Peacebuilding architecture takes shape

 

The UN’s new Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) is moving ahead with helping Burundi and Sierra Leone identify and tackle their numerous post-war challenges; the Peacebuilding Support Office (PBSO) is operational; and the Peacebuilding Fund (PBF) is gearing up to disburse funds in both countries.

 

Less than six months after its inauguration, at the UN in New York, 23 June 2006, the PBC was assisting the key players in both Burundi and Sierra Leone to develop a commonly-agreed strategy for each country to rebuild physical, administrative and social infrastructures.

 

By bringing together the Governments, the UN Country Team, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and international donors, the PBC has facilitated agreement on a holistic approach to supporting these two African countries during their transition from peacekeeping to peace consolidation and development.

 

At the first two country specific meetings, in New York in October and December, both countries on the PBC’s agenda were candid in recognizing peacebuilding challenges which needed immediate attention, including governance, human rights and youth unemployment, as well as economic, judicial and security sector reform.

 

Promoting good governance, strengthening the rule of law and ensuring community recovery were identified as some of the priority areas for Burundi. However, a weak judicial system, impunity, and disputes over land ownership remained as problems. So far, little or no progress has been made in implementing the comprehensive ceasefire reached in September between the Government and the Party for the Liberation of the Hutu People-National Liberation Forces (Palipehutu-FNL).

 

The December meeting reported that the Government of Sierra Leone was working with international partners on reform in the justice and security sectors, to review its anti-corruption strategy, and to establish and strengthen governance institutions, especially in the lead up to the 2007 national elections.More effort was needed to enhance the role and participation of civil society including women’s groups, to implement the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, to support the Special Court, and to support the newly established National Human Rights Commission. The PBC also noted the need to encourage sub-regional cooperation.

 

The PBC’s capacity was backed up by the Secretary-General’s launch on 11 October of the Peacebuilding Fund, designed to “kick-start” critical Peacebuilding interventions and serve as a catalyst for more sustained engagement by multilateral and bilateral actors. In addition, a Peacebuilding Support Office has been created within the UN Secretariat to assist these new structures in carrying out their challenging work.

 

The Fund has received pledges of more than US$210 million and will be used to address critical peacebuilding gaps determined jointly by the UN and the relevant Government authorities. Both countries will receive an allocation of at least US$25 million from the PBF in early 2007, following a review of their respective priority plans.

 

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Prepared by the Peace and Security Section, United Nations Department of Public Information.

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