Security Council Open Debate on “Maintenance of International Peace and Security:
Strengthening Multilateralism and the Role of the United Nations”
New York, 9 November 2018
Thank you for convening today’s open debate.
Portugal is firmly engaged in a multilateral system based on the primacy of international law and the principles and values of the Charter.
Multilateral organizations continue to be privileged platforms for constructive and inclusive dialogue among states to tackle the increasingly complex challenges facing the world.
Whereas no country can address all threats on its own, we have to build bridges and broaden dialogue by strengthening interregional alliances and international cooperation.
Against this background it is crucial to preserve and strengthen the multilateral system, especially the irreplaceable role of the United Nations and its capacity to advance a comprehensive and transversal concept of peace that simultaneously promotes human rights and sustainable development.
Several international bodies are faced with declining budgets. The lack of funding and political support impairs the implementation of the necessary reforms to improve their effectiveness for the benefit of all.
At the outset, we must strengthen conflict prevention by developing early warning systems that entail immediate action by the international community.
Similarly, we must support the ongoing reforms to improve the United Nations peace and security pillar under which peacekeeping operations take place.
Aware of the interdependence between security and development, we are convinced that lasting peace will only be achieved if we address the root causes of conflicts. Underdevelopment and the imbalance of the wealth distribution are the most obvious causes.
Finally, it is important to integrate our action including the perspective of gender balance and the contribution of young people in conflict prevention and resolution.
Within the UN system, Portugal has defined a consistent approach that encompasses responsibilities in missions around the world.
Portugal is currently engaged in 7 UN missions notably MINUSCA where we have 178 Portuguese peacekeepers in Central African Republic embodying our strong commitment to contribute to the effort of stabilizing the country and the region.
As I conclude, I wish to recall the last time Portugal held the presidency of the UN Security Council, precisely 7 years ago. Our main initiatives then were, coincidently, a discussion on “New Challenges to Security” and an open debate on the “Working Methods of the Security Council”.
Apart from the new threats and risks to international security, which were then being growingly acknowledged, such as terrorism, transnational organized crime, climate change, just to name a few, we were also very much aware of the importance to address the well-grounded demands for a more transparent, efficient and operational Security Council, as the collective security mechanism.
Finally, allow me to quote the words of His Excellency the President of the Portuguese Republic in his speech at the General Debate of the 73rd UN General Assembly: “Portugal believes that multilateral action, political dialogue and diplomatic wisdom are the only possible route to harmonious coexistence between nations and peoples”.