10 October 2007
General Assembly
GA/10635

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

Sixty-second General Assembly

Plenary

23rd & 24th Meetings (AM & PM)


General Assembly debates reform on peacebuilding commission’s first year;


speakers cite promising start, call for maximum impact on the ground


While commending the Peacebuilding Commission’s solid results in supporting war-weary countries during the fragile transition to peace and stability, General Assembly delegations today cautioned that the year-old body needed to marshal more international support to help raise its profile, refine its mandate and bolster its activities on the ground.


During the Assembly’s review of the first annual report of the Commission’s work, many speakers stressed that the 31-member body had come into existence with the high expectation of “filling a gap” in the United Nations system by providing a coordinated, coherent and integrated approach to post-war peacebuilding, and facilitating dialogue among key actors.  They highlighted important steps that had been taken since the Commission was established, including the creation of a Support Office and country-specific panels, and the launch of a $250 million Peacebuilding Support Fund.


All this had been quickly followed by the Commission’s acceptance of Burundi and Sierra Leone as the first two post-conflict nations on its agenda to receive intensive international support, as well as subsequent initial grants from the Fund of some $42 million, for critical projects paving the way for sustainable development.  Despite this success, however, some delegations were concerned that the Commission, like the very countries it was supposed to help, was having trouble getting on its feet.


Calling for the Commission to “move beyond debate and towards implementation and action”, India’s speaker said that concrete outcomes and durable solutions could not be reached by empowering country-specific panels.  Instead, the Commission’s Organizational Committee needed to be improved and harmonized with the country-specific configurations, to make both more results-oriented.  No one should lose sight of the overall goal:  to develop the capacity of recipient countries and ensure sustainable peace without direct outside involvement.  Therefore, the primary focus should be on marshalling assistance, so post-conflict countries could govern effectively and govern well, he asserted.


France’s representative agreed that it was now time for the Commission to “get up to cruising speed” by fully implementing the strategies it had worked hard to develop.  In Burundi, for example, political parties, civil society, Government and various other stakeholders had developed an integrated peacebuilding strategy to consolidate peace based on national priorities.  Strategy development should now be replaced with operational implementation.  A similar process should take place in Sierra Leone.  While that work was under way, the Commission and the Security Council should consider the possibility of placing other countries on the Commission’s agenda.  Before doing so, both bodies should be sure that tangible results cold be achieved in the countries the Commission already supported.


While welcoming the solid contribution the Commission had made to United Nations peacebuilding, the representative of Brazil said that the newly-created body must consolidate its identity as an important member of the United Nations family with its own niche and mandate.  Meanwhile, he urged the Security Council and the Economic and Social Council, as well as the Assembly, to provide the Commission with sufficient authority to discharge its functions.  She added that the Commission should have the flexibility to react as events unfolded in the countries on its agenda.  By doing so, it could operate as an “early warning system” to ward off any deterioration in security or political situations.


Although Brazil’s speaker had said it was clear that the Commission was “ready to grow”, by taking on new countries, the representative of the United States said that, as a fledgling institution, the Commission should “walk before it runs”.  Sadly, he did not believe members could look back over the past year and point to tangible contributions in Sierra Leone and Burundi.  With that in mind, he said that demonstrating concrete results in countries already on its agenda should be given priority over expanding work elsewhere.  Next year, the Commission should “sharpen its role” in promoting dialogue and coordination, and do more to draw attention to the need for sustained engagement in the countries on its agenda.


Addressing many of the Assembly’s concerns, Burundi’s representative said that, by making his country the first beneficiary of its work, the Commission had demonstrated its commitment to building lasting peace and relaunching Burundi’s national economy.  He appreciated the Commission’s efforts and welcomed its first report.  Discussing several highpoints in cooperation with the Commission, he said that the round table that took place on 24-25 May was an important step that generated awareness about community level recovery in Burundi.  The Commission also had held specific meetings on Burundi in New York, which provided the opportunity to discuss good governance and administration.


Today, Burundi’s Government was working with all stakeholders to explore the establishment of a follow-up mechanism, he said, and although essential progress had been made, much work remained, especially in implementing the strategic framework.  He expected the Commission would carry out its mission to accompany Burundi on its path to peace, as “a glimmer of hope” had been born in Burundians.  Looking ahead, he said the Commission must distinguish itself by adopting innovative and flexible measures.  It also must continue to work closely with the Assembly, Security Council, Economic and Social Council and international financial institutions.  He reiterated Burundi’s commitment to being a “source of pride” for both the Peacebuilding Commission and the United Nations.


Sierra Leone’s representative said that his country had immensely benefited from the innovative mechanism.  He stressed that national ownership should serve as the cardinal principle behind the cooperation framework and, in turn, Member States should take due account of the full scope of the Commission’s mandate, especially that it had been charged with marshalling resources at the disposal of the international community and to help ensure predictable financing -– not only for early recovery activities, but also sustained investment.


He said that the new mechanism envisaged by the Assembly’s 2005 World Summit, required the Commission, the Peacebuilding Fund, and the Peacebuilding Support Office to effectively coordinate their activities within a country.  However, the United Nations should clearly build on the relationship between the Fund and the Commission in order to remove the misperception that the Commission had the responsibility to disburse money.  In a country such as Sierra Leone, where the line between recovery and development remained quite thin, it was not always easy to convince the public that the Fund had not been designed to reinforce existing national development priorities, but was a flexible mechanism to respond to immediate challenges to the peace process.


Sierra Leone and the United Nations had learned many lessons through this process, he added.  However, looking ahead, Sierra Leone would like the Commission to engage in an in-depth policy discussion on the appropriate time for ending the body’s engagement with a country.  Sierra Leone reiterated that Member States should measure the success of the Commission on the ground and through the impact its activities had on the lives of the people in the country.  Sierra Leone served as a guinea pig for post-conflict recovery.  Today, its plea was for the United Nations to help the country sustain the positive results it had so far achieved.


Chairman of the Peacebuilding Commission, Yukio Takasu, said that the Commission’s first annual report underscored that the newly-established body had faced tremendous challenges in setting up its organizational structures, defining its working methods and finding ways to fulfil core mandates.  Some of those challenges were likely to be the subject of additional discussion during the second session.  The “Conclusions” section of the report was a serious reflection on key outstanding issues and challenges, including the financing of its field missions, he added.


Nevertheless, the United Nations peacebuilding architecture was now in place, and the Commission was entering its second year of activity.  Its activities needed to be carried out in a coherent manner, he said, adding that he believed that the Commission might wish to begin discussing the addition of new countries for its consideration, in close consultation with the referring bodies.  It was also essential to strengthen the Commission’s relationship with relevant bodies, including the main organs of the United Nations and the Secretariat, as well as international financial institutions and civil society.


He went on to say that raising awareness about the Commission’s work, not only among relevant actors, but among the public at large, would greatly enhance the understanding of, and necessary attention to, the work of the Commission and the countries under its consideration.  “In this regard, we intend to make every effort to heighten the visibility of the Commission’s work,” he said.  At the same time, he hoped for individual Member States to join the effort to promote the work of the Commission.


“We all have a duty to ensure that the Peacebuilding Commission works well -- that the decision to create it is translated into practical action for the well-being of millions of people trapped in post-conflict situations,” Assembly President Srgjan Kerim said at the opening of the debate.  The Commission had “made a good start”, he said, but cautioned that “this is just the beginning of a longer process”.


Looking ahead, the Commission should continue to refine its strategies, develop its advocacy role, and become more effective at marshalling resources, said Mr. Kerim, who is from the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.  “The main challenge now facing the Commission is to maximize its impact on the ground,” he stressed, calling for the full $250 million target for the Peacebuilding Fund to be reached.  “The evidence shows that half of countries that emerge from conflict will lapse back into violence within five years,” he said.  “To break this vicious cycle it is critical that the international community provide sustained practical support and resources to assist national efforts.”


Also speaking today were the representatives of Portugal (speaking on behalf of the European Union), Jamaica (speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement), Pakistan, Egypt, Bangladesh, Germany, Russian Federation, Iceland, Viet Nam, Mexico, China, United Kingdom, Indonesia, Republic of Korea, Norway, Luxembourg, Peru, New Zealand, Czech Republic, Italy, Croatia, Canada, Angola, Austria, Australia, Chile, Denmark, Guinea-Bissau, El Salvador, Panama, South Africa, Ghana and the Netherlands.


The observer delegations of the Holy See, Inter-parliamentary Union and the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), also addressed the Assembly.


The General Assembly will reconvene on Monday, 15 October, to take up the reports of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia.


Background


The General Assembly met today to hold a joint debate on the Peacebuilding Commission and the Peacebuilding Fund.


Before the Assembly is the inaugural report of the Peacebuilding Commission (document A/62/137).  The Commission was established at the 2005 World Summit in response to growing recognition that international peacebuilding efforts lacked coherence and an overall strategic approach.  In its first year, the Commission focused on Burundi and Sierra Leone and committed itself to an inclusive and nationally driven process aimed at maximizing the involvement of all relevant actors, including civil society and the broader international community. 


According to the report, the Organizational Committee of the Peacebuilding Commission, during the reporting period, reached an agreement on the participation of institutional donors, fully engaged with the Governments of Burundi and Sierra Leone, and maximized the involvement of the field, including national authorities, United Nations country teams and civil society organizations.  On the country level, the Commission adopted work plans for Burundi and Sierra Leone and sent field missions to both countries to collect information and analysis from the ground.  In doing so, it was able to identify four critical priority areas for peace consolidation in each of the two countries and launch processes for the development of integrated peacebuilding strategies.


