OPENING INAUGURAL SESSION OF PEACEBUILDING COMMISSION, SECRETARY-GENERAL STRESSES IMPORTANCE OF SUPPORTING COUNTRIES EMERGING FROM CONFLICT

23 June 2006
PBC/1

OPENING INAUGURAL SESSION OF PEACEBUILDING COMMISSION, SECRETARY-GENERAL STRESSES IMPORTANCE OF SUPPORTING COUNTRIES EMERGING FROM CONFLICT

23 June 2006
General Assembly
PBC/1
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Peacebuilding Commission

Organizational Committee

1st Meeting (AM)

OPENING INAUGURAL SESSION OF PEACEBUILDING COMMISSION, SECRETARY-GENERAL

STRESSES IMPORTANCE OF SUPPORTING COUNTRIES EMERGING FROM CONFLICT

Presidents of General Assembly,

Security Council, Economic and Social Council also Address Meeting

The United Nations took an historic step towards bridging the relief-to-development gap today, with Secretary-General Kofi Annan opening the inaugural session of the Peacebuilding Commission, a new advisory body aiming to shore up wobbly peace agreements that tend to disintegrate within five years, and to help prevent war-ravaged countries from lapsing back into deadly conflict.

“There are few issues on which there is greater consensus, or higher expectations, than on the responsibility of the United Nations to help states and societies recover from the devastation of war,” Mr. Annan told the Commission, meeting also today as an Organizational Committee of the whole.  “The international community now has at its disposal a unique intergovernmental body: the first devoted specifically to peacebuilding.  This new Commission will aim to provide more sustained, more coordinated and more focused support to countries emerging from conflict.”

“You begin your work as the world grapples with a paradox in its efforts to promote durable peace, stability and development,” he told the 31-member body, noting that there had been a very welcome decline in the overall number of conflicts, and the United Nations had done its best, through peacekeeping and other assistance, to contribute to that trend.  “At the same time, however, we have seen an unacceptable number of peace agreements disintegrate within five years after the end of a civil war, with countries lapsing back into deadly conflict.”

But, Mr. Annan warned that peacebuilding involved more than just preventing renewed fighting and securing physical reconstruction.  A core task was to build effective public institutions, within constitutional frameworks and the rule of law, particularly since, all too often, war-affected populations raise their hopes for new, more equitable governance arrangements, only to see exclusionary social, economic and political structures left untouched, perpetuated, or inadvertently strengthened.

“It is essential for citizens to regain their trust in State institutions.  Peacebuilding can help solidify the social compact by which States deliver on their obligations to citizens, while citizens exercise their right to participate, and take charge of their destiny,” he said, telling the members of the Commission that they would be called upon to act as like-minded supporters, and as allies who will remain engaged in a country beyond the lifespan of a peacekeeping mission.

“Peacebuilding is about liberating people from the conflict trap and laying the foundation for sustainable development,” said Ismael Gaspar Martins of Angola, elected by acclamation as the Commission’s first Chairman.  He vowed to work unstintingly to serve the noble cause of peacebuilding, with a view to breaking the cycle of conflict that affected the lives of millions of people in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, and other parts of the world where conflict had occurred.

He said the Commission was unique, in the sense that it brought together a membership drawn from the three principle organs of the United Nations -- the General Assembly, the Security Council and the Economic and Social Council -- major financial donors and troop contributors, and international financial institutions among others.  It also featured the innovation of close involvement and cooperation with the countries concerned, in order to inspire ownership in the overall process.  They bore the responsibility for creating an environment in which the Commission’s recommendations could be implemented.  That required generating national political will, as well as the involvement of a broad spectrum of local-level actors, particularly women and youth, he added.

General Assembly President Jan Eliasson, of Sweden, said that victims of conflict had often had very little choice, but to place their fate in the hands of the international community.  But that community had often failed them, leaving far too frequently with the television cameras.  Further, there had been an awareness of the gaps in the international community’s response to countries in post-conflict situations, but donors had not found efficient ways to link emergency relief with reconstruction, institution-building, reconciliation and development.  “The United Nations has been successful in ending wars, but building sustainable peace has proved much more difficult,” he said.

The recent events in Timor-Leste had reminded the international community of the need for sustained action, a need that had been seen earlier in Haiti, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and in Liberia, he said.  But, this week, history was being written at the United Nations: last Monday had seen the opening of the Geneva-based Human Rights Council and today witnessed the inauguration of the Peacebuilding Commission.  Through that new intergovernmental body especially, the Organization has a chance to make a tangible difference in the future.

