19 March 2014
Security Council
SC/11326

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

Security Council

7143rd Meeting (AM)


Deputy Secretary-General Urges Security Council to Use Peacebuilding Review

 

In 2015 to Shape ‘Relevant, Catalytic and Effective’ Commission

 


Several Speakers Highlight Successes, Others Say Communities,

Combatants Must Understand What Led Them to ‘Fight in the First Place’


Touting the successes of the United Nations peacebuilding machinery in post-conflict areas like Sierra Leone and Timor-Leste, the Deputy Secretary-General called this morning for strengthening and fully utilizing over the long-term the advisory role of one of the Organization’s key peacebuilding bodies.


“I would like to appeal to the Council to take advantage of the review of the peacebuilding architecture in 2015 to shape the kind of Peacebuilding Commission that would be relevant, catalytic and effective, not least from the perspective of the Security Council,” Jan Eliasson told the 15-member Council during a debate on post-conflict peacebuilding.


In Sierra Leone, the transition from the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Sierra Leone (UNIPSIL) to a country team was under way — a sign that peacebuilding could prevent a return to violence and underpin a country’s development after conflict, he said.  At the same time, the resurgence of violence in the Central African Republic and South Sudan showed the risky, unpredictable nature of peacebuilding, and why the international community must always be ready to adapt.


The success of any transition depended on sustained, predictable financial and international political support, he said.  Reliable, early funding by the Peacebuilding Fund of cantonment — a key confidence-building step in the peace process — was vital.  In Somalia, the New Deal Compact, aligning donors with the priorities of the Government and Somali counterparts, had strengthened mutual accountability, while the publicly accessible “Dash Board” showing the details of donor funding for Liberia had promoted transparency.


Antonio de Aguiar Patriota ( Brazil), Peacebuilding Commission Chair, said that, while peacebuilding processes must be nationally owned and led, the international community must do its part to help countries stay the course, in a process that must include women and youth.  The Commission could do more to support initiatives to fully develop efficient national institutions, security and justice structures and socioeconomic opportunities in the post-conflict setting, which all took time.  He called on the Commission to provide more targeted technical support, particularly in the context of South-South cooperation.


Helen Clark, Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), said peacebuilding required a sustained local presence to understand and respond to a community’s immediate and long-term needs, such as livelihoods, basic social services, security and justice for victims.  Towards that end, UNDP last year partnered with local authorities in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo to investigate recent sexual and gender-based violence, murder and pillage, affecting some 900 people, and convict those responsible.  In Somalia, the Organization was helping the federal Government strengthen its capacity to perform core functions, such as tax collection to fund public services.


In the ensuing debate, most Council members agreed that national ownership, leadership and political commitment were essential for durable peace in post-conflict countries and that women must be central to that process.  They stressed the importance of the 2015 review of the Organization’s entire peacebuilding architecture — not just of the Commission, Fund and Peacebuilding Support Office — and hailed its positive scorecard in Sierra Leone and Liberia.  But, they found fault in other areas.


For example, Rwanda’s representative said peacebuilding efforts tended to be top-down and focused largely on technical aspects, which created a critical gap on the ground.  The situation in the Central African Republic had been on the Commission's agenda for the past six years, but the country still relapsed into conflict.  South Sudan faced similar challenges, he said, suggesting the Organization do things differently to address the root causes of conflict in each case.


Jordan’s representative disagreed altogether with the Secretary-General’s assessment that “inclusivity” could be attained simply through political processes such as power-sharing, elections, training and economic development strategies.  That approach was flawed, he said, and had failed more times than it had succeeded.  Nor did the repeated reference in the Secretary-General’s report to “national ownership” make sense, when the very emphasis on the need for “inclusivity” made it clear that in most, if not all, post-conflict societies, there was no cohesive nation that could “own” anything.


He said that, in post conflict-settings, only the killing ended, while conflicts continued as before, but through political manoeuvres, corruption and criminality.  Inclusivity occurred only when former combatants and their communities reached a deeper psychological recognition of what had led them to fight in the first place.