The main challenge now is to maximize the Commission’s impact on the ground and to make the United Nations peacebuilding architecture an effective instrument of international collaboration in support of countries emerging from conflict, states the report.  Key lessons learned during its first year of work point to a need to focus on ensuring that peacebuilding processes remain on track and that challenges and gaps are addressed in a timely and coherent manner by all relevant actors and in accordance with the integrated peacebuilding strategies.


The report goes on to say that some outstanding issues need to be addressed as well, such as how to ensure extended attention from the international community, the development of monitoring mechanisms to measure success, and how to determine the appropriate time for ending the Commission’s engagement with a country.  The Commission will also need to further develop its working methods to ensure flexibility, improve its interaction with the field based on lessons learned, and to intensify efforts to cooperate and coordinate with the relevant regional and subregional organizations to promote the peacebuilding process in the countries under consideration.


Also before the Assembly was the report of the Secretary-General on the Peacebuilding Fund (document A/62/138), which is a financing tool designed to provide critical support to countries emerging from conflict, but also operates in support of the strategic discussions in the Peacebuilding Commission.  As of July 2007, the Fund had received pledges and contributions exceeding 90 per cent of the $250 million funding target from a broad base of donors, including many members of the Peacebuilding Commission.


Burundi and Sierra Leone were the first two countries made eligible for support from the Fund.  After a consultative review process, the priority plans of both countries for the use of their allocation were formally endorsed.  At the time the report was written, the Burundi steering committee had approved 12 projects with a total budget value of $26.8 million in the four areas of their Peacebuilding Fund priority plan, namely governance, the security sector, justice and human rights.  In Sierra Leone, the steering committee approved seven projects with a total value of $16 million in the priority areas of governance, justice sector reform, youth employment and empowerment, and capacity-building.


The Fund was developed as a rapid-response facility to meet immediate peacebuilding challenges, but the actual process of setting up disbursement mechanisms in Burundi and Sierra Leone took several months to complete, causing some understandable frustration on the part of the recipients.  It will require an intensive process to ensure the establishment of appropriate disbursement structures to cut down the lead time between the announcement of a country allocation and first disbursements.  Despite those challenges, the Fund continues to have enormous potential for making a critical contribution to peacebuilding efforts, playing a catalytic role in the early post-conflict period and supporting the Commission’s engagement with countries under its consideration.


Statement by Assembly President


Opening the meeting, Assembly President SRGJAN KERIM of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia said that the Peacebuilding Commission, the Peacebuilding Support Office and the Peacebuilding Fund had been established after world political leaders at the 2005 World Summit had called on the Assembly and the Security Council to create new institutional mechanisms to strengthen the Organization’s capacity to support countries emerging from conflict.  He said that for the past 20 years, the United Nations had been at the centre of expanding peacebuilding activities in all parts of the world and had a unique comparative advantage in addressing huge challenges that countries emerging from conflict faced.


The demand for peacebuilding operations was obviously set to grow, he said, adding that evidence showed that half the countries that emerged from conflict would lapse back into violence within the first five years.  “To break this cycle of violence it is critical that the international community provide sustained practical support and resources to assist national efforts,” he said.  The Commission had a critical role to play in balancing peace and stability measures with activities aimed at supporting post-conflict countries’ efforts to promote economic development, human rights and the rule of law.  In addition to its substantive role helping to accelerate post-conflict peacebuilding and recovery, the Commission also coordinated international efforts, marshalled donor resources and focused worldwide attention on peacebuilding issues.


“We all have a duty to ensure that the Peacebuilding Commission works well -- that the decision to create it is translated into practical action for the well-being of the millions of people trapped in post-conflict situations,” he said, stressing that while he believed the Commission had now firmly established itself, “this is just the beginning”.  Given the body’s organizational complexity, it was crucial that coordination with all United Nations organs was maintained in a balanced and proportionate manner, especially to ensure duplication was avoided.  He said that the Commission’s success would depend on broad cooperation to support its work, particularly to ensure that the few remaining procedural hurdles were resolved so that the Commission was fully effective.  Still, it was important to recognize that the Commission had only been up and running for a year.


But even in this short time, he said the Commission had brought a more coherent system-wide approach to peacebuilding and had strengthened the impact that the international community had had.  He added that the United Nations should learn from that example to improve the effectiveness of its activities.  He was confident that the Assembly would seize the opportunity before it to review and assess the Commission’s work to provide it with a strategic vision of the way forward.  He also looked forward to the remarks that would be made later by Burundi and Sierra Leone, the Commission’s inaugural country cases.


Looking ahead, the Commission should continue to refine its strategies in countries under consideration, he said, adding that it should also develop its advocacy role among all stakeholders engaged in peacebuilding activities and become more effective at marshalling resources.  The Commission would also need to identify ways of improving coherence and synergies across its numerous activities to contribute to better peacebuilding policy and practice.  The main challenge now was to maximize the Commission’s impact on the ground and ensure that all its activities were grounded in the principle of national ownership. 


It was also critical that the Peacebuilding Fund’s $250 million target be met.  Here, he thanked former Assembly President Sheikha Haya Al Khalifa for her efforts, with the support of the Commission’s former Chair, Ambassador Gaspar Martins of Angola, to raise additional resources -- and for her personal contribution to the Fund.  He was certain that, going forward, the Assembly would give its full support to the Commission’s new Chair, Ambassador Yukio Takasu of Japan, in his efforts to strengthen the Commission and fill the Fund’s remaining $20 million shortfall.


He hoped the Assembly’s debate would send a strong signal that the United Nations would reach out to meet the needs and aspirations of all peoples who had suffered the horrors of war.  “For the people in countries emerging from conflict, this Organization represents the best and only hope of attaining a more dignified life,” he said.


Introduction of Reports


Introducing the Secretary-General’s first annual reports on the Peacebuilding Commission and its related Fund, Commission Chair YUKIO TAKASU (Japan) praised the work of his predecessor, Ambassador Gaspar Martins of Angola, and said that, over the course of some 50 formal and informal meetings and briefings in its various configurations, the Commission had addressed critical organizational, methodological and thematic issues.


The Commission had also discussed country-specific issues related to Burundi and Sierra Leone, coordinating various contributions to sustainable peace and opening avenues for mutual commitments between the international community and the countries under consideration.  “I believe that in its first year, the PBC contributed significantly to the promotion of integrated post-conflict peacebuilding strategies in Burundi and Sierra Leone,” he said.


He went on to say that the Commission had sought to accumulate best practices and lessons learned on critical peacebuilding issues.  By introducing the Working Group on Lessons Learned, the Commission had been able to benefit from existing peace consolidation experiences.  Still, the Commission’s first annual report underscored that the newly-established body had faced tremendous challenges in setting up its organizational structures, defining its working methods and finding ways to fulfil core mandates.  Some of those challenges were likely to be the subject of additional discussion during the second session.  The “Conclusions” section of the report was a serious reflection on key outstanding issues and challenges, including the financing of its field missions, he added.


The United Nations peacebuilding architecture was now in place, and the Peacebuilding Commission was entering its second year of activity.  Its activities needed to be carried out in a coherent manner, he said, adding that he believed that the Commission might wish to begin discussing the addition of new countries for its consideration, in close consultation with the referring bodies.  It was also essential to strengthen the Commission’s relationship with relevant bodies, including the main organs of the United Nations and the Secretariat, as well as international financial institutions and civil society.  He assured the Assembly that he would avail himself of every opportunity to establish closer relationships with those bodies and organizations.


He went on to say that exploring thematic issues relevant to peacebuilding was also a matter of great importance, and that he was particularly convinced that discussing broad policy guidance on peacebuilding activities in general, without focusing on a particular issue, was worth pursuing.  In addition, raising awareness about the Commission’s work, not only among relevant actors but among the public at large, would greatly enhance the understanding of, and necessary attention to, the work of the Commission and the countries under its consideration.  “In this regard we intend to make every effort to heighten the visibility of the Commission’s work,” he said.  “At the same time, we hope for individual Member States to join our efforts to promote the work of the Commission.”


Speaking in his national capacity, he said that Japan had provided very active support for the Commission and had coordinated its activities with those of the Commission.  Recently, Japan had sent high-level missions to Burundi and Sierra Leone aimed at enhancing the peacebuilding processes in those two countries.  A report on the visit to Sierra Leone would be presented for the Commission’s consideration during its current session.


Japan shared the Commission’s views regarding critical priority areas and had, accordingly, provided them with development assistance in fields such as basic infrastructure.  Japan’s activities had also included the rehabilitation of power plants in Sierra Leone and community development in Burundi.  In line with the high priority the Japanese Government accorded to peacebuilding activities, it had launched a new programme for training civilian peacebuilding professionals from Japan and other Asian countries.


JOÃO SALGUEIRO ( Portugal), speaking on behalf of the European Union and affiliated countries, said the Peacebuilding Commission was a key achievement of the United Nations reform process and provided an innovative institutional framework for the international community and civil society to address some key peacebuilding issues in cooperation with relevant Governments.  Consolidation of peace must be based on national ownership and international partnership.  Experience showed that a nationally owned and led process was the key to the success of peacebuilding and, as such, it was crucial to engage all stakeholders, including civil society, the private sector, Governments, non-governmental organizations, and current and potential donors.  Close coordination with the United Nations system was also necessary in order to most effectively address the most pressing priorities.


To ensure that peacebuilding efforts were sustainable, he recommended the implementation of a strategic monitoring and evaluation system to assess progress towards agreed goals, take appropriate action when threats to peace arise, enhance coherence of multidimensional efforts, and track fulfilment of mutual commitments by national and international actors.  In addition, the link between Headquarters and the field should be strengthened via videoconferencing and increased visits.  Visibility in the field should also be improved through new outreach and communication strategies and greater publicity. 


