|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
5627th Meeting (AM)
Security Council holds day-long debate on post-conflict peacebuilding;
Focus on early efforts of new peacebuilding Commission
Organizational Committee Chair Says Process Requires Long-Term Commitment;
Burundi, Sierra Leone – First Countries on Commission’s Agenda - Also Speak
The Peacebuilding Commission would only be relevant and successful if it paved the way for an engaged partnership linking it with the donor community, regional organizations, multilateral financial institutions and the Governments, civil society and private sectors of countries on its agenda, Ismael Abraão Gaspar Martins ( Angola), Chairman of the new organ’s Organizational Committee told the Security Council today.
Briefing the Council during an open debate on post-conflict peacebuilding, he said the Commission’s efforts should be aimed at preventing relapse and moving countries swiftly onto the path of stability, recovery and development. Peacebuilding was a complex and long-term process requiring persistent and long-term commitment by all. Hopefully, today’s debate would help mobilize that commitment and provide more clarity in the discussion of outstanding procedural issues relating to the Commission’s workings.
Pointing out that concrete action was more important to those suffering the direct consequences of conflict than eloquent statements, he said donors must make a long-term commitment to remain engaged throughout the peacebuilding effort, while the countries themselves made greater efforts to lay the foundations for sustainable peace. One encouraging development was the recent staffing of the Peacebuilding Support Office, which should continue to receive the necessary attention as a vital instrument in the Commission’s functioning.
Also briefing Council members, Carolyn McAskie, Assistant Secretary-General in the Peacebuilding Support Office, said staffing requirements were almost complete and budget discussions continued apace. In addition, the United Nations Secretary-General had just announced the first allocation under the Peacebuilding Fund -- $35 million for Burundi -- and would soon announce one for Sierra Leone. The Fund, however, could only act as a catalyst. Alone, it could not address the resource needs of countries emerging from conflict, while the Commission’s role in marshalling resources was much broader.
She stressed that it was only by bringing all the actors together that the Commission could fulfil its mandate to advise on and propose integrated strategies, and identify critical elements of peacebuilding in the countries under its consideration, bringing them together under an integrated strategic approach. In that way, the Commission could work inclusively to define its own objectives, enter into agreements with countries under consideration, and provide advice and guidance to all actors regarding how broad goals could be met.
Johan Ludvik Løvald ( Norway), Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission’s country-specific meeting on Burundi, said the situation remained fragile and the country required continued international support. The Commission’s engagement with Burundi was now entering a new phase and, in the near future, it would finalize its work plan and commence work on an integrated approach to peacebuilding, clearly outlining Burundi’s commitments and the response to be provided by the international community in critical areas. In bilateral terms, the visit to Burundi last month by Norway’s Minister for Development Cooperation had laid the groundwork for a programme to support development and peacebuilding. Norway also planned to establish an embassy in Bujumbura.
Frank Majoor ( Netherlands), Chair of the meeting on Sierra Leone, highlighted ongoing consultations to finalize the priority plan for financing from the Peacebuilding Fund. It was expected that a country envelope in excess of the initially indicated $25 million would be made available. Furthermore, the World Bank’s International Development Association and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) had agreed that Sierra Leone had made sufficient progress to reach the completion point under the Enhanced Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative. Much progress had also been observed in connection with the Commission’s call for adequate resources and support for upcoming elections. The initial resource gap of $7 million for the elections had been reduced to less than $3 million, with further pledges expected. Progress had also been made in establishing an independent National Electoral Commission.
Sierra Leone’s delegate noted that his country had been the subject of several international “experiments”, including the establishment of a hybrid Special Court to try individuals for war crimes. Now, under the Commission’s consideration, it was the subject of another experiment in post-conflict cooperation, and would take advantage of its position in that worthy experiment. Assessment of the Commission’s work must be based on its objectives and mandate as a “special mechanism created to address the special needs of a special group of countries”.
Burundi’s representative said his Government wished to hold a donors’ round table in March and appealed for the Commission’s support on three levels: the presence of its members at the round table, planned for 14 March; the Commission’s support for Government plans to mobilize donors so as to ensure the event’s success; and, since most of the donors were members of the Commission, each Member State was invited to announce its contribution.
Jamaica’s delegate, speaking on behalf of the Non-Alignment Movement, expressed concern that the Security Council should find it necessary, at the present stage, to review the Commission’s work. While the new organ had experienced difficulties with its internal operations and processes, there was little merit in reviewing or evaluating its activities, particularly in light of resolution 60/180, which mandated the Commission to present an annual report to the Assembly for review and debate.
Germany’s representative, speaking on behalf of the European Union, said, though the Commission was off to a good start, its recommendations must now be implemented in the countries concerned and within the institutional framework of the United Nations. Thus, it needed the support of the Security Council, the General Assembly, and the Economic and Social Council. The European Union recommended that the Commission further focus on the following priority areas: those with a direct and traceable link to the causes of conflict; those in which instruments of “classical” development were not available or functional; and those where coordination and integration were especially needed.
Dalius Čekuolis ( Lithuania), President of the Economic and Social Council, also addressed Council members, as did the respective representatives of the World Bank and IMF to the United Nations.
