|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Sixty-fifth General Assembly
79th & 80th Meetings (AM & PM)
General Assembly Reviews Performance of United Nations Peacebuilding Architecture,
with National Ownership Emerging as Cornerstone of Effective Partnership
Delegations Commend Efforts by Peacebuilding Commission, Fund
in Endeavour to Sustain Assistance to Countries Shattered by Conflict
As the General Assembly today considered the recent progress reports of the two key bodies of the United Nations peacebuilding architecture, delegates gave generally favourable reviews of their track records in responding to the needs and challenges on the ground of strife-torn and post-conflict countries.
Pointing to the report of the Peacebuilding Commission, an advisory body that has supported peace efforts in five African countries emerging from conflict, the United Kingdom’s representative lauded its progress last year in supporting elections in Burundi and the Central African Republic, where it had also helped with disarmament, demobilization and reintegration. He said the Commission’s rapid engagement with Liberia was impressive and could serve as a useful lesson for others.
But as myriad challenges remained in security-sector reform and other areas, he said, all partners must support the Chairs of the Commission’s country configurations rather than wait for them to deliver results. “It is only through achieving results that the PBC will become an influential and critical part of the international peacebuilding architecture,” he said. Towards that end, the Commission should partner with the “G- 7 plus” group of 17 fragile and conflict- affected States to consider their assessment of global peacebuilding performance.
The representative of the United States commended the Commission’s efforts to align its strategic frameworks with national strategies and to address the significant administrative burdens and transaction costs for national stakeholders and operational actors in Sierra Leone, Central African Republic, Burundi and Liberia. “We urge the Commission to begin its work in Guinea with similar efficiency and innovation,” he said.
Indonesia’s representative said the Commission needed a “single overall planning document” outlining strategies and priorities developed by host Governments to better coordinate efforts among the concerned national and international partners. That document would simplify monitoring and documentation requirements for post-conflict countries’ Governments, and help the Commission develop more focused and coherent engagement frameworks.
But Senegal’s representative said the 2010 review of the Organization’s peacebuilding architecture showed that progress to date on the four countries then on the Commission’s agenda — Burundi, Sierra Leone, Guinea-Bissau and the Central African Republic — was not up to expectations. He called for greater efforts to make the Commission more effective and able to meet international expectations by, among others, strengthening national ownership and better mobilizing resources.
Echoing those concerns, Bangladesh’s representative, speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement as Coordinator of the Movement’s caucus in the Commission, said the section of the Commission’s report on the 2010 review did not adequately consider basic peacekeeping principles, such as national ownership, capacity building, and predictable and timely financing. Despite some references to youth employment and other development-related activities, the report should have incorporated more relevant input from Member States in such areas as infrastructure development and the empowerment of women and local populations.
Moreover, despite the independence of the Peacebuilding Fund — whose recent progress in preventing countries from relapsing into violent conflict was outlined in the second report considered by the Assembly today — there was still room for improvement, he said. The Fund must better coordinate its activities and the funding programmes for projects in countries on the Commission’s agenda.
Guinea-Bissau’s representative said thanks in part to the Commission’s support for socio-economic development, her country had reached the completion point of the debt relief initiative for heavily indebted poor countries, known as HIPC, in December 2010, through which the nation’s external debt had been reduced considerably. The United Nations and other international partners had helped create job training centres and youth employment schemes, while the Fund had allocated $16.8 million for Guinea-Bissau.
Sierra Leone’s representative, drawing on his country’s experience in peacebuilding with the international community’s support, said it was critical to support domestically driven democratic processes and development priorities. At their heart was making Government more accountable, transparent and participatory.
He commended the Commission’s progress in implementing recommendations from the 2010 review and supported creation of a specific country configuration for Liberia.
Guinea’s representative said that by asking to be on the Commission’s agenda, the country’s new authorities had showed their political resolve to lay the foundation for peace, security and lasting sovereignty in the region. The prospects for peace, security, development and human rights depended on the ability of the new Government to carry out its responsibilities and the international community’s support on the difficult road to national reconciliation.
According to the Secretary-General’s report on the Peacebuilding Fund, which was introduced today by Commission Chair Eugène-Richard Gasana ( Rwanda), as of 30 June 2010, the Fund’s portfolio had grown to $357.3 million, and its donor base to 48. From 1 July 2009 to 30 June 2010, the Fund had allocated $63.51 million in 16 countries on security-sector reform, disarmament, demobilization and reintegration, youth employment, national reconciliation, good governance, and rule of law.
Also during the meeting, Peter Wittig ( Germany) former Commission Chair, introduced the Commission’s report on its fourth session, noting that in September 2010, the Commission had added Liberia to its agenda.
In other business, the Assembly took note of document A/65/691/Addendum 7, in which the Secretary-General informed the Assembly President, since his communication in document A/65/691/Addendum 6, that the Dominican Republic and Gambia had made the necessary payments to reduce their arrears below the amount specified in Article 19 of the Charter.
Also speaking today were representatives of Hungary (on behalf of the European Union), Brazil, Pakistan, Belgium, Japan, Guatemala, Canada, Croatia, Peru, Tunisia, Ukraine, China, Nepal, South Africa, Australia, Portugal, Turkey and Lebanon.
The General Assembly met today to consider, in a joint debate, the Report of the Peacebuilding Commission on its fourth session (document A/65/701-S/2011/41) and the report of the Secretary-General on The Peacebuilding Fund (document A/65/353).
The first report reviews the Peacebuilding Commission’s activities from 1 July 2009 to 31 December 2010, which coincides with the mandated five-year review of the United Nations peacebuilding architecture aimed at strengthening partnerships with key regional and global actors, support for political processes in countries on the Commission’s agenda, resource mobilization, youth empowerment and economic revitalization.