Per Stig Møller, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Denmark, whose country holds the Security Council Presidency for June, said the Council was seized of many post-conflict situations that would be relevant for the new Commission’s agenda.  In such situations, the Commission’s main purpose was to provide advice to the Council, particularly when there was a United Nations-mandated peacekeeping mission on the ground or under way.  The Council would take advantage of that advice in its own deliberations and when reviewing the mandates of the relevant missions.  In order to fulfil its intended role, and for its advice to have an impact, the Commission should focus on country-specific situations.

The aim should not be to create an additional layer of coordination at Headquarters level, but rather to support and reinforce local coordination at the country-level, he stated.  With all the relevant actors around the same table, there was a standing invitation to all to take action on the common advice, and, if necessary, adjust their activities in the country concerned accordingly.  But, he warned that, without the strong cooperation of the country on the agenda, the Commission’s efforts risked failure.  He was pleased that Burundi and Sierra Leone had already expressed their desire to be placed on the Commission’s agenda, and the Council had communicated its request for advice on the situation in those two countries.

Economic and Social Council President Ali Hachani, of Tunisia, said the Commission would mark a turning point for countries struggling to manage the difficult road to recovery from war to peace and lay the ground for sustainable development.  The Council had long stressed the need for the joint consideration, with the other major United Nations organs, of situations of international concern or importance.  Indeed, it had been integral in the development of Ad Hoc Advisory groups on African Countries Emerging from Conflict -- Burundi and Guinea-Bissau --- as well as on Haiti.

He said that the establishment of the Peacebuilding Commission was not an end in itself, but only the first step in an overall effort whose success would be first seen, and ultimately judged, in the field.  The three main organs of the United Nations needed to work together to ensure the new Commission’s success, because peace and development were interlinked, and both were critical to long-term stability.

In other business today, the Organizational Committee adopted its draft rules of procedure, with the understanding that those rules would be further developed at future meetings.

It also adopted its provisional agenda, and elected as Vice-Chairpersons Carmen Maria Gallardo Hernandez ( El Salvador) and Johan L. Løvald ( Norway).  Before suspending its first meeting, the Commission agreed to reconvene within the next few weeks to continue consultations and to consider the Security Council’s request to provide advice on the situations in Burundi and Sierra Leone (document PBC/OC/1/2).

The meeting was also addressed by James Adams, Vice-President of the World Bank, and Reinhard Muzberg, Special Representative of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Background

The notion of a Peacebuilding Commission was first proposed in 2004 by the High-Level Panel on Threats Challenges and Change, reasoning that the prevention of violent conflicts would be more effective, than ending existing conflicts. In his 2005 report In Larger Freedom, Mr. Annan envisioned the Commission as an intergovernmental advisory body, which could marshal resources to advise and propose strategies for post-conflict recovery.

The General Assembly and the Security Council had adopted joint resolutions last year, launching the Commission in time of the 31 December 2005 deadline set by the World Summit.  The texts set out the panel’s membership, and countries were subsequently elected for renewable two-year terms, beginning today with the Commission’s first meeting.

The seven members selected by the Security Council were China, Denmark, France, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, the United Republic of Tanzania and the United States.  The seven elected by the Economic and Social Council were Angola, Belgium, Brazil, Guinea-Bissau, Indonesia, Poland and Sri Lanka.

Also, five top providers of assessed contributions to United Nations budgets and of voluntary contributions to the United Nations funds, programmes and agencies, including a standing peacebuilding fund were chosen, as follows: Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands and Norway.  Five top providers of military personnel and civilian police to United Nations missions were also elected: Bangladesh, Ghana, India, Nigeria and Pakistan.  Finally, seven members, elected by the General Assembly, were Burundi, Chile, Croatia, Egypt, El Salvador, Fiji and Jamaica

Opening Address by Secretary-General

KOFI ANNAN, Secretary-General of the United Nations, opening the Peacebuilding Commission’s inaugural session, said that few issues had generated greater consensus, or higher expectations, than the responsibility of the United Nations to help States and societies recover from the devastation of war.  So, it was not accidental that world leaders, at the 2005 World Summit, had stressed the Organization’s vital role in post-conflict transitions and had called on the General Assembly and the Security Council to establish the Commission.