Other Council members addressed the importance of adequate funding for the Commission to sustain hard-won gains in stability and to foster security sector reform in places like Sierra Leone, Liberia and Burundi.  The Russian Federation’s delegate pledged to continue its $2 million annual contribution to the Fund.  The United States’ representative urged greater dialogue between the World Bank and the Council to ensure better funding.


Also speaking today were the representatives of Chile, Republic of Korea, Nigeria, Australia, China, France, Argentina, United Kingdom, Lithuania and Luxembourg.


The meeting began at 10:17 a.m. and adjourned at 12:45 p.m.


Background


Meeting this morning to discuss post-conflict peacebuilding, the Security Council was expected to hear briefings by the Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission and the Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).  Members had before them the report of the Secretary-General on peacebuilding in the aftermath of conflict (document S/2012/746).


Opening Remarks


JAN ELIASSON, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, said that the examples of Sierra Leone and Timor-Leste showed how post-conflict peacebuilding could prevent relapse into violence and underpin a country’s development after conflict.  On the other hand, the resurgent violence in the Central African Republic and South Sudan showed the unpredictable environment for peacebuilding and the great risks involved, he said.  That was why the international community must always be prepared to adapt.


National ownership, leadership and political commitment were indispensable for durable peace, he said.  While peace agreements must include the so-called “people with the guns”, peacebuilding required mainly political processes entailing broad participation and public accountability.  Support from the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for West Africa during Guinea’s September 2013 elections and from his Special Adviser in Yemen over the past two years had helped to bring the voices of women and youth into national dialogue in both countries, he said, noting that the Secretary-General had committed to allocating 15 per cent of United Nations-managed peacebuilding funds to projects promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment.  While not yet reached, that goal remained a priority.  Emphasizing the importance of building institutions for peace, development and social cohesion, he said that in Liberia, for example, United Nations support for the creation of five regional security and justice hubs had helped to restore faith in the national security services.


Successful peacebuilding also depended on sustained, predictable financial and political international support, he continued.  Where a United Nations peacekeeping mission was transitioning into a United Nations country team, as in Burundi or Sierra Leone, continued funding and political support for critical activities was vital, he stressed.  As the Council had noted during its recent mission to Mali, cantonment was a key confidence-building step in the peace process, but early, reliable funding by the Peacebuilding Fund was essential to the Organization’s ability to support cantonment.  As for Somalia, the New Deal Compact aligning donors with the priorities of the Government and Somali counterparts had strengthened mutual accountability, he said.  In Liberia, a publicly accessible “Dash Board” showing the details of donor funding had promoted transparency.  The Council could benefit from an advisory body that could take a longer post-conflict perspective, he said.  “I would like to appeal to the Council to take advantage of the review of the peacebuilding architecture in 2015 to shape the kind of Peacebuilding Commission that would be relevant, catalytic and effective, not least from the perspective of the Security Council.”


Briefings


ANTONIO DE AGUIAR PATRIOTA ( Brazil), Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission, said recent events in the Central African Republic and South Sudan reminded the world that collective and persistent engagement was needed to address the inherent challenges of peacebuilding.  A key feature of the Commission’s engagement in Burundi and Sierra Leone since 2006 had been to pay attention to the ongoing political and socioeconomic challenges facing both countries, in which the United Nations was heavily invested.  They were now transitioning from the Security Council’s security- and politically oriented mandates to development-oriented missions, he said, emphasizing the need for calibrated, yet sustained attention to political and socioeconomic challenges alongside strong engagement on the development track.


Although peacebuilding must be nationally owned, that ownership came with responsibility, and the international community must also rise to the occasion by helping countries like Burundi and Sierra Leone stay the course, he emphasized, adding that similar approaches must be implemented in Guinea, Guinea-Bissau and Liberia.  A crucial aspect of inclusivity related to the participation and contribution of women and youth.  While those groups endured the tragic consequences of violent conflicts, they were also the main agents for societal transformation and emancipation in post-conflict societies.  The transformative potential of greater participation by women in the economic and political spheres could contribute invaluably to the building of more peaceful, democratic and prosperous societies, he said, stressing that the gender dimension of peacebuilding deserved continued attention and unwavering commitment.