On a country-level, he welcomed the engagement shown in Sierra Leone and Burundi.  The “Strategic Framework for Peacebuilding in Burundi” was a critical guiding instrument for the Government of Burundi, the Commission, and all partners for their common work of peacebuilding.  Implementing a monitoring and tracking mechanism should now be the top priority.  In Sierra Leone, the Commission had already made a valuable contribution in enhancing international attention and financial support, and in aiding the overall peace consolidation process.  It now had the responsibility to ensure the peacebuilding process remained on track and gaps were addressed in a timely and coherent manner.


He said the European Union recognized the importance of sustained and predictable financing for peacebuilding.  The Peacebuilding Fund, of which the European Union was the main donor, played a critical role in that regard.  Though the Fund was a catalyst for work on peacebuilding efforts, long-term funding should still come from multilateral and bilateral donors.  Among the priorities for the next year of work was the need to define more clearly the distinction between the Peacebuilding Commission and the Fund, the establishment of more effective working practices with the United Nations and its partners, the strengthening of the Commission’s capabilities to welcome new countries, and further reflection on how best to scale down and end the Commission’s engagement with a country.


ANGELLA HAMILTON BROWN ( Jamaica), on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement caucus in the Peacebuilding Commission, said the development aspects of any strategy geared towards countries emerging from conflict could not be overemphasized.  Certainly, the Peacebuilding Commission could not ignore fundamental principles such as the rule of law, security sector reform and human rights.  At the same time, those principles could not be at the expense of providing immediate post-conflict risk reduction strategies, geared towards poverty reduction and enhanced employment opportunities, which was the precise and direct purpose of the Commission.  Those strategies led to the overall improvement in the lives of local populations.  The Peacebuilding Commission also needed to continue to identify the means by which approved funds could reach the recipient countries in the shortest possible time.


The second year of the Commission would demand close coordination with other United Nations bodies, the Peacebuilding Fund and donor agencies, particularly those on the ground in post-conflict situations, she continued.  While Jamaica welcomed the donor community in the Peacebuilding Commission’s activity, the fact that the Peacebuilding Commission was not a donor organization needed recognition and decisions regarding the provision of financial resources required guidance by national priorities and the collective decision of Commission members.  Recommendations for assistance must highlight the priority areas established by the Government under review.  The matter of government guidance should be uppermost in planning the way forward and would strengthen the process of national ownership.


Finally, she said, with the architecture of the Commission now completed, its work had to produce tangible results with greater and more robust activities in the coming months, including the addition of more countries for consideration.  She also called for the streamlining of the Commission’s meetings, in order to dispel the misconception that, because of its different configurations, more than one Peacebuilding Commission existed.  In that regard, the Organizational Committee had to serve as the focal point of all Peacebuilding Commission activities, including the work of country-specific meetings.


MUNIR AKRAM ( Pakistan) said despite inherent difficulties, as well as differences of opinion in its evolutionary discussions, the Peacebuilding Commission’s performance in its first year was commendable.  However, the Commission faced several challenges, beginning with the effort of some to keep the Commission closely tied and subservient to the Security Council.  That feeling and the resultant friction stemmed from the fact that the Commission’s relationship with the three principal organs was ambiguous in the founding resolutions and had not been clarified.  He hoped that, as the Commission’s work evolved, much greater appreciation of the collaborative efforts and complementarities of the three principal United Nations organs would prevail.


Along those lines, he continued, the effort to downplay the role of the Organizational Committee presented another problem.  Member States had agreed that most of the work would take place in the country-specific formats; however, the Organizational Committee should be accorded its due place, and the country-specific formats should not appear to bypass the Committee.  On the operational side, the Commission held as its main objective maximizing its impact on the ground.  An increased system-wide approach and coordination was the key to assisting the transition from conflict to sustainable peace and development.  The crises being addressed were complex and must be dealt with comprehensively, in all aspects –- political, security, economic, social and humanitarian.


Finally, he said, the advocacy role of the Peacebuilding Commission required further strengthening to marshal resources, help ensure predictable financing and extend the period of the international community’s attention.  The assistance made readily available by the Peacebuilding Fund proved invaluable; however, the Commission needed much larger resources on a sustained basis to carry out the agreed objectives.  Additionally, coordination and exchange of information, including lessons learned, between the Fund and the Commission were vital for proper perspective and success of the peacebuilding architecture.  Pakistan encouraged interaction between the Commission’s members and the Fund’s advisory group, as well as “live” strategies allowing for fine-tuning and response to critical gaps and requirements as they arose.


MAGED ABDEL FATAH ABDELAZIZ ( Egypt) said he recognized the significant role of the Peacebuilding Commission in preventing the resumption of conflict between countries.  He stressed the importance of bringing together all relevant actors to adopt and implement integrated peacebuilding strategies and to strengthen foundations for sustainable development.  To that end, the Commission needed to bolster its relationships with United Nations bodies, international financial institutions, donor countries, and regional and subregional organizations.  The Commission had to develop its tools of engagement, and field missions should play a significant role.  Also, further clarification of the Commission’s relationship with the General Assembly, Security Council and Economic and Social Council was needed, and the rules of procedure should be revisited as the Commission gained experience.  Clear rules, applicable to all cases, should be instituted without political considerations.  The principle of national ownership must be strictly adhered to, to prevent political or financial pressure from donor countries.


He called on donors to the Peacebuilding Fund to fulfil their pledges, noting that only $142 million of $226 million pledged had been received, while the budget had been projected at $250 million.  The Fund’s activities must be coordinated with those of the Peacebuilding Commission.  Management of the Fund must expedite its capacity to work quickly and effectively and disburse funds allocated to specific projects.  He asked that the Secretary-General consult the Peacebuilding Commission in cases where he had determined a country was eligible for resources from the Fund.  He noted it was not enough to notify the Commission after issuing his decision of disbursing resources from the Fund.  He was looking forward to the creation by the Fund of a mechanism to assess the usefulness of the disbursed resources.


ISMAT JAHAN ( Bangladesh) said the Peacebuilding Commission’s first year of work was “quite satisfactory given the complexity of its work, the heavy mandate and the fact that it had to chart its own way of functioning”.  Country-specific integrated peacebuilding strategies appeared to be the right approach and had the potential to become an effective tool for peacebuilding.  Yet, despite its first year of relative success, there should be no sense of complacency.  Operational relations between all stakeholders, national and international, public and private, needed to be strengthened.  The Commission’s rules of procedure and working methods should be streamlined and its Organizational Committee should begin to play a more proactive and leading role.  Also of importance was the creation of a built-in system for taking stock and an effective monitoring and tracking mechanism to assess effectiveness and ensure maximum impact on the ground. 


The Commission did not adequately focus on the issue of economic recovery in Burundi and Sierra Leone, she said.  The Commission should consider a greater focus on building pluralist political institutions, creating peace constituencies, and establishing a process of societal reconciliation and healing in post-conflict societies.  It was, however, the responsibility of those societies to take charge of their own destiny and, as such, the Commission should continue to be nationally driven and inclusive.  Looking to the future, she said it was important for the Commission to define the process and timing of disengagement to ensure sustainable peace, to further define the relationship between the Commission and the Peacebuilding Fund, and for the international community to continue its political and material support to assist the Commission in fulfilling its mandate.


THOMAS MATUSSEK (Germany), fully supporting Portugal’s statement on behalf of the European Union, said today’s debate on the Peacebuilding Commission’s first year of work would help evaluate the results achieved thus far.  The establishment of the Commission had been part of the important United Nations reform process.  Noting that countries emerging from conflict faced a high risk of relapse into violence, he said the Commission had assisted such countries in laying a foundation for sustainable peace and development.  The first year of work had been difficult, he said, as the Commission had needed to define its work, adopt provisional rules of procedure and find a formula for ensuring the active participation of civil society in its work, an important step.


Recalling that the Commission’s report on its first session had provided recommendations for the second session, he discussed issues that should be examined in the second year, including coordination.  The Commission and the Peacebuilding Support Office should strengthen their capacities to make recommendations, which would improve coordination of all relevant actors within and outside the United Nations.  The Commission also should broaden its agenda by intensifying dialogue on general peacebuilding issues, such as security sector reform and post-conflict reconciliation, drawing on lessons learned.  The Working Group on Lessons Learned was a promising first step, in that regard.  Noting that threats to the peace process in Burundi and Sierra Leone had been addressed in integrated peacebuilding strategies, he said the next step should be increasing the relevance of those strategies as tools for enhanced support.  Most importantly, the Commission should add real value.  Integrated strategies should set the decisive frameworks for international and national peacebuilding in countries receiving the Commission’s support.


VITALY CHURKIN ( Russian Federation) said achieving stable peace was possible only through a comprehensive strategic approach and agreement.  Countries emerging from conflict must not find themselves plunged into renewed crisis.  A key task was to eliminate the gap in the system of post-conflict peacebuilding, and that process should help enhance the effectiveness of assistance to countries.  He noted the Peacebuilding Commission’s solid interaction with Governments of recipient countries, particularly in identifying, prioritizing and coordinating donor resources.  Indeed, the annual report had confirmed the Commission’s potential as one of the most important mechanisms in that sphere.  The Commission’s work deserved a positive assessment in increasing peace in Sierra Leone and Burundi, particularly as work had begun on developing integrated strategies.  Work should be done in a transparent manner and accompanied by an impartial analysis, and he expected agreed recommendations from that work.


Next year, the Commission should focus on its links with financial institutions and donors.  He called for improvement among all actors on the ground.  Also, it would be important for the Commission and the Peacebuilding Support Office to work with existing coordination mechanisms within the United Nations system.  He noted that interaction with United Nations agencies should not disrupt existing activities of the Organization.  It was essential to strengthen the relationship between the Peacebuilding Commission and the Security Council, especially in ensuring the timely exchange of information and efficient division of labour.