In that report, the Commission recognizes the need to capitalize on the political momentum generated by the 2010 review of the peacebuilding architecture in order to implement its relevant recommendations. The Commission states its intention to develop a practical approach to track progress towards that end. To improve effectiveness in the field, it will generate better analyses and galvanize action around critical and country-specific peacebuilding priorities, improve advice to United Nations principal organs, further rationalize resource mobilization, and strengthen partnerships, among other actions.
The Secretary-General’s report, which covers the Peacebuilding Fund’s activities from 1 July 2009 to 30 June 2010, states that, as of 30 June 2010, the Fund’s total portfolio had grown to $357.3 million, and its donor base to 48. During the reporting period, the Fund allocated $63.51 million in 16 countries on security-sector reform, disarmament, demobilization and reintegration, youth employment, national reconciliation, good governance, and rule of law. It allocated $43.9 million to 14 countries during the previous period.
The Secretary-General states that to enable the Fund to respond more effectively to the needs and challenges of post-conflict and post-crisis countries in a rapid, relevant way and prevent a recurrence of violent conflict, the United Nations will develop harmonized indicators within the Fund, enhance field support for monitoring and evaluation, standardize independent reviews of priority plans and reviews of the various thematic areas of Fund investments, as well as integrate updated guidelines into the outreach and information strategy of the Peacebuilding Support Office.
He further states that the Peacebuilding Support Office is drafting a business plan for 2011-2012 funding needs, estimated at $100 million annually, which will present targets for overall management performance and selected aggregate indicators for peacebuilding outcomes at the country level. The Fund will review and act on the recommendations of the 2010 review of the United Nations peacebuilding architecture, particularly concerning enhanced synergies with the Commission.
Introduction of Reports
PETER WITTIG ( Germany), former Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission, presented its report. He said that, in 2010, peacebuilding efforts in Burundi, the Central African Republic, Guinea-Bissau and Sierra Leone were at the core of the Commission’s work. In September 2010, the Commission had also made Liberia the fifth country on its agenda, and, most recently, it had responded directly to a request for advice and accompaniment from Guinea. That was the first time such a request had been made directly to the Commission.
He said that peacebuilding and the future role of the United Nations peacebuilding architecture had a prominent theme inside and outside the United Nations in 2010. A review of that architecture had generated momentum which “must be maintained” as the Commission further expanded its agenda. Progress had been made in addressing emerging recommendations from that review, in particular, in connection with the creation of a new Peacebuilding Commission Country-Specific Configuration in Liberia. The Commission was proceeding in that direction on the basis of a “road map of actions for 2011”, focusing on practical objectives and concrete progress in enhancing its impact on national capacity development, resource mobilization and other areas.
The report before the Assembly underscored the thematic focus of the Commission during its fourth session around partnerships for peacebuilding, as building and strengthening partnerships had been indentified as a key area of added value for the Commission. It was engaging international financial institutions, in particular, the World Bank and regional organizations. The Commission had also prioritized the need for strengthening interaction with the principal organs of the United Nations, including the General Assembly, the Security Council and the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). In that vein, important thematic debates convened by the Security Council since February 2010 offered opportunities for engagement, including on particular country situations.
The Commission continued to receive direct and substantive support for the Peacebuilding Support Office, which provided regular briefings on the activities and operations of the Peacebuilding Fund. The Fund helped to ensure that the countries on the Commission’s agenda benefited from sustained attention and support from the international community, with 64 per cent of the Fund’s contributions being allocated to those countries. The main challenge facing the Commission was ensuring that its work was backed by higher levels of political commitment from the Member States and the senior United Nations leadership.
EUGÈNE-RICHARD GASANA ( Rwanda), current Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission, said that the present debate was a unique opportunity for the wider United Nations membership to reflect on how to collectively respond to the plight of millions of people in countries emerging from conflict. The Peacebuilding Commission, Fund and Support Office were established as dedicated institutional mechanisms to help “infuse a sense of commitment” to the cause of sustainable peace. Five years after they had begun to operate, there was a “qualitative shift” in the collective appreciation of the urgency and needs of post-conflict States. Now, there was an urgent need to translate that awareness and knowledge into operational realities in the field, particularly as the Commission expanded its agenda.
He said that the Commission, as an advisory body to the General Assembly and the Security Council, drew its power from the collective commitment of its individual members. It was necessary, therefore, to consider how individual countries could empower the Commission, including by: supporting national stakeholders in projecting their vision for peace and national development; ensuring focused commitments by all actors in support of national ownership and capacity development for peacebuilding priorities; mobilizing resources to fund critical capacities and priorities; aligning all actors around common and nationally identified objectives; and promoting mutual accountability between national stakeholders and their regional international partners. The recommendations emanating from the recently completed 2010 review echoed those approaches.
In 2011, the Commission would continue to explore different approaches to engaging financial institutions and regional partners at both the normative and country-specific levels, he said. It was planning to proactively engage relevant United Nations departments, agencies, funds and programmes in areas such as women’s participation in peacebuilding, the impact of rising food prices on countries emerging from conflict, and education and youth. The Commission would also deepen its interaction with the United Nations principal organs. In that respect, the Secretary-General could play a major role in ensuring system-wide coherence and commitment to peacebuilding, as well placing peacebuilding at the core of the United Nations priorities. The delegate was keen to ensure that the Peacebuilding Support Office — which had an important role in linking the activities of the expanding peacebuilding agenda with the work of the Commission — continued to sharpen its analytical capacity of critical peacebuilding priorities, drawing on lessons learned from past United Nations experiences.
