23 September 2009
General Assembly
AFR/1893
PBC/59

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

‘Window of Opportunity’ Exists to Consolidate Peace in Guinea-Bissau

 


The United Nations Peacebuilding Commission has learned of a “window of opportunity” in Guinea-Bissau, stemming from the peaceful elections there, for which increased international support is needed.


The Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission’s Guinea-Bissau Configuration, Ambassador Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti ( Brazil), recently reported to the Commission on the outcome of her recent visit to that country to attend the inauguration of President Malam Bacai Sanhá.


“It is fair to say that there is an atmosphere of cautious optimism based on the belief that there is renewed political stability, following the recent elections,” Ambassador Viotti said.


Ms. Viotti met with President Sanhá, Prime Minister Carlos Gomes, Jr., and other Government ministers.  She said the priority areas for peacebuilding assistance, listed in the Strategic Framework one year ago, remain valid, but the Government is new and needs time to decide upon its immediate needs.


“The international community now needs to step up its efforts and coordinate assistance to the Government during this new phase of development,” she said.


While in Guinea-Bissau, Ambassador Viotti also met with national and international peacebuilding stakeholders, including staff from United Nations agencies, funds and programmes, international financial institutions and civil society representatives.


The nationally driven Strategic Framework for peacebuilding in Guinea-Bissau was adopted by the Peacebuilding Commission on 1 October 2008 with six priority areas:  electoral support; mechanisms to stimulate the economy, particularly to the energy sector; security sector reform; strengthening the rule of law, with a view to stamping out drug trafficking; reform of public administration; and the provision of basic social services such as health care, education, access to water and improved employment opportunities.


In support of the Strategic Framework, the Peacebuilding Fund has made an initial allocation of $6 million to initiatives such as election support, prison renovation, upgrading army barracks and programmes to stimulate youth employment.


A second allocation from the Fund is currently under consideration.


Meanwhile, the International Contact Group on Guinea-Bissau -– comprised of multilateral and bilateral partners -- met in New York yesterday to express support for the new Government.  The group agreed that a donors meeting later in the year will play an essential role in aligning coherent international support behind the nationally led priorities of security sector reform, combating impunity and addressing drug trafficking.


Background


The Peacebuilding Commission, along with the Peacebuilding Fund and the Peacebuilding Support Office constitute the United Nations “peacebuilding architecture”, established after the 2005 World Summit.


The Peacebuilding Commission has a unique structure.  It is an intergovernmental advisory body that provides a forum for discussion between a broad range of United Nations Member States about how best to coordinate and direct the international community’s resources in post-conflict countries.


The Peacebuilding Commission has 31 members elected from five categories. Seven each from the General Assembly, the Security Council and the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), five members from top providers of assessed contributions to United Nations budgets and voluntary contributions, and five members from the top providers of military personnel and civilian police to United Nations missions.


In 2010, the Peacebuilding Commission turns five and will undergo a review to assess its work so far and set the direction for potential reform to improve its performance.


The Peacebuilding Fund is the funding arm of the United Nations peacebuilding architecture, managed by the Peacebuilding Support Office.  To date, its resources total $320 million and it currently supports peacebuilding initiatives in 14 countries emerging from conflict.


For more information, please contact Allison Cooper at the Peacebuilding Support Office, tel.: 1 212 963 2073, or visit the Peacebuilding Commission’s website at: http://www.un.org/peace/peacebuilding/index.shtml.


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For information media • not an official record