6 February 2007
General Assembly
GA/10570

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

Sixty-first General Assembly

Plenary

86th & 87th Meetings (AM & PM)


GENERAL ASSEMBLY REVIEWS PROGRESS IN WORK OF NEW PEACEBUILDING COMMISSION;


SPEAKERS STRESS COMPLEXITY OF TASK, NEED FOR LONG-TERM COMMITMENT


Cooperation with other UN bodies, Structure, Resources Among Issues;

Sierra Leone, Burundi -- First Countries on Commission’s Agenda -- Also Speak


With the Peacebuilding Commission having embarked on crucial tasks in Burundi and Sierra Leone, the challenge now was for the international community to deliver on pledges to assist the peoples of those countries in their efforts to rebuild the institutional and human capacity needed for comprehensive and lasting peace, General Assembly President Sheikha Haya Rashed Al Khalifa ( Bahrain) said today.


All Member States had a collective responsibility to ensure that the strengthened United Nations peacebuilding architecture would develop as envisioned, she said, as the Assembly held a day-long discussion on the progress achieved in the work of the newly established Peacebuilding Commission.  The Security Council had held a similar open debate on post-conflict peacebuilding, on 31 January.


Sheikha Haya emphasized the strong connection between poverty, weak State capacity and instability, which in turn led to relapses into conflict.  It was critical that the United Nations played a leading role in helping countries build and strengthen institutional capacities, so as to promote coexistence and the peaceful and sustainable resolution of conflicts.


She said national authorities played a critical role in creating the right atmosphere for sustainable peace, and stressed the importance of affirming national ownership.  While the Peacebuilding Fund could play a critical role in providing countries with start-up funding for early recovery, the Fund should not be seen as a substitute for the long-term financial support needed in the transition from recovery to sustainable development.  To date, donors had contributed and pledged more than $140 million to the Fund and Member States should work together to reach the $250 million target.


DaliusČekuolis ( Lithuania), President of the Economic and Social Council, said that organ’s ad hoc advisory groups on Guinea-Bissau and Burundi had played a pioneering role in advancing the integrated approach to peace and development.  Their work was based on the recognition that the Economic and Social Council’s mandate enabled it to play an important role in coordinating economic and social reconstruction in post-conflict countries and its capacities remained valuable and relevant with the advent of the Peacebuilding Commission.


Noting that 9 out of 10 countries with the lowest human development indicators had experienced conflict at some point or other since 1990, he said the Economic and Social Council was encouraged by the emerging consensus that interaction among the major United Nations organs would enhance the Peacebuilding Commission’s effective functioning, with the common aim of mobilizing the Organization’s entire institutional machinery to address the complex needs of post-conflict countries and prevent them from sliding back into violence.


Peter Burian ( Slovakia), President of the Security Council, said last week’s Council debate had been aimed at giving impetus to a mutually supportive partnership among all actors contributing to the peacebuilding process and at facilitating the Peacebuilding Commission’s work.  Council members had stressed that the Commission should focus on its core mandate of providing recommendations to post-conflict States in danger of falling back into conflict, and useful assessments to the Security Council about specific countries.  Participants in the debate had welcomed the Commission’s initial work in addressing priority areas in Burundi and Sierra Leone, the recent staffing of the Peacebuilding Support Office and the establishment of the Peacebuilding Fund.  They had also underlined the Commission’s significant potential for proposing integrated post-conflict peacebuilding and recovery strategies and developing best practices on issues requiring extensive collaboration.  Overall, the Council hoped that, by the Commission’s first anniversary in June, a measurable impact would be seen on the ground in both Burundi and Sierra Leone.


Ismael Abraão Gaspar Martins ( Angola), Chairman of the Peacebuilding Commission’s Organizational Committee, noted that the decision to establish the organ had brought a new ray of hope to millions of people trapped in post-conflict situations, but cautioned that bright ideas alone would not be enough.  Hopefully, they would be accompanied by concrete actions on the ground, so as to achieve the Commission’s main purpose as defined by the 2005 World Summit Outcome, by bringing together and marshalling resources for post-conflict peacebuilding and recovery.


Rebuilding societies after conflict was much more difficult than ending the fighting, he said, underscoring the need for the international community to play a role in consolidating peace, so as to overcome the legacies of war.  The alternative would be resumed conflict that would threaten peace in the wider region.  The Commission’s success or failure would depend on the actions that today’s meeting would help galvanize.


Jamaica’s representative, speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, emphasized that last week’s open Security Council debate and today’s meeting provided only the basis for some preliminary exchanges that might inform, but not substitute for, the Peacebuilding Commission’s annual report and subsequent review to be presented to the Assembly as mandated by resolution 60/180.  The Non-Aligned Movement would like the Commission to be more proactive, its rules to be strengthened, and the inclusion of requirements for regular meetings of its Organizational Committee, which should act as a planning, review and evaluation mechanism between country-specific meetings.


If the Commission was to be taken seriously, its disbursement of resources for peacebuilding must be accompanied by swift action, he said.  “We must never lose sight of the sense of urgency which must underpin its work.”  To assist in determining the size of country envelopes, the Non-Aligned Movement advocated a much closer working relationship between the Peacebuilding Support Office and the Organizational Committee, which would provide greater transparency and inclusiveness in decision-making.


Germany’s delegate, speaking on behalf of the European Union, said that, as a flexible instrument, the Commission was “learning by doing” and its members should be willing to work creatively within the given framework.  After only two sets of country-specific meetings, it had identified areas of priority action for Burundi and Sierra Leone.  The Commission had also established a dialogue among the Governments concerned, the United Nations system, institutional donors, regional actors and Commission members.  Its recommendations must be implemented in the countries concerned and within the United Nations institutional framework.


Promoting the development of a viable peacebuilding strategy with broad ownership was where the Commission could really add value, he said.  It had defined general areas of priority for each country under consideration and it would now be useful to further prioritize within those areas and focus on issues that had a direct or traceable link to the causes of conflict, areas in which instruments of “classical” development were not available and those in which coordination and integration were especially needed.


Sounding a more cautious note, Brazil’s representative said that, even at the present early stage, the Commission had very little to show for itself, which did not bode well for its future initiatives.  “Strenuous” negotiations had preceded its creation in 2005, and the built-in imbalance in the composition of its Organizational Committee had generated much acrimony and could be faulted for the Commission’s “shaky beginning”.  Much more attention should be paid to the principle of equitable geographical distribution, in order to ensure democratic management of the Commission’s affairs and genuine participation in its work.  The new organ had a long way to go before it generated the expected results.  Indeed, it had not even completed the drafting of its working methods, which was another reason for its rocky start.


The Assembly also heard from the representatives of the Netherlands, Chairman of the Country-Specific Meeting on Sierra Leone; Norway, Chairman of the Country-Specific Meeting on Burundi; and El Salvador, Chairperson of the Working Group on Lessons Learned of the Peacebuilding Commission.


Jean-Louis Schiltz, Minister for Cooperation and Humanitarian Action, as well as Defence Minister of Luxembourg, also addressed the Assembly.


Other speakers today included the representatives of New Zealand (on behalf of Canada and Australia), Egypt, South Africa, Panama, India, Mexico, Japan, Pakistan, Nigeria, Viet Nam, Honduras, Sierra Leone, Chile, Russian Federation, Republic of Korea, Argentina, Czech Republic, Iceland, Indonesia, Croatia, Bangladesh, Sweden, Sri Lanka, United Kingdom, France, Finland, China, Uruguay, United States, Sudan, Guinea-Bissau, Peru, Ghana, Benin and Costa Rica.


A representative of the European Commission also addressed the meeting.


The General Assembly will meet again at a date to be announced.


Background


The General Assembly met today to discuss the work of the Peacebuilding Commission.  Last week, the Security Council addressed the same issue during its debate on post-conflict peacebuilding (see Press Release SC/8945 of 31 January).


Statements


SHEIKA HAYA RASHED AL KHALIFA ( Bahrain), President of the General Assembly, said Member States had called for the establishment of the Peacebuilding Commission during the World Summit in 2005 to focus attention on reconstruction and institution-building in order to promote sustainable development in the aftermath of conflict.  The Peacebuilding Commission had been formally established by the Assembly, acting concurrently with the Security Council on 20 December 2005.  Resolution A/60/180 also requested the Secretary-General to establish the Peacebuilding Fund.


She said the Peacebuilding Commission had embarked on crucial tasks in Burundi and Sierra Leone.  The challenge now was the need for the international community to deliver on the pledges made to assist the peoples of those countries in their efforts to rebuild the institutional and human capacity needed for comprehensive and lasting peace.  All had a collective responsibility to ensure that the United Nations strengthened peacebuilding architecture would develop as envisioned.


There was a strong link between poverty, weak State capacity and instability, leading to relapses in conflict, she continued.  It was, therefore, critical that the Organization play a leading role in helping countries build and strengthen institutional capacities, which promoted coexistence and the peaceful and sustainable resolution of conflicts.  National authorities played a critical role in creating the right atmosphere for sustainable peace, and national ownership should be affirmed.  The Peacebuilding Fund could play a critical role in providing countries with start-up funding for early recovery, but the Fund should not be seen as a substitute for the long-term financial support needed in the transition from recovery to sustainable development.


She said that, to date, donors had contributed and pledged over $140 million to the Peacebuilding Fund.  She urged Member States to work together to reach the $250 million target.  The Peacebuilding Commission and Fund were still in the early stages of becoming fully operational.  “We should, therefore, take note of the lessons learnt so far and, by extending our fullest cooperation and support, do our utmost to ensure that the Commission performs its mandate successfully.”