ALBULKALAM ABDUL MOMEN (Bangladesh), speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement as Coordinator of the Movement’s caucus in the Commission, said his delegation wished that the report of the Peacebuilding Support Office would have more effectively set out the “what happened and why” of its work. A clearer analysis of its work would have given better guidance for future action and provided a basis for future recommendations. As for the report on the Commission’s work, it should include sufficient analysis of the body’s activities, including a concise “gap analysis” of conditions on the ground and projected priorities in specific countries. That report also should include analysis of the Commission’s development-related activities, especially income-generating and economic revitalization initiatives. While they did contain a few references to youth employment, it could also incorporate more relevant inputs from Member States in areas such as infrastructure development and efforts to empower women and local populations.
Turning to the section of the report on the 2010 review of the United Nations peacebuilding architecture, he said the Movement would have liked to have seen more reflection on the basic principles of peacebuilding, such as national ownership, national capacity building, and provision of predictable and timely financing. It was also important for the report to include recommendations on the way forward for the Commission, building on past achievements and addressing gaps. There was an urgent need to clarify the Organization’s vision with respect to the relationship between the Commission and the Fund. Despite the Fund’s independence, further improvements were required to ensure coordination and coherence between its activities and the funding programmes for the projects being implemented in the countries on the Commission’s agenda.
CSABA KÖRÖSI (Hungary), speaking on behalf of the European Union, said that the Union had actively engaged in the Peacebuilding Commission since its creation because it believed that support to countries emerging from conflict was a moral obligation of the international community. The Commission was proving valuable in that context; he welcomed the actions of Liberia and Guinea in putting themselves forward for referral to the body. Regarding the Civilian Capacity Review, he attached great importance to following up its recommendations and hoped the effort would result in increased availability of experts and better integration within the United Nations system and with other key players. Gender equality was also crucial in that area.
He said that it was also important to capitalize on the 2010 review of the Commission, utilizing all available means to face challenges in countries on the body’s agenda, including electoral processes in the Central African Republic and Guinea-Bissau, the reform of the security sector in Guinea-Bissau and Guinea Conakry and the promotion of youth opportunities in Sierra Leone. Better analysis, sharper focus on specific obstacles to peace, and mutual commitments between Governments and the international community to overcome those obstacles were needed. Proposals for the Commission to take a flexible approach to its country work should be heeded as well. The Union stood ready to intensify its efforts to maximize the effectiveness of the United Nations peacebuilding architecture.
MARIA LUIZA RIBEIRO VIOTTI ( Brazil) said the recommendations in the 2010 review would enhance the Commission’s effectiveness on the ground and, thus, it was imperative to take them forward. Despite progress, difficult challenges lay ahead. Concerted action and strong national and international commitment was needed. Peacebuilding was an integrated, multidimensional process that required partnerships and long-term sustained effort. Long-term stability was not possible without socio-economic progress. Helping countries restore basic services, revitalize the economy and fight poverty was the most effective way to achieve long-lasting peace, stability and security, and those goals should be a priority. The international community should adapt its assistance accordingly and focus on helping countries build and strengthen institutions, which would allow for stronger public administration.
In Guinea Bissau, she noted, progress in economic management had fuelled economic growth and fiscal revenue, better positioning the Government to manage budgets and invest in peacebuilding priorities. Institution-building and economic recovery could improve security. Also important were policies for women’s empowerment and youth employment. In Guinea-Bissau, women’s active participation had been crucial in restoring war-torn societies, and the Commission’s country-configuration had trained hundreds of youth. It was important to create income-generation activities, basic health care, education and women’s employment in order to address the root causes of conflict. The Commission should continue to seek advanced partnerships and, in that, it would greatly benefit from advanced dialogue with ECOSOC. The Security Council should solicit the Commission’s advice more often when discussing mandates of countries on the Commission’s agenda. Brazil was committed to improving the Commission’s transparency.
MARK LYALL GRANT ( United Kingdom) said the Commission had made progress during 2010, including through its support to the elections in Burundi and the Central African Republic, where it had also helped to maintain momentum for disarmament, demobilization and reintegration. He welcomed recent joint meetings on drug and youth unemployment in West Africa. Additionally, the Commission’s rapid take-up and engagement with Liberia had been “impressive” and there were useful lessons to be learned from that engagement. Nonetheless, there were some areas where progress was lagging, such as in Guinea-Bissau, where peacebuilding had been stymied as a result of the political and security situation. In that respect, several challenges lay ahead for 2011, including the achievement of genuine progress in the implementation of the Economic and Community of West African States (ECOWAS) road map on security sector reform in Guinea-Bissau, the establishment of regional justice hubs in Liberia and rapid agreement on the commitments between the Government and the international community for addressing the bottlenecks to peace in Guinea, notably in security sector reform.
He stressed the importance of not simply waiting for country Chairs to deliver results; Member States, United Nations organs, regional organizations and other partners had a responsibility to support them in their efforts. “It is only through achieving results that the PBC will become an influential and critical part of the international peacebuilding architecture,” he said. Towards that goal, the Commission should link up with the new grouping of 17 fragile and conflict affected States — the so-called “G- 7 plus” — to take on board their assessment of the international community’s peacebuilding performance. Regarding the Peacebuilding Fund, the United Kingdom had recently completed a review of the mechanism, with overall positive results. The Fund was considered to have performed well against the review’s criteria. In that light, the representative announced, the United Kingdom would be making a new contribution to the Fund totalling $40.25 million over the next two years.
