12 April 2007 An eight-member delegation from the newly established United Nations Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) – created to prevent countries emerging from civil war and other conflicts from sliding back into bloodshed – is currently visiting Burundi in a bid to help consolidate stability there.
Led by Ambassador Johan L. Løvald, Permanent Representative of Norway to the UN, the delegation will wrap up its four-day trip on 14 April to the small central African State, which has been the victim of violent coups and political instability since gaining independence in 1962.
On this trip, the delegation aims to see first-hand the current situation in Burundi and assess the challenges the country faces in fortifying peace.
It will meet with various groups – including Government officials and representatives from regional organizations such as the African Union (AU), human rights and other civil society groups, religious leaders and media – to discuss how the PBC can best support peacebuilding efforts.
“Visits by members of the PBC to the countries under consideration are a very important element in the work” of the body, said Carolyn McAskie, Assistant Secretary-General for Peacebuilding Support.
Last month, the PBC sent a delegation on a five-day maiden mission to Sierra Leone.
Established in December 2005, the PBC focuses on reconstruction, institution-building and the promotion of sustainable development in post-conflict countries.
The body, which operates in conjunction with several of the UN’s principal organs, namely the General Assembly, the Security Council and the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), also recognizes the importance of individual countries spearheading efforts to consolidate peace within their own borders.
“This visit by members of the PBC to Burundi underscores the importance of national ownership in peacebuilding,” Ms. McAskie explained.
Burundi was the first country to receive financial support from the Peacebuilding Fund, established from voluntary contributions to aid countries which have recently emerged from war from slipping back into conflict.