Other speakers included the representatives of Panama, Peru, France, Belgium, Italy, Qatar, Congo, Slovakia, United States, United Kingdom, South Africa, Ghana, Indonesia, China, Russian Federation, Chile, El Salvador, Senegal, Japan, Canada (on behalf of Australia and New Zealand), Nigeria, Republic of Korea, Croatia, Brazil, Guatemala, Uruguay, Egypt, Argentina and Afghanistan.
Beginning at 9:45 a.m., the day-long meeting was suspended at 12:55 p.m. It resumed at 3:35 p.m. and ended at 5 p.m.
Before the Security Council today was a letter dated 26 December 2006 from the Chairman of the Peacebuilding Commission to the President of the Council (document S/2006/1050), which referred to the latter’s letter dated 21 June 2006 requesting advice on the situations in Burundi and Sierra Leone.
The letter describes the Commission’s two country-specific meetings on Burundi and Sierra Leone in October and December, noting that the critical challenges in Sierra Leone include social and youth empowerment and employment; consolidating democracy and good governance; justice and security reform; and capacity-building. For Burundi, the critical challenges include promoting good governance; strengthening the rule of law; and ensuring community recovery.
Both countries have made progress since October 2006, the report states. In the case of Burundi, this included Government efforts to conduct a mapping of existing and planned activities in the peacebuilding priority areas and the establishment of an inter-ministerial mechanism to follow up on the Peacebuilding Commission’s activities. In Sierra Leone, the Government took steps to revise the peace consolidation strategy based on national consultations involving all stakeholders and continued its efforts to implement a poverty reduction strategy, the medium-term expenditure framework and the peace consolidation strategy.
DALIUS ČEKUOLIS ( Lithuania), President of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), said that there was a strong correlation between low levels of development and violent conflict. Nine out of ten countries with the lowest human development indicators had experienced conflict at some point or another during the past 16 years. And according to World Bank estimates, a civil war lasted at least seven years, on average, with the growth rate of relevant local economies reduced by 2.2 per cent each year. The downward spiral of poverty, conflict and added impoverishment was difficult to reverse, he added, stressing that more focused efforts should, therefore, be made to advance and oversee the implementation of internationally agreed goals, including the Millennium Development Goals.
He said that the 2005 World Summit had given ECOSOC the mandate to focus on the implementation of the United Nations development agenda through its annual ministerial reviews. In doing so, the Council intended to continually assess how conflict was affecting the implementation of the Organization’s development agenda. He said that international assistance played an important role in addressing the challenges faced by conflict-prone countries and filling some of their capacity gaps. Further, research suggested that the optimal period for absorbing increased aid was about six years after a peace settlement, by which time donors tended to move on to another crisis. The ECOSOC was ready to assist the Peacebuilding Commission in utilizing such insights in its plans and activities.
He went on to say that the Council could share its perspectives with the Peacebuilding Commission in policy areas, such as youth unemployment, particularly in Africa and the Middle East, regions where the twin phenomena of youth unemployment and conflict continued to feed each other. Through increased interaction and readiness to share relevant experiences, ECOSOC could contribute to strengthening the added value of the Peacebuilding Commission. In that respect, ECOSOC was ready to share its lessons learned, especially given that the pioneering work of ECOSOC’s ad hoc advisory groups on countries emerging from conflict was, in a way, a forerunner of the Peacebuilding Commission -- a body meant to ensure an integrated approach to peacebuilding on the basis of the links between security, development, rule of law, and human rights.
Turning to some lessons learned from ECOSOC’s advisory groups on Haiti, Guinea-Bissau and Burundi, he said it had become clear that there was a need to go beyond immediate problem-solving and define, from the very beginning, a vision towards longer-term rehabilitation and support, in order to ensure that assistance was sustainable and not undermined by organizational and functional problems encountered on the ground. Among others, he also said the international community should maintain concrete development support to a country in question even when factors on the ground -- for example, an electoral process -- might lead donors to take a “wait and see” approach.
He said that the Organization’s common objective should be to mobilize the whole of its institutional machinery to promote across-the-board policy approaches and best practices to develop answers to the complex and difficult needs of post-conflict countries and prevent their relapse into conflict. For its part, ECOSOC was ready to contribute to the best of its ability -- collectively and through its individual members on the Peacebuilding Commission’s Organizational Committee -- to developing the strategic goals and defining a viable peacebuilding strategy for the Commission, and thereby ensuring its lasting added value.
ISMAEL ABRAÃO GASPAR MARTINS (Angola), Chairman of the Organizational Committee of the Peacebuilding Commission, said that, although the new body had been in existence less than a year, questions were already being asked about the results it had achieved in that time. That was a legitimate concern that spoke to the international community’s high expectations of the new organ. Yet, peacebuilding was by nature a complex and long-term process requiring persistent and long-term commitment by all. Hopefully, today’s debate would contribute in mobilizing that commitment and in providing more clarity in the discussion of some outstanding procedural issues in the Commission’s workings. Theoretical differences were meaningless to those suffering directly from the consequences of conflict on the ground. What mattered for them was concrete action, rather than eloquent statements.
