Statement by Rebeca Grynspan


UN Under-Secretary-General and UNDP Associate Administrator

at the High-level Meeting of the Global Thematic Consultation on
Conflict, Violence, and Disaster and the Post-2015 Development Agenda

13 March 2013

Helsinki, Finland

Presentation of the Synthesis Report of the Global Thematic Consultation on Conflict, Violence and Disaster Consultation

-    H.E. Heidi Hautala, Minister for International Development of Finland
-    H.E. Christian Friis Bach, Minister for Development Cooperation of Denmark
-    H.E. Erkki Tuomioja, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Finland

Distinguished Ambassadors, 
Government Representatives
Representatives of Civil society and the private sector
Members of the media
UN colleagues
Ladies and Gentlemen

It is a great honor for me to be here.

Let me begin by sincerely thanking the Government of Finland for its dedicated support, which has made this consultation process possible. We are deeply grateful for your close partnership with the United Nations System and for standing with us throughout this effort.

The High-Level meeting here in Helsinki provides us with an opportunity to look forward. The work to formulate the future development goals will only intensify in the coming months and years, and the continued strong engagement of all relevant actors will be crucial.

We would also like to thank the Governments of Liberia, Indonesia and Panama for their partnership and for hosting the global thematic dialogues which are the basis for the Synthesis Report I present here today. 

Let me also take this opportunity to thank our colleagues from the UN family who, together with UNDP, are co-leads for this consultation process– the UN Peacebuilding Support Office (PBSO), the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). 

And the broader UN Steering Committee including UNAIDS, UNDESA, UNEP, UNFPA, UN WOMEN, and WFP.

Let’s all thank the Expert Reference Group who supported the co-leads and the Government of Finland in steering the direction of this consultation. The excellent collaboration among all of us clearly contributed to the success of this inclusive global consultation process.

And finally and most importantly, our sincere appreciation goes out to all the men, women, and youth from around the world who voiced their concerns over the challenges they face, and who shared with us their innovative ideas for how to best address them. Without their engagement, we would not have achieved the results that we did.

The Process

The UN Development Group is leading a huge and unique effort to ensure that a bottom-up, people centred process, informs the post 2015 agenda.  Close to 100 national consultations, 11 thematic consultations, and an interactive web platform that is open to all, have been launched.

In this context we have been hearing the voices and stories of people around the world speak on the theme of conflict, violence and disasters. How conflict, violence and disasters have impacted efforts to achieve sustainable development, particularly the MDGs, and what measures would be necessary to prevent, mitigate, and reduce their impact in the future. 

o    The process started in Indonesia in October 2012, with a consultation on disaster risk reduction;
o    Followed in Liberia in December 2012 on political conflicts and state fragility;
o    And  in January 2012 in Panama on organized and interpersonal violence, and security, including violence against women.
o    Last month, a follow up consultation on disaster risk reduction and resilience was held in Indonesia.

Over 500 individuals from all over the world representing governments, and all sectors of society have participated. To complement these efforts, 45 evidence based research papers and think-pieces were prepared, and two online dialogues on disaster risk reduction and gender-based violence were organized.

The Findings

Participants clearly called for the post-2015 framework to be about people’s lives, and for this to be so, they called for the recognition that one of  the most urgent problem citizens around the world faced is personal security and the ability to live their lives in peace.

Conflicts, violence and disasters destroy lives and livelihoods and have a negative and even devastating impact on poverty reduction and human development. On the other hand, development that is insensitive to disasters and conflicts, or is undertaken in the absence of rule of law and security, can deepen risks and vulnerabilities and can be both cause and driver for violence and conflict.

The consultations highlighted that despite the bold and ambitious vision of the Millennium Declaration to combat all forms of violence against women, increase citizen security, prevent and peacefully resolve conflicts and build peace, and reduce the number and effects of natural disasters, these were not reflected in the Goals themselves.

This message was also clear in the General Assembly Declaration on Rule of Law of last September where the link between rule of law, violence and conflict was pointed out, and where member States agreed on including this topic in post-2015 discussions.

We also know that the challenges posed by conflict, violence, and disaster have a universal appeal and are not unique to fragile states or crisis countries, or only to poor countries.

Conflict, violence and disasters have a complex relationship with other multiple challenges like climate change and financial and economic volatility, and social polarization, to name just a few, that is why participants called for a development framework that goes beyond sectors and accounts for comprehensive and multidimensional outcomes. They called for a framework that explicitly ensures:

-    security and access to justice;
-    equality and social cohesion;
-    participation in decision-making;
-    fair, responsive and accountable governance;
-    the importance of inclusive institutions; and
-    equitable access to services, resources and economic opportunities for all individuals and social groups.

The issue of equity was particularly strong during the consultations, as was mainstreaming Human Rights,  women’s empowerment and combating all forms of violence against women in the post-2015 framework. 

