Six out of seven worldwide are plagued by feelings of insecurity, the world is facing the highest number of violent conflicts since the Second World War and 2 billion people — a quarter of humanity — live in places affected by such conflict.
The shadow of a thousand conflicts stretches across the globe, a chilling reminder of the fragile state of peace in our time. Against this backdrop of insecurity, the United Nations Security Council convened an open debate today, grappling with the critical question: how can we build and sustain peace in the face of unprecedented challenges?
A chorus of voices rose from the chambers, each echoing the gravity of the situation. Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed painted a stark picture: peace, the very foundation of the United Nations, hangs precariously in the balance. Six out of seven countries grapple with a crippling sense of insecurity, the highest number of violent conflicts since World War II rages across the globe, and a quarter of humanity resides in the crosshairs of this brutal reality. The starkness of her message resonated, a clarion call for a fundamental shift in how we approach peacebuilding.
Mohammed proposed a clear path forward: sustainable development. She identified it as the "reliable tool" to break the cycle of instability, offering a potent antidote to the drivers of fragility and humanitarian need. Investing in people, human security, and shared prosperity, she argued, is not just an economic imperative, but a vital investment in peace itself. The stark reality, however, painted a different picture. Recent years, she lamented, have witnessed a decline in such investments, a glaring failure that jeopardizes our future. "When we fail to meet the development needs of our time," she warned, "we fail to secure peace for our future."
Inclusivity emerged as another key theme, championed by Muhammad Abdul Muhith, Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission. He emphasized the need for an inclusive approach that embraces the voices and needs of all segments of society, including women and youth. His words resonated with Diago Ndiaye, President of the Network on Peace and Security for Women in the Economic Community of West African States. She highlighted the role of social inequalities and exclusion – religious, regional, and ethnic – in fueling conflicts, urging the Council to find ways to bridge these divides and foster genuine social cohesion.
The message was clear: peacebuilding in the 21st century demands a paradigm shift. It necessitates a holistic approach that transcends traditional power dynamics and embraces inclusivity, sustainable development, and innovative solutions. The Security Council, as the custodian of international peace and security, stands at a crossroads. Will it heed the calls for a new path, one that empowers communities, addresses root causes, and builds peace from the ground up? Or will it remain tethered to old paradigms, watching as the shadow of conflict continues to engulf the world? The answer, it seems, rests in the hands of those who gather around the horseshoe table, and the choices they make in the face of a defining moment for humanity.