He said the Commission would only be relevant and would only succeed if it paved the way for an engaged partnership and practical actions by its members and by the donor community, regional organizations and multilateral financial institutions, as well as by the Governments, civil society and private sectors of countries under consideration by the Commission. That active partnership would produce the incremental and tangible results sought. The Commission’s efforts should be aimed at reinforcing confidence in the post-conflict communities, ensuring that their countries did not relapse into conflict and moved swiftly onto the path of stability, recovery and development.
The fact that allocations had been made from the Peacebuilding Fund for both Burundi and Sierra Leone was an important first step to underline international commitment and attention, he said. But, a long-term commitment to remain engaged throughout the peacebuilding effort was needed from donors. Equally, the two countries needed to make greater efforts to lay the foundations for sustainable peace. The recent staffing of the Peacebuilding Support Office was a welcome development. It should continue to receive the necessary attention as it constituted a vital instrument for the Commission’s functioning. The recent contributions to the Peacebuilding Fund were also encouraging, though the amount available was still insufficient when compared with the needs of the two countries.
Emphasizing that the Commission was a body to which the Security Council had dedicated much valuable time to establish, he said it would only perform in accordance with the means that the Council and the international community would put at its disposal, in order to meet the highest expectations of populations in countries emerging from conflict. In order to meet the objectives expected from it on the ground, the Commission must be a real bridge for all stakeholders to marshal resources and advise on and propose integrated strategies for post-conflict peacebuilding recovery, in conformity with the decision of the Heads of State at the September 2005 World Summit.
CAROLYN McASKIE, Assistant Secretary-General in the Peacebuilding Support Office, said that the links between the Commission, the Security Council, the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council were critical to the Commission’s effective functioning and that members of the Commission and Support Office were exploring ways to enhance those links and interchanges. The Commission, its Support Office and the Peacebuilding Fund together offered a new opportunity to address the critical and fragile period in the life of a country ravaged by conflict.
For that to happen, she said the Commission had an important role to play in bringing all the actors together. In that, it must take on the work of the Council, the Assembly and ECOSOC, as well as myriad United Nations agencies, among other international actors and donors. But that did not mean duplication or overlap, rather it was the strategic way the Commission would go about its work. To be most effective, that work must play out at the country level. The test for relevance for all those working with the Peacebuilding Commission would be to ensure that that strategy was successfully implemented to bring results for Burundi and Sierra Leone.
She said that the Support Office would do all it could to ensure that the work was completed and that plans were set on the way forward. It would work in the field and in the Secretariat to ensure that the strategies of the Peacebuilding Commission were applied to all relevant areas of the United Nation’s work. She went on to stress that an important part of the Commission’s mandate would be to marshal resources and, while all agreed that the Commission was not another “donors forum”, its work should generate significant additional resources for countries committed to staying on the right track for peace.
The United Nations Secretary-General had just announced the first allocation under the Peacebuilding Fund -- $35 million for Burundi -- and would soon announce an allocation for Sierra Leone. The Fund, however, could only act as a catalyst. Alone, it could not address the peacebuilding resource needs of countries emerging from conflict. The role of the Commission in marshalling resources was much broader. Indeed, it was only by bringing all the actors together that the Commission could fulfil its mandate to: advise on and propose integrated strategies for peacebuilding; and identify critical elements of peacebuilding in the countries under its consideration, bringing them together under an integrated strategic approach. It was in that way that the Commission could work inclusively to define its own objectives, enter into agreements with countries under consideration, and provide advice and guidance to all actors, on how the board goals of peacekeeping could be met.
As for the work of her own Office, she said it was closer to completing its staffing requirements and she would continue to discuss with members of the Commission the particulars, especially as budget discussions continued apace. In the long run, peacebuilding must not be another layer of work -- for Governments or for the United Nations or donors on the ground. Instead, it should define the way the Organization and the international community could most effectively respond to post-conflict society and keep hard won peace processes on a sustainable track.
JOHAN LUDVIK LØVALD ( Norway), Chair of the country-specific meeting on Burundi in the Peacebuilding Commission, said that, while much was already being done to consolidate peace in Burundi, the situation was still fragile and continued international support was needed. The Government of Burundi had actively participated, at the ministerial level, in both country specific meetings of the Commission. At the first of those meetings, three main critical challenges had been identified in Burundi: promoting good governance; strengthening the rule of law and the security sector; and ensuring community recovery. Based on those challenges, a number of important peacebuilding priorities had been identified, which included strengthening national dialogue, inclusion of women in peace consolidation, support from countries of the region, and strengthening the Government’s ability to deliver on basic services.
The Peacebuilding Commission’s engagement with Burundi was now entering a new phase, he continued. The Commission would, in the near future, finalize its work plan and commence work on an integrated approach to peacebuilding, clearly outlining Burundi’s commitments and the response to be provided by the international community in critical areas. At the same time, it was necessary to continue to work with the Government to monitor progress in the critical areas. In that regard, he welcomed the decision of the Second Summit of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region to establish a regional follow-up mechanism. He was sure the Commission would want to discuss how it could support peacebuilding in that regional perspective.
