Zhang Jun, China's permanent representative to the United Nations, on Wednesday called for efforts to build and sustain peace amid COVID-19 through a people-centered approach.
"Experience of many countries shows that as long as we put people and life first, we can develop a set of effective methods to fight the pandemic. In peacebuilding, we should also put people's interests front and center, respect the ownership of people of the host countries, and promote an inclusive peace process," said Zhang, who also called for sustaining peace through development.
Gains in peacebuilding processes in conflict-affected countries can be easily lost due to the countries' weak socio-economic foundation. Development is the master key to solving all problems, Zhang told an open debate of the Security Council on pandemics and the challenges of sustaining peace.
The international community should attach great importance to the impact of COVID-19 on the socio-economic situation of conflict-affected countries, help them improve the capacity for sustainable development, strengthen public health systems, and preserve and advance peacebuilding gains to build a solid foundation for lasting peace, he said.
Zhang stressed the need to strengthen political leadership and social inclusion in peacebuilding and sustaining peace.
In many countries, strong political leadership and social cohesion have made possible early detection, isolation, diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19 cases. Political consensus, mutual trust, and social cohesion also provide an important buttress for national reconstruction. There is a need to support the strengthening of the authority of legitimate governments of conflict-affected countries so that they can lead the entire society in safeguarding hard-won gains of peacebuilding and achieving long-term security and stability, said Zhang.
Also at the meeting, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned that the pandemic not only threatens gains in fighting global poverty and building peace but risks exacerbating existing conflicts and generating new ones.
"Regrettably, in many instances, the pandemic did not move the parties to suspend hostilities or agree to a permanent ceasefire," he elaborated.
(With input from Xinhua)