Background

CEB addressed the follow-up to the Millennium Summit, focusing on the theme “Preventing armed conflict”, on the basis of an executive note prepared by the Department of Political Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat and finalized in the light of observations and conclusions of the High-level Committee on Programmes.

CEB welcomed the executive note prepared by the Department of Political Affairs and took note of its recommendations, as well as of the conclusions of the Committee. In the ensuing discussion, CEB members offered a number of observations relating to the conditions associated with armed conflict and the system’s response to them in terms of both conflict prevention and management.

Discussion

The conflict prevention and the development agendas should be mutually reinforcing. The imperative to move from a culture of reaction to a culture of prevention should be seen in this perspective and should be pursued stressing the drain in resources brought about by conflict that could otherwise be devoted to development.

An effective system-wide strategy on preventing armed conflict required a sound analytical base and a common understanding of the conditions that lead to armed conflict and, therefore, of the most effective ways by which the collective strengths of the system — including the diverse but rich experience and capacity of United Nations agencies in conflict resolution and dialogue — could be brought to bear on conflict prevention. Not all of the elements of such a base and understanding were yet in place and this would require focused, collective attention by the system in the period ahead. The strategy should be grounded on specific situations at the country and regional level and draw systematically on both the system’s early warning capabilities and its extensive field-based operational experience.

The system’s strategy should be set within a clear framework of well-defined goals and priorities. The key priorities of the system at the global level were embodied in the goals and targets of the United Nations Millennium Declaration while, at the country level, the system was making headway in that regard through the common country assessment/United Nations Development Assistance Framework and poverty reduction strategy papers processes. Enhancing the contribution of these processes to conflict prevention should be given continuing attention. The system’s role in supporting the development of effective regional and subregional conflict prevention strategies also requires further collective attention. Efforts to advance the status and role of women should be effectively mainstreamed in conflict prevention strategies at all levels.

Action

CEB agreed that the central component of the United Nations system’s strategy on conflict prevention should be the promotion of development and the eradication of poverty. CEB decided to pursue the above conclusions actively in close consultation with all relevant partners.