RAZA BASHIR TARAR (Pakistan) said that during the “landmark” fourth session of the Peacebuilding Commission, that body had conducted the first review of its work, which, moving forward, must focus on strictly prioritizing security sector reform, local capacity building and economic revitalization. It must also sharpen its emphasis on development and refine the nexus between peacekeeping and peacebuilding. The Commission’s work increased when country-specific configurations refined their roles, undertook important initiatives in resource mobilization and developed synergies with international financial institutions. As countries like Burundi and Sierra Leone successfully managed their progress on the road to sustainable peace, a better understanding of peacebuilding’s challenges and complexities emerged. Liberia’s partnership with the Commission following the success of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) also went a long way towards creating successful templates for peacebuilding strategies in post-conflict zones.
Stressing that the success of United Nations endeavours hinged on its financial resources, he underlined the Peacebuilding Fund as an essential component of the peacebuilding architecture. The Secretary-General’s target of disbursing $100 million a year for the next three years was commensurate with the challenges ahead, but achieving that target would require “peace investments” from Member States. Criticisms that the Fund lacked transparency, proper monitoring and evaluating systems, and disbursed funds too slowly were largely valid, as the Fund’s management was understaffed and better human resources and operational flexibility were required to make it more efficient. Along with 30 other countries, Pakistan had contributed to the Fund during the last pledging session.
HASAN KLEIB ( Indonesia) said that, as a member of the Peacebuilding Commission, Indonesia was very pleased to see that both the Commission and the Peacebuilding Fund had progressed in the achievement of their mandates. The work by the Organizational Committee and now six country configurations demonstrated the Commission’s dedication and hard work to bringing about progress in the agenda countries, as well as enhancing global attention and support for post-conflict peacebuilding as a key issue. Over the reporting period, it was heartening to learn that bodies within the United Nations system — including the Security Council and ECOSOC — had had numerous discussions about peacebuilding. Indonesia hoped that the greater focus on peacebuilding would not only enable greater collaboration among United Nations entities, but also allow for strengthened partnerships with the relevant entities outside the Organization.
He said his country fully agreed with the core points of the reports presented to the Assembly today, including that the post-conflict effort must be nationally identified, nationally owned, and nationally driven, but with full and sustained assistance by the United Nations, the region and international community. It was critical that the peacekeeping-peacebuilding nexus be translated on the ground from the very outset. In that context, Indonesia welcomed the recent release of the independent report on the civilian capacity in the immediate aftermath of conflict. The review should focus on efforts to create “needs-based” civilian capacities mechanisms, in which the expertise came primarily from the concerned States, the region, the South, and women. It was also important that the Commission continued to take forward the relevant recommendations of the 2010 review of the United Nations peacebuilding architecture.
The Commission needed a “single overall planning document” outlining strategies and priorities developed by the host Governments, where it would improve coordination among the concerned national and international partners, he agreed. That document would simplify the monitoring and documentation requirements for the Governments of post-conflict countries, and help in the development of expeditious, more focused and coherent engagement frameworks by the Commission. The Commission’s mandate of marshalling resources was central to its work in continuing to prove its added value with concrete, country-specific results. Indonesia was pleased to note that the Peacebuilding Fund was now generating benefits in 16 countries, with one of the broadest donor bases among the United Nations multi-donor trust funds.
JAN GRAULS ( Belgium) said the 2010 review noted that the peacebuilding architecture, despite its growing and learning pains, had the potential to mobilize the necessary resources for countries emerging from conflict. He encouraged the international community to implement the recommendations put forward in the review. He hoped that the Peacebuilding Support Office would devote more staff to directly support countries on the Commission’s agenda. He called on the United Nations system to enhance support to that Office. The Central African Republic configuration had incorporated the recommendations of the five-year review into its work programme by setting seven priority goals.
He said that those included reaffirming the relationship with the Secretary-General and General Assembly; strengthening the nexus between the three pillars of the peacebuilding architecture; ensuring that peacebuilding partners had common strategic planning tools; building the national capacities of Government and civil society, as well as the capacity United Nations capacity to mobilize resources; assessing the presence of the country configuration and its visibility on the ground; and drawing lessons from other country configurations. Better use of the potential synergies between the Fund and the Commission could help to further mobilize bilateral partners based on jointly identified peacebuilding priorities.
ASAKO OKAI ( Japan) said that her country was making all possible efforts to recover from the aftermath of the massive earthquake and tsunami that had occurred there recently. She was convinced that, with the help of their partners, Japan would be able to surmount the “daunting challenge” that it currently faced.
She said that one of the priority issues of the Peacebuilding Commission was to consider how to best take forward the recommendations of the 2010 review in order to yield a tangible impact on the ground, including in the six agenda countries. Japan, in its capacity as the new chair of the Working Group on Lessons Learned, intended to actively engage the Working Group to contribute to the implementation of the review’s recommendations. The Working Group was aiming at making concrete proposals in that regard, including on the issues of resource mobilization on identified priorities, economic revitalization, youth and employment, and others. In the upcoming meeting of the Working Group, Japan intended to highlight the issue of coordination in effective resource mobilization. It would examine whether the respective country configurations had succeeded in that endeavour and identify the obstacles in cases of difficulties.
With regard to the Peacebuilding Fund, she said it was encouraging to see the steady expansion of its donor base. As one of its major contributors, Japan intended to make an additional contribution of $12.5 million to the Fund in 2011. Given the Fund’s flexibility and rapid response capability, Japan believed that its allocation should be focused more closely on needs that might not be covered by other resources. Japan also intended to take up that issue at the upcoming meeting of the Working Group on Lessons Learned.