On how to bring conflict, violence and disaster in the post-2015 framework, participants unanimously endorsed the UN system Task Team report, Realizing the future we want for all, which calls for the inclusion of ‘peace and security’ as a fourth dimension of the post-2015 development architecture, alongside inclusive social development, inclusive economic development, and environmental sustainability. But participants want the term  ‘peace and security’ to be labeled differently. 

However, regardless of the language used, participants pointed out that the main priority is to ensure that these dimensions  are incorporated into the next development framework and were very clear that conflict, violence, and disasters MUST NOT be treated as a basket of ‘enabling factors’.  These issues are too central to development. It would be a missed opportunity to treat them as enablers, as they are in fact inherent development outcomes. 

A range of options, including whether to frame a multi-dimensional goal which encapsulates the three; whether to have standalone goals for each of them or whether to integrate them into other goals, were discussed. 

The purpose of these consultations was not to agree on one option, but to explore different possibilities for including conflict, violence, and disasters in the next development framework. It is your voices we want to continue to listen to.  We don’t have a pre-cooked solution.

On the question of a multidimensional goal for conflict, violence, and disaster, participant acknowledged the difficulty in framing such a goal so that it is measurable. But they were quick to point out that it is not impossible. The problem has been our tendency to immediately jump to the question, ‘How can this be measured’—using our old lenses for measurement, which are mostly designed to account for sectors.

Participants challenged all of us, going forward, to  to adopt carefully balanced baskets of indicators that illustrate concomitant progress among inter-related aspects of disaster resilience, security, justice, the rule of law, and sustainable peacebuilding. 

The consultation suggested a range of options for framing a multidimensional goal including, 'People's security/safety and justice', 'Governance', 'Human Security', or 'Resilience'. 

On whether there should be a separate standalone goals for conflict, violence, and disasters, participants proposed the following: 

For conflict and fragility participants suggested framing a goal around ‘building peaceful societies’ with, among others, inclusive institutions, revenue management, inclusive politics, and civic participation as indicators.

Participants recognized the work of the g7+ countries and the need to take it into consideration.

The g7+ countries recently met at a conference under the theme: ‘Development for all: Stop conflict, build states and eradicate poverty,’ in Dili, to lend their voices to the post-2015 development agenda framing exercise. There they reiterated their commitment to achieving the five peacebuilding and statebuilding goals and also called for enhancing the social contract between states and their societies by promoting: inclusive economic growth, peacebuilding and statebuilding, climate change and environmental management.

On violence and security, participants urged world leaders to include a standalone goal to reduce violence; promote sustainable peace and freedom from fear.  They also called for specific goal to be framed around the elimination of all forms of violence against women and girls, and the protection of children and youth from violence.

Similarly, the need to make disaster risk reduction an imperative of development has also been echoed in these consultations as well as through consultations taken place to frame the successor to the Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015: Building Resilience of Nations and Communities to Disasters also expires in 2015.  These consultations called for a standalone goal on ‘disaster risk reduction and resilience,’ ‘reducing disaster mortality,’ or ‘reducing economic losses and impact on poverty levels due to disaster.’ Participants want disaster risk reduction and resilience to be accounted for in development planning and financing at global, regional, national and local levels.

The way forward

As noted at the beginning of my remarks, the dialogue on the next global development framework has only just begun. Participants clearly pointed out that the options they discussed were only preliminary. 

Many of the stakeholders gathered here today still have more opportunity to continue to influence this process.  Participants recommended the following actions in the immediate future:

First, participants observed with concerns the multiple tracks set in motion to define the next development framework.  While strongly valuing diversity and multiple voices, participants called for efforts in promoting greater coherence between the ongoing efforts.  Without harmonizing the processes, the world could end up with multiple development frameworks which could prove counterproductive to achieving sustainable development.

Second, participants called for a more focused exercise to be undertaken as soon as possible in order to elaborate upon the design of a framework for including conflict, violence, and disaster in the post-2015 development agenda.

And third, participants drew attention to the considerable weakness in existing capacities to monitor different aspects of security, violence reduction, rule of law, sustainable peace, and disaster resilience, and urged that collaborative efforts be launched to develop tools for measuring these crucial aspects of sustainable development. Efforts should also be made to help all nations build their statistical capacity to collect their own, comparable subjective and objective data at the country level.


In closing, I would like to once again thank everyone involved in this consultation process for making it a success.

One of the key challenges going forward will be to keep the main messages and recommendations emerging from this consultation process clear, in order to ensure they do not get lost in the plethora of interests and issues that are being debated as part of the discussions on the post-2015 development agenda.

It will be the responsibility of all actors who understand the critical importance of these issues to continue advocating for them up until 2015 and beyond. UNDP is committed to play its part in doing so.

Thank you very much.

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