“The international community now has at its disposal a unique intergovernmental body: the first devoted specifically to peacebuilding,” he said, adding that the new Commission would aim to provide more sustained, more coordinated and more focused support to countries emerging from conflict.  Taken alongside the new Human Rights Council, the strengthened Central Emergency Response Fund, the Democracy Fund and other changes and reforms put in place or set in motion recently, the Peacebuilding Commission marked another major step towards a United Nations that was fully equipped to meet the challenges of the times.

“You begin your work as the world grapples with a paradox in its efforts to promote durable peace, stability and development,” he said, noting that there had been a very welcome decline in the overall number of conflicts, and that the United Nations had done its best, through peacekeeping and other assistance, to contribute to that trend.  “At the same time, however, we have seen an unacceptable number of peace agreements disintegrate within five years after the end of a civil war, with countries lapsing back into deadly conflict,” he added.

Some of the weaknesses in current international responses to post-conflict situations were well known, he said, citing the shortage of funds, the lack of international coordination and the tendency for international actors to leave too hurriedly.  “As we have seen in the case of Timor-Leste, undue haste to disengage from a transitional situation can result in reversals and a need to redeploy, at great cost to all, particularly the helpless civilian victims,” he said, adding that all those challenges directly informed the design and mandate of the Peacebuilding Commission, as well as the creation of the Peacebuilding Support Office and Standing Fund.

“But we must also recognize that increased resources and improved coordination will not, in themselves, be enough to bring about lasting peace,” he said, pointing out that peacebuilding required national ownership and must be home-grown.  Outsiders, however well-intentioned, could not substitute for the knowledge and will of the people of the country concerned.  It was the latter who best knew their own history, culture and political contexts, and it was they who would live with the consequences of the decisions taken.  “And it is they who must feel that peacebuilding is their achievement, if it is to have any hope of lasting in the longer term,” he added.

Experience had shown that peacebuilding involved more than just preventing renewed fighting and securing physical reconstruction, he said.  A core task was building effective public institutions within constitutional frameworks and the rule of law.  All too often, war-affected populations raised their hopes for new, more equitable governance arrangements, only to see exclusionary social, economic and political structures left untouched, perpetuated, or inadvertently strengthened.  It was essential for citizens to regain their trust in State institutions.

Peacebuilding could help solidify the social compact by which States delivered on their obligations to citizens, while citizens exercised their right to participate and take charge of their destiny, he said, urging everyone to also remember that peacebuilding was inherently political.  At times, the international community had approached it as a largely technical exercise involving knowledge and resources.  The international community must not only understand local power dynamics, but also recognize that it was itself a political actor entering a political environment.

He went on to say that the members of the Peacebuilding Commission would be called upon to act as like-minded supporters, and as allies who would remain engaged in a country beyond the lifespan of a peacekeeping mission.  That would mean managing expectations, since many elements of peacebuilding -– such as reconciliation –- could take years or decades, whereas people emerging exhausted from a conflict, understandably, wanted results much quicker than that.  The Commission was expected to support the development of peacebuilding strategies and to build consensus among international actors for their implementation.  It would work closely with other United Nations bodies.

“And, of course, the active participation of national authorities in the Commission's country-specific workings will be essential,” he said.  “This will give further weight to the dialogue at country level between the respective authorities and the international community.”  It was to be hoped that the Commission would also find ways to reach out to local civil society, the private sector, and others in a position to contribute.

The Peacebuilding Support Office would support the Commission by providing information and analysis, and by ensuring that the Commission’s recommendations were translated into concrete action at the country level, he said.  The Peacebuilding Fund, meanwhile, would provide additional means, complementing other funding sources, he added, urging Member States to endow it generously and consistently.

The Commission represented a symbol of both hope and perseverance: hope for the many millions of people throughout the world who were striving to keep their societies on the fragile road to peace; and perseverance, because the international community had overcome considerable difficulties to get the new and vital endeavour up and running.  “I am sure you will show similar resolve in carrying out your mandate, and I wish you every success as your important work now begins.”

Ismael Gaspar Martins, Permanent Representative of Angola, was then elected, by acclamation, as the Commission’s first Chairman.

Address by Chairman of Peacebuilding Commission

ISMAEL GASPAR MARTINS (Angola) said that he was humbled that his country had been elected as the first Chairman of the historic Peacebuilding Commission, and that he would work unstintingly to serve the noble cause of peacebuilding, with a view to breaking the cycle of conflict affecting the lives of millions of people in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as in other parts of the world where conflict had occurred.  As the representative of a country that was in the process of overcoming many years of conflict, and from a continent with the largest number of countries in post-conflict situations, his election was a symbolic recognition of the purposes for which world leaders had decided to establish the Commission at the 2005 Summit.

