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Statement by Ambassador MA Zhaoxu at the open briefing of the Security Council on the maintenance of international peace and security: root causes of conflict--the role of natural resources

2018/10/16

Mr. President,

At the outset, I would like to thank the Secretary-General for his briefing. I would also like to thank the Bolivian Presidency for convening and presiding over today's important meeting.

Mr. President,

Natural resources are the material basis for human survival and development, and an important factor of peace and stability of all countries. The illicit exploitation and trafficking of natural resources, as well as their misuse and unfair distribution, can potentially play a key role in triggering and fueling conflicts and undermining peace. Security threats such as war, conflicts and terrorism all have roots in poverty and under-development, and their solutions must be found through development.

To address the issue of conflicts caused by the misuse of resources, it is necessary to help the countries concerned to take full advantage of their natural resources, and facilitate their efforts in industrialization and economic diversification, so that they can follow their own paths of sustainable development in line with their national conditions. I would like to emphasize the following points:

First, the international community should respect the immutable sovereignty of states over their natural resources. States have indisputable sovereignty over the natural resources in their territories. The proper protection, exploitation and management of natural resources are a sovereign right and obligation. The exploration, development and utilization of natural resources should be decided independently by the government and people of individual states. Countries in conflict should pay greater attention to the proper use and management of resources, prevent their illicit exploitation and misuse for breeding and fueling armed conflicts, translate their rich resources into development advantages, and allow all citizens to benefit from the resources dividend. In the process of exploiting natural resources, multinational corporations and the private sector should respect the ownership of their host countries, earnestly fulfill corporate social responsibilities, and give back to the local communities.

Second, the Security Council should continue to play a constructive role in this regard in accordance with its own responsibilities and strengths. Entrusted with the primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, the Security Council should place a stronger emphasis on such means as good offices and mediation, focus on the prevention and resolution of conflicts, and effectively fulfill its responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security. The sanctions imposed by the Security Council are not an end in themselves, and should be implemented in a more targeted manner, so as to strike with precision those organizations engaged in illegal extraction, while minimizing the impact on the normal exploitation by the countries concerned.

Third, the relevant UN entities should strengthen coordination and help conflict-affected countries to improve their resource management. When formulating a comprehensive peacebuilding strategy, the Peacebuilding Commission should give higher priority to natural resource management in post-conflict reconstruction. The United Nations’ field missions and development agencies should pool their resources and form synergies in order to support countries in conflict to improve their capacity of natural resources exploitation. The United Nations can provide assistance for the proper extraction, transportation and management of natural resources at the request of countries concerned, and promote the use of natural resources for sustainable development and social stability in all countries.

Fourth, regional organizations and relevant mechanisms should play an active role. In recent years, the African Union as well as other regional and sub-regional organizations have played an important role in encouraging cooperation among African countries in building up their capacity of comprehensive natural resources management. Mechanisms such as the “Kimberley Process” have proven to be crucial in curbing the illicit trade in natural resources. Those mechanisms should be encouraged to complement the efforts of the United Nations and its Member States, and make continued contribution to the conservation and proper use of natural resources.

Mr. President,

China is a defender and builder of world peace. Based on the principles of equality, mutual benefit and win-win cooperation, China actively supports and helps other countries to properly develop, utilize and manage natural resources, attaches importance to the coordinated economic, social and environmental development, helps the countries concerned to achieve sustainable development, and ensures the benefit of local communities.

China will work with nations of the world to build a community of shared future for humankind, and leverage the positive role of natural resources in maintaining international peace and promoting common development, so that countries affected by conflicts can break the "resources curse" as soon as possible, invest their natural resources in the pursuit of happiness of their people, and contribute to world peace and development.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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