He said the Peacebuilding Fund’s activities should focus on dispensing funds to countries at the earliest stages, and he noted its catalytic role in attracting more permanent mechanisms of support.  It was important for United Nations country teams to increase analysis of countries’ peacebuilding requirements.  The Peacebuilding Support Office then had the responsibility of taking a final decision and he favoured transparency and openness, in that regard.  In the future, it would make sense to organize an independent study of the Fund.  The Russian Federation would contribute $2 million to the Fund starting in 2008. 


THOMAS SCOTT ( United States) said the Peacebuilding Commission in the first year had spent considerable time on procedural issues and had made progress towards building a foundation for productive future work.  Sadly, he did not believe Commission members could look back over the past year and point to tangible contributions in the lives of people in Sierra Leone and Burundi, the first two countries taken up by the body.  In its second year, he expected the Commission to “sharpen its role” in promoting dialogue and coordination and do more to draw attention to the need for sustained, long-term engagement in the countries on its agenda.  Further, he would look for practical engagement on difficult thematic issues where the Commission had a role in bringing together stakeholders, introducing best practices and broadening the donor base.


Noting that Guinea-Bissau’s candidacy request was pending before the Security Council, he urged both Council and Commission members to reflect on how the specific consideration of candidate countries would best mesh with the Commission’s strategic vision and multi-year work.  In doing so, he said the Commission, as a fledgling institution, should “walk before it runs”.  Demonstrating concrete results in countries on its agenda should be given priority over expanding work elsewhere.  Moreover, the body should consider new ways of providing advice and recommendations.  As the Commission took on new countries, it should not limit itself to promoting a global “comprehensive peacebuilding strategies” approach, but also consider giving targeted advice on specific thematic sectors or even a geographic region.


He did not see the annual reports of the Peacebuilding Commission and the Peacebuilding Fund as reflective of consensus on such issues among Commission members.  In particular, the issue of financing missions of the Peacebuilding Commission, outlined in paragraph 43, demanded further discussion.  Both reports, however, were a useful reference to challenges and topics, and he welcomed their publication.


HJÁLMAR HANNESSON ( Iceland) said his country had strongly supported the Peacebuilding Commission since its inception, contributing over $1 million to the Peacebuilding Fund.  He urged all Member States to contribute.  He went on to warmly welcome the work of the Organizational Committee of the Commission and the development of peacebuilding strategies for Burundi and Sierra Leone.  Now, he said, the recommendations of the Commission must be implemented in those countries, within the institutional framework of the United Nations. 


In building upon that work, he said the focus should remain on practical, effective cooperation that avoided duplication of efforts.  The working relationships between the Peacebuilding Commission, the Security Council, the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council should be strengthened through dialogue on a regular basis.  Increased cooperation between the Commission and regional and subregional organizations should also be considered.  In addition, substantial progress in integrating peacebuilding with job creation, capacity development and the delivery of basic services must be made to ensure the sustainability of national peacebuilding efforts and create maximum impact on the ground.


HOANG CHI TRUNG ( Viet Nam) expressed satisfaction with the work of the Peacebuilding Commission in addressing key organizational, procedural and methodological issues in its first year of operation.  It had also done a commendable job of mobilizing resources from international donors and examining projects eligible for funding.  Sierra Leone and Burundi, supported by the Commission, had made remarkable progress in the critical areas of national reconstruction and rehabilitation.  There was much more that needed to be done, however.  Building partnerships, promoting the active participation of stakeholders, and marshalling resources for stability, recovery and development, were of the utmost importance.  Improving in those areas would maximize the Commission’s impact on the ground and make the United Nations peacebuilding architecture an effective instrument of international cooperation in support of countries emerging from conflict.


To live up to the expectations and aspirations of the international community, he said the Commission would need to improve in other areas as well.  It should improve its working methods, its monitoring mechanisms, and its operational relationships with intergovernmental bodies and regional and subregional organizations.  “Integrated peacebuilding strategies should fully reflect the socio-economic reconstruction and development priorities of recipient countries,” he said, “as well as the comparative advantages and practical commitments of international donors.”  National ownership of post-conflict peacebuilding priority plans should remain at the forefront of the Commission’s efforts, and foreign assistance should play a supplementary role.  In the future, the Commission had the responsibility to ensure that the peacebuilding process stayed on track and all relevant actors addressed challenges in a timely and coherent manner.


CLAUDE HELLER ( Mexico) said during the Peacebuilding Commission’s first year it had become clear peacebuilding needed an approach from the ground up, taking in the specificities of the different countries involved.  The Commission’s work needed to follow three principles:  the full consent and guidance of the country, with creative proposals and programmes in accordance with its distinct characteristics; adherence to a process based on establishment of priorities; and the full cooperation of international, regional and government actors, based on a common vision of those priorities.


Though the Commission was still being defined, he said, it should double its efforts during its second session.  That required the establishment of a follow-up and oversight mechanism, with the countries under consideration, to evaluate the impact of the Commission.  The absence of such a mechanism would make it difficult to assess work on the ground.   Mexico also considered it essential that socio-economic conditions in the post-conflict State be given priority.  Other organs in the United Nations, particularly the Economic and Social Council, should take the lead in strengthening the socio-economic status of the country and promote a common view of transforming post-conflict society into one where peace prevails.


Finally, he welcomed the Secretary-General’s report on the Peacebuilding Fund.  He was aware that the Fund was a recent instrument, and it was premature to analyse its implications.  However, he appealed for the Peacebuilding Support Office to streamline its procedures for quick and easy assistance and remain flexible in confronting priority problems in peacebuilding.  It was also important for the Fund to receive full financial resources -– without those, the Commission would be unable to fulfil its mandate.


LIU ZHENMIN ( China) commended the Peacebuilding Commission for in its first session having established the means to ensure that its work would be conducted in an orderly and standardized manner; organized meeting formats and built partnerships on an equal basis; and established good relationships with concerned countries.  Challenges remained for the new body to enhance its value added role, coordinate with other United Nations bodies and improve efficiency.


He said that the Peacebuilding Commission should further define its role as an “advisory body” and relevant resolutions of the Security Council and General Assembly should be scrupulously implemented.  Further, it should define its relationship with other United Nations bodies and increase interaction with the General Assembly, the Security Council and the Economic and Social Council.  Duplication of efforts with United Nations programmes on the ground must be avoided.  Also, the Commission should reach a balance between partnership and ownership.  Countries themselves were accountable for their own fate; “partners” could only offer assistance.  Finally, he said that the special needs of African countries must be considered when taking new countries into its agenda.  On the Peacebuilding Fund, while satisfied with the financing and operations, he recommended that the Fund’s transparency and conformity to standards and norms be enhanced.


KAREN PIERCE ( United Kingdom), aligning herself with Portugal’s statement on behalf of the European Union, said the Peacebuilding Commission’s first year had been a challenge, as no precedents had been set for its work.  Engagement by the Governments of Burundi and Sierra Leone –- and by the United Nations country teams –- served as a reminder of what should be the Commission’s main focus:  country-level work.  National ownership of the peacebuilding process and substantive consultation among all stakeholders in shaping the agenda was vital.  The Commission must build on its achievements to ensure delivery of its ultimate goal of helping countries prevent relapse into conflict.  In that context, the Commission could have an impact in both providing a forum to address the political barriers to peacebuilding and harmonizing international efforts in countries under consideration.


Establishing the Monitoring and Tracking Mechanism in Burundi and completing the Compact for Sierra Leone in the coming months would be important steps in defining commitments of all parties, she continued.  Strengthening the Commission’s relationships with Governments, the Security Council, the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council and international financial institutions would be essential for improving impact.


She raised five issues.  The Commission must define more clearly how it worked with its parent bodies and the Economic and Social Council.  It was important that other countries be referred to the agenda this year.  In taking on new countries, the Commission must define its niche in each country, and take stock of existing plans and programmes.  It also must be clear in what it expected of each country.  Moreover, the Commission must build on its work to date to become the United Nations hub for peacebuilding, maintaining strong links with all parts of the system working on such issues.


On the Peacebuilding Fund, she welcomed the establishment of the Advisory Group, and said that where countries on the Commission’s agenda already had existing donor mechanisms, the Commission’s strategy work must come before the bulk of funding by the Peacebuilding Fund.  Ultimately, its greatest value was likely to be in those countries coming out of conflict where there are no established donor mechanisms, or where opportunities suddenly arise for Fund resources to provide a catalytic role in peacebuilding.  She was encouraged by the recent use of the Fund’s emergency window by Côte d’Ivoire and the Central African Republic.


NIRUPAM SEN ( India) said the reports before the Assembly highlighted important achievements of the Peacebuilding Commission and the Peacebuilding Fund, but left out some important elements that needed to be addressed.  First, the international community should collectively exert greater efforts to move beyond debate and towards implementation and action.  A problem could only be resolved with head-on confrontation, not by bypassing it and moving on.  Concrete outcomes and durable solutions would not be found in the empowerment of country-specific configurations.  Instead, the Organizational Committee should be improved and harmonized with country-specific configurations to make both more results-oriented.  The Commission should also exert greater efforts to listen to the priorities of recipient countries.  While the two views may be divergent, meaningful advice should involve a “two-way dialogue, not one-way transmission”. 


The Peacebuilding Commission should also do more to focus international attention and marshal resources for its work, he said.  Thus far, that aspect of its responsibilities had been neglected.  The Peacebuilding Fund was not living up to its full potential.  More transparency on the use of its funds was necessary, as were more general consultations between the Fund and the Commission.  Ultimately, the Fund was based on contributions from Member States, and a lack of transparency would detract from its sustainability.  There was a need for greater involvement by the entire United Nations system -- in New York and on the ground -- in the work of the Commission.  The Peacebuilding Support Office should not be the sole actor taking on that role.  Finally, the international community should keep in mind that the overall goal was to develop the capacity of recipient countries to ensure sustainable peace without direct outside involvement.  Therefore, the primary focus should be to strengthen the capacity of post-conflict countries to govern effectively and govern well.  “Only then,” he said, “will we have truly succeeded in our efforts.” 