Today, the international community was witnessing another turning point in the way in which the United Nations dealt with post-conflict situations, he said.  The negotiations leading up to the present moment, which had at times been tense, had led to the adoption of joint resolutions -– in both the Security Council and the General Assembly -– that had launched the important new body.  And, while the Organization had previously lacked a dedicated entity to oversee the post-conflict recovery process or ensure its coherence over the long haul to sustainable peace and development, the Commission would be uniquely placed to fulfil that role, by enabling partnership and cooperation among all relevant stakeholders, particularly within the United Nations system.

He said that the new body was unique, in the sense that it brought together a membership drawn from the three principle organs of the United Nations, major financial donors and troop contributors, international financial institutions and other relevant actors engaged in peacekeeping.  It also featured the innovation of close involvement and cooperation with the countries concerned, in order to inspire national ownership in the overall process.  The countries concerned bore the responsibility of creating and enabling an environment in which the Commission’s recommendations could be implemented.  That required political will at the national level, as well as the involvement of broad-spectrum, local-level and community actors, particularly women and children, which was pivotal to building political will.  And the contribution of civil society organizations would be invaluable.

“Peacebuilding is about liberating people from the conflict trap and laying the foundation for sustainable development,” he said.  Financial support would be crucial and world leaders had noted that the Commission’s main purpose was to bring together all relevant actors to marshal resources, as well as advise on and propose integrated strategies for post-conflict and peacebuilding recovery.  The levels of funding needed to be sustained and predictable.

Address by General Assembly President

JAN ELIASSON ( Sweden), General Assembly President, said that many had seen the despair in the eyes of women, men and children in war-stricken countries.  The victims had often had very little choice but to place their fate in the hands of the international community.  But, that community had often failed them, leaving far too frequently with the television cameras.  This week, history was being written at the United Nations.  Last Monday had seen the opening of the first Human Rights Council meeting and today witnessed the inauguration of the Peacebuilding Commission.  The United Nations had been successful in ending wars, but building sustainable peace had proved much more difficult.  Through that new intergovernmental body, the Organization had a chance to make a tangible difference in future.

Through the new Commission, the United Nations had ensured that, for countries emerging from conflict, post-conflict did not mean post-engagement of the international community, he said.  The recent events in Timor-Leste had reminded the international community of the need for sustained action, a need that had been seen earlier in Haiti, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and in Liberia.  The international community had struggled to find ways to provide sustainable assistance to States emerging from conflict.  There had been an awareness of the gaps in the international community’s response to countries in post-conflict situations, but donors had not found efficient ways to link emergency relief with reconstruction, institution-building, reconciliation and development.  Everyone was not only talking about institutional gaps, but also about a financing gap and a gap in coordination between different actors, including within the United Nations.

He said that the proposal to establish a Peacebuilding Commission, first presented by the Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel and later developed in the Secretary-General’s report In Larger Freedom, was an important contribution to the Organization’s reform agenda.  The United Nations had legitimacy and much experience to draw upon in the field of peacebuilding.  Preventing countries from sliding back into conflict or becoming failed States must be a top priority of the United Nations in the years to come.

Member States had given early and strong support to the Commission’s establishment at the 2005 World Summit, he recalled.  Coupled with that endorsement, the decision had been made to establish a Peacebuilding Support Office and a Peacebuilding Fund.  Carolyn McAskie, whose wide experience would greatly benefit the Commission, was to be congratulated on her appointment to head the Peacebuilding Support Office.  Everyone was aware of last fall’s arduous negotiations leading to the adoption of resolution 60/180 on 20 December 2005, and to the long-awaited election of the members of the Organizational Committee in May.  But, Member States had been able to put their differences aside and prove that the General Assembly could take decisions that were meaningful to the people of the world.

He said it was in the country-specific settings that the Peacebuilding Commission’s work would ultimately be judged.  The Commission was truly an innovative body -– one for the twenty-first century –- bringing together different actors in peacebuilding for strategic discussions on how best to assist countries on their journey from conflict to peace and development.  Important to the Commission’s future work were: the active engagement of the concerned Government; close coordination between peacekeeping and peacebuilding; the crucial role to be played by the Economic and Social Council; the opportunity during the General Assembly’s general debate to discuss, in a broader perspective, the role of the United Nations in peacebuilding; the opening of a new chapter in the Organization’s relations with the Bretton Woods institutions; the design of a suitable arrangement for dialogue with civil society; and the use made of the valuable experience of Member States in post-conflict recovery.

