Security Council Arria Formula Meeting: Water, Peace and Security

Statement by H.E. Lise Gregoire-van Haaren,
Deputy Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations

New York, 26 October 2018

As a Kingdom surrounded by water, on literally all sides, it is in our DNA to understand, value and manage water.

As a member of the High Level Panel on Water, we emphasized the importance of learning to live with water, understanding its effects on peace and stability across the world.

The briefers highlighted the importance of addressing water stress as a root cause and threat multiplier.

I would like to highlight the three P’s for Peace:

  • Predict,
  • Prepare, and;
  • Prevent.

1. Predict

To predict: Tools like the Water, Peace and Security Partnership, which the Kingdom of the Netherlands is proud to support, are at our disposal to help us predict the outbreak of violent conflict.

This tool can be used by citizens, governments, civil society organizations, the private sector, regional organizations, and by the United Nations.

Through using available data, we can predict not only short-term water availability,  but also its effect on socio-economic trends, political factors and ultimately peace and security.

When we discuss risk assessment in existing Security Council mandates, we need to consider all threat multipliers, including water stress. Both inside and outside of the Council, tools like this one can assist us in building stronger assessments.

2. Prepare

To prepare: for comprehensive preparation to mitigate conflict we must have a full analysis of root causes.

The UN system needs to be better prepared to not just identify risks, but assess them and strengthen mandates and programs accordingly.

The Kingdom of the Netherlands encourages the UN to share best practices on conflict analysis that consider all risks and root causes.

One example of an effective cross sector approach is UNOWAS’s handbook on conflict analysis.

We look forward to contributing to their workshop in December.

3. Prevent

We can only prevent conflict and build and sustain peace, when we address all root causes of conflict. Risk assessments and programming can be used across the conflict cycle, water can be an entry point for preventive diplomacy and a catalyst for peace.

To do this, our approaches must go beyond the mandates of the Security Council.

The Peacebuilding Commission and Fund must be used as a hinge, between the peace-development nexus, building climate- and conflict-sensitive programs.

We should enhance tools at the Security Council’s disposal, such as situational awareness briefings to include risks related to water and climate change.

Also, we must ensure that climate- and water-related threats are intrinsic to the Secretary-General’s Prevention Agenda.

Colleagues, the only way we can ensure that our successors are not sitting in this very room asking, “What if we had known?”, the only way to do this is if we use the three P’s for Peace: predict, prepare, and prevent today.

Now, we still can.