The overall policy framework for the Peacebuilding Support Office’s (PBSO) engagement is outlined in the Secretary-General’s reports on “Peacebuilding in the immediate aftermath of conflict” and the 2010 progress report. The reports focus on the challenges that post-conflict countries and the international community face in the immediate aftermath of conflict. In order to translate the reports’ recommendations into real change in post-conflict countries, PBSO actively participates in policy discussions and organizes thematic events on most pressing peacebuilding topics. A few are outlined here:
Women and Peacebuilding
Democratic Republic of the Congo/UNICEF photo
Strengthening women’s participation in peacebuilding is high on the agenda of the PBSO. As outlined in the Secretary-General’s report on Women’s participation in peacebuilding women are crucial partners in shoring up three pillars of lasting peace: economic recovery, social cohesion and political legitimacy. PBSO together with UN Women are supporting the implementation of a seven-point Action Plan, the commitment of the United Nations to improve women’s situations in post-conflict countries.
On 29 April 2011, PBSO co-organized with UN Women a workshop on integrating a gender perspective into Post-Disaster and Post-Conflict Needs Assessments to ensure that women’s needs and a gender perspective are integrated into all post-disaster and post-conflict planning documents from early on. Also in 2011 the Peacebuilding Fund made a call for proposals for the most innovative gender-sensitive peacebuilding projects. A total of 7 projects have been chosen and will be funded with $5 million.
Strategic Planning and Peacebuilding
A variety of planning instruments are used to guide peacebuilding activities in countries emerging from conflict. These include the PBC’s Strategic Frameworks for Peacebuilding, the United Nations Development Assistance Frameworks (UNDAFs), Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs) and Integrated Strategic Frameworks (ISFs). There has been an evolving consensus on the need for coherence among these instruments. The PBSO has worked to advance this objective by supporting the Integrated Mission Planning Process (IMPP) and developing a new model for PBF Priority Plans that can be utilized as well by other funds and donors.
Lessons Learned and Good Practices
By incrementally capturing lessons learned and turning insights into recommendations on good practices, the field of peacebuilding will continuously improve. Therefore, PBSO strives to capture lessons learned by bringing practitioners, scholars and civil society together, to identify good practices that can have policy implications within a range of peacebuilding areas.
- In 2012, PBSO jointly with the Norwegian Resource Center on Peacebuilding (NOREF) will host an event on reconciliation to explore such processes in post-conflict societies and to examine the roles and responsibilities of key stakeholders. Another important issue explored by the PBSO is natural resource management and peacebuilding, which is particularly relevant for all countries on the PBC agenda.
Liberians Go to Polls for Second Presidential Election.
UN Photo/Staton Winter
In May 2008, the Security Council invited the Secretary-General to provide advice on how the United Nations could better support national efforts to secure sustainable peace more rapidly and effectively, including in the areas of coordination, civilian deployment and financing. The Secretary-General’s report on “Peacebuilding in the immediate aftermath of conflict” in 2009 proposed a review that would analyse how the United Nations and the international community can help to broaden and deepen the pool of civilian experts to support the immediate capacity development needs of countries emerging from conflict. An independent Senior Advisory Group was appointed by the Secretary-General to undertake this review. The Peacebuilding Support Office hosted the small research team that supported the Senior Advisory Group. The report of the Senior Advisory Group was launched in March 2011. The implementation of the recommendations contained in the report is now led by the Department of Field Support. The Peacebuilding Commission and PBSO plan to be actively involved in supporting cooperation between countries of the South to build civilian capacities.
Measuring Peace Consolidation
The concept of measuring peace consolidation has come to embrace a broad range of peacebuilding contexts and activities. Security Council benchmarks now guide transitions in major peace processes in 10 of 27 countries and regions with field-based peacekeeping operations or political missions. Efforts to measure peace consolidation may also arise in relation to countries that have experienced violent conflict, but are not on the agenda of the Council, and in assessing progress toward objectives that a country has identified together with the Peacebuilding Commission. In parallel, there have been initiatives within the development community to define goals and related progress indicators for peacebuilding and statebuilding in fragile and conflict-affected states.
The United Nations Practitioners Guide to Benchmarking represents the first attempt to provide a common resource for practitioners across the UN system engaged in measuring peace consolidation. The handbook, whose development was facilitated by PBSO, identifies principles and methodologies that can be used in establishing benchmarking systems adapted to their specific contexts. PBSO has also supported efforts in this area by organizing with the International Peace Institute and the Norwegian Peacebuilding Centre (NOREF) a workshop on “Benchmarking Peace Consolidation”. Participants discussed trends and challenges in measuring peace consolidation, and examined how lessons learned can be applied to each other. They also discussed how the processes leading to the development of benchmarks, and monitoring and reporting against them, can be improved.