Tale ved lansering av rapporten Pathways to peace

Statssekretær Jens Frølich Holtes tale ved lanseringen  av Verdensbankens og FNs rapport Pathways to peace på Prio.

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Director Lister and Urdal, Alexandre Marc, Jago Salmon, dear friends,

The world has made great progress in reducing poverty. However, extreme poverty is getting more concentrated in the most fragile contexts. The World Bank estimates that by 2030, almost 50 percent of people living in extreme poverty will live in countries afflicted by fragility, conflict, and violence. Accordingly, we have no chance to end poverty without addressing the particular challenges of fragile states.

Statssekretær Jens Frølich Holte under lanseringen av rapporten Pathways to peace. Foto: Prio
Statssekretær Jens Frølich Holte under lanseringen av rapporten Pathways to peace. F Foto: Prio

Working in countries affected by conflict and fragility requires changes in our ways of working.

Norway launched a strategic framework for our engagement in conflict prevention, stabilization and resilience building last year. We must use aid more strategically – combining and integrating key issues in development assistance with concerns related to peace, security and massive displacements.

This is why Norway has supported this joint study on how we can ensure more effective development interventions to prevent violent conflicts. The report is very timely, and we are pleased to welcome the lead authors of the report, Alexandre Marc from the World Bank and Jago Salmon from the UN, to Oslo to present the findings. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank PRIO and the Oslo Governance Center for organizing this event.

The report makes a compelling case for why we should invest in prevention:

  • Prevention works, it saves lives and it is cost-effective.
  • The report's scenarios for expected returns on prevention are remarkable; tens of billions dollars may be saved at national level in prevented damages as well as considerable savings for the international community in post-conflict assistance.
  • And as the report states: "Everyone benefits from prevention." I fully agree.

I would like to highlight three areas in the report where we need to take action:

First of all: Inclusive policies are key for prevention

To address risks early on we need to improve our tools for conflict analysis and understanding of the structural factors and incentives that shape the environment in which institutions operate and influence decision-making. The study gives a valuable analysis of how such factors influence the pathways towards peace and the need for an inclusive approach to address these.

As the report underlines, political leaders hold the responsibility.

The international community can only contribute if there is a truly national and local ownership and there is political will. The state is a necessary, but not sufficient partner in this endeavor.

Violent conflicts are at their core political conflicts, and inclusive political settlements and institutions are key to sustaining peace and fostering development in countries emerging from conflict.

States should be supported to build strong, inclusive and transparent institutions and provide opportunities for livelihoods, justice and security for their inhabitants.

Women, youth, religious leaders, civil society, the private sector and local communities must be consulted and included. Successful prevention builds on broad coalitions and must be genuinely inclusive if it is to be sustainable.

We must reduce the incentives to act violently. We need to give people hope and opportunities – not least young people. Creating jobs is crucial. We need to promote business development, the vast majority of these jobs must be in the private, not public, sector.

Perhaps the most important underlying cause of conflict is corruption in all its manifestations.

Corruption undermines economic growth and sustainable development. It widens economic and social inequality. It feeds a sense of injustice, discontent, exclusion and polarisation. It erodes trust in institutions and processes. It puts democracy and rule of law at risk. It creates a fertile breeding ground for organised crime, extremism, violence and conflict.

The challenge is to find ways to curb corruption and mainstream integrity at all levels. The antidote is inclusive governance permeated by transparency and accountability.

We need a strong global coalition among governments, the public sector, the private sector, civil society and multilaterals.

We must act individually, locally, nationally, regionally and globally to prevent, detect, handle and apply sanctions against corruption. Political and public leadership is indispensable in our effort to achieve SDG 16 on peaceful, just and inclusive societies.

Secondly, we also need a new approach to funding

There is broad agreement urgent need to ensure predictable and comprehensive financing for prevention and peacebuilding.

To succeed, we must be willing to prioritize prevention by making funding available – and more flexible. The study presented today makes it clear that investing in prevention is the right thing to do.

Financing for peaceful societies and prevention is not a question of moving resources away from development. Successful prevention addresses the structural obstacles to sustainable development. It is a question of how we work – by taking a holistic approach to peacebuilding, development and humanitarian efforts – and achieving more through the resources invested in development.

Indeed, prevention is an argument for increased investment in long-term development.

We must look at innovative financing mechanisms, such as peace bonds, microfinance and crowd-funding, as well as stronger involvement of the private sector as a supplement to traditional sources of financing.

And thirdly, we need stronger partnership and more collaboration

To succeed with a holistic approach to prevention we must reduce fragmentation and deliver better results at country level.

Both the World Bank and the UN are stepping up their efforts in states affected by conflict, fragility and violence considerably.

The UN Secretary-General has made prevention the centerpiece of his vision at the UN, introducing a series of reform proposals with a view to make the UN work better across the different pillars. The World Bank is doubling its funding for fragility and conflict-affected situations from 7 to 14 billion dollars.

This is a great opportunity. We must make sure that this translates into a collective effort that explores the comparative advantages of the UN and the World Bank, also taking into account the "New Way of Working" and the need to strengthen the humanitarian-development-peace nexus.

The joint study "Pathways for Peace" is a good indication of a stronger partnership between UN entities and the World Bank at headquarter level. Now we look forward to how the recommendations in the report will "trickle down and trickle out" and affect the UN-World Bank partnerships on the ground. We believe there is still a potential for stronger cooperation here, especially with regard to joint assessments and programming.

Dear friends,

Norway is committed to enhancing our efforts to prevent conflict and address the root causes of fragility.

We welcome this joint landmark study by the UN and the World Bank. We hope it will contribute to new and stronger partnerships and inspire all parties to seek collective solutions and synergies. We need it more than ever.

And now, I look forward to having the lead authors Jago Salmon and Alexandre Marc take us through the key findings of the report.

Thank you all.

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