Statement by H.E. Ambassador Koro Bessho, Permanent Representative of Japan to the UN, at the Open Debate of the UN Security Council on the “Maintenance of International Peace and Security: Addressing Complex Contemporary Challenges to International Peace and Security”

(As delivered)
          Let me begin by expressing my deep appreciation to Secretary-General Guterres for participating in today’s open debate and sharing with us his vision on how the UN, particularly the Security Council, can effectively address complex contemporary challenges to international peace and security.
          In these twenty five years after the Cold War, some parts of the world have been enjoying the benefits of improvements in science and technology, from groundbreaking medicines to new frontiers in cyber space and outer space. On the other hand, during the same period, we have witnessed the rise in complex contemporary challenges to international peace and security, such as proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, expansion of terrorism, climate change, pandemics, transnational organized crimes including drug trafficking, and violent extremism. These challenges can manifest themselves as root causes and drivers of conflict that can destabilize countries, lowering the threshold to entering into violent conflict. They can also exacerbate and prolong existing conflicts.
          Examples of these threats abound. For example, in the Sahel Region, climate change has become a multiplier of already existing challenges which include food exhaustion and malnutrition.
          Between 2014 and 2015, we experienced pandemic that became direct causes of instability of those countries affected, while also seriously affecting their economy and society, even regionally, thus becoming a multiplier of destabilizing the situation.
          Peace operations such as PKOs or SPMs are also facing non-traditional challenges such as non-state actors and inter-state criminal organizations.
          The Security Council has been tackling these challenges, in most cases in the country or region-specific context. However, Japan believes that it is very important for the Council to discuss these complex contemporary challenges to international peace and security in a holistic and methodological manner, and develop ways to better address the situation on the ground. There have already been a number of meaningful Council meetings that took such an approach, and we would like to encourage the Council to be bold, active and at times innovative. This does not mean that the Security Council will encroach on the responsibilities of other organs, as some may fear. The Council has a clear mandate to maintain international peace and security, and the Council cannot fully assume its responsibilities without addressing mutually reinforcing multidimensional factors which are closely interlinked with peace and security.
          From this perspective, Japan would like to propose three ideas. First, the Security Council should take a more comprehensive and integrated approach by embracing perspectives of peace continuum as well as peace and security, development, human rights and humanitarian nexus. For the Security Council to more effectively address complex challenges, the Council needs to increase its focus on effectiveness throughout the whole conflict cycle, namely preventing the outbreak, escalation, continuation and recurrence of conflict. At the same time, attention should also be paid to the fact that peace and security, development, human rights and humanitarian elements are closely interlinked. To this end, we believe that receiving more integrated analysis from the field and the Secretariat to the Council would be helpful.
          Second, as a means to achieve the first point, especially from the perspective of sustaining peace, we would like to stress the importance for the Council to enhance cooperation with other organs in and out of the United Nations. A recent good example is the case of trafficking in person in Libya, on which we received briefings from UNHCR and IOM, and sought coordination with the African Union. While there is no need to mention the importance of partnership with regional and sub-regional organizations, cooperation with other UN organs should be further enhanced. The Council also needs to listen carefully to the voices of non-council member states. For example, in Small Island Developing States (SIDS), sea level rise caused by global warming is threatening their very existence. In addition, it may be helpful for the Council to be briefed by international development and financial institutions.
          Third, we believe that human security approach is highly relevant when addressing complex contemporary challenges to international peace and security. Human security places the individual at the center based on a cross-sectoral understanding of insecurities. Therefore, human security entails a broadened understanding of threats and challenges. Attaching great importance to this approach, Japan has consistently provided human-centered, comprehensive and preventive assistance through cross-sectoral efforts with a range of partners. We hope to see renewed attention paid to the human security approach, when addressing complex contemporary challenges to international peace and security. We count on Secretary-General’s strong leadership to this end.
          Finally, we would like to touch upon the ongoing initiative by Secretary-General Guterres to reform the United Nations. As we speak, the resolution on restructuring of the United Nations peace and security pillar is being tabled for adoption at the General Assembly. Although the scope of this reform does not include Security Council reform, as has been mentioned by many, no reform of the United Nations will be complete without reform of the Security Council. The Council also needs to change so that the peace and security pillar of the United Nations can be more coherent, nimble and effective, and truly make positive impacts on the ground.  
          In conclusion, I would like to reiterate the fact that we are all responsible for continuously reviewing what measures and tools can be used, in order for the Security Council to play its leading role more effectively as one of the principal organs of the United Nations, primarily responsible for the maintenance of international peace and security.
          Today’s open debate is not aiming to draw a conclusion, but instead to call on continuous thorough consideration on how the Council can better address the complex contemporary challenges. There remains large room to be further examined and explored by Member States. We hope today’s discussion will lay a good foundation for future ones, and of course, Japan will continue to participate actively in discussions in the Council as well as in the entire UN system, and contribute to peace and prosperity of the world.