In the end, he said, the Commission’s success would depend on how the resolution was translated into action on the ground.  Hopefully, an efficient, flexible and field-oriented body was now being created.  The Commission’s first members had a great responsibility towards all those whose lives and futures it could improve after debilitating conflicts, and, hopefully, they would accept that responsibility with determination and a serious sense of purpose.

Address by Security Council President

PER STIG MØLLER, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Denmark, whose country holds the Security Council Presidency for June, said that two of the major goals for institutional reform, set out by the 2005 World Summit, had been met: on Monday, the Human Rights Council had initiated its inaugural session in Geneva; and today, the Peacebuilding Commission had begun its work.  It had been a long process, but there was reason to be satisfied with the outcome.  Good things took time to build, and unity among Member States was important, so as to ensure a solid foundation for the new Commission.  The tasks and expectations, as a result, were immense.   It was humbling to be faced with such a challenge, but, at the same time, members must remain ambitious in their approach.  Creating a new body whose main purpose was to bring together all relevant actors and to focus attention on reconstruction and institution-building efforts was an institutional innovation that would strengthen the Organization.

During negotiations, he recalled, everyone had striven to find a formula for the new body, which would duly reflect the cross-cutting nature of the mandate entrusted to it.  A unique model had been chosen for the Peacebuilding Commission, with the General Assembly and the Security Council acting concurrently to implement the World Summit’s decision.  Over time, the Council had mandated a large number of peacekeeping operations and peacebuilding missions throughout the world, in order to fulfil its responsibility to maintain international peace and security.  It was constantly reminded that building peace was a complex, multifaceted endeavour with the involvement of multiple instruments and actors.

The Security Council was seized of many post-conflict situations that would be relevant for the new Commission’s agenda, he said.  In such situations, the Commission’s main purpose was to provide advice to the Council, particularly when there was a United Nations-mandated peacekeeping mission on the ground or under way.  The Council would take advantage of that advice in its own deliberations and when reviewing the mandates of the relevant missions.  In order to fulfil its intended role, and for its advice to have an impact, the Commission should focus on country-specific situations.  The aim should not be to create an additional layer of coordination at Headquarters level, but rather to support and reinforce local coordination at the country-level.

Recommendations emanating from country-specific discussions should not only flow to the Security Council or other United Nations bodies, he said.  With all the relevant actors around the same table, there was a standing invitation to all to take action on the common advice, and, if necessary, adjust their activities in the country concerned accordingly.  The primary responsibility for building a nation, of course, rested with the national or transitional authorities of the individual country.  Without the strong cooperation of the country on the agenda, the Commission’s efforts risked failure.  It was pleasing that Burundi and Sierra Leone had already expressed their desire to be placed on the Commission’s agenda, and the Council had already communicated its request for advice on the situation in those two countries.

He said that peacebuilding was not a new term or a new task.  For as long as there had been conflict, there had been the need to build peace and the relevant mechanisms were already in place in countries, within international organizations, including the United Nations, and among donors and other contributors.  The international community should strive to build on them and, in order to improve common efforts, take advantage of the unique new body for coordination and support for the development of integrated strategies among all the relevant actors.  The world could and must do better, as too many countries relapsed into conflict.  The common responsibility was to use all available means to prevent that.

The new Commission would bring together the maximum resources and experiences available to assist a given country, he said.  It was a major achievement that the Member States had agreed to include the international financial institutions and other institutional donors on the Commission.  Their contributions would be of significant value, and they were encouraged to engage actively.  The ground had been prepared to produce concrete results, and the measure of the Commission’s success should be improvements in the field.  With the new body working effectively, its members would prove the relevance of the United Nations in the twenty-first century, and remind each other, as United Nations Member States, of their responsibility to bring peace and prosperity to all parts of the world.

Address by Economic and Social Council President

ALI HACHANI ( Tunisia), President of the Economic and Social Council, said the Commission would mark a turning point for countries struggling to manage the difficult road to recovery from war to peace and lay the ground for sustainable development.  The Council had long stressed the need for the joint consideration, with the other major United Nations organs, of situations of international concern or importance.  Indeed, it had been integral in the development of Ad Hoc Advisory groups on African Countries Emerging from Conflict -- Burundi and Guinea-Bissau --- as well as on Haiti.