CONNIE TARACENA SECAIRA ( Guatemala) lauded the progress described in the Commission’s report. That body had already proven its usefulness and potential for providing greater consistency in decisions adopted by the Assembly, the Security Council and ECOSOC. But more could be done to improve its activities. The focus should be on specific situations and action on the ground. She called for increased cooperation between the United Nations and multilateral financial institutions. A one-size-fits-all approach was inappropriate as every situation on the ground was different. She questioned whether it was logical to selectively give United Nations human and financial resources to countries in need of proactive assistance or to those with the greatest potential for success. Peacebuilding involved the concept of graduation to a certain level, whereby a country no longer required the United Nations presence.
Noting that, on several occasions, country configurations had spoken through a single spokesperson rather than through the chair of the Commission’s Organizational Committee, she encouraged them to express their thoughts through the chair, whose job it was to coordinate the work of the various country configurations. Guatemala, she said, had recently benefited from the Fund, which had helped her country to strengthen the security and justice sectors. The country still felt the remnants of the conflict it experienced 15 years ago, which posed obstacles to the rule of law and could lead to setbacks. That illustrated the short-, mid- and long-term need for the Fund. The Council’s upcoming 23 March debate on the Commission’s report could focus on how to continue developing its relationship with the Commission and make better use of its advisory capacity.
JOHN MCNEE ( Canada) said the Peacebuilding Commission must maintain a flexible, multi-tiered approach, especially as the country configuration model had proved an effective means of engaging with countries recovering from conflict. Stressing the importance of closer cooperation with field-level peacebuilding, he said the Commission’s engagement also must be aligned with existing national strategies and complement the work of relevant actors on the ground. In that context, he welcomed recent attempts to more effectively draw on national resources available within the full membership of the country configurations. Further, the proliferation of peacebuilding actors reinforced the need for a thematic focal point to bring coherence to broader peacebuilding efforts.
With that in mind, the Commission could enhance its role as a forum for supporting reform and sharing best practices, he said, noting that it also must continue to develop stronger partnerships with other actors, including regional organizations, international financial institutions and civil society, as well as with the General Assembly, ECOSOC and the Security Council. Since 2006, Canada had contributed $25 million to the Peacebuilding Fund and planned to contribute another $5 million each in 2011 and 2012. Evaluating the impacts of the Fund’s interventions were essential, he explained, underscoring the need to more closely examine linkages between its activities and those of other humanitarian and development funding mechanisms to avoid a duplication of efforts.
RANKO VILOVIĆ ( Croatia) welcomed the Peacebuilding Commission’s attempts to place its work more at the centre of the United Nations evolving peacebuilding agenda through, among other ways, improving the on-the-ground-impact of its activities and strengthening its efforts to galvanize targeted activities to address country-specific priorities. He also supported the Commission’s efforts to develop flexible and adaptable instruments of engagement with the countries on its agenda, especially the fact that, rather than “delivering lessons”, the body listened to and worked closely with those countries’ authorities.
He said his country also supported the recommendations that emanated from the Assembly’s five-year review of the Commission’s work, particularly those regarding increasing cooperation between the Commission and the other main United Nations organs. He specifically noted the call by the review’s co-facilitators for a more interactive and structured relationship between the Commission and the General Assembly. He also supported the recommendation that the Assembly hold regular thematic debates on issues being considered by the Commission. Also, such activities should help the Assembly finally realize some of its key “parental rights and obligations” to provide the Commission with clear guidance and advice.
Stressing the important nexus between transitional recovery and sustainable development, he urged the Commission’s ECOSOC-elected members to strive to improve interaction between the two bodies, especially in support of the complex interrelated items on their respective agendas. He strongly supported the Commission’s efforts to spotlight gender issues as vital to peacebuilding overall, and he looked forward to the release of the report of the Senior Advisor Group on Civilian Capacity in the Aftermath of Conflict. Hopefully, that survey’s findings would help the United Nations and the international community find ways to better meet the challenges of recruiting, training and deploying civilians with the appropriate expertise, so desperately needed in post-conflict situations. He also supported calls for stronger synergy and better communication between the Commission and the Fund towards a better alignment of priorities and activities.
MILAGROS MIRANDA (Peru) stressed the importance of the 2010 recommendations, adding that the Commission’s annual report should have contained an analysis in each country configuration section concerning the real impact on the ground of each of the programmes. That was particularly relevant in terms of resource mobilization. Peacebuilding must be carried out with a long-term perspective and it must address issues of security and development, recognize the synergy between the two, and follow through with the road map to implement the recommendations of the Commission’s review. The Commission had focused mainly on development, but it should also focus on job creation for youth. She noted some positive examples towards that end in the activities of the Working Group on Lessons Learned, which also included support for economic recovery and strengthening political institutions.
She said that the Commission’s catalytic role could be strengthened by taking those aspects into account, and she called for steps towards that end to be considered in the Commission’s next annual report. Turning to the report on the Fund, she noted progress in the Fund’s role in early peacebuilding activities and the process of national ownership. She stressed the need to avoid duplication of peacebuilding efforts. She supported the stated priorities for the Fund’s investment, saying they should be based on the requirements of the concerned countries. Improving indicators for monitoring and evaluation should be done in close coordination with all national actors. Fund-supported programmes should be linked to projects of the World Bank and other agencies that had the same objectives.
ABDOU SALAM DIALLO ( Senegal) said that the meeting was a timely opportunity to assess the crucial functions of the Peacebuilding Commission, whose mission was “not an easy one”. The 2010 review showed that the progress made to date on the four countries then on the Commission’s agenda was not up to expectations. Additional efforts were needed to make the Commission more effective and more able to play a role that was consummate with international expectations. Those efforts would involve, among others, strengthening national ownership and efforts on the ground, and better mobilization of resources. The Commission also should strengthen its advisory role in conjunction with United Nations organs, including the Security Council and the General Assembly, as well as with international financial institutions such as the World Bank. Links with the Peacebuilding Support Office also should be strengthened.