PETER BURIAN ( Slovakia), President of the Security Council, said post-conflict stabilization and reconstruction in countries emerging from crisis was one of the most significant challenges on the United Nations agenda.  Indeed, when the Security Council had debated the issue last week, a representative of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) had noted that more than 1 billion people living in, or rather existing in, extreme poverty were directly affected by civil war or were at high risk of being affected by conflict.  The Security Council’s debate had been aimed at giving impetus to a mutually supportive partnership among all actors who were contributing to the peacebuilding process and to facilitate the Peacebuilding Commission’s work.


He said that the Council’s debate had reaffirmed the need for close and constructive interaction among all the main United Nations organs to achieve the common goal of improving international cooperation in the peacebuilding area. It had also been an opportunity to discuss ways to strengthen the relationship between the Peacebuilding Commission and the Security Council.  In that connection, the members of the Council had stressed that the Commission should focus on its core mandate of providing recommendations to post-conflict States in danger of falling back into conflict, and useful recommendations and assessments to the Security Council about specific countries in such cases.  The Council members pledged to strengthen that body’s role in conflict prevention and peacebuilding, in line with its mandate under the Charter.


Further reporting on the Council’s debate, he said the participants had welcomed the Commission’s initial work in addressing priority areas that needed to be dealt with in Burundi and Sierra Leone.  They had also welcomed the recent staffing of the Peacebuilding Support Office and the establishment of the Peacebuilding Fund.  The participants had also reaffirmed the importance of national ownership in the design and implementation of peacebuilding activities.  They had also underlined the Commission’s significant potential for proposing integrated strategies for post-conflict peacebuilding and recovery and developing best practices on issues that required extensive collaboration.  Overall, the Council hoped that, by the Commission’s first anniversary in June, measurable impact would be seen on the ground in both Burundi and Sierra Leone.


DALIUSČEKUOLIS ( Lithuania), President of the Economic and Social Council, said that, in Assembly resolution 55/217, the Assembly had requested the Economic and Social Council to consider the creation of an ad hoc advisory group on African countries emerging from conflict, which had led to the creation of the advisory groups on Guinea-Bissau and Burundi.  Those groups had played a pioneering role in advancing the concept of an integrated approach to peace and development.  The assumption of that work had been based on the recognition that the Economic and Social Council’s mandate enabled it to play an important coordinating role in economic and social reconstruction in countries emerging from conflict.  The Economic and Social Council’s capacities remained valuable and relevant with the advent of the Peacebuilding Commission.


He said 9 out of 10 countries with the lowest human development indicators had experienced conflict at some point or other since 1990.  Those countries were clearly the farthest away from achieving the targets and goals set out in the United Nations development agenda.  The 2005 World Summit had assigned the Economic and Social Council the task to conduct annual ministerial reviews of progress made in the implementation of the internationally agreed development goals.  That would give the Council the opportunity to continually assess how conflict was affecting the implementation of the development agenda and to share lessons learned on how Millennium Development Goals-based strategies could help forestall violent conflict.


The high-level biennial development cooperation forum could also provide a unique opportunity for the Economic and Social Council to examine how development cooperation could best support countries in conflict or emerging from it, he said.  The Peacebuilding Commission could already draw on the lessons learned from the experience of the ad hoc advisory groups in the area of resource mobilization.  The Economic and Social Council would be interested in the results of the lessons learned that the Commission would be compiling as a way of helping the Council to consider and follow-up on the Commission’s recommendations.


He said the Economic and Social Council was greatly encouraged by the emerging consensus that interaction between the Assembly, the Security Council and the Economic and Social Council would enhance the effective functioning of the Peacebuilding Commission.  The common objective should be to mobilize the whole institutional machinery of the United Nations to promote a wide array of policy approaches and best practices to address the complex and difficult needs of post-conflict countries and prevent their relapse into conflict.


ISMAEL ABRAÃO GASPAR MARTINS ( Angola), Chairman, Organizational Committee of the Peacebuilding Commission, said the holding of today’s meeting was of great political significance, noting that the General Assembly had been the framework within which the rich deliberations on the Commission’s establishment had taken place.  The decision to establish the organ had brought a new ray of hope to millions of people trapped in post-conflict situations.  However, bright ideas alone would not be enough.  It was to be hoped that they would be accompanied by concrete actions on the ground, in order to achieve the Commission’s main purpose as defined by the 2005 World Summit Outcome, by bringing together and marshalling resources for post-conflict peacebuilding and recovery.


He recalled that, during his speech to the Security Council last week, he had noted that it had taken much valuable time to establish the Peacebuilding Commission and described peacebuilding as a long-term process requiring commitment and persistence by all, as well as adequate means.  It had been generally observed that the Commission had had a modest start, taking into account the importance of giving the Peacebuilding Support Office the ability to function efficiently from the beginning.  Taking also into account its own responsibility, the General Assembly would play an important role at the appropriate time, including upon the release of the Commission’s first report, to be submitted in June.


After two country-specific missions, the launching of the Working Group on Lessons Learned and the Peacebuilding Support Office, the fundamental principle of national ownership was being safeguarded, he said.  The elaboration of the country-specific plan of action would allow the Commission to better serve the interests of countries under its consideration.  Rebuilding societies after conflict was much more difficult than ending the fighting.  The international community must play a role in consolidating peace in order to overcome the legacies of war, otherwise conflict would resume, threatening peace in the wider region.  The Commission could benefit fully from its innovative nature and composition, as well as from the contributions of the General Assembly, the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council and other bodies.  Success or failure would depend on the actions that today’s meeting would help galvanize.


Speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, RAYMOND WOLFE (Jamaica), Coordinator of the Non-Aligned Movement Caucus in the Peacebuilding Commission, emphasized that open debates in the Security Council last Wednesday and in the General Assembly today only provided the basis for some preliminary exchanges, which might inform, but not substitute, for the annual report to be presented by the Peacebuilding Commission to the Assembly, and subsequent review as mandated by resolution 60/180.


Notwithstanding its successes to date, the Commission, like any fledging body, was still grappling with the development of its own rules of procedure and working methods, he said.  The Non-Aligned Movement would like to see a more proactive Commission.  The rules of procedure should be strengthened, and should include the requirements for regular meetings of the Organizational Committee, which should act as a planning, review and evaluation mechanism in-between country-specific meetings.  There should be a clear timetable to better prepare for those meetings.  The Organizational Committee should, among other things, also make a clear determination as to degree and level of progress made to date and chart the way forward after each country-specific meeting, based on the Chairs’ summaries of the meetings, in addition to inputs from the countries under consideration.


The recommendations of the Organizational Committee must be based on a holistic, coherent and inclusive approach and also reflect a careful balance in addressing the situations in countries under review, he continued.  That could be done only through an integrated approach, with active engagement among the principal organs of the United Nations, including the Economic and Social Council, and contributions from both donor and non-donor countries.  Decisions regarding the operations of the Commission should be taken within the Organizational Committee.  The provision of financial resources should be guided by national priorities and based on the collective decision of members of the Peacebuilding Commission.  Recommendations for assistance must be based on the priority areas established by the Government of the country under consideration, as well as other national authorities and actors.  That matter of national ownership was critical.


Regarding disbursement of resources for peacebuilding, he said that, if the Commission was to be taken seriously, then its approval for disbursement must be accompanied by swift action.  “We must never lose sight of the sense of urgency which must underpin its work,” he said.  To assist in determining the size of country envelopes, the Non-Aligned Movement advocated a much closer working relationship between the Peacebuilding Support Office and the Organizational Committee.  That would provide greater transparency and inclusiveness in decision-making.  Also, the work of the Commission would fall short if its meetings in New York became the sole medium of evaluating the situation in countries under consideration.  Early field missions were needed to evaluate the situation on the ground and exchange information with Government authorities, civil society and other key stakeholders.


THOMAS MATUSSEK ( Germany), speaking on behalf of the European Union, said the Union saw the Commission’s establishment as a key achievement of the United Nations reform process.  Together with the Peacebuilding Support Office and the Peacebuilding Fund, it formed the core of the United Nations new peacebuilding architecture.  As a flexible instrument, the Commission was “learning by doing”.  Members should be willing to work creatively within the given framework.  The Union was committed to actively support the Commission’s work on the basis of its experience, resources and worldwide operability.


“The PBC has got off to a good start”, he said.  After only two sets of country-specific meetings, it had identified areas of priority action for the two countries under consideration.  The Commission had also established a dialogue among Governments concerned, the United Nations system, institutional donors, regional actors and Commission members.  The Commission’s recommendations must be implemented in the countries concerned and within the United Nations institutional framework.  The Commission also needed the support of the General Assembly, the Security Council and the Economic and Social Council.  Dialogue must be broadened to include national civil society, the private sector and other relevant parties.


One year after its establishment, the Commission would also have to make decisions as to its strategic goals, he said.  To add value to peacebuilding efforts worldwide, the Commission would have to be ambitious.  Promoting the development of a viable peacebuilding strategy with broad ownership was where the Commission could really add value.  The Union wanted to contribute to the discussion among Commission members on structuring the Commission’s future work and its interaction with other actors.  The Commission had defined general areas of priority for each country under consideration.  It would now be useful to further prioritize within those areas, in consultation with the countries concerned, United Nations country teams, donors, civil society and the private sector.


Continuing, he said the Commission should focus on areas that had a direct or traceable link to the causes of conflict, areas in which instruments of “classical” development were not available and areas where coordination and integration were especially needed.  The Commission should focus on activities in the field and enhance cooperation with all relevant actors, including donors and non-State actors.  There were many ways to enhance cooperation among the Commission and the Assembly, the Security Council and the Economic and Social Council, including regular meetings between the Commission Chairs and the Presidents of those bodies.  The European Union remained committed to working on integrated peacekeeping strategies with the Commission and the countries concerned.