OLIVIER LACROIX ( France) said the international community had set ambitious goals for the Peacebuilding Commission, which went well beyond the creation of a new bureaucratic structure.  Though the Commission had already achieved many successes, it was now time for it to “get up to cruising speed” and fully implement the strategies it had worked to develop.  In Burundi, for example, political parties, civil society, Government and various other stakeholders had developed an integrated peacebuilding strategy for the consolidation of peace based on national priorities.  Strategy development should now be replaced with operational implementation.  A similar process should also take place in Sierra Leone.  While that work was ongoing, the Commission and the Security Council should look towards the future and the possibility of placing other countries under consideration.  Before doing so, it should be sure of its capacity to achieve tangible results in the countries that it already supported.


Achieving those tangible results required open and imaginative discussion, he said.  To be most effective, the Commission would need timely and comprehensive information.  New technologies, such as videoconferencing, were useful tools to that end and the Commission should continue to take advantage of creative means of communication.  The Peacebuilding Fund should ensure that the work of the Commission was translated into immediate action and concrete results.  Both the Fund and the Commission should remain true to their founding principles to bring players together in post-conflict countries to fill gaps, avoid duplication and preserve the mobilization of resources for peacebuilding.  “Nothing could be worse than the scattering of actions and lack of focus,” he said.  To maintain that focus required a close involvement and partnership among all stakeholders, including international financial institutions and other national and international bodies.


MARTY M. NATALEGAWA (Indonesia), associating himself with Jamaica’s statement on behalf the Non-Aligned Movement caucus in the Peacebuilding Commission, said the rationales for establishing the Commission and the Peacebuilding Fund were to support fragile societies recovering from war and prevent relapse into conflict.  To make the peacebuilding architecture more robust, deliberations had rightly emphasized the importance of good governance, rule of law, security sector reform, anti-corruption efforts and human rights, all of which were ingredients for pluralistic society.  In addition, however, the Commission should facilitate equal attention to development.  It was no coincidence that 9 of the 10 countries that had experienced conflict since 1990 were impoverished.  Further, as national ownership was fundamental to peacebuilding processes, the Commission must be willing to listen with an open mind to national Governments.  He agreed that civil society and other stakeholders’ voices were essential to enhancing national ownership.


The proposed integrated peacebuilding strategies would support sustainable recovery only if they were comprehensive, he continued, adding that their progress must be monitored in a way that would not unnecessarily burden Governments.  To realize its impact in each country, the Commission must intensify efforts to marshal resources among all relevant actors.  The Organizational Committee could explore that issue, particularly with corporate entities interested in “social welfare investments”.  He also suggested developing a template communications strategy to be adjusted in different scenarios.  The ability of the Commission to garner international media attention long after conflict stories slip from the headlines was critical to its capacity for advocacy and resource mobilization.  In addition, the General Assembly should enhance its interaction with the Commission by providing recommendations on peace consolidation and encouraging States to contribute to the Peacebuilding Fund.  It could also help monitor how resources were being used to ensure projects were well coordinated.


CHO HYUN ( Republic of Korea) said the early outcomes of the Peacebuilding Commission in both Burundi and Sierra Leone demonstrated the potential of the Commission.  Nevertheless, there were procedural details to be ironed out.  Peacebuilding was a long-term, costly process that required a holistic, synergistic approach, through the coordination of the General Assembly’s peacebuilding work, the Security Council and the guidance of the Economic and Social Council, as well as international financial institutions.


To give the Peacebuilding Commission the financial resources it required to carry out its work, he continued, Member States needed to support the Peacebuilding Fund.  As of July 2007, the Fund had received contributions exceeding 90 per cent of the $250 million target.  However, continued donations and greater resources were required.  In peacebuilding, time was of the essence.  He was concerned that months passed between the announcement of a country allocation and its disbursement.  Serious efforts were needed to significantly shorten the lag time.


Finally, in terms of the Peacebuilding Commission’s work in post-conflict societies, his country believed that sustainable peace could only be built with the active participation of the countries involved, he said.  Peace and security were most effectively maintained by a fully functional national Government.  Peacebuilding efforts should, therefore, serve to strengthen, not weaken, national Government.  However, peacebuilding was often most needed in situations where national Governments had been undermined.  Even in extreme cases, where there was no competent national authority, the International Commission had a responsibility to support post-conflict peacebuilding. 


JOHAN L. LØVALD ( Norway) said the achievements of the Peacebuilding Commission were substantive, but more needed to be done to face the complex challenges of post-conflict societies.  In particular, there were certain issues that required greater attention by the international community.  The first such issue was the peacebuilding requirement of “relevance on the ground”.  Making a difference on the ground required the full participation of United Nations Member States, institutional donors, non-state actors, civil society, media, the private sector and other stakeholders.  For its part, the Commission should spend more time on outreach activities to encourage broad ownership of the peacebuilding agenda.  The second issue was the need for a well-functioning peacebuilding architecture.  The Peacebuilding Support Office was an important element of that architecture and its role as a “conveyor and coordinator for peacebuilding” should be further defined and better funded in the future.  On the subject of funding, he added that the Peacebuilding Fund should play a distinct, catalytic role in terms of filling short-term gaps and longer-term resource mobilization.


The third issue that required more attention was providing for Burundi and Sierra Leone, while considering support for new countries, he said.  The Peacebuilding Commission should not have too many countries on its agenda at one time, and its work should be complementary to a peacekeeping operation.  National ownership should also be given greater consideration.  The Government of Burundi had worked closely and effectively with the Commission to conclude the Strategic Framework for Peacebuilding in Burundi.  That partnership served as a good example of a nationally owned path towards consolidating peace.  The final issue that needed more thought was the flexibility of the Commission’s working methods.  “It is not only about doing things better,” he said.  “It is also about doing things differently.”  Peacebuilding was a challenge to the traditional intergovernmental way of doing business and required flexibility and pragmatism above all else.  He concluded by calling on all stakeholders, especially the Bretton Woods institutions and the donor community, to build on the momentum already created to build peace and a better future for people in post-conflict countries.


JEAN-MARC HOSCHEIT (Luxembourg), fully associating himself with Portugal’s statement on behalf of the European Union, noted that the desire to break cycles of violence over the long term was the noble aspiration which had fostered the creation of the Peacebuilding Commission.  Today’s meeting provided an opportunity to map out its next stages of development.  Recalling that last year had been devoted to establishing the operations of the Commission, the Peacebuilding Fund and the Peacebuilding Support Office, he said it was now important to develop new modes of functioning.


He said the Commission had established a relationship of dialogue with all actors, including civil society, to meet its complex mandate.  The Commission and the Office also had found their place in the United Nations system, and that evolution must be consolidated.  In that context, he said the contributions of civil society and non-governmental organizations were essential to implementing and following up on peacebuilding strategies.  International financial institutions were also crucial.  He hoped appropriate arrangements could be made to include the European Union in the Commission’s work.


By developing peacebuilding strategies with Sierra Leone and Burundi, the Commission had gained a more precise understanding of what was at stake in the peacebuilding process, he continued.  Adopting a pragmatic approach, the Commission, through its country configurations, had made progress with country concerns for adopting integrated strategies.  He called on the Commission and the two countries to meet commitments for preventing the recurrence of violence, and to establish monitoring mechanisms based on qualitative and quantitative measures, which would help identify negative developments at an early stage.


Luxembourg was proud to be associated with the adventure to consolidate peace, he said, noting that conflict management was at core of the country’s external actions.   Luxembourg had enthusiastically become involved with the Peacebuilding Commission’s work.  Much work remained; however, through pragmatic action, much could be accomplished.


LUIS ENRIQUE CHÁVEZ ( Peru) said his country followed with great interest the work of the Peacebuilding Commission, Peacebuilding Fund and Peacebuilding Support Office, which together comprised a new structure in the United Nations.  Indeed, the Commission filled a vacuum in the system, and its importance was found in its development of integrated peacebuilding strategies.  Those strategies should be monitored on the ground with qualitative and quantitative measures.


Assessing country priorities was important, he said, as the absence of peace, exclusion of minorities and tendency to act only on the sole criterion of survival were characteristics that prolonged conflict.  He called on the Commission to help rebuild the national fabric, and remind people of the concepts of security and quality of life.  Issues such as disarmament, national reconciliation and the use of natural resources must also be tackled once violence ended.


Peacebuilding methodologies must be examined and guidelines for civil society participation determined, he continued.  The mandates of both the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council included peacebuilding roles, he said, noting also that in the case of Burundi, the Security Council had received early warning information.  It was important to work along those lines.  The cases of Sierra Leone and Burundi would serve as valuable precedents, and Peru welcomed the involvement of Norway and the Netherlands in those countries.


Identifying critical obstacles to peacebuilding was vital, he said, as failure to do so could lead to renewed violence.  Therefore, in looking at final integrated peacebuilding strategies, it was important to ensure the impact on the ground.  Short-term projects with quick impacts should accompany long-term efforts, and outside actors such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank should be brought into that process.  It was also important to persuade private enterprise to take part in reconstruction efforts.  Peru welcomed initiatives aimed at disseminating information about the Commission’s work, particularly among civil society players.  Security and human rights were closely interlinked, he concluded, and it was in that spirit that Peru worked to promote the peacebuilding structure.  His country was a candidate to join the Organizational Committee, he added.


