6 September 2007
Deputy Secretary-General

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York



Following are Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro’s remarks to the inaugural meeting of the Peacebuilding Fund Advisory Group in New York, 6 September:

I am pleased to welcome you to the first meeting of the Peacebuilding Fund Advisory Group.  The Secretary-General had hoped to attend this inaugural session as well, but his duties have taken him away from New York this week.  Instead, he asked that I convey his warm regards to every one of you.

Both the Secretary-General and I consider the new peacebuilding architecture -– the Peacebuilding Commission, a Peacebuilding Fund, and the Peacebuilding Support Office -– as one of the most important reforms of the 2005 World Summit. 

The UN’s own experiences show that roughly half of all countries that emerge from war lapse back into violence within five years.  The new peacebuilding structures are designed to address this dismal reality, and to more effectively support countries in the transition from war to lasting peace.

The Peacebuilding Fund is fundamental to achieving this objective.  It responds to the reality that, all too often, peacebuilding has been hindered by a scarcity of resources, especially financing.  And it reflects a renewed commitment by the international community for sustained engagement in countries emerging from conflict.

The Fund provides resources for critical and immediate peacebuilding challenges for any country under consideration by the Peacebuilding Commission.  It can also support countries not being considered by the Commission, and it can make expedited one-time emergency disbursements when necessary.

These functions can be crucial in helping countries in crisis find their footing.  But we must also be realistic about the Fund’s capacity.  In most instances, the levels of resources required to secure lasting peace in transition countries go well beyond the capacity of the Peacebuilding Fund.  That is why the Fund is intended as a catalyst -– to “kick-start” critical peacebuilding interventions -– such as the reintegration of demobilized soldiers, or critical security sector reform initiatives.  Long-term funding must still come from multilateral and bilateral supporters.

I am pleased to confirm that the Secretary-General has designated Her Excellency Ms. Marjatta Rasi as the first Chair of the Advisory Group.  Ms. Rasi brings to this position the experience and wisdom gained over a long and distinguished diplomatic career.  I am grateful to her for taking on this responsibility despite her other commitments.

The Secretary-General has appointed Ms. Rasi, and each one of you, in your personal capacities, based on your experience, knowledge and judgment.  Let me emphasize that yours is not primarily an accounting function.  Your role is to provide strategic guidance, and to help ensure that the Fund remains focussed on addressing critical peacebuilding gaps.  I trust that, as you assume your responsibilities, you will also familiarize yourselves with the Fund's accountability provisions, its disbursement structure and its conceptual design.

As you know, since its establishment late last year, the Peacebuilding Fund facility has been activated for two countries under consideration by the Peacebuilding Commission, Burundi and Sierra Leone.  More recently, the Senior Policy Group chaired by the Assistant Secretary-General for Peacebuilding Support, Carolyn McAskie, approved emergency funding for a project in Côte d’Ivoire.  This allocation will support the Burkinabe facilitation of the Direct Dialogue in Ouagadougou.  Other projects are also being considered, including an emergency allocation to the Central African Republic to advance an inclusive political dialogue.

I understand that the presentations later today will consider the lessons learned from these initial activities.  I hope you will use them as a basis for your deliberations, and for the recommendations you forward to the Secretary-General.  In this regard, you may also wish to familiarise yourselves with some of the Secretary-General’s own thoughts contained in his first annual report to the General Assembly on the Fund.

Your advice and oversight will be crucial in bolstering the Peacebuilding Fund in the months and years ahead.  Of course, I have no doubt that you will live up to the high expectations we all have of you.  So let me thank you for your service, and wish you every success in your work.

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For information media • not an official record