Meeting the Prevention Challenge.

Author:Guterres, Antonio

This is a time of great challenge. We have pledged to "leave no one behind" but the goals of peaceful coexistence and inclusive development are at risk in many countries. The norms and values of the United Nations are being disregarded. Millions flee in search of safer, better lives, even as doors are closing. Brutal conflicts rage, taking countless lives and displacing millions. Terrorism and violent extremism are affecting all regions. Climate-related natural disasters are becoming more frequent, and their destructive powers more intense.

How can the United Nations better help countries to avoid such crises and build resilient societies that can deliver on the promise of a life of dignity for all? How can we preserve the norms that safeguard humanity? How can we win back the trust of "we the peoples"? Above all, how can we prevent this unsustainable suffering?

By prevention, I mean doing everything we can to help countries to avert the outbreak of crises that take a high toll in human lives and undermine the institutions and capacities needed to achieve peace and development. I mean rededicating ourselves to the UN Charter and ensuring that UN activities and assistance go to those who need it most. Prevention should permeate everything we do. It should cut across all pillars of the UN's work, and unite us for more effective delivery.

Preventing human suffering and ensuring progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are primarily the responsibility of Member States. But the United Nations has a vital supporting role. We need to become much better at it, building trust with Member States and all stakeholders. I see us doing this in four ways: a surge in preventive diplomacy; bold efforts to implement the Agenda 2030 and Sustaining Peace; strengthened partnerships; and comprehensive reforms to overcome fragmentation and consolidate our capacities to deliver.


    Nobody is winning today's wars. I appeal to all those with influence to bring these burning conflicts to an end. I and my peace envoys are fully engaged in support of the relevant national and regional actors. But wars can only be ended by the actions of the direct parties and their supporters to forge political solutions and tackle the root causes. Meanwhile, we must make concerted efforts to prevent new conflicts from flaring up. This means promptly identifying and responding to early signs of tension, using all tools available.

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