FRANK MAJOOR (Netherlands), Chairman, Country-specific Meeting on Sierra Leone, said that, upon request of the Government of Sierra Leone and the Security Council, the Organizational Committee had selected Sierra Leone to be one of the first countries to be considered by the Peacebuilding Commission.  Since then, focused discussions had taken place in two sessions of the Commission in its country-specific format.


He said it had been highlighted that, in Sierra Leone, important achievements had been made in restoring peace and stability and promoting post-conflict recovery.  Various strategies were being developed and implemented with the support of the international community: the Poverty Reduction Strategy; the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework; and the Peace-Consolidation Strategy.  All peacebuilding efforts should be linked to the existing strategies under the leadership and ownership of the Government of Sierra Leone.  The Government and the United Nations had established a national steering committee on peacebuilding to relate to the work of the Peacebuilding Commission and the Peacebuilding Fund.


It had been agreed that specific challenges under four critical areas needed to be addressed, he said, namely youth empowerment and employment; consolidating democracy and good governance; justice and security reform; and capacity-building.  Sierra Leone had been declared eligible to benefit from the Peacebuilding Fund and a country envelope in excess of $25 million was expected.  The international community was urged to ensure an adequate level of external assistance.  The Commission also called on the international community to provide adequate resources and support for the upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections, including capacity-building to ensure women’s equal participation in the political process.  The initial resource gap of $7 million for the elections had been reduced to less than $3 million.


He said those early developments showed that the Peacebuilding Commission was making a contribution to elevate post-conflict countries to firmer ground.  In Sierra Leone, that contribution should become apparent and the first signals of that were encouraging.  He was particularly encouraged by the way in which all stakeholders, prime among those the Government of Sierra Leone, were investing in the discussions and joint efforts under the umbrella of the Peacebuilding Commission.  That momentum must now be maintained.


The two Chairs of the country-specific meetings had developed a work plan for the coming months, which set a timeline and division of responsibilities for actions to be undertaken by the Sierra Leone Government, the United Nations system and other stakeholders, he said.  A key focus of the Country-Specific Meeting on Sierra Leone would be the development of an integrated approach to clearly outline the commitments made by the Government of Sierra Leone and the international community.


JOHAN L. LØVALD ( Norway), Chairman, Country-Specific Meeting on Burundi, said that an unacceptable number of peace agreements disintegrated, and countries were lapsing back into conflict.  “The need to do better is obvious,” he stressed, adding that “we must maintain and, if possible, further increase the momentum behind our peacebuilding efforts”.  While the focus at all times must be on concrete results at the country level, everyone was also conscious of the importance of the endeavour for the United Nations and the international community as a whole.  The Peacebuilding Commission, together with the Peacebuilding Support Office and the Peacebuilding Fund, had the potential to be a powerful tool to meet the challenges in a more coordinated and comprehensive manner.


He said he agreed with Jan Eliasson that it was in the country-specific settings that the work of the Peacebuilding Commission would ultimately be judged.  The Commission had quickly started its work with Burundi and Sierra Leone, and he was honoured to be a Vice-Chair of the Commission at the initial stage and to be leading its work on Burundi.  At the outset, the Government of Burundi had been asked to give the Commission guidance on critical peacebuilding challenges.  The Commission agreed that those were good governance; rule of law and security sector reform; and community recovery.  Based on those, several priorities had been identified, including strengthening national dialogue, continued efforts to include women in peace consolidation, sustained regional political support and strengthening the Government’s ability to deliver on basic services.


The Commission’s engagement with Burundi was entering a new phase, and a work plan for the Commission’s efforts in support of the country would be presented to members this week, he noted.  A key focus was to develop an integrated approach, clearly outlining Burundi’s commitments and the response to be provided by the international community in critical areas.  The Government had ownership over the process and was well set up for that, not least through the establishment of a joint peacebuilding mechanism, which brought together the Government, the United Nations and civil society and bilateral actors.  The Commission would work closely with that body on the work plan and on the integrated approach to peacebuilding.  Its support for peacebuilding in the country would cover several years and, by definition, involve a special partnership between Burundi and the international community.  Norway would work with the Commission on Burundi for “as long as this is necessary”, he pledged.  Norway would participate in the donors’ round table planned for March and would establish representation in Bujumbura in the near future.


CARMEN MARIA GALLARDO HERNANDEZ ( El Salvador), Chairperson, Working Group on Lessons Learned of the Peacebuilding Commission, said countries emerging from conflict aspired to achieve a way of life that provided security, sustainable development and the rule of law.  Those that had recently made the transition from peacekeeping to peacebuilding had shown the political will to reach those goals.  However, they lacked the necessary financial and other resources, which hampered the projects aimed at making the transformation to a working peace.  The Working Group’s mission was to compile a body of memory and a series of experiences for the benefit of future United Nations activities.


She said that, while it was necessary to respect the national character of each post-conflict situation, there were some similarities, including those relating to new forms of relationships between former adversaries, the need for civil security, youth employment and other requirements for the consolidation of national endeavours to avoid the risk of relapsing into violence.  The Working Group’s mission should constitute a source of inspiration and enrichment in order to guide the peacebuilding process and point the way forward in countries emerging from conflict.  It should listen to civil society, the private sector, various political actors and the United Nations system, all of which played a crucial role in resolving conflicts.


Speaking from a national perspective, she pointed out that her country was commemorating 15 years of peace since the signing in 1992 of its peace agreement in Mexico.  The United Nations had accompanied El Salvador throughout the negotiations leading up to that signing, and Salvadorians had achieved the necessary closure.  The country’s service on the Working Group was a way to give back for the assistance it had received when its people had needed it most.  Political will and continuing effort by all were vital in post-conflict situations.  The young must be given the support they required to prevent them from becoming a new threat to peace.  It was also important to foster a sense of hope through the Peacebuilding Commission, on which El Salvador was honoured to serve.


JEAN-LOUIS SCHILTZ, Minister for Cooperation and Humanitarian Action and Minister of Defence of Luxembourg, aligning himself with the statement on behalf of the European Union, said that, when the wars stopped, the real fight began. After peace, a battle to reconcile began; a battle for reconstruction and for revived economic activity.  That was the daily battle that must be waged to prevent a relapse into violence.  To win those battles, they must be waged together, as the problems were too enormous to be attacked by one.  The international community had to pull together, agree on priorities and pool resources to attain the set goals. 


There was no security without development and no development without security, he said, and neither could exist without the existence of human rights.  That was the mandate of the Peacebuilding Commission.  The international community had not allowed itself to be discouraged by the magnitude of the challenge.  The Peacebuilding Commission would be one of the greatest achievements of the 2005 World Summit.  His country had participated proudly in the work of the Commission, as it viewed the management of conflicts and post-conflict situations as central to its foreign policy.  Factors such as national reconciliation and resolution of political, ethnic and religious conflicts, the reform of the security sector, the redesigning of traditional police and penitentiary authorities and the fight against impunity must find its proper place.


He said that Luxembourg had announced official development assistance (ODA) of 0.9 per cent of its gross national income.  Each time that weapons were used, it meant a step back from development, as could be seen, for instance, in Côte d’Ivoire and Mali, where incidents had impeded the development of the whole region.  Violence had never helped to meet the most basic needs of the populations.  In Mali, the population had found a reliable partner in Luxembourg, one that understood the peace dividend.  Financial assistance had increased and basic social services had been expanded.  With such experience, his country intended to contribute to the work of the Peacebuilding Commission.


Organizational problems always appeared in the beginning, he said. It would be up to the Support Office to identify the countries and multilateral organizations concerned with a particular country and then design specific intervention strategies.  The Peacebuilding Commission met a need that had been felt acutely, as the resurgence of violence after a peace agreement could no longer be tolerated.  The need for coherent action had never been formulated as clearly as during the last years.  It was up to Member States to invest energetically in the work of the Peacebuilding Commission.


KIRSTY GRAHAM (New Zealand), also speaking on behalf of Australia and Canada (CANZ), said that, despite the progress achieved in the year since the creation of the Peacebuilding Commission, CANZ had been disappointed by the overemphasis placed on procedural matters by some members of the Commission, at the expense of substantive issues.  CANZ urged the Commission to find new ways of working that would benefit the challenges before it, including working informally when possible, in order to maximize progress, refocusing on its core mandate of advising United Nations organs on integrated strategies for post-conflict peacebuilding, giving attention and resources to reconstruction and institution-building, and serving as a focused forum for discussions related to war-to-peace transitions.


That mandate needed to be approached in an action-oriented flexible manner, with results identified that could be realistically achieved, she continued.  The Commission should develop modalities to ensure active participation of civil society and other Governments in all areas of the Commission’s work.  CANZ also continued to believe that the Commission should focus on those cases where it could have the greatest impact, and which could be viewed as immediate positive contribution to kick-start a longer-term peace process.


As Burundi and Sierra Leone made the transition towards lasting peace, international support remained critical, she said.  CANZ Governments were pleased to see that the Commission’s December sessions had identified several cross-cutting thematic issues, including support for political dialogue for Burundi, and strengthening democratic governance and gender mainstreaming for Sierra Leone.  That was very important work to ensure that whatever activities were undertaken by the Commission did not duplicate efforts already under way and meaningfully advanced international coordination.  While better coordination of the donor community and international financial institutions was a key objective, the Commission was more than just a location for pledging assistance.  He hoped its efforts in relation to the national peacebuilding strategies of Sierra Leone and Burundi would begin to build the basis of an expertise for identifying and addressing thematic areas in need of attention.  That would require a new investment of intellectual capital to develop a strategic peacebuilding framework.


