March 2019

UN Reform in Practice: Tangible Impact On Prevention?

As of 1 January 2019, Secretary-General Guterres’s hard-won reform proposals officially took effect. To strengthen the delivery of its mandate, the United Nations has introduced sweeping changes to the Peace and Security Architecture, the Development System, and the Management System. These reforms are designed to strengthen coherence within the system, make it more field-focused, and support the implementation of sustaining peace and prevention. 
This month, to support an inclusive approach to prevention, and as a follow up to the 2018 series, the Platform held its first of a series of events with UN and civil society to discuss the real and practical impacts of the reforms.
This meeting provided a space for civil society to reflect, two months into its official implementation, on the impact of the peace and security architecture reform on the UN and its civil society partners and to consider concrete areas for civil society to better engage with the UN to advance preventive approaches within the new structures. Civil society heard from UN colleagues playing key roles in the implementation of the reforms on the major shifts that have taken place since the start of the reform process, the practicalities of the remodeled regional structures, as well as expectations for opportunities and challenges moving forward. 

Participants reflected on the reform’s potential to contribute to the effective implementation of  the Secretary General’s prevention agenda and agreed that key to this will be better operationalization of links between prevention, peace and security and development. The group considered how the reforms can best strengthen the capacity for prevention at the field level and the role of the reinvigorated Regional Coordinator will play in this. It was agreed that the reform represent an opportunity to bolster the narrative around prevention so that it is more welcomed by member states and to strengthen recognition among peace and security actors of the importance of meaningful engagement of local actors, including women and youth, at all levels.

The second part of this event series will be held in early April and will consider the implications of, and opportunities arising from, the reform of the UN’s Development System.

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