International Dialogue on Peacebuilding and Statebuilding (IDPS) Consultation

Pathways for Peace 5th Year Anniversary

April 6, 2023
International Peacebuilding and Statebuilding Dialogue

UNDP’s experience on the ground shows that equitable development is the backbone for preventing tension, violence, and insecurity from escalating.

Unsplash/Annie Spratt

Distinguished delegates, dear partners from civil society, multilateral organizations, colleagues from the UN system, and all participants online, 

On behalf of UNDP and the International Dialogue on Peacebuilding and Statebuilding (IDPS), I extend a warm welcome to all. Our partnership with the UN’s peacebuilding architecture, especially with the Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs’ Peacebuilding Support Office as well as with the World Bank grows stronger and more complementary day by day. This enhanced partnership has enabled today’s vital consultation to take place with IDPS constituency from the g7+ group of conflict-affected states, the OECD International Network on Conflict and Fragility (INCAF) members, and the Civil Society Platform for Peacebuilding and Statebuilding (CSPPS). 

As we gather today, five years after the groundbreaking UN-World Bank Pathways for Peace report, we recognize the continued relevance of its key findings and recommendations. However, we must also acknowledge that its vision and ambition remain unfulfilled. Development and the SDGs face significant threats, and our multilateral system struggles to protect gains and to deliver effective, inclusive, and trust-based solutions for sustainable peace.

By failing to address the root causes of fragility and conflict, by sticking to our silos and by being risk aversive, our collective responses are neither preventive nor transformative.  

Our global response to conflict and crisis remains reactive, heavily tilted towards humanitarian relief. However, we should remind ourselves that innovative development approaches, good governance, and investing in national capacities can offer more sustainable solutions to conflict, instability, violence, exclusion and inequality. Building hope, recovering dignity, and supporting resilient communities must guide our vision. 

To address these challenges, let me offer three critical points, which also serve as calls to action:

First, as a global coalition of development and peacebuilding stakeholders and champions, we must do better to elevate and prioritize prevention, not only as the right and necessary thing to do – but also the most sensible, effective and economically sound approach. UNDP’s experience on the ground shows that equitable development is the backbone for preventing tension, violence, and insecurity from escalating. Often, it is only after crisis and disaster hit that we notice its absence. The compelling truth from the Pathways for Peace report is this: for every $1 invested in prevention, $16 is saved in crisis response. 

If we want to remedy the grievances and regressions that we are currently witnessing, we must pave a development pathway towards peace by investing in dignified access to services, livelihoods, inclusive governance, and opportunities that billions of people currently lack. 

Second, even as our operating environment are increasingly complex, difficult and unpredictable, development actors must remain engaged. Well-planned crisis response can provide an opportunity to transform the development trajectory of a given country and overcome even entrenched gaps and vulnerabilities. Through our Crisis Offer, UNDP acts to sustain delivery of development throughout the occurrence of crisis and conflict in full complementarity to humanitarian and peace actors.

And we have seen the positive impact of this approach in crisis settings such as Afghanistan and Ukraine, and in fragile transition settings including Chad and Sudan. Here, we’re focused on keeping the wheels of development turning – offering spaces for dialogue, maintaining essential services and enabling conditions for social cohesion and peace. We work with national and local actors and authorities, affected communities and galvanize resources to preserve development gains, and support the earliest possible recovery trajectory. 

Lastly, the sustainability of our effort will always be premised on forging meaningful, innovative partnerships for prevention and peace. Following IDPS’ lead, broader, more diverse coalitions, with more cohesive, joined-up effort are imperative. The Pathways for Peace report emphasized this point – we must break out of our mandate and finance siloes, resist patchwork or sequenced approaches, and hold ourselves accountable to the most vulnerable who deserve our best effort. 

Reflecting on who is around the virtual room today, the HDP nexus offers a critical, timely space for collaboration across these self-imposed divides. Rather than succumbing to a ‘clash of principles’ between humanitarian, development and peace actors, we should rightly embrace a people-centered approach where impartiality, independence, neutrality and humanity sit side-by-side with dignity, inclusion, justice, human rights, agency, and social cohesion.

Distinguished participants, 

In a world where multilateralism is under strain, IDPS has made remarkable strides as a unique platform forging a pathway to development and peace. Drawing upon decades of collective knowledge and experience from national partners, civil society, and development actors in fragile and conflict-affected contexts, IDPS has achieved significant progress in addressing complex global challenges. 

Over the past months, as we’ve been reflecting on global systemic challenges through the lens of Secretary General’s Our Common Agenda and the New Agenda for Peace, today's consultation offers another opportunity to reflect honestly on the Pathways for Peace report's findings and recommendations and how we have measured up in fulfilling its promise. 

I look forward to the insights and reflections from the IDPS constituency as we work together to shape a more peaceful, just, and prosperous future for all.

Thank you.