Needless to say, the Peacebuilding Commission was unlikely to achieve its full potential until that basic vision of its objectives and output was articulated, he said.  For that, such issues as security and justice sector reform; disarmament, demobilization and reintegration; children and armed conflict; and refugees and internally displaced persons should be taken up on a thematic basis.  In that regard, CANZ was particularly encouraged when, at the country-specific meetings on Burundi and Sierra Leone, the Commission had reaffirmed the centrality of Security Council resolution 1325 (2000) on women, peace and security for the implementation of peacebuilding strategies.  That work needed to be expanded to other areas of cross-cutting significance, as the Commission sought to design a strategic framework against which it could frame its advice and its interventions.


The Commission was a vital component of the wider United Nations reform agenda, he added.  The countries he represented looked forward to working with the Commission as it sought to clarify its role and make a positive contribution to the very important task of building durable peace in countries emerging from conflict.


MAGED ABDEL AZIZ ( Egypt) said that experience had proven that the broad concept of peacebuilding needed to be tackled through a multidimensional approach.  Therefore, the main objective for establishing the Commission through the adoption of joint Security Council and General Assembly resolution was to ensure the international community’s uninterrupted involvement in specific conflict situations.  The Security Council was involved when situations posed a threat to international peace and security.  The Assembly, the Economic and Social Council and its relevant subsidiary bodies were involved to enable countries to deal in an integrated manner with the economic, social and humanitarian aspects of peacebuilding, with the support of international financial institutions, donors and other partners.


He went on to say that, despite preliminary achievements in Burundi and Sierra Leone, the Peacebuilding Commission still needed to resolve some organizational matters, particularly since it was a new body.  The past six months had demonstrated that Member States had differing views on the way the Commission would carry out its work.  It was, therefore, necessary for the Commission to strike a balanced relationship with other United Nations organs and lay out a clear programme of work.  He said that it was clear that the General Assembly was the organ that had primary responsibility for dealing with such issues, not only because it was the Organization’s most representative body, but because it was responsible for reviewing and providing policy guidance to the Commission.


Still, Member States had to gradually improve the rules of procedure as the Commission evolved and as priorities arose, while not interfering with its functioning, he said, adding that General Assembly’s rules of procedure should be implemented in cases where the Commission’s own rules fell short.  Among other things, he said, there was also a need to ensure the Commission’s transparency and accountability, based on the responsibility of all its members.  The Peacebuilding Support Office should be accountable to the Commission and not to any other organ.


SABELO SIVUYILE MAQUNGO ( South Africa) noted that, when the 2005 Summit had called for the creation of the Peacebuilding Commission, it was with the realization that countries emerging from conflict did not have a “home” within the United Nations system.  Country ownership of the Commission’s strategies was a necessary ingredient for long-term success.  The Commission should, therefore, have first-hand knowledge about other role-players on the ground that were promoting post-conflict recovery in a country emerging from conflict, as it was best placed to enhance coordination and cooperation among the various stakeholders.  One of the Commission’s strengths was that it could organize emergency resources that were often the glue that kept countries from sliding back into conflict.  The fact that the Commission could raise seed money, however, did not make it a donor agency.


He added that the Commission needed to set some operational goals, including making sure that countries emerging from conflict had full ownership of the building of the peace for the benefit of their people.  The Commission also needed to develop permanent and predictable rules of procedure.  It should be clear to everyone what the Commission was about, what it could do and what it could not do.  The Commission was too important to the lives of the people in countries that were emerging from conflict.  He agreed that the Peacebuilding Commission should consider, as a matter of urgency, taking field missions to Freetown and Bujumbura, in order to evaluate the situation on the ground and to exchange information with Government authorities, civil society and other key stakeholders.  Field missions should be an integral tool of the Commission.


GIANCARLO SOLER TORRIJOS (Panama), aligning himself with the statement of the Non-Aligned Movement, said the meeting, like the one in the Security Council last week, would serve to strengthen and give guidance to the Peacebuilding Commission and to the important work entrusted to it. The Peacebuilding Commission had been established at the 2005 World Summit to assist countries emerging from conflict to end hostilities and to take the road to recovery.  Recovery was a process, however, not an event.  It would be indispensable to pursue coordinated joint efforts by the Peacebuilding Commission, on the one hand, and the Assembly, the Economic and Social Council and the Security Council, on the other.


He said it fell to the Organizational Committee to better define a few concepts in the structure and functioning of the Peacebuilding Commission, such as the mandate and the principle of country ownership.  According to the mandate, the Commission needed to work as an advisory body.  However, the Commission would need to go beyond an advisory role, and the mandate should, therefore, be seen in a flexible spirit, avoiding bureaucratic processes.  Country ownership was a complex principle and did not necessarily mean that a country could adopt and implement programmes on its own as it saw most appropriate.  It meant that a country needed to agree with the Commission and adopt a plan for establishment of policies and institutions necessary for recovery.


NIRUPAM SEN (India), aligning himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said that spending a considerable amount of time on “housekeeping issues” may have been a valid exercise during initial discussions to define what the Peacebuilding Commission would do and how it would go about achieving its goals.  However, to continue indefinitely discussing preliminary issues like reporting responsibilities, participation and operational matters to the detriment of assisting in the consolidation of peace in post-conflict societies would be to miss the wood for the trees.


In terms of procedure and priority, India accepted the premise that the country-specific meetings were crucial in ensuring that assistance and advice were speedily and effectively administered to candidate countries, he said.  However, it was difficult to accept that such a “process mechanism” took precedence over the Organizational Committee, which was the Commission’s steering mechanism.  Rather than asking themselves which took precedence, Member States should more practically ask themselves how the work of the Organizational Committee and the country-specific configurations could be harmonized and made more complementary.


Similarly, the Peacebuilding Commission’s success was critically dependent on a harmonious and effective Organizational Committee, he said, reiterating the metaphor that 31 pilots arguing over a ship’s steering wheel would only run the vessel aground.  There was a need to change the course of discourse within the Organizational Committee, which could be addressed to some extent if there was a larger sense of overarching purpose to its meetings.  Beyond that was the need to increase mutual trust by creating a more collegial and consultative approach.  The Peacebuilding Support Office, the United Nations Secretariat and each Member State on the Organizational Committee shared a responsibility to do so.


He said common ground lay in recognizing that the goal was to assist candidate countries with funding, mobilizing donor support and designing policies that would consolidate peace.  While India welcomed inputs from all sectors of society, both nationally and internationally, the primary focus must be aimed at strengthening the capacity of a post-conflict State to govern effectively and to mobilize human and material resources to achieve development.  Finally, there was need to renew the focus and commitment to the larger cause of assisting the candidate countries, to listen more closely to their concerns and react with greater dispatch to their requests.  Doing so would not only assist the States concerned in the process of post-conflict peace consolidation, but also demonstrate the efficacy of the Peacebuilding Commission.


ANA PAOLA BARBOSA ( Mexico) said the Peacebuilding Commission had been set up as a test of multilateralism, and expectations were great.  If the Commission yielded positive result, the multilateral system would have gained additional capital to make headway on other aspects of the development agenda.  The contributions of the United Nations to reduce conflicts had been significant, but the Organization had failed to prevent recurrence of conflicts in internal wars.  Efforts of the Peacebuilding Commission should amend that record.


She said the Peacebuilding Commission had a clear-cut mandate that should not be encroached upon by the Security Council or any other organ.  The decisions and aim of the Commission should be guided by the principle of an integrated approach to peacebuilding.  Some cases in the past had shown that disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programmes should be carried out in parallel with programmes to foster respect for human rights, for instance.  The concept of peacebuilding was based on the link between security, development and the rule of law.  There was no single model for peacebuilding.  Each case was unique.  In that regard, she welcomed the decision to form a working group on lessons learned, emphasizing that every national case should be treated with a specific focus.


She said that the Commission needed clarity of priorities and purposes.  While welcoming the Secretary-General’s announcement on 29 October 2006 that $35 million had been contributed to the Peacebuilding Fund, she said that a sustainable commitment was required by all donors.  Without availability of adequate resources from the Fund, the Commission could not fulfil its mandate.  The Commission must also function on a basis of a well-defined set of rules of procedures.  The meetings of the Organizational Committee should be conducted openly and publicly to ensure that all Member State would be aware of the proceedings.   She urged Member States to ensure equitable geographical distribution in the several bodies.  It was time to maintain a proactive and innovative attitude when faced with post-conflict situations.  “Let us not fail to take advantage of the opportunity given to the multilateral system,” she said.


KENZO OSHIMA ( Japan) said Member States collectively shouldered the responsibility for ensuring that the Peacebuilding Commission achieved its full potential.  Established as an intergovernmental advisory body, the Commission should address issues that encompassed the mandates of the principle organs, as well as other United Nations entities.  Improved dialogue and coordination, both in New York and on the ground, was needed.  The Commission had made steady progress so far, successfully identifying priority areas for the countries in question and putting consultation mechanisms into operation.  Established to help prevent the relapse of conflict by making a difference on the ground, the Commission was now entering the critical phase, in which it must demonstrate tangible achievements in the two countries under consideration.


He said the Commission needed to focus on creating an integrated peacebuilding strategy for each country through extensive consultations in the country-specific meetings.  It also needed to specify more focused target areas within the identified priorities to ensure that those strategies were action-oriented.  Institution-building and human security were two important dimensions of peacebuilding.  Strong national ownership was also essential.  Japan remained committed to the active participation of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in all meetings, including those of the Organizational Committee.  The establishment of an on-site coordinating and monitoring mechanism would significantly contribute to the strategy’s implementation.  He strongly encouraged the countries that had recovered from conflict to share their experiences in the next stage of consultations.


