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Secretary-General's remarks to the Security Council - on enhancing cooperation between the United Nations and Regional and Subregional Organizations in enhancing confidence building and dialogue in conflict prevention and resolution [as delivered]

19 Apr 2021

I would like to thank the Vietnamese Presidency for organizing this open debate and for the opportunity to brief the Security Council on what has been a key priority since taking office: cooperation between the United Nations and regional and subregional organizations.

This cooperation has grown exponentially since 1945.

Today, it encompasses preventive diplomacy, mediation, counterterrorism, preventing violent extremism, peacekeeping, peacebuilding, promoting human rights, advancing the Women, Peace and Security agenda, combating climate change and, since last year, the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As we look to the future, fostering dialogue and building confidence across all these areas is central to our common work.

Mr. President,

Our investment in institutionalizing partnerships has translated to more effective engagements before, during and after crises, with concrete operational results.

In Bosnia and Herzegovina, for example, the United Nations is working with the European Union, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the Council of Europe to support local efforts to advance dialogue, trust-building and reconciliation.

In Sudan, the United Nations supported the African Union and Ethiopia in facilitating negotiations that resulted in the establishment of a civilian-led transitional government, with women and young people playing a prominent role.

Together, through our Hybrid Operation in Darfur, the United Nations and the African Union also provided technical, advisory and logistical support to the negotiations that culminated in the signing of the Juba Peace Agreement in October 2020, before jointly presenting options for a new UN political mission, which led to the establishment of the United Nations Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan.

As we continue to support Sudan in its efforts towards democratic governance and an inclusive society, our collaboration remains  essential.

In Mali, following a military coup, the United Nations and the African Union supported the efforts led by the Economic Community of West African States towards the formation of a transitional government in September 2020. Since then, we have been working closely with Malian stakeholders to support the implementation of the transition roadmap and action plan.

In supporting the Libyan-led, Libyan-owned dialogue process and transition, the United Nations is working closely with the African Union, the League of Arab States and the European Union, including in the context of the Berlin process and the Quartet. We are working together to support the implementation of the ceasefire and we are closely cooperating with the African Union in the African Union’s initiative to support the Libyan authorities in promoting national reconciliation.

And in Bolivia, close cooperation between the United Nations, the European Union and the Episcopal Conference of Bolivia played an important part in finding a peaceful solution to the crisis following the 2019 general elections and build confidence ahead of the general elections held last October.

These examples show that our ability to work together and build on our complementarities allows us to more effectively support Member States in managing complex political transitions and in finding sustainable solutions to political challenges.

Mr. President,

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations is an important part of this picture.  Since its founding, ASEAN has played an important role in its region through diplomacy, conflict prevention and peacebuilding in conflict situations.

The Comprehensive Partnership between ASEAN and the United Nations, well established since 2011, has grown across the peace and security spectrum as well as social and economic development.

Under our technical cooperation agreement, we have provided capacity building support in the areas of mediation and dialogue, ceasefires and gender inclusion.

Today, ASEAN’s role is more crucial than ever as the region faces an urgent crisis in Myanmar. I have repeatedly called on the international community to work, collectively and through bilateral channels, to help bring an end to the violence and the repression by the military. 

United Nations cooperation with ASEAN in this regard is vital. The situation requires a robust international response grounded on a unified regional effort. 

I urge regional actors to leverage their influence to prevent further deterioration and, ultimately, find a peaceful way out of this catastrophe. 

My Special Envoy is currently in the region. She stands ready to resume dialogue with the military and the other actors and to contribute to a return of Myanmar to the democratic path, and to peace and stability.


Strengthening United Nations partnerships with regional and subregional organizations is an integral part of my vision for a networked multilateralism.

Despite the pandemic, my biennial high-level interactive dialogue with heads of regional organizations was held virtually last November.

23 organizations participated and helped to institutionalise our collaboration and work better together in crisis contexts.

I am committed to pursuing an even closer engagement to promote confidence-building and dialogue, in conflict prevention, management and resolution.

We can only address our world’s current and future challenges, including those exposed and heightened by COVID-19, through ambitious and coordinated multilateral action.

Thank you.