Guterres advises on conflict prevention

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UN Secretary-General, António Guterres
UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, worried by conflicts

By Prudence Arobani

UN Secretary-General António Guterres has called for increasing investments on measures that address the causes of violence before they erupt into conflicts.

Guterres spoke at a World Bank-European Union panel discussion in Washington, D.C., where the Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) are holding their annual Spring Meetings.

According to a statement issued by his Spokesman, Mr Stephane Dujarric, the UN chief explained that addressing what he termed the “fragility” of societies, was key to preventing conflicts.

He stressed that a key trigger common to nearly all conflicts is the element of fragility of states, institutions, and societies.

Guterres added that it was essential to find ways to divert the massive use of resources in managing crises to what was necessary to do to prevent them and to build the capacity of societies to solve their own problems.

“This means strengthening states, strengthening institutions, strengthening civil societies and combining the peace and security approach with the inclusive and sustainable development approach and with human rights,” Guterres said.

He noted that the traditional forms of development aid were not enough and that new approaches that created the conditions for investments in building resilience of communities and addressing fragility were needed.

He praised the World Bank for the innovations it had already in place in countries like Jordan and Lebanon, to help them cope with the refugee crises in the region.

“In my opinion, this is essential and, given the scale of needs should also include the private sector,” he said.

Guterres had earlier met with U.S. President Donald Trump and other top government officials, including the National Security Adviser, Gen. Herbert McMaster, at the White House, according to the UN chief’s spokesperson.

Trump and Guterres had constructive discussion on cooperation between the U.S. and the UN and agreed to meet again in the near future.

Trump had threatened to cut funding to the UN and its agencies that the U.S. government has accused of allegedly supporting abortion and anti-Israeli activities.

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