UN Peacebuilding Commission can help States avoid renewed conflict – officials

6 February 2007 – War-ravaged countries suffering from destabilizing factors such as poverty and lack of good governance can benefit from the United Nations Peacebuilding Commission, officials told the General Assembly today.

Assembly President Sheikha Haya Rashed Al Khalifa pointed out that the Peacebuilding Commission has already started dealing with Burundi and Sierra Leone, two countries which have emerged from conflict with the UN’s support.

“The challenge now lies primarily in the need for the international community to deliver on the pledges made to assist the peoples of these countries in their efforts to rebuild the institutional and human capacity needed for comprehensive and lasting peace,” she said.

She stressed that the UN must help countries to address the link between poverty, weak State capacity and instability, which lead countries to relapse into conflict.

“The Peacebuilding Commission has an important substantive and coordinating role to play in promoting post-conflict peacebuilding and recovery, including respect for human rights and the rule of law.”

She also stressed the importance of the Peacebuilding Fund, which has received over $140 million in pledges, urging all countries to work together to reach the $250 million funding target.

“I will personally write to a number of potential donors to encourage them to contribute to the Peacebuilding Fund so that the funding target is met,” Sheikha Haya said.

Also addressing the Assembly, which heard from over 20 speakers, was the President of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), Dalius Cekuolis, who hailed the Peacebuilding Commission as a tool that would better enable the UN to promote sound policies on poverty eradication, sustainable development and human rights.

Mr. Cekuolis pointed out that nine out of 10 countries with the lowest human development indicators have experienced conflict at some point since 1990. “These countries are clearly the farthest away from achieving the targets and goals set out in the United Nations development agenda,” he said.

But he said the Economic and Social Council had taken several important steps to help post-conflict countries, such as Guinea-Bissau and Burundi, to plan a coordinated approach to peace and development. “ECOSOC is ready to support the work of the Peacebuilding Commission collectively and through its members.”

The General Assembly was debating the work of the Peacebuilding Commission for the first time since that body’s establishment in December 2005.

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