‘Fragility of States, civil societies, key factor behind ongoing conflicts’

UN Chief says no peace without development; no development without well-being of all citizens
In the Tishreen camp for displaced persons in Aleppo, Syria, residents go about their daily lives. Photo Courtesy UNICEF/Razan Rashidi

The Tishreen camp for displaced persons in Aleppo, Syria, Photo  UNICEF/Razan Rashid

Fragility is a key factor in “practically all” of the protracted conflicts going on in the world today, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told the opening session of the Spring Meetings of the World Bank in Washington on Friday, as the Middle East and Africa roiled from multiple civil wars, extremist violence and absence of governance.

Speaking at an event entitled, Financing for Peace: Innovations to Tackle Fragility, Guterres said that partnerships and help with building “national capacities” were essential.

“This means strengthening States, strengthening institutions, strengthening civil societies [and] combining the peace and security approach with the inclusive and sustainable development approach and with human rights,” Guterres said.

The UN chief noted that the traditional forms of development aid are not enough and said that new approaches that create the conditions for investments in building resilience of communities and addressing fragility is needed.

He also praised the World Bank for the innovations it has already in place in countries like Jordan and Lebanon, to help them cope with the refugee crisis in the region.

“In my opinion, this is essential and, [given the scale of needs] should also include the private sector,” he said, adding that it is essential to find ways to divert the massive use of resources in managing crises to what is necessary to do to prevent them and to build the capacity of societies to solve their own problems.

Secretary-General Guterres also met with top United States leaders, including President Donald Trump and National Security Advisor General H.R. McMaster at the White House.

According to the UN chief’s spokesperson, Guterres and Trump had constructive discussion on cooperation between the US and the UN and agreed to meet again in the near future.

Guterres joined the High-level Steering Group for Every Woman Every Child as its third and senior Co-Chairman, joining Co-Chairs President Michelle Bachelet, of Chile, and Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, of Ethiopia, alternate Co-Chairs former Presidents Tarja Halonen, of Finland, and Jakaya Kikwete, of Tanzania, as well as other 16 members of the Group.

“In a time of complex development challenges, the investments we make today in women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health and wellbeing will help build the peaceful, sustainable and inclusive societies we have promised to achieve through the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),”  Guterres said.

“Peace cannot exist without development and development cannot exist without health and well-being, for healthy and empowered women, children and adolescents can bring about the change needed to create a better future for all,” he added.

Every Woman Every Child initiative, launched in 2010, provides a unique platform to unite stakeholders across sectors to deliver on an integrated agenda for women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health and well-being.


AfricaDemocracyDevelopmentMiddle EastSecuritySocietyUNWar and PeaceWashington D.C.WomenWorld

Huma Nisar is writer at Views and News
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