On 29 January, the Secretary-General had formally announced a Peacebuilding Fund of $35 million for Burundi at the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, he said. The Commission must now decide how it could build on that and achieve a catalytic effect. Funding through the Fund could only provide initial support, and much more would be needed. Donor per-capita assistance to Burundi remained low. The international community must support national efforts to address the priorities and gaps identified by the Government. The upcoming donors’ round table in March would provide an opportunity to respond to those challenges. The Commission would obviously like to take stock of that event and discuss how integrated peacebuilding efforts could complement the results of the round table.
Speaking in his national capacity, he added that Norway was humbled by the enormous challenges facing Burundi. His Government was committed to doing what it could to achieve a durable peace and economic development. The visit to Burundi by Norway’s Minister of Development Cooperation last month had laid the groundwork for a bilateral programme in support of development and peacebuilding. Norway would, in the near future, establish an embassy in Bujumbura.
In conclusion, he said that successful peacebuilding would necessitate sustained political and material support in the years to come from all stakeholders: the United Nations system, the international financial institutions, donors, civil society and regional actors. Similarly, continued national ownership would be key, based on an inclusive approach, where all relevant segments of society could contribute.
FRANK MAJOOR ( Netherlands), Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission’s country-specific meeting on Sierra Leone, welcomed the interest of the Security Council and other United Nations bodies in the activities of the Commission. Today’s discussion presented a good opportunity to strengthen their common focus on their shared interests of assisting Sierra Leone and Burundi -- the first countries under consideration -- in building peace and preventing chances of a relapse into conflict.
Good progress had been made in Sierra Leone when it came to addressing the identified gaps in critical areas. Among the most important developments, he highlighted the establishment of a National Steering Committee on Peacebuilding; and ongoing consultations to finalize the priority plan for funding from the Peacebuilding Fund. It was expected that a country envelope in excess of the initially indicated $25 million would be made available. At the Commission’s last country-specific meeting on Sierra Leone, members of the Commission had called for support for the Government to broaden its donor base and secure assistance, including further debt relief. The World Bank’s International Development Association and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) had agreed that Sierra Leone had made sufficient progress to reach to completion point under the Enhanced Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative. Much progress had also been observed in connection with the Commission’s call for adequate resources and support for upcoming elections. The initial resource gap of $7 million for the elections had been reduced to less than $3 million, with further pledges expected. Progress had also been made in establishing an independent National Electoral Commission.
Next week, members of the country-specific meetings on Sierra Leone would discuss a work plan for the Commission on that country, he said, which would guide the Commission’s activities leading to the next country-specific meeting in March or April. It would set a timeline and define the actions to be undertaken by the Government, the United Nations system and other stakeholders. Ownership, especially at the national level, and close coordination between New York and national actors were crucial. A key focus would be the development of an integrated approach to clearly outline the commitments by the Government and the international community. He was confident that the Commission would be able to continue its meaningful discussions in the country-specific meetings on Sierra Leone and, in the process, contribute to the building of peace in that country. It would require the involvement of all the stakeholders: the Government; the Commission’s full membership; potential other donors in the United Nations country team; non-governmental organizations; civil society; and the private sector. It would also require the continued support of the Security Council.
OSCAR A. AVALLE, Special Representative of the World Bank to the United Nations, said that, over the last decade, the Bank had significantly expanded its work on armed conflict by increasing research on conflict and development, and adopting more flexible instruments, approaches and financing mechanisms to support countries in transition from armed conflict to sustainable development. Over 1 billion of the world’s poor were either directly affected or at high risk of being affected by civil war. Indeed, 80 per cent of the world’s 20 poorest countries had suffered a major war in the past 15 years. It was necessary to recognize the links between security and development and support long-term sustainable peace and development in conflict countries. “We must, however, focus on tangible results on the ground,” he continued. The value of the Commission would be judged by the difference it made in the countries concerned, not by meetings and reports. And while progress must be driven from within, it must be nourished properly from the outside.
In an effort to improve coordination and collaboration, the World Bank had actively supported the work of the Peacebuilding Commission and continued to be actively engaged both in the field and at the Headquarters in New York. Its country directors and teams had worked closely with United Nations country teams and with members of the Peacebuilding Commission and its Support Office. They had also actively participated in country-specific meetings, providing substantive briefings on the Bank’s engagement in Burundi and Sierra Leone. The Bank had also worked with the Peacebuilding Support Office to organize a briefing to the Commission on post-conflict risks last October. Furthermore, it facilitated the participation of national authorities in Burundi and Sierra Leone with the aim of ensuring national ownership of the entire process.
He welcomed “any and all efforts” aimed at creating a more focused and results-driven agenda for the Commission, he said. The Bank had not yet participated in meetings of the Organizational Committee, as had been originally envisaged by Security Council resolution 1645 (2005), but stood ready to do so as soon as that was requested by Member States. “We can and must work together to ensure national ownership, international support and strategic collaboration amongst all partners to ensure long-term sustainable peace and development,” he said.