Building or rebuilding institutions in a country emerging from conflict was the practical expression of national ownership and the sustainability of peace, he said.  However, it was important also to bear in mind that institutions took a long time to develop into efficient vehicles for political participation and for delivering security, justice, as well as social and economic opportunities.  The Peacebuilding Commission could do more to support strategies and initiatives that prioritized institution-building and capacity development, he said, adding that it could also serve as a platform for mobilizing targeted technical support, particularly in the context of South-South cooperation.  It emphasized the need to study how efforts across the security and socioeconomic spectrums in post-conflict environments contributed to long-term peacebuilding objectives.  In June, the Commission would convene its first-ever session, which would provide an opportunity to examine how inter-governmental policy and political support could improve and make a difference for people in countries emerging from conflict.


HELEN CLARK, Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), said that ensuring a more inclusive approach to peacebuilding was a key priority for the United Nations Development Group.  Sustainable peace required the engagement and participation of all social groups beyond the main protagonists in a conflict and beyond urban centres.  It required meaningful participation by women, youth and other marginalized groups.  Peacebuilding also required a sustained local presence to understand and respond to the immediate and longer-term needs of communities, including those relating to issues of livelihood, basic social services, security and justice for victims.  For example, the United Nations had worked with local authorities in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2013 to investigate recent incidents of serious crimes affecting 900 victims of sexual and gender-based violence, murder and pillage, and convict those responsible.


Institution-building was also closely linked with peacebuilding, she said, stressing the need to strengthen understanding of how a valid social contract could contribute to peace, and how international actors could support the development of such a contract.  Without responsive and inclusive State institutions, or a vibrant civil society, there was unlikely to be either sustained peace or a basis for long-term development, she stressed.  In Somalia, the United Nations was working with the federal Government to assess and strengthen its capacities to perform core State functions.  Those efforts enabled local governments and municipalities to collect property and business taxes, revenues now funding public services in about 16 districts across the country.  Local elections were being held, waste was being collected and roads were being maintained, she said.  Peacebuilding also required predictable and sustained international support, based on clear and focused priorities, as well as mutual accountability, she said.


The United Nations had supported such mutual-accountability processes in Afghanistan, Yemen, Sierra Leone and Somalia.  Underlining the importance of better integrating risk management into peacebuilding approaches and of balancing the risk individual programmes failing, she said pooled funding was one important way of sharing and managing risks together.  The United Nations had established multi-partner trust funds in Mali and Somalia, and when setbacks occurred, as had occurred in the Central African Republic and South Sudan, it was vital that the Organization maintain its capability to support and work with local partners, while protecting their capacities to deal with and respond to crises themselves.  Too often, funding for vital early recovery work was squeezed out during crises, and local communities lost the ability to support themselves, she noted.  “Sustained peace and long-term development, led and fully owned by the countries themselves, is always the goal of peacebuilding.”


Statements


OCTAVIO ERRÁZURIZ ( Chile) said inclusivity, institution-building and international support were central to peacebuilding.  Inclusivity gave legitimacy to reconstruction processes and social cohesion, providing the basis for lasting agreements.  He called attention to the fundamental role of women in post-conflict peacebuilding, but expressed concern that they remained marginalized in the planning process and beyond.  Work must continue towards effective implementation of Council resolution 1325 (2000).  Institution-building must be able to adapt and respond to the population's needs and be transparent.  Particular attention must be paid to the nation's political and social dynamics, and legitimate, suitable institutions must be strengthened.  Progress towards that end would make it possible to promote respect for the rule of law.  He stressed the importance of political and financial support for national peacebuilding strategies, adding that World Bank and private sector donations must respect national peacebuilding plans.  Chile planned to continue its annual contribution to the Peacebuilding Fund.


PAIK JI-AH ( Republic of Korea) said peacebuilding's success depended on inclusivity, institution-building, sustainable support and mutual accountability.  Social cohesion through reconciliation should be the early basis for stabilization, for which women could play an important role.  Basic services were critical to achieve stability and prevent people from taking the law into their own hands.  The role of UNDP could be strengthened in terms of division of labour in peacekeeping missions; its work in the Great Lakes region and the Sahel were good examples.  The Peacebuilding Commission and its country-specific configurations should be able to provide value-added consultations to the Council.   She hoped that the Central African Republic configuration would strengthen cooperation with the United Nations field-based mission.  The Secretary-General's seven-point action plan should be strenuously implemented.  Support for the Peacebuilding Fund and civilian capacity also was important.