KIRSTY GRAHAM ( New Zealand) said that solid progress had been made in getting this important new body up and running and in beginning operations in Burundi and Sierra Leone.  Only when those initial projects began to produce solid results, however, would it be possible to draw some conclusions about the efficacy of the Commission’s work.  In that respect, she was particularly interested in the interaction between the Commission’s activities and those of other actors working in the field.  For that purpose, greater information exchange among such partners, donors and Commission members was important, as would be the rolling out of the “One UN” initiative as part of efforts to improve system wide coherence at country level.


As the year progressed, she said, a key challenge would be to ensure that the Commission had clarity of purpose and a good understanding of the environment on the ground, before taking on new countries.  She was wary, for that reason, of moving on to new countries without a clear understanding of lessons learned from the first phases of the Burundi and Sierra Leone operations.  Depending on the results in those countries, she saw the possibility of an eventual supporting role for the Commission in Timor-Leste, in which her country had had a long involvement, provided its assistance was considered appropriate.


MARIA LUIZA RIBEIRO VIOTTI (Brazil) said that while there had been progress in setting up the Organization’s peacebuilding architecture, including defining basic parameters that would steer the international community’s involvement in Sierra Leone and agreeing on an integrated peacebuilding strategy for Burundi, the Commission must consolidate its identity as an important member of the United Nations family with its own niche and mandate.  The Commission would need to prove its added value as an instrument capable of mobilizing resources and galvanizing relevant partners into action.


Success would be measured by its ability to bring concrete benefits on the ground in the countries under its consideration, she continued.  Therefore, when it came time to conceive a mechanism for monitoring and tracking the Commission’s strategies, care must be taken not to place additional burden –- financial or bureaucratic –- on the benefiting countries.  Such a mechanism should also focus on the commitments made by donors and partners, to ensure that the international community’s joint efforts would actually be translated into tangible outcomes.


Brazil, a member of the Commission’s Organizational Committee, supported the Commission’s issuance of periodic declarations and recommendations in certain circumstances, as it had in the case of recent elections in Sierra Leone and recent developments in Burundi.  The Commission should have the flexibility to react as events unfolded in the countries on its agenda.  In fact, by doing so, the Commission would operate as an “early warning system” to ward off any deterioration in relevant security or political situations on the ground.  She went on to commend the performance, thus far, of the Peacebuilding Fund, which had already approved projects for Burundi and Sierra Leone.  Those projects could serve as a means of leveraging further investments in areas of crucial importance.


She stressed that, while there was a clear distinction between the Peacebuilding Commission and its related Fund, it would be important to consider innovative ideas to enhance dialogue between them.  Members should become more familiar with the projects being financed by the Fund, in line with priorities set forth by the integrated peacebuilding strategies and the priorities defined by Governments in benefiting countries.  She said that Brazil supported the Commission’s consideration of new countries and, since the Commission was “ready to grow”, it was important for its working methods to be rendered more expeditious and results-oriented.  Needless to say, the Peacebuilding Support Office should be structured to address mounting demands.  She strongly urged the inclusion of Guinea-Bissau on the Commission’s agenda.


She called on the Security Council and the Economic and Social Council, as well as the Assembly, to provide the Commission with sufficient authority to discharge its functions.  A successful approach to peacebuilding also required focused attention on strengthening national institutions, the advancement of human rights, and on reform of justice and security sectors, among other important activities.  She added that the Commission’s work should allow for the generation of wealth, employment and new opportunities, so that the countries on its agenda could walk their own paths to peace.


MARTIN PALOUŠ (Czech Republic), fully aligning himself with Portugal’s statement on behalf of the European Union, said the creation of the Peacebuilding Commission was one of the most important results of United Nations reform.  As a contributor to the Peacebuilding Fund, the Czech Republic would like to see the Fund react more quickly on the ground and cooperate efficiently with the Peacebuilding Commission, particularly through the regular exchange of information.  He said the United Nations and its specialized agencies must take part in the broad peacebuilding process, which included urgent political tasks to restore the rule of law, such as security sector reform and development of educational systems.  One of the Commission’s most urgent tasks would be cooperation within the United Nations system.


It was not possible to start economic recovery without security sector reform, he continued.  Demobilization and struggle against illicit small arms and light weapons was crucial.  The Czech Republic had provided a voluntary contribution of $100,000 for a workshop to be held in Addis Ababa this year, which was part of a broad project aimed to help African countries implement the international instrument on illicit small arms and light weapons tracing.  Such efforts represented the country’s long-term cooperation with the United Nations.


He said it was time to add other countries to Commission’s agenda, and that Guinea-Bissau, Timor Leste and Haiti had been mentioned in that connection.  In deciding the agenda, it was important to take into account the real needs of those countries, their actual situations, and the role the Commission could play in peacebuilding efforts.  Decisions should not be limited by the Commission’s organizational capacities.  Noting that a one-year period was too short a time frame for making final evaluations, and that the Commission must still define working methods, he hoped that the Commission also would soon find modalities to allow the European Community, its largest donor, in its meetings.


MARCELLO SPATAFORA ( Italy) said the beginning of a new endeavour was never easy, but the Peacebuilding Commission succeeded in building credibility by adopting rules and working methods, developing implementation strategies for countries on the agenda, and involving all the stakeholders by bringing them together to work towards the same goals.  A country’s stabilization required the involvement of civil society and, after the adoption of guidelines for its participation in Peacebuilding Commission work, Member States should expect an active policy to enhance and smooth the relationship.


Country-specific configurations, he continued, had promoted the work of integrated peacebuilding strategies, and now the Peacebuilding Commission needed a monitoring mechanism to track mutual engagements and enhance the participation of regional organizations.  The Commission also needed to assume a more proactive role, with a wider radar screen in order to better assure the continuity of the things being done -– as well as the things intended to be done -– by the international community to stabilize a country.  The Peacebuilding Commission could become a permanent observatory to identify new countries willing to work with United Nations organizations and, when requested, address critical situations without simply waiting -– the current procedure.


Finally, he said, the Peacebuilding Commission was more than a donors conference.  If it was true that countries required resources, it was even more important to better use them.  Member States also had to achieve predictable funding for medium- and long-term interventions.


MIRJANA MLADINEO ( Croatia) said the first year of the Peacebuilding Commission’s work covered new ground in bringing more coherence and coordination to peacebuilding.  However, it had not been easy, as it faced institutional and substantive challenge and much still remained to be done.


To begin with, she continued, the Peacebuilding Commission needed to develop tracking and monitoring mechanisms to measure the implementation of the integrated peacebuilding strategy.  To accomplish that, complete mapping of existing and planned activities needed to be carried out and all peacebuilding effeorts harmonized.  Along that line, Member States had to support the Working Group on Lessons Learned as an important venue, which gave Peacebuilding Commission members a chance to share experience, especially on field missions.


Turning to the Peacebuilding Fund, she said the first disbursements had started, and the first successful meeting of the Advisory Board, of which Croatia was a member, took place in September.  Croatia believed contributions to the Fund should continue in a predictable way in order to reach the mark of $250 million.  She also urged the improvement of disbursement mechanisms for the Fund to fulfil its role as a catalyst for emergency funding.  However, long-term funding had to come from other sources.  Finally, as a new United Nations body, the Peacebuilding Commission had achieved a lot, with much positive energy and understanding invested in a good and productive start.  Croatia was among the countries that had the painful knowledge of the difficulty of the Peacebuilding Commission’s goal, but strongly believed in its results-oriented work.


JOHN MCNEE ( Canada) said the Peacebuilding Commission had a critical role to play in moving the international community beyond ad hoc peacebuilding efforts towards a more organized and coherent response to the needs of post-conflict situations.  The country-specific meetings on Burundi and Sierra Leone identified key priorities for assistance from the Commission and the Peacebuilding Fund.  The Commission should now work towards building expertise and developing analytical tools in each country and should implement an effective monitoring mechanism to ensure success. 


The Commission was currently entering a new phase that would include the consideration of new countries, as well as other thematic issues, he continued.  He said the new phase would no doubt bring new pressures.  The Commission’s mandate needed to be action-oriented, flexible and focused on realistic and achievable results to manage those new pressures effectively.  Thematic areas of work should include security sector and justice sector reform; disarmament, demobilization and reintegration; gender equality issues; children and armed conflict; and the implementation of durable solutions for refugees and internally displaced persons.  The relevance of peacebuilding strategies needed to be strengthened as a tool to generate support for peacebuilding in the recipient countries.  The Commission should also “take a hard look at its functions and mandates to maximize its effectiveness as an intergovernmental body”.  The Peacebuilding Commission was an important component of the wider United Nations reform agenda.  It should continue to clarify its role, while working towards building peace in post-conflict societies.


TETE ANTONIO ( Angola) welcomed the impact the Peacebuilding Commission and the Peacebuilding Fund had already made on the ground.  The Commission was the first brick in the foundation of a new architecture for consolidating peace and an important result of wider United Nations reforms.  Its first year of work was characterized by efforts to mount new structures and frameworks for peacebuilding, as well as efforts to establish channels for cooperation among donors, the Governments of Burundi and Sierra Leone, the United Nations, non-governmental organizations and the media.  As the head of the Commission during that critical phase, his country was particularly moved by the positive comments of Member States on the Commission’s work. 


He said the reports before the Assembly clearly defined the work that the Commission still needed to do.  The roles and functions of the Peacebuilding Commission, Fund and Support Office should be more clearly defined, as well as the roles of other partner agencies.  In defining those roles, Member States would have the opportunity to share their own success stories and advice for rebuilding post-conflict societies.  For the Commission and Fund to reach their full potential, he recommended, among other suggestions:  a strengthening of the national ownership of peacebuilding strategies; more flexible, transparent, and inclusive frameworks for partnership; a redefinition of the relationship between the Fund and the Commission; better funding for the Peacebuilding Support Office; and greater flexibility in the disbursement of funds for emergency situations.  In conclusion, he reminded the Assembly that the contribution of Member States to the Peacebuilding Fund was crucial and the Fund, the Commission and the Peacebuilding Support Office should continue to receive international support.