He said that national ownership must remain central to the Commission’s work if it was to be effective. Unfortunately, action on the ground was often determined by “supply not demand”. A solution to that problem was urgently needed, as actions should be driven by the demand side and the needs of the country involved. Those should include the empowerment of national players, especially women and youth. Senegal also hoped that the Commission would strengthen its work in both Guinea-Bissau and Guinea, with a focus on national ownership.
GHAZI JOMAA ( Tunisia) said Tunisia became a member of the Organizational Committee this year, and it was determined to participate actively in it. He lauded the Commission’s progress during the reporting period, during which it had focused primarily on strengthening partnerships, support to countries on its agenda, resource mobilization, youth empowerment, and economic recovery. The Commission also had focused on strengthening national ownership and improving impact on the ground. It was still very valuable. It should be kept in mind that post-conflict peacebuilding and reconciliation must be carried out in a consistent, integrative fashion.
He said that the Fund had enormous potential as it could adapt to the specific problems of post-conflict stabilization and recovery. The Assembly must give it general guidance. He lauded the broadening of the Fund’s donor base and the increase in its financial portfolio, but it still remained to improve the quality of the Fund’s programmes and extend its scope as a result of new pledges from donors and its improved management system. The Fund would be following through with the recommendations of the 2010 review, particularly in enhancing synergies with the Commission.
YURIY SERGEYEV ( Ukraine) said that the year 2010 had not been an ordinary one for the Peacebuilding Commission, with the advancement of its agenda across a number of areas. The review of United Nations peacebuilding architecture had proved to be a success in indentifying both strengths and weaknesses. Ukraine also welcomed the inclusion of Liberia and Guinea on the Commission’s expanding agenda, which was a clear indication of the steady demand for the Commission’s efforts on the ground. The delegate further encouraged the close engagement of the Chairs of the country configurations with the Security Council, which he said were developing an “evolving synergy”. Ukraine called for further exploration of more creative cooperation as the Commission became a more “mature and influential” body.
He said that more efforts were also needed to sharpen the Commission’s analytical edge, as well to achieve other objectives in the field. Ukraine urged delegations to help the Commission capitalize on the momentum of 2010 and achieve more visibility. Ukraine was not a stranger to peacebuilding, having contributed to almost 20 missions under United Nations leadership. It supported the priorities outlined by the current Chair, Rwanda, which had been discussed during the current debate. It was also important to develop and build upon the “intellectual fabric” of the Commission. The current work plan was “neatly tailored” to the road map for 2011. Nonetheless, more sophisticated features should be adopted, including more thematic focus areas and lessons learned capacities. The themes of women, children and youth in peacebuilding and peacekeeping were essential. In that regard, Ukraine proposed a “triangular cooperation” between those themes. “Peacebuilding is a litmus test” of the Organization, said the delegate, stressing that more remained to be done if that test was to be passed.
WANG MIN ( China) said the Commission had played an important role in helping countries emerging from conflict. But peacebuilding was a longstanding task and the Commission still had a long way to go to achieve its goals. The United Nations should further coordinate peacemaking, peacekeeping and peacebuilding. It must fully make use of the intrinsic link between peacekeeping and peacebuilding and create favourable conditions for smooth transition from the former to the latter. It must clarify the division of labour to avoid duplicating efforts. It also should fully respect ownership of the host countries and focus on enhancing capacity-building and socio-economic development, among other priorities. The Commission should give recommendations for aid, based on local priorities.
He expressed hope that the Commission would address conflict’s root causes, such as poverty and the lack of governance. He supported strengthening the Commission’s coordination with the Assembly, Security Council, ECOSOC and outside organizations, encouraging it to provide relevant peacebuilding advice. The Commission had made progress in improving its working methods, but there was still room for improvement. In particular, it should focus on achieving concrete results in the countries on its agenda. He called on more countries to contribute to the Fund. Since 2007, China had contributed $4 million to the Fund, and it would give $2 million this year and next.
GYAN CHANDRA ACHARYA ( Nepal) said that, to date, the countries on the Commission’s agenda had “eminently justified” the usefulness of a dedicated intergovernmental body to provide much-needed technical, developmental and financial support. Peacebuilding after conflict required multifaceted efforts in a coordinated manner, as well as sufficient investment. Nepal emphasized the importance of partnership among the Commission, international financial institutions, regional and subregional organizations, and relevant international actors for harmonizing support and pooling of the resources for effective peacebuilding activities. Additionally, however, broader political consensus and commitment to the peacebuilding process were needed and must be underlined with “due focus” in any peacebuilding activities.
He said that following the stabilization of the security situation after a conflict, early peacebuilding efforts included the restoration of basic services, establishment and strengthening of essential public institutions, preparations for an electoral process, and implementation of “quick impact” projects in critical areas. Mainstreaming the participation of women, youth and marginalized groups should also form an integral part of the peacebuilding process, and capacity building towards the goal of ensuring national ownership was essential. “No matter how difficult the situations were, the PBC must keep the national ownership at the forefront and centre of its activities in the field,” he said. It was also essential for the Commission to plan a “timely exit” from the field. Nepal encouraged synergy between the Commission and the Fund, and called for a substantial increase in contributions to the latter. He noted that the President of the Security Council continued to extend invitations to the Chairs of the country configurations to brief the Council. Additionally, the Working Group on Lessons Learned — which Nepal had chaired in 2010 — must be fully utilized as a platform for the distillation of pragmatic knowledge and for the benefit of country configurations and the wider peacebuilding community.