USMAN SARKI ( Nigeria) said the establishment of the Peacebuilding Commission was a statement of the international community's commitment to sustained peace.  It was a "rallying point" for marshalling resources and coordinating roles.  He acknowledged the important contributions made by the countries in their configurations.  Noting that the Commission had focused on political and economic challenges, Sierra Leone and Burundi were transitioning from the stage built on support from United Nations special political missions to one in which it was assisted by the Organization's country teams.  At the Commission’s annual session in June, discussions should focus on the need for national ownership, improved coordination and mobilization of support by the international community and regional and subregional organizations.


EUGÈNE-RICHARD GASANA (Rwanda), noting the transition from a post-conflict country to a peacebuilding contributor, said efforts tended to be top-down and focused largely on technical aspects, which created a critical gap on the ground.  The situation in the Central African Republic, for example, had been on the Commission's agenda for the past six years, yet the country still relapsed into conflict.  A similar situation was occurring in South Sudan where the United Nations had a strong peacebuilding mandate.  Those cases suggested that the Organization needed to do things differently. The root causes of conflict must be addressed, taking into account the specificities of each case.  He commended the promise to include women in the Secretary-General's seven-point action plan.  The majority of victims in Rwanda’s 1994 genocide were women, following which they had stood up and rebuilt their country.  The Commission, over the course of its 10 years, should have learned more from best practices.  It was imperative to align the work of United Nations’ entities at Headquarters and in the field with national priorities.


JEFFREY DELAURENTIS ( United States) said peacebuilding required the international community's full commitment.  A 2010 World Bank report found that 90 per cent of conflicts in the last decade were in countries that had previously experienced civil war.  The relapse into conflict in the Central African Republic and in South Sudan was a reminder of the need for sustained international engagement.  With the 2015 review of the Peacebuilding Commission on the horizon, now was the time to look at the impact of the long-term process.  The recent closing of the peacebuilding office in Sierra Leone illustrated its success in that region.  Durable development efforts and continued economic growth underpinned sustainable peace, and he urged greater dialogue between the World Bank and the Council to ensure better funding.  Inclusive political settlements must not be allowed to erode, and the lack of capacity and economic growth must also be addressed.


He said that the situation in South Sudan was an example of what happened in when political inclusivity was lost.  That had been crucial to the 2001 Arusha Agreement for Burundi, he said, voicing concern that the players involved were moving away from that spirit.  There must be an open space for credible elections in Burundi in 2015.  In Guinea-Bissau, plans for fast-tracking reforms would help the Government “hit the ground and keep running”.  The maintenance of international peace and security required strong Governments, but all sectors of society must be part of that process, including women.  He urged the Sri Lankan Government to establish the truth and reconciliation commission and welcomed its efforts with South Africa towards that goal.  The United States attached great importance to the 2015 review and would work with other countries to assess the Commission's long-term role.  He valued the right mix of people on the ground in conflict situations.


PHILIPPA KING ( Australia) highlighted the importance of women’s participation and the role of police in inclusivity and institution-building.  Inclusivity must be a factor in all peacebuilding processes, from consolidating democracy to strengthening institutions.  In that regard, she was concerned about the unfolding political situation in Burundi leading up to elections next year, and stressed that guaranteeing freedom of expression and fostering an inclusive dialogue on land issues were vital for consolidating the country’s democratic gains.  By example, inclusivity in Sierra Leone had been a key factor to its success.  The advances made to include women, in line with Security Council resolution 2122 (2013) should be used as a road map towards realizing the benefits of collective peacebuilding efforts and increasing the percentage of women in military and police deployments for United Nations peacekeeping operations.