Enhancing the synergy and interaction between the General Assembly and the Commission was critical, he added, suggesting that the Assembly President and the Commission’s Chair hold regular meetings to discuss pressing issues.  The Assembly’s role was important both in substantial and organizational terms, particularly in the Commission’s teething stages.  Encouraged by recent efforts to institutionalize the Commission, he appreciated the long-awaited proposal of the work plans for the country-specific meetings.  His delegation fully supported the basic framework of the work plans.


MUNIR AKRAM (Pakistan), supporting the statement by the Non-Aligned Movement, said there was a lack of clarity regarding the Peacebuilding Commission’s relations with the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council and the General Assembly.  While paragraph 15 of resolution 60/180 gave some clarity on the relationship between the Commission and the Assembly, such clarity was absent with respect to its relationship with the Economic and Social Council.  There were vast areas where the Commission needed to interact with that Council, including debt relief, capacity-building, governance, the strengthening of democracy, economic recovery, budgetary support and youth unemployment.  All those areas fell within the Economic and Social Council’s purview and the Commission should devise an institutional mechanism to utilize the Economic and Social Council Charter role to advance international action in those areas with regard to the countries and situations on its agenda.


The relationship between the Commission and the Security Council was clearer, he said, noting that the situations in Burundi and Sierra Leone had been placed on the Council’s agenda in response to its request for advice.  As such, the Security Council was within its right to examine the operational aspects of those two situations on the basis of deliberations and conclusions.  But the relationship should be interactive.  It would be useful to evoke responses from the Council to some broad questions.  For example, how the Commission’s advice could best be used, whether the Commission’s deliberations influenced the two countries, how to improve the Commission’s cooperation with the Council and whether the interface of the seven Council members in the Commission was enough, or if there was a need for wider consultations.


There had been unfortunate efforts to downplay the Organizational Committee’s position and role, he said.  While there was a general understanding that most of the Peacebuilding Commission’s work would be done in the country-specific formats, the Organizational Committee should also have an oversight role over the work of the country-specific groups.  Furthermore, the Committee should coordinate the interaction of the Peacebuilding Commission with the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council and the General Assembly.  It should also meet more frequently and regularly.


Regarding the substantive aspects of the Commission’s work, he said it was still in the process of “learning by doing”.  Despite difficulties and constraints, the Commission had embarked on some serious work.  The preparations for and the quality and scope of its discussions in the country-specific meetings, had progressively improved.  Key priorities had been identified and work plans were now under preparation with corresponding timelines for actions to be undertaken.  To further improve the Commission’s substantive work, Pakistan proposed, among other things, better planning and preparation for country-specific meetings; substantial discussions of the Secretary-General’s reports on the activities of United Nations Integrated Offices in Burundi and Sierra Leone; greater emphasis on the elaboration and implementation of integrated national plans by the national authorities concerned; clearer identification of the gaps in implementing integrated national plans and relevant actors who could help bridge them; and substantial improvement in sharing information, especially with countries on the Commission’s agenda, its members and stakeholders.


FIDELIS E. IDOKO (Nigeria), aligning himself with the statement of the Non-Aligned Movement, said the Peacebuilding Commission had largely overcome initial “hiccups” and was now poised to deliver on the objectives envisaged by the 2005 World Summit.  The Organizational Committee had successfully organized two country-specific meetings on Burundi and Sierra Leone that had brought together important actors, and the Governments of the two countries had assumed ownership of the priority needs.  Although fears had been expressed that the dual parentage of the Peacebuilding Commission in the General Assembly and the Security Council could become a liability, the combined support of the Assembly and the Council was necessary for the strengthening of the Commission and should be exploited.


He said that, for millions of people from countries emerging from conflict, the Peacebuilding Commission represented a beacon of hope and succour to their lives.  Burundi and Sierra Leone would be used as test cases.  Many countries emerging from conflict in need of assistance were eagerly waiting to be considered.  It was, therefore, imperative that the Commission was given maximum support and assistance to be able to deliver on its mandate.


Bearing in mind that country-specific meetings offered the best forum to bring the Commission closer to beneficiaries, he said his delegation encouraged the Commission to interact more with relevant actors on the ground.  The Organizational Committee should meet more regularly to ensure that decisions taken would be promptly pursued.  It would also be beneficial if the Commission devoted more time to resource mobilization.  Further, Commission members should undertake visits to countries under consideration.  The Commission must be result-oriented, as its success would be measured against the difference it brought to the lives of people in countries emerging from conflict.


HOANG CHI TRUNG ( Viet Nam) said his delegation was satisfied with the progress that had been achieved in the cases of both Burundi and Sierra Leone in national reconstruction and rehabilitation since having been taken up by the Peacebuilding Commission.  At the same time, with the Commission’s first anniversary approaching, certain challenges were becoming apparent, and it was, therefore, important to redefine and revitalize the purpose and mission of the new body.


“Unless the Peacebuilding Commission manages to develop its own rules of procedure and working methods in a transparent, coherent and results-oriented manner, it will fail to bring added value and identify a niche for itself,” he said.  He went on to say that, in order for the Commission to live up to the aspirations of the international community, improvements must be made in several areas.  The Commission must fully mobilize the United Nations broad experience, spanning conflict prevention, mediation, peacekeeping, humanitarian assistance, reconstruction and sustainable development, in conjunction with resources from international financial institutions, non-governmental organizations, civil society and the private sector.


Further, after the necessary consultations took place at both Headquarters and in the field, international support must be carefully arranged in a flexible and well-coordinated compact, and then funnelled into predetermined priority sectors in recipient countries.  Finally, national ownership of post-conflict peacebuilding priority plans and initiatives must remain at the forefront of any efforts aimed at sustaining peace, initiating development and promoting post-conflict recovery.


IVÁN ROMERO MARTÍNEZ ( Honduras), supporting the Non-Aligned Movement, said today’s session would review the progress made and the possibility of improving peacebuilding mechanisms for countries emerging from armed conflict or social instability.  The Peacebuilding Commission’s fundamental task was to prevent the relapse into conflict and to promote the emergence of justice and equality.  By maintaining continuous contact with the General Assembly, the Security Council and the Economic and Social Council, the Commission fulfilled an important role in the process of United Nations reform.


He stressed the imperative need for adequate social development, which, united with a desire to eradicate poverty, could generate hope in many societies.  Inequity, injustice, poverty, lack of education and oppression constituted incitement to armed confrontation -- a picture that was aggravated at times by the lack of markets for fairly priced goods from developing countries.  Honduras advocated a more just, humane and united international economic system and warmly commended the efforts exerted by the Peacebuilding Commission thus far.


The Commission’s task was not an easy one, and solutions were not easily found, he said.  Peacebuilding was understood as a means to reverse social injustice as a source of armed conflict.  The Commission’s role was a valuable one for the United Nations.  He expressed support for the new organ and offered complete cooperation with it.  The Honduran delegation aspired to peace with dignity, shared by all, as enshrined in the words of the United Nations Charter.


SYLVESTER E. ROWE ( Sierra Leone) said the current debate not only served to assert the General Assembly’s authority in the establishment and functioning of the Peacebuilding Commission and to underscore the vital role of that new mechanism, it also served as a reminder for the international community that it must remain engaged beyond the end of peacekeeping operations.  The debate was, furthermore, intended to show that the Peacebuilding Commission was operational, and that it needed the solidarity of all Member State and relevant organizations during the “teething stage” of its existence.


He said that, for a new and complex intergovernmental machinery that was less than a year old, the Peacebuilding Commission was beginning to make a positive impact on the expectations of Sierra Leone.  The Commission was also learning from the country.  Sierra Leone had facilitated the Commission’s consideration, because it had already prepared its own national strategic development frameworks, including the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper, the Peace-Consolidation Strategy and the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework.  It had also set four priority areas that posed critical challenges to the peace consolidation effort.  Seven weeks ago, the Commission had concluded that an initial assistance envelope of $25 million was expected to be made available.


The bottom line for achieving the objectives of the Peacebuilding Commission was the availability and timely delivery of resources, he said.  Although his country did not underestimate the advisory and coordinating function of the Commission, Sierra Leoneans, still struggling to make ends meet and to cope with the disastrous consequences of a 10-year war, found it almost impossible to understand anything about integrated strategies, strategy papers, reports and frameworks.


He said his country’s emphasis on resources was also based on an unfortunate experience in 1998, a year before the Lome Peace Agreement.  Implementation of a modest national plan for disarmament and demobilization had collapsed because of the lack of adequate and timely delivery of resources.  Its “teething problems” notwithstanding, the prospects for fulfilling the mandate of the Commission were very good.  In that regard, he noted the draft outline of the country-specific work plan for Sierra Leone and a draft calendar of events of the country-specific meetings of the Commission.  He welcomed the fact that his delegation had been consulted in the preparation of those drafts.


HERALDO MUÑOZ (Chile), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said the Peacebuilding Commission was involved in a process of consolidation, the future challenge of which would be its own relevance.  It was essential to endow the new organ with the necessary leadership, resources and efforts.  It could not and should not become an entity for academic debate, but proactively engage with countries emerging from conflict.  It was also necessary to ensure broad participation in a search for solutions to all the problems afflicting such countries.


He said the Organizational Committee, particularly its country-specific configurations, should avoid competitive approaches.  What was needed was cooperation between the General Assembly and the Security Council, as well as coordination with the Economic and Social Council.  In addition, it was important that, in addition to its regular meetings, the Committee be given the leeway to hold as many informal meetings as possible, especially in the country-specific context.


While national priorities in countries emerging from conflict came out of an internal process, they must be addressed in a two-track dimension, from which the Peacebuilding Commission could not be excluded, he said.  In the months it had been working on Burundi and Sierra Leone, specific action plans had been reviewed concerning actions in those countries.  Aid had been disbursed and it was of the greatest importance that the Organizational Committee had an accurate assessment of the situation on the ground.  Therefore, it should send to those countries missions comprising a delegation whose size would enable it to travel around and make as wide an evaluation as possible.  With respect to the development of integrated strategies for Burundi and Sierra Leone, they required follow-up work, and Chile committed itself to cooperate towards that end.  Until that stage, the essential thing was that the Commission cooperate fully and concretely with countries emerging from conflict.