GERHARD PFANZELTER ( Austria), fully aligning himself with Portugal’s statement on behalf of the European Union, said Austria attached importance to the integration of a gender perspective into all aspects of the Peacebuilding Commission’s work.  The systematic participation of women in all aspects of the peacebuilding process was needed for the long-term sustainability of efforts.  The Peacebuilding Support Office and the Commission had been highly aware of the need to accord priority to gender issues, he said, noting that gender mainstreaming had figured into plans for both Burundi and Sierra Leone.  However, it was difficult to translate the importance of gender into concrete measures and commit to their implementation.  He called on all actors not to fall into the post-conflict trap of focusing on “angry young men” and ignoring the needs and rights of women.  More should be done in the second year to ensure that gender mainstreaming was reflected in all documents.


Convinced of its innovative nature, Austria had contributed to the Fund in 2006 and in 2007, he said.  Indeed, the Fund represented a departure from established mechanisms of development assistance, and he was happy to see that Sierra Leone and Burundi had been accorded $35 million each.  Also, resource allocations for the dialogue process in Côte d’Ivoire and the Central African Republic were important steps and he hoped to see similar contributions to similar situations in the near future.


FRANCES LISSON (Australia), noting that her country strongly supported the Peacebuilding Commission and had been among the first donors to the Peacebuilding Fund, said the Commission played a critical role in post-conflict countries.  She welcomed the adoption of the provisional rules of procedure, and was pleased that preliminary guidelines for civil society involvement had been settled and arrangements were in place for participation of institutional donors.  She hoped the Commission’s formative period was past, as the body must now focus on how best to support countries emerging from conflict.


She said Australia welcomed the Secretary-General’s reports.  On the Peacebuilding Commission, she fully supported the Secretary-General’s focus on maximizing country ownership in the post-conflict recovery process and welcomed the creation of the Working Group on Lessons Learned.  On the Peacebuilding Fund, she was grateful that analysis had focused on ensuring accountable disbursement of funds for peacebuilding activities, in line with guidelines.  The relationship between the Commission and other intergovernmental bodies, especially the Security Council, was critical.  She also urged strengthened coordination between the Peacebuilding Support Office and United Nations agencies, funds and programmes.


It was critical for the Commission to clarify the value it could add to each country on its agenda, she continued, as the body’s role would depend on specific country needs and existing plans.  An analysis of the Commission’s contributions to Sierra Leone and Burundi would be useful, especially as it started to consider where it might next focus its attention.  Australia maintained high hopes for the Commission.  Although it would take time for any new body to refine its processes and strategies, the Commission must improve as quickly as possible to ensure delivery of maximum results.  Australia stood ready to help realize that objective.


HERALDO MUÑOZ ( Chile) said the Commission had emerged successfully from its first year of work, but it still had much left to do.  Its first priority should now be to develop a useful monitoring mechanism to ensure effective follow-up on the strategies it had already developed.  National priorities and capacities should continue to be at the forefront of all efforts.  That would help guarantee the greatest chance of success for the Commission’s peacebuilding initiatives.  The Commission should not only act as an advisory body, but also as a mobilizing force for all partners, especially financial institutions.  Indeed, its partnership with financial institutions was of prime importance, in order to raise the targeted $250 million for the Fund.  He added that developed countries had a special responsibility to ensure that target was met and those funds were made available.


In order to avoid frustrations, the Peacebuilding Fund should clearly define its role in supporting post-conflict societies, he said.  He suggested the Fund provide support in two ways:  by providing emergency support to societies emerging directly from conflict; and by providing support within the strategic frameworks jointly developed by the Commission and recipient countries.  The role of the Secretary-General should also be more clearly defined, so that countries would not choose to apply for support directly through the Secretary-General, instead of through the Commission.  In conclusion, he reiterated his satisfaction with the work that had already been accomplished in bringing to life a new branch of the United Nations system.


CARSTEN STAUR ( Denmark) called the establishment of the Peacebuilding Commission one of the “major achievements” of United Nations reform.  Post-conflict peacebuilding required assessment of short-, medium- and long-term needs and an individual approach to each situation, with a commitment from the international community to meet those needs.  That complex task was close to the core business of the United Nations and a measure, in the public eye, of its success.  He praised the frameworks developed by the Commission for Burundi and Sierra Leone, and said that the Commission, after a year in which much time was spent on internal questions, must inspire action on the ground.  He encouraged the Commission to draw on the resources of regional organizations and civil society, stressing the importance of national ownership and regional support.  Setting priorities for each situation was also crucial.


He said the Commission, the Security Council and the Economic and Social Council would all benefit from greater interaction on specific issues.  Also, outreach and communication activities nationally, regionally and globally were necessary to the Commission’s success.  It also needed access to predictable resources.  How to determine country eligibility for assistance from the Peacebuilding Fund needed to be defined and the Fund’s resources made secure.  Other funding sources, such as international financial institutions, could be brought together by the Peacebuilding Commission to discuss sustainable funding. Member States had a strong obligation to support the Commission, which could be a success not just in its own right, but for the United Nations as a whole.


ALFREDO LOPES CABRAL (Guinea Bissau) said today’s discussion was proof of States’ commitment to make the Peacebuilding Commission a core instrument for peacebuilding worldwide.  Indeed, the body –- created by the General Assembly -- was representative of the United Nations today, as it involved members of the Security Council, Economic and Social Council and troop-contributing countries.  He thanked the Commission’s members, highlighting work done by the first chair, Ismael Gaspar Martins of Angola.


World tragedies needed demonstrations of solidarity and actions that provided hope, he declared.  Commission members, through common brainstorming, must ensure the body met its objectives.  The Commission was not just a subsidiary body of the United Nations, but rather a contributor to peace, particularly through its provision of financial support and establishment of dialogue with beneficiary countries.  He stressed that strategies should be nationally owned.  However, as countries were not always able to manage independently, ownership must be pragmatically managed.


The Commission could do more and would eventually find its “cruising speed”, he said.  He hoped the international community would ensure that gains were consolidated and effective contributions provided to national reconciliation efforts in the countries involved.  Although he had hoped the Peacebuilding Fund would disperse funds more quickly, he conceded that it was working at an acceptable pace.  It was important for the Fund to understand what its resources would accomplish, and he was confident in those charged with managing it.  He invited all States to contribute to the Fund, so that it could create major change.


JOE ROBERT PEMAGBI ( Sierra Leone) said Sierra Leone was, of course, one of the two specific countries selected for post-conflict cooperation through the Peacebuilding Commission and, one year later, he could confidently say that the country had immensely benefited from this innovative mechanism.


Reiterating that national ownership should serve as the cardinal principle behind the cooperation framework and, in turn, Member States should take due account of the full scope of the Commission’s mandate.  In other words, Member States should not forget that the Commission held a mandate to marshal resources at the disposal of the international community and to help ensure predictable financing –- not only for early recovery activities, but also sustained investment.


Turning to the Peacebuilding Fund, he emphasized the importance of its resources.  The new peacebuilding mechanism envisaged by the Heads of States in 2005 rested on three pillars -- the Peacebuilding Fund, the Peacebuilding Commission and the Peacebuilding Support Office working together to effectively coordinate their activities within the country.  However, the United Nations should clearly elaborate the relationship between the Fund and the Commission, in order to remove the misperception that the Commission had the responsibility to disburse money.  In a country such as Sierra Leone, where the line between recovery and development remained quite thin, it was not always easy to convince the public that the Peacebuilding Fund was not designed to reinforce existing national development priorities, but was a flexible mechanism to respond to immediate challenges to the peace process.


The scope of the Peacebuilding Fund, he added, as an immediate response mechanism did not fit neatly in a country such as Sierra Leone, which had evolved some years beyond the fragile immediate post-conflict environment.  However, judging from the positive impact it had in Sierra Leone on peacebuilding, it could be concluded that the Fund had a catalytic role to play at various stages.  In Sierra Leone, the guns had been silent for five years.  Disarmament had been completed.  However, the country faced serious challenges that required immediate attention.  He was grateful that the Commission and Fund had responded appropriately.


Sierra Leone and the United Nations, he said, had learned many lessons through this process.  However, looking ahead, Sierra Leone would like the Commission to engage in an in-depth policy discussion on the appropriate time for ending the Peacebuilding Commission’s engagement with a country.  In other words, how long should countries remain on its agenda to ensure the continued attention of the international community and fulfil the Peacebuilding Commission’s mandate?  Sierra Leone reiterated that Member States should measure the success of the Commission on the ground and through the impact the Commission’s activities had on the lives of the people in the country.  Sierra Leone was a guinea pig for post-conflict recovery.  Today, its plea was for the United Nations to help his country sustain the positive results thus far achieved.


CARMEN MARÍA GALLARDO HERNÁNDEZ ( El Salvador), noting that one year had elapsed since the Commission’s establishment, stressed the need for strategic planning in moving forward.  Her country viewed past achievements with optimism, but also was aware of the numerous challenges ahead.  The re-election of El Salvador as Vice-Chair of the Working Group on Lessons Learned demonstrated its commitment to the Commission’s work.  Although achievements had been made, the Commission should now focus on concrete actions, she said, noting that programme visits were essential for defining strategies.  The situation required stepping up cooperation with the Security Council, Economic and Social Council, General Assembly and other stakeholders.


States expected the Commission to make tangible contributions and practical recommendations in various contexts, she explained.  The Working Group on Lessons Learned had attempted to compile experiences that would lay the foundation for adopting a new form of coexistence.  However, implementation of lessons learned must be beneficial to countries under consideration.  The Working Group reflected the openness and flexibility that must be present in all work.