LIU JIEYI ( China) said that the United Nations had achieved remarkable results in peacebuilding, but it was a long-standing, audacious task, with emerging issues requiring serious reflection by the international community.  First, post-conflict peacebuilding activities must respect the ownership, sovereignty and will of the countries concerned and assistance must be provided based on local specificities.  There should neither be a cookie-cutter approach, nor a mechanical copying of past practices.  Second, more attention was needed on addressing economic and social challenges in order to remove deep-rooted causes; the international community had focused on human rights, rule of law and security sector reform.  Third, sufficient, rapid and timely provision of financing and other resources would enable the smooth fulfilment of peacebuilding activities.  Joint funding must be expanded, with no political strings attached.  Fourth, the coordination of peacebuilding efforts, including partnerships with the World Bank and other global financial institutions, must be strengthened, with the United Nations assuming its role with the support of regional and subregional organizations.


ZEID RA’AD ZEID AL-HUSSEIN (Jordan) disagreed with the Secretary-General report that “inclusivity” could be attained through political processes or through an economic development agenda alone, either separately or together.  Nor did the repeated reference to “national ownership” make sense, when the very emphasis on the need for “inclusivity” made it clear that in most, if not all, post-conflict societies, there was no cohesive nation that could “own” anything.  “In post-conflict societies, the conflict is actually not past, it is current, present, there now; only killing is past, otherwise the conflict continues as before, only now through political manoeuvres, corruption and criminality,” he said.  Post-killing environments and ordinary development challenges were different, which the differing mandates of the Peacebuilding Commission and UNDP reflected.


He said there was a major piece missing in the Secretary-General’s analysis:  “inclusivity” could not be obtained simply through political power-sharing, elections, training, employment schemes and infrastructure-building alone.  That approach was flawed and had failed more times than it had succeeded.  Inclusivity could only properly be achieved when a deeper psychological accommodation was reached among former combatants and their communities in recognition of what had brought them to fight in the first place.  In other words, “the deficit of trust” alluded to in the Secretary-General’s report could only be reduced to zero when alongside proper resolution of the divergent historical narratives.


PETR V. ILIICHEV ( Russian Federation) said peacebuilding was vital to end conflicts and prevent their resurgence.  International support for peacebuilding was needed, as was national ownership of the process, with the Governments concerned overseeing national priorities.  Peacekeeping personnel should not replace national bodies.  There was a lack of coordination in peacekeeping, leading to a duplication of peacebuilding efforts.  All those involved in the process must work clearly within their respective mandates, and to achieve practical results, fine-tuning the peacebuilding architecture should continue.  The Commission's added value was to provide advisory services to the Council.


He said that the 2105 review would substantially help consolidate the Commission to enable it to play a key role in the Organization's peacebuilding architecture.  It was necessary to consolidate the stabilization of the situations in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Burundi through continued security-sector reform.  United Nations’ funds must play a key role in socioeconomic development and poverty alleviation in post-conflict areas.  The Russian Federation continued to provide $2 million to the Peacebuilding Fund.  Donors must respect the host country's priorities, while recipient countries should not become addicted to donor infusions.  Nor should artificial priorities be imposed on countries.


BÉATRICE LE FRAPER DU HELLEN (France) said peacebuilding implied the creation of a national dialogue involving all sectors of society; it was not just about power-sharing and infrastructure.  The Council went to Mali in February to reinforce stability there.  The appointment of Catherine Samba-Panza to head the transitional Government in the Central African Republic was an important example of women’s vital role in peacebuilding.  Justice institutions also were crucial for sustaining peace, ending impunity and promoting national reconciliation.  Also essential was to begin the long-term work of rebuilding the public's confidence.  In the Central African Republic, thanks to the action of African forces supported by the French operation Sangaris, large-scale massacres could be avoided.  It was vital to restore State authority and to hold the 2015 elections democratically.  The international community must help to rebuild the nation’s institutions.


Peacekeeping operations must be multidimensional, she said, stressing the need for close coordination between UNDP and special political missions concerning the civilian component of peacekeeping.  Exit strategies must be prepared for the missions.  Effective transition, development and capacity-building were also vital and must be properly funded, notably in Sierra Leone and Burundi.   The “New Deal” for commitment to fragile States showed the need for effective coordination among peace actors.  She welcomed the creation of justice and police centres in Liberia supported by the Peacebuilding Fund and the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Sierra Leone (UNIPSIL).  Improving coordination could feature in the 2015 review.