IGOR SHCHERBAK (Russian Federation) stressed that lasting peace could only be achieved by a comprehensive approach, noting that the Peacebuilding Commission was a unique body designed to fill a major gap in United Nations peacebuilding.  It possessed great practical potential and could become one of the world’s most important bodies for international post-conflict recovery.


He said his country expected that today’s meeting, like the one held under the Russian presidency of the Security Council on 31 January, would create conditions for effective and productive work.  The transition from peacekeeping and post-conflict peacebuilding was accompanied by great challenges, to which the relevant Governments must identify solutions according to their resources.  The Commission should be a worthy partner in those efforts for sustainable development.


The Commission should avoid making overambitious plans, he said, adding that it should focus its attention on carrying out transparent work in the countries on its agenda and identify its priorities.  Greater attention should be given to the smooth interface between the Commission and already existing bodies.  In addition, the intrinsic link between peace, security and development called for a clear division of labour, which must be carried out in tandem with efforts by the three major United Nations organs.


CHOI YOUNG-JIN ( Republic of Korea) said that, although it had only recently become operational, the Peacebuilding Commission had already begun to play its role.  The Peacebuilding Fund was in place and two country-specific meetings had been held so far, resulting in thoughtful recommendations on how to proceed with peacebuilding activities in Burundi and Sierra Leone.  Those early outcomes had demonstrated the potential of the Commission, and he hoped it would be increasingly action-oriented.  To build trust for its activities and to fulfil its promise of increased efficiency and coherence, the Commission must ensure that its work was transparent and open to oversight by the Member States.


He said that financial resources for the Commission should be ensured.  His country had contributed $3 million to the Peacebuilding Fund.  Beyond its important role in responding to the initial needs of post-conflict societies, the Peacebuilding Fund should also serve to keep international attention on post-conflict situations, prompting the international community to help with financing for crucial rebuilding and development work.


As for national ownership, he said it was neither possible nor desirable to build a sustainable peace without the active participation of the national authorities.  However, in some cases, the very basis of the conflict was a dispute over national authority.  Every effort should be made to maintain national ownership of peacebuilding, but, in extreme cases, when there was a lack of competent national authority, the international community still had a responsibility to provide support for post-conflict peacebuilding.


CESAR MAYORAL ( Argentina) said that it was fundamentally important for national authorities of countries under consideration to participate in all areas of the Commission’s decision-making process.  That would help the Commission come up with a more realistic vision of the specific strategies and targeted initiatives it needed to develop.  The objective should be to lay out short-, medium and long-term plans that could be effectively implemented and followed-up by the Commission, working with other relevant United Nations agencies, as well as development and financial partners and donors.  He added that the Commission needed to elaborate its rules of procedure and include the necessary supervisory methods to avoid any lags in or misuse of funding.  He went on to express his countries pleasure at Panama’s election to the Commission, which would improve the new body’s imbalanced geographical representation.


JANINA HŘEBÍČKOVÁ ( Czech Republic) said her country believed that the Commission was one of the major achievements in United Nations reform, which was why it had been among the first to have contributed to the Fund.  She fully supported the statement made on behalf of the European Union today.  The Czech Republic had become a new member of the Commission’s Organizational Committee and, as such, committed itself to active contributions to the activities of both the Committee and the country-specific meetings, which were a crucial base for success in the countries on the agenda.  The Commission should become action-oriented, not be held hostage to bureaucratic and procedural manoeuvres and act on the basis of mutual trust.


She stressed that both the Organizational Committee and country-specific meetings should now focus on the concrete working plans produced by Governments of both Burundi and Sierra Leone.  One of the Commission’s priorities was to engage in early warning of possible setbacks and risks in the countries on its agenda, so as to better serve the General Assembly, the Security Council and the Economic and Social Council in identifying an optimal mix of measures and taking concerted action to build sustainable peace.  Her country was in a position to assist in post-conflict democratic processes and human rights protection.  It was crucial, however, to focus on transitional justice projects and planning, as permanent peace must be built on the rule of law, inclusion of civil society and free access to information.  The Fund’s role was primarily catalytic.  The amounts contributed to it were important, but even more important was choosing the “right mix of projects” directed at the most imminent post-conflict problems and needs, while not losing sight of the overall peacebuilding strategies.


PIRAGIBE DOS SANTOS TARRAGÔ ( Brazil) said that, as the Organization’s most democratic forum, the General Assembly was the most appropriate body to hold a comprehensive debate on the Peacebuilding Commission’s work thus far.  The new body had been created as a powerful instrument to assist in the transition between conflict and sustained peace.  However, even at this early stage, the Commission had very little to show for itself, which did not bode well for its future initiatives.  He noted that “strenuous” negotiations had preceded the Commission’s creation in 2005, and the built-in imbalance in the composition of the Organizational Committee had generated much acrimony, and could be faulted for the Commission’s “shaky beginning”.


Brazil believed that much more attention should be paid to the principle of equitable geographical distribution, in order to ensure democratic management of the Commission’s affairs and genuine participation in its work.  Reminding delegations that the Commission -- a product of the General Assembly and the Security Council, with close links to the Economic and Social Council -- was a “novelty”, he stressed that the new body had a long way to go before it generated the expected results.  Indeed, the Commission had not even completed drafting its working methods, which was another reason for its rocky start.  He added that little attention had been given to the drafting of rules of procedure, which had led to lengthy debates on issues of little or no relevance.


He said the Commission was an important addition to the United Nations family and should be supported by the Assembly, since it could be the one venue that could muster the international cooperation that would enable conflict countries recover more quickly from the problems brought on by political instability and lack of security.  Brazil, therefore, believed that the Assembly should help the Peacebuilding Commission gain legitimacy and authority as an advisory body in the United Nations system.  Among other things, the Assembly could address the imbalance on the Commission’s Organizational Committee when it elected the next round of members and, when the Assembly reviewed the Commission’s work, it could also issue appropriate guidance on the involvement of the entire United Nations system towards helping post-conflict countries.


HJÁLMAR W. HANNESSON ( Iceland) said the Commission’s establishment, with the Peacebuilding Support Office and Peacebuilding Fund, was a key achievement of the United Nations reform process and should be developed to become the centre point of the United Nations effort to help strengthen post-conflict countries.  To achieve that, it was necessary to ensure that the Commission’s work was both flexible and results-oriented, focusing on country-specific situations.  The Commission’s approach should be comprehensive, with a strong focus on concrete recommendations for action on the ground.  Respect for human rights was a fundamental and integral aspect of that approach.  There was also need to ensure the necessary follow-up and practical implementation of its recommendations in a systematic manner, through regular review meetings.


Noting progress achieved during the first seven months, he said the Commission must now build on that work in the months ahead to develop its strategic goals and rules of procedure, as well as to strengthen its cooperation and consultations with all relevant actors.  There was a need to further develop the working relationship among the Commission, the Security Council, the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council.  In that context, it was necessary to focus on effectiveness and complementarity and strive to avoid duplication of efforts.  While the Commission had an ambitious agenda to fulfil, its success would ultimately depend on the full involvement and commitment of the countries concerned, Member States, United Nations bodies on the ground, civil society and non-governmental organizations.


ADUYATWIDI ADIWOSO ASMADY (Indonesia), aligning herself with the statement of the Non-Aligned Movement, said that, as expectations for the Peacebuilding Commission were high, it was a common responsibility of all to ensure full support by the Assembly, the Security Council and the Economic and Social Council.  One of the fundamental requirements of the Commission was to play a central role in leveraging the comparative advantages of relevant international and national entities.  Coordination between the pertinent institutions, including United Nations bodies, needed to be enhanced.  The Commission’s work should neither create further complexity for existing processes, nor lead to micro-management of activities carried out in the countries concerned.  National ownership was paramount.


She said another core function of the Commission was to marshal resources towards the post-conflict requirements.  Considering the multidimensional nature of the occurrence of conflicts, it was imperative that the Commission take a comprehensive approach when proposing integrated peacebuilding strategies.  The Economic and Social Council had an important role to play, particularly with the technical capabilities of its various functional and regional commissions and other subsidiary bodies.


The last two country-specific meetings on Burundi and Sierra Leone had shown a greater action orientation, she said.  Along with the development of integrated peacebuilding strategies with the full involvement of the Governments of Burundi and Sierra Leone, it was critical that the Peacebuilding Commission also monitor the progress on other key elements, such as the disbursement of funding.  More frequent meetings in a structured manner were necessary.  The work of both the Organizational Committee and country-specific meetings was seminal, and both needed support.  However, the Organizational Committee had a broader purview.  A properly empowered and robust Committee would serve to strengthen the work of the Commission as a whole.


MIRJANA MLADINEO ( Croatia) said it was important to recall that the Commission had been established to fill a gap in United Nations peacebuilding.  For the first time, the United Nations had a mechanism ensuring that countries emerging from conflict had a better chance for sustainable peace.  In that regard, the Commission’s establishment was truly historic.  For the peacebuilding process to be effective, national consensus and the political commitment of the Government in question was needed.  Sustainable international support for that effort was also needed, however.  By working together, Governments and the international community needed to create a conducive environment for democracy, good governance, human rights and the rule of law.  The Assembly’s involvement, with its constant focus on those issues, was of utmost importance.


