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Security Council open debate – "Cooperation between the UN and regional and subregional organizations in maintaining international peace and security"

(New York, August 6, 2013)

Statement of H.E. Mrs. María Ángela Holguín Cuéllar, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Colombia



Madam President,

I should like to start by stating our pleasure at seeing you, Madam President, presiding over this meeting of the Security Council, and by congratulating you on your initiative to convene this important debate. Colombia shares the proposed objective as contained in the concept note before us, which invites us to consider this matter from a broad perspective and to identify options to strengthen and deepen cooperation between the Security Council and regional and subregional organizations.

I express my gratitude for the briefings by the representatives of the African Union and the League of Arab States, and I welcome the presence for the first time before the Security Council of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States and the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR).

The regional and subregional organizations play an increasingly important role in the work of the Security Council, and their activities in the field of the maintenance of international peace and security are more effective when they work in a coordinated manner and their perspectives are taken into account. Libya, Yemen, Mali, Côte d'Ivoire, Somalia, the Sudan and South Sudan are just a few examples of countries where the contributions of those organizations have been instrumental vis-à-vis the decisions of the Security Council.

In the Americas, Haiti is an example of the results that can be gained from cooperation between the United Nations and regional and subregional organizations. Resolution 2070 (2012) recognized the positive efforts that UNASUR had deployed in Haiti with tangible results. In that regard, I would like to highlight the leadership as well as the technical and financial support that Argentina has given to the UNASUR technical secretariat in Haiti.

The fulfillment of the mandate of the Security Council benefits from the understanding of the geographical, social, cultural and political context that regional and subregional organizations have with respect to crises or conflicts on its agenda. That aspect is especially relevant to my country, which acknowledges the way in which the international community, in particular our regional partners, has understood the importance of backing the initiative of President Juan Manuel Santos Calderón to hold peace talks with the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia. The positive effect of reaching an agreement to end the conflict and the achievement of a definitive peace in Colombia will without question redound to the benefit of the region. In that respect, we would like to thank Cuba, Venezuela and Chile for their support for the process.

One of the challenges that the United Nations faces in its dialogue with regional and subregional organizations is finding common ground to build positive agendas aimed at strengthening those areas in which the experience of regional or subregional organizations represents a substantive contribution that will have an impact on the ground.

Perspectives that are closer to the realities of the regions enrich and give greater understanding to the analysis and understanding of a situation of crisis under study. That implies having an open mind and considering alternatives for a solution that may not coincide with universally applicable formulas. That is why we reiterate the importance of strengthening consultation, dialogue and coordination mechanisms between the Council and such organizations, in order to provide long-term solutions to crises and ensure that the Council bears in mind in an effective manner that interaction when, among other aspects, it analyses the renewal of mandates for peacekeeping operations. It is of the utmost importance that, pursuant to Chapter VIII, priority be given to regional and subregional mechanisms to resolve matters relating to the maintenance of international peace and security, before referring them to the Security Council. The search for political and diplomatic solutions to conflict situations and the strict adherence to the purposes and principles of the Charter of the Organization and to international law must be the cornerstone that supports collective international security.

Some decades ago, State actors were the only protagonists in history, and the main threats to their peace and security came from other States. Today, States have realized that they face common threats that originate from international networks which are involved in trafficking and crimes of various kinds. The world of today requires cooperation in different ways and between different regions. Reality has shown us that those threats cannot be combated by countries on an individual basis.

The nature of the crimes that we face today requires us to cooperate and join our efforts. It is in that sense that agreements between countries and organizations from different geographical regions have to be understood. Those crimes are transnational in nature and should be fought as such. That is how countries such as Colombia, which have suffered from the actions of criminal organizations, understand it.

Cooperation and confidence-building have positive impacts on all countries and regions, which is why, to fulfil its mandate, the Security Council needs the support of strong, capable regional and subregional organizations that are prepared to resolve in a timely fashion the conflict situations that arise in their respective areas.

Thank you.


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Statement 2013