BANTÉ MANGARAL (Chad) deplored that the host of conflicts around the world, including in the Central African Republic, South Sudan, Syria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  Social fabrics had been destroyed and they were difficult to rebuild.  Military power did not solve the problem, while peacebuilding must be achieved through dialogue.  In Africa, extreme poverty was a major source of conflict.  Donor countries needed to prepare strategies on ways to ensure that interventions supported national processes.  Chad had been able to emerge from war, and building peace had become a reality.  Peacebuilding also required the mobilization of various actors, particularly women, who were represented significantly in State institutions in Chad.  Additionally, a donor fund had been established to support income generation by women.


MARÍA CRISTINA PERCEVAL ( Argentina) offered some insights gained through her delegation’s experience as a Security Council member and its active participation in the Peacebuilding Commission.  First, on the modality of support, the logic of “remote control” did not work.  Peacebuilding efforts must begin with questions about why the parties concerned reached the situation of conflict at a particular point in time.  Any approach must be sensitive to social, economic and cultural conditions; there was no universal response.  Nor could peacebuilding be imposed from outside, but must be rooted in the capacity of each society.  There was also a need to address a myth that the presence of the United Nations and other international partners would save people in the countries concerned.  They should not become dependent on support, but rather become the protagonists.  A woman in a refugee camp had told her that “peace is a fleeting moment between wars”.  That summed up the defeatist mentality that wars were unavoidable.  That mentality must be corrected.


MARK LYALL GRANT ( United Kingdom) said the Council would reach an important milestone with the closure of the Sierra Leone office.  Success there showed how well-planned, tailored peacebuilding interventions could improve people's lives.  Strong national ownership of peacebuilding processes was essential to sustainable peace.  Rigorous coordination was required in each mission setting, with partners and United Nations country teams on the ground.  Global focal points for police were also essential, and reviews would help to determine whether police and civilian capacity was appropriate.  There also must be a clear drawdown plan for each mission, whose mandates must be focused, realistic and prioritized.  Such steps would allow peacebuilding to be more dynamic.


He called for more to be done to promote the role of women in peacebuilding processes.  In Syria, the United Kingdom had provided the Syrian National Coalition with training for women negotiators.  He called on the Secretary-General to strengthen gender training and to support the appointment of women as United Nations mediators.   The 2015 review should not focus solely on institutions established in 2005, but should consider the effectiveness of all peacebuilding bodies in the United Nations system.  A narrow focus on the Peacebuilding Fund, Peacebuilding Commission and Peacebuilding Support Office would not provide sufficient analysis of the effectiveness of all peacebuilding activities.


RAIMONDA MURMOKAITĖ ( Lithuania) said early peacebuilding started with peacekeeping missions, whose support for enhancing rule-of-law institutions laid the foundations for the objectives.  Strengthening formal and informal institutions, restoring core governance functions and enhancing domestic accountability systems in countries emerging from conflict were the practical expression of peace.  Yet, Government capacity to empower such bodies was a challenge and strong political will was needed.  Inclusiveness was also important for peacebuilding, and she urged compliance with the United Nations’ seven-point action plan on women’s participation.  She added that more cooperation with the World Bank was also needed.


SYLVIE LUCAS ( Luxembourg) stressed the importance of the 2015 review to improving the Organization’s peacebuilding architecture and expressed hope that that process would continue during the annual debate on the report of the Peacebuilding Commission in July.  Peacebuilding was a long-term process in which everyone had a stake.  She noted successes in Sierra Leone, with the transition of UNIPSIL, and in Guinea, where the smooth acceptance of the 2013 election results.  She also noted the successes of the Guinea Configuration, which her country chaired.  At the same time, the relapse into conflict in the Central African Republic and South Sudan required vigilance and action, while sustainable peacebuilding required an effective political settlement and accountable national institutions.  It also required a new social compact.  Women were essential actors; that was true in Guinea Bissau, Liberia and Yemen, she said, commending the Secretary-General's plan for mainstreaming gender equality in peacebuilding.  She commended Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, three of the four members of the Mano River Union, for adopting a border security agreement last October, making it possible to prevent conflicts.  The Peacebuilding Commission was an advisory body to the Council.  “There is considerable scope to maximize its potential.  Let's do that without waiting for the review in 2015,” she said.


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