New York, 19 November 2019
Photo: Twitter (@Portugal_UN)
Allow me to congratulate you for convening this timely debate.
Portugal fully acknowledges the importance of reconciliation in guaranteeing that peace agreements take root, that conflict does not recur, and that the foundations are laid for sustainable peace. Our contribution to reconciliation processes, more directly in East Timor and Angola, provided valuable lessons.
Successful examples of reconciliation are present in every continent. Some current Security Council members have remarkable first-hand experiences. Yet, despite these successes, the forces of separation and conflict continue to destroy families, tear apart communities, destabilise States and spread insecurity.
Reconciliation rebuilds – or creates anew – the social, economic and political projects that bind societies together. As such, it cannot be an afterthought following a peace agreement. It must integrate the policy framework from the outset in any peace effort. The Peacebuilding Commission has an important role to play, through the development of integrated strategies for post-conflict peacebuilding and recovery. Its capacity to coordinate relevant actors, to guarantee catalytic funding through the PBF and to mobilize other appropriate financing must also be seized and strengthened.
Reconciliation must rely on national appropriation, with the involvement of the whole of society. Bringing justice to individuals and communities affected by conflict can play a central role in overcoming hatred and in fostering recovery. Transitional justice tools such as truth commissions, independent fact-finding missions and arbitration mechanisms have proven to be effective. We should learn from its best practices to address the singularity of every post-conflict scenario.
The role of women in reconciliation merits particular attention. Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security remains a milestone in that regard. Portugal is now implementing its third National Action Plan for Resolution 1325. We call on other Member States to develop their own action plans, supporting the role of women in peacebuilding, including reconciliation. To that same end, we also participate in the Mediterranean Women Mediators Network.
The role of youth, too, cannot be overstated. Portugal has organised, last June, in Lisbon, the World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth and Youth Summit, which resulted in the adoption by both Government and Youth Representatives of the Lisbon+21 Declaration. This document acknowledges young people’s contribution to peace processes and conflict prevention and resolution.
Allow me to end on this note of hope, regarding the imperative need to give voice to young people in peace processes. For as much as reconciliation may be a post-conflict necessity, it becomes also, through youth participation, a powerful tool for conflict prevention, embodying our common goal of sustaining a future of peace and security.