Hautala’s speech at the Consultation Meeting on Conflict, Violence and Disaster

“We must ensure that the outcome of the post 2015 process promotes building of resilience among people and societies at risk, especially in fragile and highly vulnerable settings.” said Minister Hautala in her opening speech at the High Level Thematic Consultation Meeting on Conflict, Violence and Disaster and the Post 2015 Development Agenda in Helsinki on 13 March 2013. [:]


Distinguished Delegates
Ladies and Gentlemen

It is my great pleasure to welcome you in Helsinki, to the wrap-up meeting of the consultations on Conflict, Violence and Disaster in relation to the new global development agenda for the years after 2015.

Some of you I already met yesterday at the reception. Thank you all for the very informative discussions there. Now it is time we roll up our sleeves and start to work.

I would like to thank the United Nations’ Development Group for the initiative and organisation of these consultations. Likewise I would like to thank the Indonesian, Liberian and Panaman Governments for hosting the regional consultations that paved way for this wrap-up event.

This series of consultations is but a small part of a larger multi-track process leading up to the new post 2015 development agenda. This said, I have to remind that it is an important part. I’m confident that our input will significantly contribute to the final agenda, especially when it comes to the linking the themes of peace, security and disaster risk reduction to the overall framework.

As has been frequently observed lately, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) did not adequately cover the areas of conflict and violence prevention, the peaceful resolution of conflicts, and the reduction of natural and man-made disasters. And since they did not quite take account of these issues, they kind of fell victim of them; conflicts, violence and disaster have detrimentally affected the achievement of MDGs especially in fragile and conflict-affected countries. They have far too heavily burdened the everyday life of people and communities at local level.

I think we should not be too harsh to the MDGs; in many ways they have served us well. They have provided the basis for results-oriented actions supporting development interventions at various levels – local, national and international. And – we should not forget – the MDGs are not yet history. We have to make sure that we do everything to achieve them in all countries of the world during the last couple of years available for their implementation. We should not let planning of the future to eclipse action of the day.

Anyway, now it is time to bring the issues of conflict, fragility and disaster to the floor and to look at it from the opposite angle: the importance for sustainable development of peace, justice and resilience to shocks – into the mainstream of development thinking and practice.

There are a couple of issues that I would like to share with you. I consider them extremely important:

Very much related to the scourges of conflicts and violence is the question of justice and respect of law. People all around the world claim their right to live without the fear of injustice and human rights violations. Indeed, history has shown that injustice and abuse of human rights prompt conflict. Solid base for peace requires legitimate, effective and accountable government institutions, especially in the areas of security and justice.

Rule of law and development relate strongly to each other. The advancement of the rule of law at the national and international levels is essential for sustained and inclusive economic growth, sustainable development, the eradication of poverty and hunger and the full realization of all human rights and fundamental freedoms.

If rule of law prevails, there is no room for impunity. Access to justice is ensured even to the most vulnerable groups of the society. It is an essential prerequisite of a durable peace and consequently of development, that people can rely on law and can trust it will not be arbitrarily applied.

Principles of rule of law and undisputed respect of human rights are in the core of the Finnish development policy. We will advocate them throughout this process on post 2015 development agenda.

There are many types of violence that prevent individuals – men, women, boys and girls – from living full and dignified lives, and waking up without fear. Of particular concern is violence against women and girls – also in the private domain. It is linked to criminality, conflicts and disasters. Women and adolescent girls are increasingly drawn into gangs, sexually abused, forced into prostitution, and into drug related crime. A child marriage is also a form of violence. There will be no peace and development if there is no freedom from such fears. Eliminating all forms of violence especially against girls and women, and protecting children, must be one of our key concerns.

In addition to women and children, people with disabilities are one of the most vulnerable groups in situations of risk like disasters and different conflicts. Risk situations often create also new cases of disability. It is therefore important to ensure that persons with disabilities are included at all levels and in all responses to emergencies and conflict.

States and communities need ex ante preparedness and resilience when encountering disasters. They need long term measures to reduce their vulnerability to such external or internal shocks. This requires strengthening of their capacities and investing in disaster risk reduction.

We must ensure that the outcome of the post 2015 process promotes building of resilience among people and societies at risk, especially in fragile and highly vulnerable settings. Investing in disaster risk reduction and generally in resilience building increases the value and sustainability of development efforts. Whether we should adopt an integrated approach or strive for a stand-alone goal on disaster risk reduction in the post2015 framework, I do not yet have a firm position. I am sure we will notably increase our understanding of this issue today.

To conclude: It will probably not be easy to find a global agreement on the role of Conflict, Violence and Disaster in the post 2015 development agenda. Especially the themes of Conflict and Violence border in many respects with national sovereignty. And we know those ancient thoughts of war as a continuation of policy, or the energizing impact on the economy of armament race or reconstruction after a crisis. To anyone still cherishing such ideas I would say: welcome to the modern world, welcome to the 21 century. This is a world of interconnectedness and of global linkages. Conflicts are not local any more. Besides depriving people from their rights and security they disrupt markets, trade connections, reputations and investments. Wise money and wise people go where peace is. Let us keep this in mind. But in the end the most important is the avoidance of human suffering.

When views diverge, there is always a tendency to shy away from difficult decisions, to find the smallest of common denominators. I encourage you to think bold and reach far; with the tools and instruments of development policy and with the devotedness of people we can do a lot.

In the resolution on Rule of Law, that was approved in the UN General Council last September the member states reaffirmed “the duty of all States to settle their international disputes by peaceful means, inter alia through negotiation, enquiry, good offices, mediation, conciliation, arbitration and judicial settlement, or other peaceful means of their own choice”. If we stick to this and succeed in eliminating the detrimental effects of Conflict, Violence and Disasters with the help of the new post 2015 development agenda, we have taken a long step forward towards sustainable development.

I wish we have very successful consultations.

Thank you.