The international community needed to empower Governments to establish, operationalize and carry out sustainable development strategies that included not only short- and long-term development goals, such as education for all, access to health and social services and a gender-equality perspective.  While Governments needed to take full responsibility for the strategy and its implementation, international programmes needed to be fully aligned with the strategy.  The Commission needed to ensure that the international and national link was strong and coordinated.  It was important, therefore, to work further on consolidation of its practices.  Member States needed to learn by doing, and not become encumbered by heavy rules and restrictions.  Established to promote new practices in the United Nations work, ultimately, the Commission’s value-added role would be measured by its impact on the ground.


MUHAMMAD ALI SORCAR ( Bangladesh) said he was heartened by the step-by-step institutionalization of the peacebuilding process through the establishment of the Peacebuilding Commission, the Peacebuilding Support Office and the Peacebuilding Fund.  Those three bodies, with the Commission at the centre, must work in tandem and not get involved in jurisdictional or procedural overstepping.  The Commission should marshal critical actors to assist national authorities in immediate post-relief recovery efforts to pave the way for medium- to long-term reconstruction.  The Organizational Committee should be at the helm of all peacebuilding activities and take stock of inputs from all relevant agencies.  In that context, the Support Office’s role should be to act as a link between the Secretary-General and the Commission and to be the repository of wisdom, knowledge and best practices.


Post-conflict societies must take charge of their own destiny, he said.  It had taken Bangladesh decades of nation-building efforts to achieve the level of macroeconomic stability it had today.  In the same vein, it was the responsibility of national Governments to set out their respective national priorities and guide the United Nations peacebuilding efforts to their fullest benefit.  It was imperative to build pluralist political institutions to provide a societal framework, in which peacebuilding activities could flourish.  The root causes of conflict also needed to be identified and appropriate remedial measures adopted.  Restoration of an environment of mutual trust, confidence and tolerance through the repair and transformation of damaged relationships was the key to the cessation of hostilities.  Justice and the rule of law needed to gain ground for creating a social base where human rights were respected.


Throughout the peacebuilding process, it was important to create “peace constituencies”, he said.  Middle range actors, such as teachers, lawyers and religious leaders, could function as links between the grass-roots and higher levels.  As peacebuilding was an all-encompassing exercise, the efforts of Governments alone would not suffice.  Sincere and unqualified support from the private sector, civil society and development partners was needed.  Civil society could lend vital support to the public authorities.  While he was grateful for the interest in the Commission’s work, gratification should not lead to complacency.  Inter-agency relations should be further strengthened.  The Committee should also play a more proactive role.  On top of everything, the Commission should be untiring in its self-evaluation.  It was only the beginning of the journey with many post-conflict societies waiting to be served.


ANDERS LIDÉN (Sweden), aligning himself with the statement of the European Union, said the establishment of the Peacebuilding Commission constituted one of the major reform achievements of the 2005 World Summit. His country had participated in the initial two meetings of the country-specific meeting on Sierra Leone.  The Commission had identified a set of challenges and gaps and had also started to monitor progress and make recommendations.  In the next phase, the Commission should become more concrete and action-oriented, based on an interactive and frank exchange of views.  The meetings should, therefore, be thoroughly prepared.


He said the Commission should help achieve a higher level of coordination and burden-sharing among actors in Sierra Leone.   It should also become a forum for open dialogue between the Government and the other participants.  He appreciated the elaboration of a concrete work plan on measures to be taken by the Government of Sierra Leone.  Also, the international community welcomed the fact that the Peacebuilding Support Office was now more or less fully staffed and should be in a better position to prepare and follow-up the meetings of the Commission.  The Assembly, the Security Council and the Economic and Social Council all had vital and complementary roles to play.  The international financial institutions should also be involved.  Non-governmental organizations should be part of the common efforts in the Commission’s framework.


Within the United Nations, concerted efforts under the leadership of the Peacebuilding Support Office should ensure coherence and coordination of activities, he said.  The Department of Peacekeeping Operations, the Department of Political Affairs and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) all had special responsibilities in that regard.  The Peacebuilding Fund was an important component of that architecture.  It was important to keep in mind that the Fund had never been intended to become the main vehicle for financial support.  He understood the initial need for the Commission not to strain limited capacity and to gain experience, but it was essential that, relatively soon, other post-conflict situations be considered.


PRASAD KARIYAWASAM (Sri Lanka), associating himself with the statement of the Non-Aligned Movement, said the main purposes of the Peacebuilding Commission were bringing together all relevant actors to marshal resources; supporting institution-building and integrated strategies for sustainable development; and assuring predictable financing for early recovery activities.  The Commission’s repository of authority remained the Organizational Committee.  Country-specific configurations were intended to bring together relevant actors and development partners to assist in recovery efforts.  There were other purposes, as well.  No two post-conflict peacebuilding situations were alike.  The Commission should, therefore, approach each peacebuilding situation with the specific emphasis, attention and adequate resources it deserved.


The affirmation of the primary responsibility of national Governments in identifying their priorities and strategies was an essential condition, he said.  The need to enhance coordination among other organs of the United Nations remained another parameter.  The composition of the Organizational Committee added strength and balance to the work of the peacebuilding efforts.  Procedures and methodology adopted by the Secretariat in conducting the work of the Peacebuilding Commission should continue to improve, leading to more efficient, transparent and practical working methods.


KAREN PIERCE (United Kingdom), aligning herself with the statement of the European Union, said she was optimistic about the value that the new body, which was still feeling its way, could add.  The Peacebuilding Commission had been created because countries emerging from conflict had no natural home at the United Nations, and several had slipped back into conflict when international attention switched elsewhere.  The Commission ensured that such countries would remain on the agenda and benefit from the respective scrutiny of the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council and the Assembly.  For a specific situation, the national Government, troop-contributing countries, donors, the international financial institutions and other actors could work together within a coordinated set of priorities, covering security, social, economic and rule of law issues.


She said the Commission’s core mandate was its country-specific work with strong national leadership.  The Commission should look comprehensively at peacebuilding to identify the most pressing priorities and make recommendations; involve a wide range of actors, including civil society and the private sector; provide scrutiny and honest assessments of progress and problems; and ensure follow-up and compilation of lessons learned.


The oversight role of the Assembly could provide a strategic review of the Commission’s work.  If countries were on the verge of relapsing into conflict, but were not on the agenda of the Security Council, the Assembly or the Economic and Social Council, they could use the Peacebuilding Commission for advice.  She stressed that there was no exclusivity in the relationship between the Peacebuilding Commission, its parent bodies and the Economic and Social Council.


NICOLAS DE RIVIÈRE (France), aligning himself with the statement of the European Union, said the added value of the Peacebuilding Commission lay in its capacity to intervene in specific programmes of peacebuilding efforts in specific countries.  By making it possible to identify priorities shared by all actors and to coordinate their actions according to a sustainable timetable, the Commission could be an essential mechanism for countries emerging from conflict.


He said the Peacebuilding Fund was an important tool that could focus the actions of the Commission on immediate priorities.  France would, therefore, contribute €1 million to the Fund.  The work of the Commission should also lead to a better allocation of resources.  National Governments should be closely involved in the work of the Commission.  He reaffirmed the importance his country attached to collectively attaining tangible results for the countries considered.


KRISTI LINTONEN ( Finland) said the new Commission had been able to move from procedure to substance -- especially in the country-specific meetings -- and priority areas for both Burundi and Sierra Leone had been identified.  Now, the international community faced the challenging task of efficiently implementing the Commission’s recommendations, particularly since sustainable peacebuilding in both countries required efforts across a broad spectrum of political commitments, security and governance reforms, development investments and responses to the immediate needs of the populations.


The priorities identified in the countries’ Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers would help ensure the sustainability of the overall peacebuilding efforts, she said, adding that civic actors, including women’s and children’s organizations, and the private sector should also be involved in the Commission’s country-level work.  Special attention during the peacebuilding process should be given to ensuring transitional justice and development of the rule of law, she said, stressing that post-conflict peacebuilding required comprehensive long-term strategies for re-establishing and reforming rule of law institutions, as well as putting in place mechanisms to address the needs of victims of human rights abuses.


LIU ZHENMIN ( China) said the strengthening of the Peacebuilding Commission had become the concern of all States.  The Commission had evoked high expectations among the people in post-conflict countries.  It was, therefore, timely that the Security Council and the General Assembly held meetings to take stock of the Commission’s work.  The satisfaction of the peoples of post-conflict countries should be the benchmarks against which the work of the Commission would be judged.  The Commission’s main function was to provide advice to post-conflict States and prepare integrated strategies.  Only through understanding the specific situations and assuring national ownership could there be a viable strategy tailored to the need of the countries in questions.


He said country-specific meetings should be one of the priorities of the next phase.  Ensuring high efficiency and setting clear priorities should be the principal focus.  Their work needed to be constantly improved and adapted, in light of specific situations.  The Peacebuilding Commission should ensure its success in Burundi and Sierra Leone and the concerns of the two countries regarding the Peacebuilding Fund should be addressed appropriately.  Peacebuilding required coordination with different actors.  The Assembly, the Security Council and the Economic and Social Council should each provide active support and input to the Commission.  The structure of the Commission must be strengthened.  The birth of the Commission had been the result of the common efforts of all Member States and it was their shared responsibility to ensure its growth.


ELBIO ROSSELLI ( Uruguay) stressed the close link between security and development, noting that, according to the Human Development Report, the majority ofcountries that had been involved in conflict were likely to slide back into violence.  There was a need to identify solutions to social problems like youth unemployment, which made young people easy prey for recruitment by armed groups.  There was also a need to instil a general sense of ownership in the peacebuilding process.  Foreign participants, well-intentioned though they might be, could not replace local populations, who were familiar with the political history and culture of their respective countries, and who suffered the consequences of failed peacebuilding strategies.  Their Governments must set the agenda, otherwise the Peacebuilding Commission risked being viewed as a body that imposed its own solutions.


