Statement on behalf of the Pathfinders to the UN Security Council

Statement delivered by the Netherlands on behalf of the Pathfinders for Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies at the UN Security Council’s Open Debate on Maintaining international peace and security: exclusion, inequality and conflict (November 9, 2021)


Mark Zellenrath, Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of the Netherlands delivering the Pathfinders statement to the UN Security Council.

This statement is made on behalf of the Pathfinders for Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies, a group of countries and organizations committed to realizing Sustainable Development Goals, particularly Goal 16.

As Pathfinders, our work is based on evidence that there can be no peace without development and no development without peace. Justice for all and fighting inequality and exclusion is central to achieving and sustaining peace. Equally, preventing conflict and violence, including sexual and gender-based violence, is a central enabler for access to justice for all and for more equal and inclusive societies. Peace, justice and inclusion catalyze progress across the SDGs. This also resonates with the Secretary General’s “Our Common Agenda” report.

We, as Pathfinders, are focusing our urgent attention on addressing three interrelated areas, which we believe are key to conflict prevention:

Firstly, building more equal and inclusive societies

We need to urgently address inequality and exclusion by building solidarity across groups and governments to deliver visible material change in people’s lives, by tackling corruption and by expanding representation of all groups in society. Well-designed social dialogue and truth and reconciliation programmes, including mental health and psychosocial support, are relevant to post-conflict societies and can be used preventively to avoid the escalation of violence.

Secondly, providing justice for all

1.5 billion people have unresolved justice problems that contribute to grievances, violence and instability. Women, children and youth find it hardest to access justice. Strengthening the rule of law requires a new approach, which allows justice systems to be more effective, transparent and centered around peoples’ most common problems.

Thirdly, halving global violence

We need a new agenda for peace, as mentioned by the Secretary General, that more effectively addresses violence holistically. The Pathfinders’ Halving Global Violence Task Force — a coalition of governments, mayors, leading international agencies, dedicated NGOs, and philanthropic actors — is drawing together the evidence, tools and action needed to achieve the goal of halving violence by 2030.

To this end, the Pathfinders’ input is as follows:

  1. The Security Council could avail itself of broader analysis and benchmarks on trends in inequality, exclusion, access to justice within the framework of the field missions mandated by the Council, and request the advice of bodies like the Peacebuilding Commission to incorporate it in its work.
  2. The Council could systematically indicate to mission leadership the importance of linking economic and political analysis and support, and the value of exploring partnerships between Resident Coordinators, governments, IFIs and civil society with regard to socio-economic destabilizing factors and psychosocial dynamics that need to be addressed in prevention strategies, national development plans and mandate objectives.
  3. The Council could focus on lessons learned in inclusive national dialogues that build trust and pro-equity and inclusion policies, in particular by bolstering the inclusion of women and youth.
  4. The rule of law could be strengthened as a preventative tool by focusing on the resolution and prevention of daily access to justice obstacles and by supporting national institutions to be more responsive to people’s justice needs.

An emphasis by the Council, in peace operations and special political missions, to draw on this type of holistic analysis and partnership within their mandates, would assist in addressing the risks of today’s environment and increase the chances of success of Council-authorized operations and the maintenance of international peace and security.

We thank you for your kind attention.