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Statement by Ambassador Wang Min at the Security Council Open Debate on Conflict Prevention and Natural Resources


Mr. President,

I thank Deputy Secretary-General Eliasson for his briefing. We have also listened attentively to the interventions of Mr. Annan, Managing Director Anstey of the World Bank and Under-Secretary-General Grynspan.

Natural resources form the material foundation for human survival and development and play an important role in promoting countries’ economic growth and development. However, in some conflict regions, the illegal exploitation of and trafficking in natural resources and their irrational use and distribution will likely become major factors in triggering and fuelling conflict.

Addressing the problem of conflict resulting from the abuse of resources requires a multifaceted industrial mix and a pattern of sustainable economic growth, which are needed for the promotion of sustainable development. On the other hand, the factors leading to armed conflict are numerous and complex, involving political, economic, social and other factors. Nevertheless, natural resources are not a direct cause of conflict.

Allow me to stress the following points on the relationship between natural resources and the prevention of conflict. First, the domestic sovereignty of States over their natural resources must be respected. All States possess inalienable sovereignty over the resources within their territory. Given the rights and duties of those countries, which include managing and using their natural resources, the exploration, development and use of those resources should be determined by the people of the country itself. The international community should respect that principle in conducting resource-related cooperation. In particular, it should respect the ownership by the country in conflict in efforts to improve the management and use of resources and to ensure that the people of the country concerned will benefit from them.

Secondly, United Nations agencies and programmes should enhance coordination in that area and together assist conflict-affected countries to improve the management of their natural resources. They should also work within their respective remits and avoid repetition. China supports the efforts of the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council, interalia, in continuing the discussion on the management and use of natural resources. In formulating integrated peacebuilding strategies, the Peacebuilding Commission should bolster the important area of natural resources management in post-conflict resolution and reconstruction. The United Nations special missions and various specialized United Nations development agencies should integrate their resources and synergies in order to support countries in conflict in their efforts to strengthen capacity-building and the rational development and use of their natural resources.

Thirdly, from its vantage point, the Council should play its natural role in carrying out its responsibilities. As the main United Nations organ responsible for the maintenance of international peace and security, the Council should place greater reliance on mediation and good offices efforts. The Council must prioritize the prevention and resolution of conflict when it seeks to effectively fulfil its responsibilities in safeguarding international peace and security. Therefore, sanctions imposed by the Council should not serve as a means in themselves, but should be specifically targeted to avoid adverse impacts on the country’s use of natural resources while it is subjected to sanctions.

Fourthly, it is imperative to devote greater attention to the role of regional organizations and relevant mechanisms. In recent years, the African Union and other regional and subregional organizations have played an important role in encouraging African States to bolster their resource management and development efforts and improve the integrated management of natural resources.

Intergovernmental mechanisms, such as the Kimberley Process, have played an outstanding role in curbing illegal trafficking in natural resources. Those mechanisms should be encouraged to play a mutually complementary role with the efforts of the affected countries and the United Nations so as to ensure further contributions in that area.

Transforming a country’s natural resources into the opportunity to create an enhanced future requires the coordinated efforts of countries and the international community. China supports the efforts of the relevant United Nations agencies, based on their respective mandates and the distribution of labour, in assisting the countries affected to shake off the curse of natural resources and promote their use and development.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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