He said the Commission had the ability to bring together all contributors to peacebuilding, pooling together their resources.  The Commission must benefit from the participation of all relevant actors and avoid the creation of a donor-recipient culture.  The donor countries could not control the Commission, which must also include the main troop contributors.  There was also an important relationship between the Commission’s credibility and representation among its membership, including the representation of the Latin American and Caribbean States.  Its credibility would also depend on the participation of countries in missions and on equitable geographic representation.


Emphasizing the importance of genuine indicators on progress in peacebuilding, he said that, while the holding of elections was often seen as the main one, it was not the only important one.  There was a disturbing trend taking place across the world, whereby the majority of countries emerging from conflict often slid back into violence.  More genuine indicators were required to reflect the effectiveness of peacebuilding efforts.  There was also a need to give guidance to the Commission regarding the situation on the ground.


As pointed out during last week’s Security Council debate, he said, theoretical differences among the Commission’s members in New York were meaningless to the people on the ground.  The Commission must harmonize its efforts with those of United Nations programmes and agencies on the ground.  It was essential that the Commission, through its working group chaired by El Salvador, maximize lessons learned.  Uruguay was firmly committed to peacebuilding and international security, as could be seen from its position as the seventh largest contributor to United Nations peacekeeping and the world’s top troop contributor per capita.


RICHARD T. MILLER ( United States) said the Peacebuilding Commission was a work in progress, and the United States was fully committed to its efforts.  His country was less concerned about how the Peacebuilding Commission functioned bureaucratically than with what it achieved.  The complexity of the Commission could be a strength, if it resulted in greater attention and support and enriched its work.  One must ensure, however, that institutional rivalries or procedural debates did not become an impediment to effectiveness.  “No one working in post-conflict situations, no citizen of a country trying to emerge from months or years of fighting cares at all about United Nations lines of authority or the institutional breakdown of seats around a conference room table,” he said.  They cared about results.


He said all agreed on the goal of strengthening the Peacebuilding Commission’s ability to improve strategies to support countries emerging from conflict.  That would be accomplished primarily through the country-specific work of the Commission, and that was where attention and resources should be focused.  The Commission provided a forum for the various agencies, Governments and organizations involved in a particular post-conflict situation to come together to share their assessments and work plans, and to better coordinate and target their respective efforts.  “It need not do more than this, but it needs to do this well,” he added.  The strength of the Peacebuilding Commission would ultimately be measured only by the pragmatic action it inspired and the difference it made in the lives of people in post-conflict societies.


ABDALMAHMOOD MOHAMAD (Sudan), associating himself with the statement of the Non-Aligned Movement, said the establishment of the Peacebuilding Commission had been one of the important decisions of the 2005 World Summit.  There was a need for the Commission to grow swiftly beyond procedural and organizational matters in order to concentrate on its main objectives.  The Commission’s mandates should be implemented swiftly and efficiently.  The General Assembly was the best forum to monitor the work of the Commission.  The links between the Commission and the Economic and Social Council in the social and development field, as well as the field of gender equality, should be underlined.


He said it was important for the Commission to deal with the roots of the conflicts in the countries involved, in order to prevent a relapse. The Commissions’ recommendations must give priority to national solutions.  The Commission must not make a distinction between donor countries and other members of the Commission.  The Organizational Committee was a steering committee and must help the Commission to implement its programmes.  He hoped that the work of the Commission would be an example of success in the field of peacebuilding.  Its success would constitute an important incentive for other countries emerging from conflict, as well as for the success of the reform of the United Nations in general.


ALFREDO LOPES CABRAL ( Guinea-Bissau) said that, after last week’s Security Council debate on post-conflict peacebuilding, it was a good omen that the General Assembly had organized a similar one to give all Member States an opportunity to discuss the important Commission, which did not belong to the Council alone.  The important thing was knowing how many cases the Commission could resolve, not which organ took precedence.  The Commission might not have all the answers, but it had a specific role: to ensure that countries emerging from conflict did not relapse.  There should be no gap between ceasefire and reconstruction.


Each Member State could contribute to the Commission as it wished, he said, adding that support from everyone was essential.  The Commission was not a development agency, but it must give people hope that they would see peace again and that they could rebuild their lives.  While it was not easy to draw distinctions between the Security Council and the General Assembly, those two organs, as well as the Economic and Social Council, should work together to show the world that the United Nations was not just an organizer of meetings.


HUGO PEREYRA ( Peru) said recent history had shown that a premature withdrawal of peacekeeping operations had led to a resurgence of violence.  One of the results had been that affected populations no longer trusted multilateral operations.  The Peacebuilding Commission should, therefore, ensure the sustainability of peacebuilding efforts.  After prolonged conflicts, it was necessary to reconstitute the social fabric and establish the democratic values of tolerance and participation.  An integrated approach was needed, not only through a military and police component, but also through efforts to rebuild the rule of law and respect for human rights, as well as addressing poverty and marginalization, often the root causes of conflicts.


He said that, for a sustainable peace process to be successful, it was essential that those involved in the conflict were committed to that process.  Inclusive processes were needed, aimed at creating interdependence between the parties in order to affirm their feeling of national identity.  Those processes should be adapted to each specific situation.  The Peacebuilding Commission should foster the development of national capacities, as well as bring together international cooperation.  Priorities should be defined and indicators developed to determine progress.  Entrepreneurial participation should be attracted and the exploitation of natural resources should benefit the population as a whole.


LESLIE KOJO CHRISTIAN ( Ghana) said the two draft proposals put together by the Chairmen of the country-specific meetings on Burundi and Sierra Leone contained concrete and useful proposals that deserved practical support.  As Africa strove to overcome the vicissitude of conflicts, the impact of the Peacebuilding Commission in Burundi and Sierra Leone would resonate among millions of people throughout the continent.  The mandate of the Commission made it a pillar of multilateralism in the twenty-first century.  Although the Commission was not a donor agency, by bringing together all relevant stakeholders it should serve as a forum for dialogue and cooperation between national actors and the international community.


He said enormous responsibilities were being placed on post-war national Governments that must face the challenge of reconciling their people and raising the level of their well-being.  The principle of national ownership imposed the highest standards of governance on the leadership and, at the same time, conferred on them the much-needed legitimacy, not only in the eyes of the population, but also of the development partners.  Now that the Peacebuilding Commission had demonstrated its determination to get off the ground and meet real-life challenges, it should be given the encouragement and support it required.


Mr. EHOUZOU ( Benin) said the Commission must remain the centre for analysis and reflection of situations in the field, a task that must be carried out with the participation of national actors, who must remain in charge at all costs.  The Peacebuilding Fund must be given the means to address the huge social pressures facing countries emerging from conflict.  At the same time, the Commission must avoid disruptions that could undermine stabilization.  In the social context, the Commission must promote consultation at the national level and seek solutions that would restore the political balance.


He said the Security Council must give new peacekeeping missions integrated mandates that would form an integral part of the peacebuilding process.  Establishing or restoring the rule of law and a healthy economy required constant consultation among the major organs of the United Nations.  It was vital to make full use of the Commission’s composition and to correct shortcomings, so as to make a difference.


JORGE URBINA ORTEGA ( Costa Rica) said the Peacebuilding Commission was an expression of the new United Nations, a vigorous Organization with more resources and more determination to battle the scourges that have challenged mankind throughout history.  The Peacebuilding Commission crystallized a vision, under which intervention by the United Nations would go beyond ending hostilities and help rebuild the social and institutional fabric of countries that had been torn apart by violence.  Twenty-five years ago, his region had fallen prey to intolerance, foreign intervention and war between brothers.  If the Peacebuilding Commission learned by doing, as Germany’s representative had said, then Central Americans had an important contribution to make, because its journey to peace had been rich in lessons.


He said any peacebuilding process began by establishing trust between conflicting parties.  Nothing could replace the legitimacy of the United Nations in such a process.  It was also important that all parties had ownership, and national priorities were important criteria for assistance.  The web of procedures in which the Commission was entangled should be soon resolved.  It would be easier if the Organizational Committee could act as a forum for planning and monitoring for the Commission.  It was time for the Commission to promote in the field a coherent strategy, with the aim of bringing about lasting peace.  That necessitated a coherent mechanism that was inclusive, transparent, open and based on the country’s needs.  He supported the initiative of El Salvador to create a working group to analyze lessons learned.


FERNANDO VALENZUELA, Observer of the European Commission, aligning himself with the statement of the European Union, said the Peacebuilding Commission should be field- and results-oriented.  The ability of the Commission to impact positively on peacebuilding processes in the field would be the tangible yardstick by which its success was measured.  National ownership was the central element and must rest on inclusive national political dialogue, which also involved civil society.   Burundi and Sierra Leone were already engaged and the European Commission was programming with each of the two countries an assistance package of $250 million each.  Coordination and consultation with and between donors in the field was crucial to ensure a convergent approach.


He said more conceptual work was needed in order to define the form and content of genuine peacebuilding strategies.  In that regard, he looked forward to the first meetings on lessons learned, as well as the design of integrated peacebuilding strategies.  The Peacebuilding Fund had a role of its own to play: as a swift, gap filling and flexible peacebuilding facility.  The onus was not on quantity, but quality money -- the key being to ensure that the right urgent needs were met while avoiding duplications.  Necessary consultations with donors and actors in the field were not bureaucratic factors, but rather a way to ensure that the Fund would effectively address the urgent gaps that might prevail.


The Peacebuilding Commission should be more than a funding mechanism or a donor coordination mechanism, he said.  In that regard, he looked forward to the development of its peacebuilding strategy concepts.  Its quality would be decisive in ensuring that donors bought into the process and allowed for the much needed broadening of the donor base in both countries.


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For information media • not an official record