When countries emerged from armed conflict, it was essential to bring groups together to determine priorities, she said, as some aspects, if neglected, could jeopardize national agreements.  In that context, efforts must centre on creating employment opportunities and ensuring security sector reform.  El Salvador had expressed from the start its full belief that the Commission not be viewed merely as mediator between donors and recipient countries.  The manner in which funds were used would be more useful when past experiences were brought to bear on decision-making.


GIANCARLO SOLER TORRIJOS ( Panama) said the Commission had proved its effectiveness at mobilizing funds and support for countries emerging from conflict.  At a global level, it had focused the attention of the world on the problems of post-conflict societies, while, at an institutional level, it contributed to the coherence of the United Nations system in developing integrated peacebuilding strategies.  The Commission should now focus its efforts on fine-tuning its working methods and clearly defining at what point it would move a country on or off its agenda.  Encouraging the full participation of civil society and defining the quality of participation of all partners were also the responsibilities of the Commission.  It should also consider its ability to add value to other United Nations bodies, such as acting as an early warning system for the Security Council.


In its second year of work, he said the Commission should begin to consider including other countries on its agenda.  Assisting more countries would reinforce its position as a leader within the peacebuilding community.  Since new countries were currently requesting a place on the Commission’s agenda, now would be the opportune time for the Commission to review its decision-making processes for including new countries.  He concluded by reiterating the need to fine-tune the Commission’s working methods to guarantee effective outcomes on the ground.


BASO SANGQU ( South Africa) said that the Peacebuilding Commission resulted from the collective will of Member States to create support mechanisms for countries recovering from the devastation of war.  He commended the contributions of all stakeholders -– national Governments, civil society and international financial institutions –- and noted that the specific configurations for Burundi and Sierra Leone had produced good results.  While the procedural successes the Commission had enjoyed with regard to those countries were noteworthy, plans and policies needed to be transformed into action, so that people who had lived through conflicts could experience the results of peacebuilding.


He said that peacebuilding should be based on the principles of national ownership and international partnership.  National ownership meant allowing concerned countries to set priorities to benefit all their people; international partnership entailed the quick injection of resources to ensure stability in countries emerging from conflict.  He also called for clarifying the role of the Peacebuilding Fund and said that the Peacebuilding Commission needed to strengthen its relationship with relevant United Nations organs, as well as regional and subregional organizations.  He hoped that, in Africa, the Commission would recognize the key role that organizations such as the African Union, the Southern African Development Community and the African Development Bank could play in peacebuilding efforts.


LESLIE CHRISTIAN ( Ghana) said that, notwithstanding formidable difficulties, members of the Peacebuilding Commission had succeeded in putting in place the structures for the new institution to take off, albeit imperfectly.  To accept more countries on its agenda, however, would require further improvements in its working methods, taking into account lessons learned in the first year of operations.  Criteria for new countries for that agenda should not be numbers and geography, but necessity, relevance and reality.  In that light, Ghana supported Guinea-Bissau’s request.


The Peacebuilding Commission and its Fund, as well as all relevant actors, must make a greater effort to mobilize the support of regional organizations, he said.  In the case of Africa, the African Union Framework for Post-Conflict Reconstruction should be regarded as an important instrument for cooperation.  Further clarification on the relationship between the Commission and other United Nations bodies, such as the Security Council, was also needed, as was mobilizing more resources and attracting political will for the Commission’s objectives.


JEROEN THEODORUS MARIA GERARDUS STEEGHS ( Netherlands) said the Peacebuilding Commission was the “missing piece” in the United Nations jigsaw puzzle and bridged the gap between immediate post-conflict peacebuilding efforts and long-term recovery and development.  Over the past year, it had built up momentum by building and identifying strategies for Burundi and Sierra Leone.  As it moved forward, the Commission should ensure mutual accountability by integrating a monitoring and evaluation framework into the integrated peacebuilding strategy for Burundi and the strategy that would be developed for Sierra Leone.  At the current point in time, it was safe to say that the Peacebuilding Commission had “gotten off the ground”.  Its success would be judged by results on the ground, not in New York.  For that success to materialize, the Commission must work on realizing its potential as a catalyst for in-country coordination and should be careful to add value, instead of placing an extra burden of bureaucracy on the shoulders of already strained States.


The Commission could not live up to its full potential without the support of all international and internal actors.  Looking forward, he said the Commission should work on devising exit strategies, coming up with modalities for civil society involvement, and working out the details of a monitoring mechanism for the integrated peacebuilding strategies.  The Commission should also give more attention to “quick wins, crucial to winning the peace”.  After only one year, there was still ample room for improvement and his Government remained committed to full participation in those efforts.


JOSEPH NTAKIRUTIMANA ( Burundi) said his delegation fully endorsed Jamaica’s statement on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement.  Since its establishment of democratic institutions, Burundi had made considerable progress in its peacebuilding efforts, notably with the signature of a ceasefire agreement with the PALIPEHUTU-FNL rebel movement.  In that context, he appreciated the efforts of the South African facilitator, the regional peace initiative led by Uganda and support from the United Nations.


By selecting Burundi as the first beneficiary of its work, the Commission had demonstrated its commitment to building lasting peace and relaunching Burundi’s national economy.  He appreciated the Commission’s efforts and welcomed its first report.  Discussing successful efforts, he highlighted the round table that took place on 24-25 May as an important step that generated awareness about community level recovery in Burundi.  The Commission also had held specific meetings on Burundi in New York, which provided the opportunity to discuss good governance and administration.  Other efforts were made to identify key priorities for reducing the risk of recurrence of violence, and defining the peacebuilding framework.  Today, his Government was working with all stakeholders to explore the establishment of a follow-up mechanism.


Noting that 2006 saw the launch of the Commission and the Peacebuilding Support Office, he underscored that, although essential progress had been made, much work remained, especially in implementing the strategic framework.  He expected the Commission would carry out its mission to accompany Burundi on its path to peace, as “a glimmer of hope” had been born in Burundians.


He discussed future activities, emphasizing that the principle of national ownership must be the cornerstone for all efforts.  The Commission must distinguish itself by adopting innovative and flexible measures.  It also must continue to work closely with the General Assembly, Security Council, Economic and Social Council and international financial institutions.  He reiterated Burundi’s commitment to being a “source of pride” for both the Peacebuilding Commission and the United Nations.


CELESTINO MIGLIORE, Permanent Observer for the Holy See, said Peacebuilding Commission debates and documents suggested that -– as one of its main challenges –- the Commission needed to prove it was not a superfluous superstructure cast over the various stakeholders and actors already working on the ground, but rather a mechanism to help societies manage the difficult transition from war to sustainable peace.  Post-conflict situations, with their multiple and particularly complex problems, made that a daunting task.  Enabling the Peacebuilding Commission to respond required the international community to equip it with the necessary mandate and resources.


Finally, he said, the Holy See was pleased with the approval of guidelines for civil society participation in the Peacebuilding Commission.  That participation would prove decisive on the ground where, among other stakeholders, faith-based organizations were fully engaged in human development and stood at the forefront in fostering dialogue, in peacemaking and in post-conflict reconciliation.


The Holy See, he continued, was aware of the ongoing debates on what the Peacebuilding Commission should be, on its relation with peacekeeping operations and on its procedures and methods.  While part of the Commission’s growth process, those debates should neither distract nor derail it from its mandate of making a difference in the lives of peoples and countries, lest it become just another debating forum.


ALESSANDRO MOTTER, observer for the Inter-Parliamentary Union, said peace could never be fully achieved without good governance, and efforts by the Peacebuilding Commission to place governance and democracy at the core of its priorities were much appreciated.  The Inter-Parliamentary Union fully supported the Commission and had already begun working with the Parliament of Burundi to build its lawmaking and oversight capacities.  It had engaged the leadership of the Parliament in an effort to promote dialogue and ensure that its decision-making process was as inclusive as possible.  Parliament was “the crucible of national reconciliation” and in Burundi it could serve as a mediator between divergent interests in the post-conflict society.


He said he was anxious to see similar steps taken in Sierra Leone.  The international community owed it to the people of Sierra Leone to ensure that the representatives of the people rose above parochial interests in favour of the general interest.  To that end, the Inter-Parliamentary Union was sending a mission to Sierra Leone to review the functioning of Parliament and to assist parliamentary authorities in identifying specific needs, with a view to developing a comprehensive project of assistance.  The Commission should now begin to extend its arm to other post-conflict countries, while continuing to bring more coherence to global peacebuilding efforts.


SIRAJ WAHAB, Permanent Observer of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC), said his delegation concurred with the Secretary General’s report of the Peacebuilding Commission (document A/62/137), particularly in its assertion that the main challenge now facing the Commission was “to maximize its impact on the ground” in making United Nations peacebuilding architecture an effective instrument in support of countries emerging from conflict.  Along those lines, he welcomed the report on the Peacebuilding Fund, which made clear that, while it appeared contributions to the Fund were gradually flowing in, Member States needed to exert greater effort for Peacebuilding Fund initiatives to realize their maximum desired effect.


He said the Final Communiqué of the Annual Coordination Meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of OIC member States reflected the determination of the OIC to remain committed to enhancing the Peacebuilding Commission.  That Communiqué unequivocally noted the Peacebuilding Commission’s important contribution as an intergovernmental advisory body, expressed appreciation for the participation of OIC member States in the Peacebuilding Commission, welcomed the invitation to the OIC to participate in the Commission’s meetings and requested OIC member States to consider providing financial contributions to the OIC Secretary-General, which could then be transferred as OIC contributions to the Peacebuilding Fund.


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For information media • not an official record