RICHARD MUNZBERG, Special Representative of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to the United Nations, said that the Commission was a useful forum where all relevant aspects of a post-conflict country could be comprehensively addressed. The Fund was prepared to cooperate actively with such a forum. Indeed, the Fund was already active with a number of post-conflict cases, including the two countries that were on the agenda of the Commission’s country-specific meetings and it shared the emphasis placed on work in concrete, country cases, and on country ownership of peacebuilding strategies.
He said the Commission had made good progress, together with the countries concerned, in identifying priority areas that needed to be addressed. He said the Fund appreciated that it had been invited to participate in the Commission’s meetings thus far, but added that it would be useful if the issue of attendance at the Organizational Committee could be clarified. The Fund was satisfied that the Commission would be an advisory body and it would take back to its governing organs information on the Commission’s work. That would ensure that their decisions would be informed by the deliberations on the entire spectrum of aspects relevant to specific cases.
JOSEPH NTAKIRUTIMANA ( Burundi) said that in July 2006 his delegation had been able to offer members of the Commission a comprehensive view of his country and they had become familiar with the desolate and poverty-stricken state into which it had fallen in more than 10 years of civil war. At October’s country-specific meeting on Burundi, the delegation had provided Commission members with a detailed view of the effects of that war on many sectors of national life and they had been able to observe the immense needs facing the Government. Also, the delegation had been able to underscore the many efforts that the Government had undertaken to rescue the country from the economic, political and social effects of the conflict. The Government’s efforts had also been noted and welcomed by the World Bank and the IMF.
He said that, seven months after the creation of the Peacebuilding Commission, the new organ should finally become operational and start dealing with the execution of the projects selected in December 2006. The Government of Burundi wished to familiarize itself with the mechanism for disbursing allocated funds and with the means to increase its flexibility. It also wished to hold a donors’ round table in March this year and appealed for the Commission’s support on three levels: the presence of its members at the round table, planned for 14 March; the Commission’s support for the Government in mobilizing donors so as to ensure the event’s success; and, since most of the donors were members of the Commission, each Member State was invited to announce its contribution.
SYLVESTER ROWE ( Sierra Leone) said that it had been an honour for his country to be selected as one of the first two cases on the Commission’s agenda. Indeed, Sierra Leone was grateful to the United Nations and the wider international community for continued engagement following the devastating rebel war. He noted that Sierra Leone had been the subject of several international “experiments” including the establishment of a hybrid Special Court to try individuals for war crimes. Now, under the Commission’s consideration, it was the subject of another experiment in post-conflict cooperation. He assured the Council that Sierra Leone would take advantage of its position in that worthy experiment. At the same time, Sierra Leone had great expectations about the Commission and had faith in its commitment to help the country address some of the ongoing problems and challenges.
He joined others in noting that the Commission was still a relatively new body, but he added that the results of the country-specific meetings augured well for its future success. For Sierra Leone, the highlight of those meetings had been the conclusion that an envelope of some $25 million was expected to be made available as an initial contribution towards implementation of the country’s priority programmes. He stressed that assessment of the Commission’s work must be based on that body’s objectives and mandate, as outlined by relevant resolutions of the Council and the General Assembly. All should bear in mind that the Commission was a “special mechanism created to address the special needs of a special group of countries”, he said, emphasizing that the process of meeting those special needs might require some elements of creativity and adaptability. The Commission’s mandate also reflected a sense of urgency, he added.
As far as achieving the Commission’s objectives was concerned, he said the bottom line was “resources, resources, resources”. Indeed, while the Commission had been created to provide advice and propose integrated strategies for post-conflict recovery, all should bear in mind that the new body was expected to “assist” countries in laying the foundation for sustainable development, “mobilize” assistance and bring together all relevant actors to marshal resources and to help ensure predictable financing for early recovery activities. And all that brought him to the issue of delivery. Sierra Leone believed that the most effective way the international community could continue to demonstrate engagement with that country, and other developing countries emerging from conflict, was the timely delivery of necessary assistance to meet the special needs of the countries concerned.
Sierra Leone was encouraged by the Commission’s commitment, as well as the ongoing engagement of the international community, especially those that had made generous contributions to the Commission. He appealed to all stakeholders to remember that, before its ruthless rebel war, Sierra Leone had been one of the world’s least developed countries. The conflict had made an already precarious situation even worse. And while it shared many, or most, of the problems of other post-conflict countries, Sierra Leone was unique in a sense and should be treated according to its particular circumstances. He hoped that, in the next few days, the Secretary-General would announce the allocation of an appreciable amount from the Peacebuilding Fund that was commensurate with the special needs and critical priorities outlined last year.
RICARDO ALBERTO ARIAS ( Panama) said the consultation process should aim to review the Commission’s working methods and decision-making, so as to ensure that it would be possible to offer it, if necessary, timely assistance and advice, thus enabling it to comply with the tasks assigned to it. While the Commission was still trying to discover its own identity, Panama applauded the efforts of the Peacebuilding Support Office to draw up a plan on the basis of requests by the Governments of Burundi and Sierra Leone. The Commission should coordinate the resources allocated to it in order to ensure that countries under its consideration would have the programmes, institutions and resources to achieve economically sustainable development that was also socially responsible.
