Statement by H.E. Mr. Timo Soini – Addressing the root causes of large movements of refugees

Interactive multi-stakeholder round tables:
Addressing the root causes of large movements of refugees

Statement by H.E. Mr. Timo Soini, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Finland.
UN General Assembly 71, New York. 19 September 2016.

Check against delivery

Let me start by expressing my appreciation for the efforts of the Secretary General, the Secretariat and the excellent facilitators.

Every day more than 30 000 people are forcibly displaced as a result of conflict or persecution. Finland will continue to do her share in helping those most in need. But providing humanitarian aid and protecting refugees is not enough. We must do more. We must make sure no-one is forced to flee. And those displaced must one day be able to return to their homes and rebuild their lives. Finland fully supports the World Humanitarian Summit commitments and calls upon all states to implement this framework.

If there is a will there is a way. We as political leaders can put an end to much human suffering. We have a responsibility to work harder and seek for compromises. This requires vision, courage and strong political leadership. Conflicts can be resolved through dialogue and negotiations, not by use of forced.  I believe mediation as an excellent and efficient way of preventing and resolving conflicts.

Leadership also means reaching out to those whose voices are not heard. Today, women are still underrepresented in most peace processes. This needs to change. It is essential for justice and equality. It is also a question of common sense. Negotiating or listening to only half of the population is not sustainable. Ownership is a cornerstone of peace processes, and inclusion of all groups of society is needed.

Finland is committed to take strong action to combat sexual and gender-based violence in crises and empowering refugee women and girls as agents and leaders of change. Here the implementation of Resolution 1325 is a key priority.

Conflict prevention and mediation need to be essential parts of UN´s peace operations. It is also important to ensure the United Nations and regional bodies have the mechanisms and resources they need to prevent conflict. This is one of our aims, as we co-chair the UN Group of Friends of Mediation as well as the OSCE and the EU Groups of Friends of Mediation. We also support the African Union in its efforts to develop its mediation capacity.

Lastly, to attain sustainable peace we need to be able to respond more efficiently to humanitarian needs produced by conflicts and large refugee situations. Local actors must be committed to humanitarian action. On the longer run it is of utmost importance that humanitarian aid and development policies - as well as other economic policies - are coherent. They need to be framed to fragile societies and conflict situations.  Comprehensive development and economic policies and can support stability and prosperity and help preventing new conflicts. Implementing the Agenda for Humanity is a key priority in this respect.