the most underrepresented.

It is evident that the risks that threaten global peace are diverse and multiplying as the world evolves.  Therefore it is our collective duty to eliminate these risks and steer the world away from regressing into war and conflict. With the vision of a peaceful world free of conflict and suffering as our guide, we must all make a new and determined commitment to a new approach to address these risks. For the future and safety of humanity, we cannot afford to falter in this endeavor.

Thank you.