LULAMAH RULUMENI(South Africa) said that today’s joint debate and the reports submitted in that regard were an opportunity to take stock with a view to consolidating gains made and identifying challenges still facing the United Nations peacebuilding architecture. There was a growing momentum to take forward the recommendations of the 2010 review within the peacebuilding platform. The countries on the agenda during the review had benefitted from the Commission’s work in several ways. Meanwhile the addition of new countries, Liberia and Guinea, demonstrated the success of the Commission. Nonetheless, more need to be done on the implementation side. South Africa believed that the Commission could improve its reporting, including by focusing on further enhancing cooperation and information sharing. Similarly, lessons learned should be shared between the Security Council, the General Assembly, ECOSOC, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and other key bodies of the Organization.
He said that the report should focus on the work of the Working Group on Lessons Learned, which provided insight on that synergy. It should also focus on the lack of coordination between stakeholders, including the greater integration of women, the need for more interaction between regional and subregional organizations and the global financial institutions, which had major roles to play in the areas of social and economic development. With regard to the Peacebuilding Fund, interaction between the Fund and the Commission should be strengthened, with the maintenance of existing complementarities between those entities. Additionally, as contributions from donor countries were shrinking due to the current global financial crisis, the Fund should seek to prioritize its existing resources. The Peacebuilding Support Office added enormous value, but faced the challenges of limited expertise and limited resources. Its role in providing support could be improved.
ANDREW GOLEDZINOWSKI ( Australia) said the Commission was now entering an important period, owing to its implementation of the 2010 review. He called for a more relevant, ambitious Commission, which he said was important because of the innovations in peacebuilding, including in the Liberia configuration that stressed the alignment of national priorities. Turning to lessons learned by the Organizational Committee, he acknowledged the importance of strengthening relationships with other peacebuilding actors, particularly such regional actors as the African Union and other African institutions. That was critical for the way forward, especially to address drug trafficking in Africa, which required a regional approach. Also necessary was to deepen the Commission’s relationship with international financial institutions and civil society.
He also encouraged efforts to increase synergies between the Commission and other United Nations actors such as the Assembly, Security Council and ECOSOC, adding that the Security Council must be more open in its engagement with the Commission. Peacebuilding goals should be set at the country level. Resource mobilization for peacebuilding must be strengthened. Since the Fund’s inception, Australia had given it $7 million. It had provided direct aid to peacebuilding activities in Sierra Leone this year and for the Burundi elections in 2010. The Fund’s activities had increased, but financial support for its programmes had not, and he called for more funding for such activities. He supported use of the agenda-scoring system to ensure that peacebuilding activities met established objectives.
JOSÉ FILIPE MORAES CABRAL ( Portugal) welcomed the report of the Peacebuilding Commission on its activities, especially on its various country configurations. In that regard, the recent inclusion of Guinea on the Commission’s agenda was an important development. Peacekeeping and peacebuilding should be implemented early and should be treated in a “single consistent framework”. The current report showed that the peacebuilding agenda had become an “integral” part of United Nation’s work, but demonstrated that challenges indeed remained. For example, there was room for improvement in the coordination between the Commission and other actors on the ground. The Commission was seen as a catalyst for donor resources, and that view should be translated into action on the ground.
He urged the Commission to work more closely with bilateral partners, regional organizations, United Nations bodies and other actors. Portugal was pleased that that objective was a major part of the Commission’s road map for 2011. It was vital for the Commission to become more involved in economic development. In that vein, youth unemployment in regions such as West Africa was a critical consideration. The Commission should engage in more dialogue with local organizations and other partners in that regard. Additionally, it should work to ensure greater flexibility in its relationship with the Peacebuilding Fund. The Fund, in turn, would benefit from closer coordination with the Security Council. Portugal actively contributed to three of the Commission’s country configurations, supporting its work there and elsewhere.
FAZLI CORMAN ( Turkey) said that challenges in post-conflict situations ranged from supporting political processes and reconciliation to creating safety and security, and from enshrining the rule of law to provision of basic services. The Peacebuilding Commission, since its establishment, had consolidated its core advisory role in effectively addressing the needs of countries emerging from conflict toward sustainable peace. In particular, Turkey welcomed the recent establishment of the Guinea country configuration, which it felt would help to redouble the peacebuilding endeavours in that country.
With regard to the challenges facing the Commission, he said that the body should pursue an integrated and comprehensive approach to its work, based on coherence among political, security, development, human rights humanitarian, and rule of law objectives. Priority should be given to building national institutions, in order to strengthen national ownership of peacebuilding, with a focus on the reinforcement of existing local capacities. The review of the deployment of civilian resources was of high importance. Bearing in mind that every country was unique, the prioritization of peacebuilding and capacity-building activities must be country-specific, requiring sufficiently flexible strategic planning for all related activities. The role of women in peacebuilding, as well as in the prevention and resolution of conflicts, was essential. Women’s participation should be mainstreamed in all stages of peacebuilding efforts. The effectiveness of the Peacebuilding Commission would depend on the level of commitment of the Member States. Turkey was keen to continue its support of United Nations peacebuilding efforts and to share its experiences in that regard.