JORGE VOTO-BERNALES ( Peru), stressing that the Commission must be extremely useful and effective in order to comply with its mandate, said his country supported efforts to support the peacemaking and reconstruction efforts of countries emerging from conflict. Recent history had shown that premature withdrawal from countries in conflict situations could allow them to relapse into conflict, whereupon their populations lost faith in peacebuilding efforts. To counter that trend, it was necessary to build a culture of peace by employing a comprehensive approach that included military and police components to restore security, while good governance restored the rule of law.
Development was a crucial component of peacebuilding, he said, emphasizing that there would always be a risk of relapse if the populations involved saw no improvement in their situation. That was why it was vital to include in peacebuilding efforts the restoration of education, health and social services. Those elements would help guarantee the viability of the peacebuilding process and ensure that it would not be destroyed. National identity and sense of ownership were also important, as was the ability to adapt peacebuilding processes to specific situations and to ensure continuity. Equally important was the need to establish indicators to assess progress and developments. It was vital to ensure proper leadership on the ground and transparent rebuilding processes, so as to attract the attention of national and transnational corporations.
JEAN-PIERRE LACROIX ( France) said that interaction between the Peacebuilding Commission and the Security Council was critical and he hoped the Council would regularly consider that new body’s work. He added that the General Assembly and ECOSOC should also closely monitor the work of the Peacebuilding Commission. The Commission could become a viable instrument for helping countries emerging from conflict stay on the path of sustainable development, he stressed, noting that the initial country-specific meetings on Burundi and Sierra Leone were pointing the way ahead and refining the way the Commission would carry out its work in the future.
At this stage, the Commission should focus on preparing further country-specific meetings focused on the needs of the countries that were on its agenda. The Support Office had a role to play here, particularly in preparing and disseminating information on those countries. That Office could also help in identifying initiatives and programmes already under way in those countries. He added that, in all the aspects of the Peacebuilding Commission’s work, country-level actors should be actively involved in elaborating relevant and targeted strategies. He also said that, as the Commission began to meet more regularly, the Security Council should seek to fully integrate in its work the results of the new body’s efforts. Indeed, the Council should benefit from the value added brought by the Commission to the wider work in ensuring peace and security.
JOHAN C. VERBEKE ( Belgium) said his country had been closely involved in the Commission’s initial work and would continue to be so involved. The Commission was a body at the interface of critical questions related to security, good governance, the rule of law, reconstruction, and development. That was chiefly because it had two parents: the Security Council and the General Assembly. Overall, the Commission’s aim was not to identify medium-range support, but to develop long-range, integrated strategies involving all actors.
He said that the Commission’s strategy should identify risks, shortcomings and weaknesses that required specific attention. That required close cooperation between and among all players. Indeed, all players, led by the countries themselves, and including civil society and private sector actors, should work together in the development of such strategies. He called for a more regular interaction between the Security Council and the Commission, including, among others, the holding of meetings with the chairs of the groups considering specific countries.
MARCELLO SPATAFORA (Italy), aligning himself with the statement to be made on behalf of the European Union, stressed the importance of providing strong support for the Chairman of the Peacebuilding Commission, without which he could not be effective. He would be unable to exercise the creativity, flexibility and adaptability required on the part of the Chair, and he would be unable to have any of those attributes unless he felt that the house was behind him. In addition, the Commission would have to be ambitious, if it was to succeed. In shaping and implementing strategies, there would be a need to focus strongly on strengthening the sovereignty of post-conflict countries, with a particular focus on the rule of law. That would attract the attention of investors. It would also be necessary to base peacebuilding on a broad sense of ownership, which should be at the centre of the process.
The Commission should also develop benchmarks to monitor project implementation, he said, noting, however, that that did not mean merely issuing reports of which the Council already received too many. Monitoring should be proactive, not in order to point out who was doing well and who badly, but to show what had been achieved week after week and the standing of projects and programmes. Objective criteria were needed in phasing out the Commission’s operations and beginning its consideration of new countries. The Commission and the Security Council should work together to develop peacekeeping strategies and more interactive processes. The issue was not only how the Commission could assist the Council, but also how the Council could provide operational input. There was also a need to promote prompt responses to the Council’s requests for the Commission’s advice, which must be timely.
JAMAL NASSER AL-BADER (Qatar) said the establishment of the Commission was one of the most tangible and practical steps taken by the international community thus far in realizing the need to ensure stability, peace and development. The Commission had, since its inception, received encouraging responses from Burundi and Sierra Leone, two countries that had succeeded in ending conflict. Since the Security Council was the organ primarily responsible for maintaining international peace and security, it would need the Commission’s advice in following developments in those two, as well as other countries on its agenda.
He said that, in order to succeed, there must be close coordination between the Commission and the Peacebuilding Support office. It was important for the Commission and countries emerging from conflict to agree on the methodology to pursue in carrying out the peacebuilding process. The Commission’s mandates also included the mobilization of resources and Qatar appealed to the international community to donate generously.
PASCAL GAYAMA ( Congo) said the Peacebuilding Commission was a major step that represented the collective efforts of the various organs of the United Nations and could further the aims of the Charter. He stressed that the Commission was still a mere “child” and, while today’s meeting was timely, the Council should examine the work it had accomplished and consider how to ensure further support, as any good “parent” would. For its part, he believed that the Commission should strive to avoid overlap with other United Nations bodies. It should also ensure that open debate within the Commission led to a “global” approach that included all actors and took into account conflict-prevention initiatives.
