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PRESIDENT of the 64th Session
United Nations General Assembly

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At the 2010 review of the Peacebuilding Commission informal consultation

New York, 17 February 2010

Mr. Secretary-General,
Mr. President,
Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

War is devastating and it takes many years to recover. I have seen first hand in many countries, in Sierra Leone, in Central African Republic and elsewhere, as indeed have many of you, the suffering of ordinary people; homes, buildings, and schools destroyed; as well as the struggle to find food, water, shelter, and electricity. National authorities in these countries are desperate to help their people, to rebuild their economies, and to provide basic security and rule of law with few resources and little capacity. The needs are huge and post-conflict countries look to the international community to help them in their time of need.

The international community must provide better, more reliable and more substantial support to countries recovering from violent conflict. This is why the Peacebuilding Commission was created. The establishment of the Peacebuilding Commission and Peacebuilding Fund following the 2005 Summit were greeted as remarkable accomplishments in strengthening the UN and to organising the international community’s efforts to help countries build lasting peace. Five years after its creation, it is time for Member States to review the Commission and to seize this opportunity to assess whether the Commission has met the expectations for which it was created.

It has not been easy for a new body like the Peacebuilding Commission to start working. There have been some gains in Liberia, Burundi, Sierra Leone, Central African Republic and Guinea Bissau. However, there is a general feeling that more should have been accomplished in the time so far, especially in terms of tangible results on the ground. Too much time has been spent on procedure and process. I have heard from many of you that interest has faded and the performance and impact of the Commission have been mixed.

Fundamental questions need to be answered in this review: Has the Peacebuilding Commission succeeded in supporting the countries on its agenda build lasting peace? Are international efforts and the UN system, in particular, better coordinated and more coherent in their support? Do national authorities have access to sustainable resources and full ownership of peacebuilding processes? In addition to assessing the work of the Commission, I also call upon Member States to make concrete recommendations on how best to improve the Peacebuilding Commission to make it a useful and central body. Ladies and gentlemen, we must seize this opportunity to reform and strengthen the Commission, and more importantly to enable it to provide more effective and sustained support to countries emerging from conflict.

I am pleased that the three co-facilitators agreed to guide Member States in this important review process and urge the membership to extend their full support and cooperation to the Permanent Representatives of Ireland, Mexico and South Africa. I am confident in their ability to conduct a process that is open, inclusive and transparent that will lead to a positive outcome which will greatly strengthen the Peacebuilding Commission for it to live up to its true potential.

As you know, the Peacebuilding Commission was born from both the General Assembly and the Security Council, as well as drawing its membership from the Economic and Social Council. I am pleased that the President of the Security Council is here today so that we may both offer our support to this process together. Along with the Presidents of the Security Council and ECOSOC, I assure you that we are together on this review and will work closely with the Secretary-General to ensure a successful outcome.

Excellencies, you have an important responsibility and I urge you to work hard and in a spirit of cooperation to meet this responsibility.

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