FREDERICK BARTON ( United States) strongly supported the Commission’s work and welcomed its growing strength and that of the Fund, which called attention to countries emerging from conflict, advised on and proposed strategies to build sustainable peace and provided necessary resources to prevent a relapse into conflict. He lauded efforts to address many of the shortcomings noted in last year’s annual review and progress this year in countries on the agenda. He commended the Commission’s efforts to align its strategic frameworks with country strategies and to address the significant administrative burdens and transaction costs for national stakeholders and operational actors in Sierra Leone, Central African Republic and Burundi, and its further refinement in Liberia. “We urge the Commission to begin its work in Guinea with similar efficiency and innovation,” he said. He urged the Working Group on Lessons Learned to continue to foster meaningful dialogue and to link its discussions and findings more directly to the field programmes of the Commission and Fund.
He praised the Fund’s efforts to act as a rapid, relevant instrument for early peacebuilding and urged it to further refine its focus in configuration countries and to ensure that national leaders and stakeholders were invested in the success of its programmes. Despite considerable progress, the Commission still faced significant challenges. It must work harder to link ambitions in New York with programmes and leadership in the field, improve coordination with international institutions on needs assessment and programming; refine national ownership and capacity development, design impact measurements, and strengthen partnerships with international financial institutions. As the work of the Commission and Fund grew and more countries were added to the agenda, it was even more critical to improve the United Nations peacebuilding capacities.
MARIA ANTONIETA PINTO LOPES D’ALVA ( Guinea-Bissau) expressed her country’s high appreciation for the creation of the Peacebuilding Commission which, in coordination with the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Guinea-Bissau, had been monitoring very closely the process of peacebuilding in her country. As a post-conflict nation with fragile economic structures and “enormous challenges”, Guinea-Bissau had nonetheless made significant progress in the areas of socio-economic development. For example, it had made efforts to maintain rigour in the management of public resources, leading to the completion point of the debt relief initiative for heavily indebted poor countries, known as HIPC, in December 2010, through which the country’s external debt had been reduced considerably.
She said that, as Guinea-Bissau had a majority population of young people, its Government, in cooperation with international partners and the United Nations, had created training centres for technical and professional skills. At the same time, in partnership with UNDP, the Government had implemented a project “emprego jovem”, which had fostered creation of self-managed employment for the trained youth, allowing them to benefit from bank credits. The delegation was grateful for a recent initiative of the Peacebuilding Fund to allocate $16.8 million for Guinea-Bissau. It was determined to fulfil the requirements of the international community, which had supported those funds, and it continued to count on the assistance of all international partners in the process.
ALPHA IBRAHIMA SOW ( Guinea) recognized the Commission’s crucial role and thanked it for placing Guinea on its agenda on 23 February. By asking to be on the Commission’s agenda, the new authorities in Guinea, resulting from the country’s freest and fairest elections ever, had showed their political resolve to lay the foundation for peace, security, and lasting sovereignty in the region. The prospects for peace, security, development and human rights depended on the ability of the new Government to carry out its responsibilities and the international community’s support for a country on the difficult road to national reconciliation. Guinea’s deep crisis had been further aggravated by poor governance, political and institutional instability, impunity, massive and repeated human rights violations, corruption, the serious impact of civil wars, and the spread of transnational organized crime, particularly drug trafficking.
He said that to overcome the challenges posed to Guinea’s fragile peace following the presidential elections, the Government aimed to focus support on youth and women’s employment, promotion of national unity, reform of the defence, security and other sectors responsible for the rule of law and good governance. It aimed to complete the transition through legislative elections, with the input of political protagonists, based on transparency and harmony. The Fund had been a rapid, relevant instrument to stave off violent conflict and restore constitutional order in Guinea.
BRIGITTE TAWK ( Lebanon) said that tangible results had been achieved through the Commission’s country-specific engagements, proving its place as the main platform for peacebuilding within the United Nations system. However, challenges also remained. In that context, the Commission must redouble its efforts in several areas, including: supporting local ownership and re-establishing national capacities; conducting activities according to the specific needs of the host country; establishing better coordination with the Peacebuilding Fund, as well as better coordination and more accountability with relevant United Nations and other entities. Lebanon looked forward to seeing more of the challenges identified in the 2010 review addressed.
OSMAN KEH KAMARA ( Sierra Leone) said that progress made by the Commission in addressing emerging recommendations from the 2010 review was commendable. He was particularly supportive of the creation of a specific country configuration on Liberia, and looked forward to having Guinea on the Commission’s agenda, as well. The delegation welcomed plans to take forward the recommendations of the review to facilitate the interest of the General Assembly and the Security Council in the Commission’s work, as well as to provide the basis for discussion on the impact of peacebuilding in countries where the Commission was engaged, while simultaneously enhancing its impact on national capacity development, resource mobilization and aligning key actors behind common objectives.
He said that building “partnerships for peacebuilding” deserved great attention from the very beginning of peacekeeping missions, with a focus on utilizing an integrated approach in both phases. In particular, building and strengthening partnerships with relevant actors, such as international financial institutions, civil society, academia and regional organizations would add value, deepen knowledge of the Commission’s role and make its impact more visible. Sierra Leone appreciated the efforts of the Government of Austria and other partners to organize a regional seminar entitled “Strategies and Lessons Learned on Sustainable Reintegration and Job Creation: What Works in West Africa”, held in Freetown on 2 and 3 December 2010. From its own experience where the international community had partnered with the Government and people of Sierra Leone in the country’s reconstruction, his country had learned that it was critical to support domestically driven democratic processes and development priorities. At their heart was making government more accountable, transparent and participatory.
Meanwhile, peacebuilding processes were country- and context-specific, and while lessons learned from one should inform another, there might be more value from a conceptual rather than a practical point of view, he said. Finally, while peacebuilding architecture had “proven its worth”, there was a growing need to strengthen its engagement in order to sustain peace beyond the life of peacekeeping missions and to prevent countries from relapsing into conflict.
* *** *For information media • not an official record