Above all, the Commission must not become an entity cut off from reality: it must carry out its work at the field level, hand in hand with key authorities and actors of the countries under its consideration. The Commission was currently dealing with Burundi and Sierra Leone, two countries struggling to overcome severe economic problems and which had security services that were not currently capable of handling any civil unrest such poverty might generate. With that in mind, the Commission must address all aspects of the peacebuilding process in order to deal effectively with hidden problems and concerns, he said, adding that the current situation in Timor-Leste had served as a lesson to all in that regard. The Commission needed more support from the international community, but everyone should lose sight of the fact that all peacebuilding should be supported by national authorities. He also called for donors to support the Peacebuilding Fund.
PETER BURIAN ( Slovakia) said that the early results from the initial work of the Peacebuilding Commission had shown that the decision to establish the new body had been a much needed step in the right direction. At the same time, the wider United Nations must continue to ensure that the Commission’s unique capabilities and comparative advantages were put to use, while also ensuring the Commission did not duplicate the work of other agencies. The Commission should continue to develop its mechanisms to better serve as a forum for coordination and exchange of views among major stakeholders, donors and countries with experience in peacebuilding on defining tailored, country-specific, post-conflict strategies.
In that regard, he said his delegation did not believe that the added value of the Commission would come from formal reports or decisions, but from operational outcomes spurred by interactions and meetings in the field to bring together stakeholders and donors to address country-specific issues. The measure of success should be reflected by the reduction of the number of countries lapsing from fragile peace into conflict -– not by an increasing number of reports and other paperwork. He also said Slovakia believed the Commission should seek practical solutions to complex problems dealing with post-conflict peace consolidation.
Slovakia supported the idea of establishing working groups to comprehensively discuss specific peace-consolidation topics, such as the rule of law. Here, he informed Council members that during the Slovak presidency of the Council next month, his delegation would organize just such an open meeting, which would focus on security sector reform. He said that the Peacebuilding Commission might play a crucial role in helping post-conflict countries reform their security sectors in a comprehensive manner and generate long-term support and resources to ensure the process was coherent and sustainable over the long haul.
RICHARD TERRELL MILLER ( United States) suggested that today’s debate and the upcoming one to be held in the General Assembly should be seen as opportunities to re-energize peacebuilding efforts on the ground. Citizens of countries emerging from conflict did not care at all about United Nations lines of authority or the institutional layout of seats around the conference table, he said. All they cared about were results. The goal was to provide societies emerging from conflict with the assistance needed to prevent a relapse. As a member of the Security Council, the United States felt that another goal was to coordinate the security component of peacebuilding with the broader process and to share assessments and work plans so as to improve that coordination. The Commission’s strength would be found through pragmatic, country-oriented plans, while its problems were not solely about the lack of resources. Rather, they were about ensuring that the activities of Governments and their outside partners were well coordinated, that resources were best utilized and that international attention did not fade.
KAREN PIERCE (United Kingdom), aligning herself with the European Union, said the Commission had now been in existence for seven months and the Council, as one of its parent bodies alongside the General Assembly, must assess its performance thus far. The Commission had been created because there was “a gap in the market”. Relapse had cost too many lives and the Commission ensured that countries emerging from conflict remained on the Council’s agenda. It should look comprehensively at peacebuilding to identify the most pressing priorities; involve a wide range of actors, including civil society and the private sector; provide scrutiny and honest assessments of progress and problems; ensure follow-up to its recommendations; and compile and disseminate lessons learned.
Upon such a framework, the Security Council and the Peacebuilding Commission could establish an effective working relationship in three key areas: the Council could use the Commission to provide it with advice before a mandate renewal or the establishment of a new peacekeeping operation; the Council could receive such advice and act on it appropriately; and the Commission could provide early warning of impending conflict or relapse. There was no exclusivity and other United Nations bodies, such as the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council, could also play key roles in working with the Commission.
DUMISANI S. KUMALO ( South Africa) said it was time for the Assembly and the Council to reflect further on the Commission’s purpose and mission. At present, the Commission meant different things to different people. According to the founding resolutions of the Council and the Assembly, the Commission had three main purposes. While the Commission’s aims and purposes were phrased in a language that was vague, it was clear that it needed to make its impact on the ground. Without country ownership, the Commission would likely be regarded as a structure that imposed solutions that might be unacceptable to the countries that were supposed to benefit from its expertise and advice.
The Commission needed to be knowledgeable about the role players on the ground, as it was best placed to enhance coordination and cooperation among the various stakeholders, he continued. The Council could seek advice from the Commission before peacekeeping operations were deployed and after the Council had decided on mandates, so as to ensure greater cohesion between the United Nations and other actors. Before scaling down the activities of peacekeeping operations, the Council could also consult with the Commission, so that everything was in place when the peacekeepers left.
