2003 Statement



Permanent Representative of Japan

At the Wrap-Up Meeting of the Security Council
Focusing on the Role of the United Nations in Post-Conflict Situations

30 APRIL 2003

Mr. President,

Thank you for taking the initiative to convene this wrap-up session, focusing on the role of the United Nations in post-conflict situations. The theme you have chosen is both timely and appropriate. Timely, because of the increasing number of post-conflict situations which the international community has had to address since the end of the Cold War, and appropriate, because post-conflict situations demand as much attention of the international community as the conflicts themselves, if not more.

There are a number of profoundly important tasks that must be undertaken in post-conflict situations to address humanitarian needs and to ensure peace and stability. These include responding to the immediate needs of refugees and internally displaced persons and promoting their resettlement; restoring internal security; disarming ex-combatants and collecting their firearms; removing land-mines; restoring basic services such as health care and primary education; reconstructing basic infrastructures; advancing new and effective governance; promoting reconciliation among the groups that had been fighting each other. I could go on and on. What is important to stress here is that the committed response of the international community to these issues is indispensable. Our failure to respond them effectively and appropriately could very well result in the resumption of a conflict.

Japan has for some time been emphasizing the concept of "human security" at the United Nations. As globalization proceeds, it is becoming increasingly difficult to protect the life, livelihood and dignity of individuals solely under the traditional framework of "state security." This is especially true in the case of a so-called "failed state" or "bankrupt state". In post-conflict situations, the framework of the state has often been severely damaged and rendered dysfunctional. It is precisely in such a situation that appropriate "human security" measures are required.

You may recall that as a result of the initiative taken by the Japanese Government at the 2000 UN Millennium Summit, the Commission on Human Security was established. The Commission, which is co-chaired by Mrs. Sadako Ogata and Prof. Amartya Sen, will submit its final report to Secretary-General Annan and it will be made public on May 1st. At a meeting organized by the IPA (International Peace Academy) earlier this week in order to brief interested parties on the contents of that report, I learned that it emphasizes the task of "protecting and empowering people in post-conflict situations" as one of the most important to be tackled from the standpoint of human security.

Mr. President,

Permit me now to make three brief comments on the role of the United Nations in post-conflict situations.

First, the UN system has broad experience in dealing with post-conflict situations, through which it has developed the capacity to respond to the specific needs of each post-conflict situation and thereby to contribute to the consolidation of peace. But this does not mean that UN is not confronted with serious challenges. For example, in the UN system, those responsible for humanitarian assistance and those in charge of reconstruction and development activities belong to separate bodies. As a result, the coordination of their tasks has not always been adequate. Indeed, we have witnessed a number of cases in which gaps emerged between the provision of humanitarian assistance and the provisions of reconstruction and development assistance. We must realize that for the people in post-conflict situations, both kinds of assistance are indispensable; there is no reason why they should be planned and carried out according to separate policies and schedules. Japan believes that it is crucial for the United Nations to consider how to implement the seamless and coherent delivery of assistance, from the humanitarian stage to the reconstruction and development stage.

Second, the United Nations has an important responsibility in maintaining international community’s interest in and commitment to the post-conflict situation until peace has been consolidated and the situation is stable. It might be inevitable that the attention of the international community will turn to a conflict which has broken out recently and in a different area. However, once the United Nations, and especially the Security Council undertakes to address the problems of a post-conflict situation, it must continue to make steady efforts to secure the cooperation and interest of the international community until peace has been fully and irreversibly restored.

Third, the United Nations, comprised of 191 Member States, is the only genuine universal organization in the world today. Therefore, once it makes a decision to become actively involved in a post-conflict situation, that decision will be regarded as reflecting the will of the international community as a whole. Such a decision and the consequent presence of the United Nations in a post-conflict situation can be very effective in promoting reconciliation between the parties to the erstwhile conflict and in providing them with a sound basis on which to work together for nation-building. The United Nations is also in a position to provide those Member States that wish to extend assistance in a post-conflict situation with the legitimacy to do so; We should not forget that in countries emerging from conflict, from Afghanistan to Sierra Leone, from Timor Leste to Kosovo, as well as in countries like Iraq, which is emerging from the shadow of a cruel dictator, international assistance would be much enhanced through the active involvement of the United Nations.

Thank you very much, Mr. President.