Statement by SRSG Jenča on “Role of Sustainable Development in Promoting Peace and Security in Central Asia”

21 Nov 2013

Statement by SRSG Jenča on “Role of Sustainable Development in Promoting Peace and Security in Central Asia”

Almaty, Kazakhstan-

2013 SPECA ECONOMIC FORUM “Inclusive and Sustainable Development through Regional Cooperation”

Ladies and gentlemen,

I would like to thank UNECE and ESCAP for the joint work in addressing such an important issue as sustainable development and regional cooperation in Central Asia.

Participants of the Rio+20 meeting in Rio de Janeiro in June 2012 reconfirmed in the main outcome document “The Future We Want” the importance of peace and security for sustainable development.

There is a strong inter-dependence between the principles of conflict prevention, security and sustainable development. The eruption of violence, crisis and conflicts can seriously undermine countries’ efforts to ensure long-term stability, prosperity and peace. Violent conflicts not only have consequences on human lives, but also inflict huge costs on a country’s economic and social infrastructure. Conflicts are the major reasons for the slow progress in achieving the Millennium Development Goals.

At the same time, development should also be done in a way as to avoid conflicts in order to be sustainable. Sustainable development requires measures for confidence and consensus building, dialogue and potential dispute resolution. Integrated approaches are necessary to address the underlying causes of tensions and make progress on sustainable development at the same time.

Regional cooperation is therefore necessary to make these integrated approaches happen. The management and sharing of trans-boundary waters in a peaceful manner is, for example, a key area where preventive diplomacy is linked to sustainable development.

The UN Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia is currently active in supporting dialogue and consultations for a shared solution to the peaceful distribution of water and energy resources among upstream and downstream countries. Showing the benefits of the peace dividend of sustainability requires measures for confidence building, consensus building, dialogue and potential dispute resolution, all instruments of preventive diplomacy with which the UNRCCA is involved.

The Centre, within the framework of its mandate and in close cooperation with UNAMA, is addressing threats such as extremism, terrorism and drug trafficking, emanating from developments in Afghanistan. Central Asian countries concur that there is no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan. The way forward is through a political process, reconciliation and improvements of socio-economic situation of people. SPECA is providing an important vehicle for enforced regional economic cooperation that is a key factor for peaceful and prosperous future of the region.

The Centre is engaged in the implementation of the UN Global-Counter Terrorism Strategy in Central Asia. One of the pillars of this strategy addresses conditions conducive to spread of extremism and terrorism. Socio-economic development is one of the most important conditions which influence extremist and terrorist organizations. It is much easier to spread extremist ideas and find recruits in areas of poverty, high unemployment and social tensions.

Last year in Tashkent, the UNRCCA organized its Annual Strategic Dialogues Seminar on the theme of “Sustainable Development: A Key Factor for Stability and Peace in Central Asia”. As a result of this event a set of recommendations was produced. I would outline a few of them. Interventions for sustainable development need to integrate conflict prevention mechanisms such as early warning, risk assessment and analysis of the drivers of potential conflict. By the same token, security strategies of Central Asian countries should also include measures to eradicate socio-economic causes of tension and conflicts, such as social exclusion and inequalities. Efforts should be intensified to promote the peaceful resolution of existing conflicts in the wider neighborhood and the prevention of future ones in order not to derail the sustainable development agenda.

In this regard we would be glad to continue our cooperation with the governments of Central Asian states and, of course, with our UN partners including UNECE and ESCAP, and with other international and regional organizations.

I am looking forward to fruitful discussions and concrete outcomes during this event.

Thank you very much for your attention.