He said that the establishment of the Peacebuilding Commission was not an end in itself, but only the first step in an overall effort whose success would be first seen, and ultimately judged, in the field.  The three main organs of the United Nations needed to work together to ensure the new Commission’s success, because peace and development were interlinked, and both were critical to long-term stability.

Statement by World Bank

JAMES ADAMS, Vice-President of the World Bank, speaking on behalf of its President, Paul Wolfowitz, said that the institution had repeatedly been made aware of the importance of the link between peace, security and development.  Conflict was both a cause and a consequence of poverty.  A 2003 World Bank report had laid out the close links between development and conflict.  Where development failed, countries were at risk of being caught in a “conflict trap”: violence wreaked havoc on the economy, exacerbated poverty and social distress, and increased the risk of future conflict.  Poor countries suffered disproportionately from civil war.  For example, a country with an annual per capita income of $250 had a 15 per cent risk of experiencing a civil war in the following five years.  With a per capita income of $5,000, that risk dropped to less than 1 per cent.

More than 1 billion poor people were either directly affected by civil wars, or at high risk of being so in the foreseeable future, he said.  Indeed, 80 per cent of the world’s 20 poorest countries had suffered a major war in the past 15 years.  The risk of conflict in poor countries had risen.  The legacy of conflict was one of huge direct costs and incalculable indirect costs.  Since the 1990s, some 6 million people in Africa had lost their lives and more than 15 million had been displaced.  In turn, physical infrastructure had been destroyed, while institutional capacity and social capital had been lost, a flight of financial and human capital and an average 2.2 per cent loss in annual growth per conflict-affected country.  The death toll from conflict-induced economic dislocation, epidemics and insecurity was much higher. 

For example, more than 3 million conflict-related deaths in the Democratic Republic of the Congo had occurred since 1998, compared to about 200,000 people killed in combat, he said.  Such losses had far-reaching consequences: in Rwanda, every third household was headed by a woman, and 1 million children, or 12 per cent of the population, had been orphaned.  Through the 1990s, some 24 of Africa’s 53 States had experienced sustained civil strife.  Conflict and State fragility produced a vicious cycle.  And the spill-over costs of having a fragile State as a neighbour could average 1.6 per cent in lost gross domestic product each year.

He said, however, that there was hope behind those gruesome statistics.  The Human Security Report of 2005 had indicated a dramatic decline in conflict in Africa since 2002, during which there had been 16 conflicts.  That figure had now fallen to four.  Also importantly, most of the former conflicts in Africa had internationally recognized peace agreements and ensuing transitional processes, behind which international actors could harness their support.  The poorest citizens of the world needed jobs, education and health care, but they also needed to know that their children could grow up in peace and security, and with responsible political governance.  Security needed development, and development needed security.  Research over the last decade had demonstrated the development benefits of successful peacebuilding for poverty reduction, within fragile and conflict-affected countries and with neighbouring States.  Those links should be recognized and the international community should work together to support sustainable peace for countries in crisis.

Among the Commission’s objectives was maintaining long-term support for countries emerging from conflict, even after the spotlight of the international press moved on to other crises, he noted.  In Timor-Leste, Afghanistan and the Sudan, progress towards stability and prosperity was a long road, with many setbacks along the way.  It should be made clear that the international actors supporting political, security and economic recovery were there for the long haul.  The value of the Commission would be judged by the difference it made in the countries concerned, and not by meetings and reports.  Countries emerging from conflict needed progress driven from within, and there were many courageous reformers struggling to lead their countries out of conflict, as could be seen now, impressively, in Liberia.  With unprecedented speed, the World Bank Board had just approved an emergency World Bank/International Development Association credit of $50 million to help that country’s new Government fulfil the hopes and expectations of its people.  The Bank could support those people through a compact that mobilized diplomatic, security, economic or other resources, in partnership with responsible leadership and commitment to good governance on their side.

Statement by International Monetary Fund

REINHARD MUNZBERG, International Monetary Fund (IMF), agreed that the Commission was a useful forum, where all relevant aspects of a country in a post-conflict situation could be addressed comprehensively.  The Fund was prepared to cooperate actively with it, and it appreciated being invited to its meetings.  Satisfied that the Commission would be an advisory body, the IMF would take back to its governing organs information on the new organ’s work, which would ensure that the Fund’s decisions were informed by the Commission’s deliberations on the whole spectrum of aspects relevant to a specific case.  The Fund was already involved in several post-conflict situations, including in the two countries expected to be selected first by the Commission.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.