The holding of elections had often been considered as a benchmark for declaring that a country had emerged from conflict and was ready for the next stage of peacebuilding, he noted. While the holding of elections was an important indicator for future stability, it might often not indicate that a country emerging from conflict was beyond a relapse. A more comprehensive indicator for stability was the combination of elections together with disarmament, demobilization, reintegration and reconstruction and security sector reform. Yet, in some countries emerging from conflict, the World Bank and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) had been slow in funding those activities due to large unpaid debts owed to them, usually by previous regimes. The Commission could provide a forum where that slow pace in funding peacebuilding activities could be quickly resolved. The quick injection of resources in a country emerging from conflict was often the glue that kept the country from once again falling apart. For that reason, the donor community needed to be flexible and remain engaged, particularly in the post-conflict stages.
Created for the specific purpose of assisting in the facilitation of peacebuilding activities, the role of the Peacebuilding Fund needed to be clearly defined, he said. It would be unfortunate if the Commission were to be mistaken for a donor agency because of the Fund. There were fundamental practices that the Commission should set for itself, including ensuring that the countries emerging from conflict had full ownership of the building of peace for the benefit of their people. Another was to make certain that the Commission developed rules of procedure that were permanent and predictable. It should be clear to everyone what the Commission was about, what it could do and could not do. The Commission needed to be a beacon of hope and promise. Its impact must be felt on the ground. In other words, the Commission would soon have to meet in Freetown or Bujumbura.
NANA EFFAH-APENTENG ( Ghana) said that only an effective Commission could ensure that the international community’s huge investments in peace and stability in volatile parts of the world would achieve the most positive outcomes. The Commission’s success would bring encouragement and hope to millions of people, especially in Africa. He was pleased, therefore, that the Organizational Committee had held two meetings and that Burundi and Sierra Leone had been selected as pioneers in the post-conflict peacebuilding. The dangers of a relapse were all too real in societies emerging from conflict. In a climate of high expectations and lurking distrust, the transition from peacekeeping to post-conflict recovery posed enormous institutional challenges that could easily overwhelm any Government.
The Commission’s most important role was to identify, prioritize and target its limited resources at addressing those fundamental problems, he said. In that way, the Commission could be a worthy partner and help national Governments adopt the best practices in governance so critical to long-term reconciliation and stability and ensure a seamless transition from conflict to the promotion of sustainable peace and development. While the Commission, like any new body, would have “teething” problems, it was necessary to agree early on a modus operandi. In that regard, it was necessary to avoid creating unnecessary bureaucratic layers and procedures and focus more on delivering agreed national strategies. It was also necessary to reduce the time lag between the approval and disbursement of resources.
He said the Commission offered a unique opportunity to test the efficacy of the growing preference for an integrated approach to United Nations missions and point the way towards improved foreign aid management. As the Commission was not a donor agency, all should participate in decisions relating to the disbursement of its resources. Everything must be done to avoid the known pitfalls of donor practices. The Commission was well placed to blaze a new trail in international cooperation by drawing on the knowledge and experience of the United Nations, donor agencies, the international financial institutions and civil society, so as to develop programmes that could effectively address complex problems peculiar to each post-conflict situation. The Commission should be encouraged to have technical meetings in the countries concerned to be able to understand better the internal or local situation.
While the Commission could not be expected to assume the responsibilities of an elected Government, the nature of its operations required an appreciable level of involvement in order to win the confidence and trust of its clients, he said. To meet the challenges of effective peacebuilding, the Commission needed adequate resources. He doubted whether the quantum of money so far pledged, though commendable, was commensurate with the tasks and urgent needs in post-conflict countries. The Commission could only facilitate peace -– it could not build it. Although adequate financial resources were crucial to successful peacebuilding, it was the will and determination of the Governments and people concerned to preserve the peace and change the course of their own history that was ultimately the most decisive factor and best guarantee of sustainable peace and development.
HASSAN KLEIB ( Indonesia) said that his delegation regarded the Commission as a necessary component of United Nations reform. “If the Peacebuilding Commission is able to function in an effective, inclusive and balanced manner, it will clearly show that the UN is flexible and can adapt to the challenges of the new century,” he said, further adding that, while the Commission was still in its “teething stages”, Indonesia believed that the Council’s debate should be seen as an opportunity for the stakeholders to exchange views and explore more practical ways to strengthen the new body. Indonesia believed that interaction between the Commission and other United Nations organs was essential and, in that regard, looked forward to the General Assembly’s debate on the Commission, which would provide input on how the Organization could better assist the new body with its tasks.
He went on to say that, while the Commission was expected to contribute to the advancement of global peace and stability, Indonesia was of the view that it could have particular impact as a “coordinating body” that brought together international and national expertise. An inclusive and well-coordinated approach would synergize peacebuilding efforts at all levels, he added. He pointed out that the new body’s country-specific strategies, which should at all times be developed in conjunction with and implemented with the help of local governments, needed to be broken down into manageable phases, laying out credible sets of tasks and identifying concerned actors able to carry out those tasks. He also warned against allowing the overall work of the Commission to create a new layer of complexity in countries where initiatives were already under way. He also warned against creating a donor-recipient culture in the Commission. Due care must be exercised so that donors to the Commission would not be perceived as controlling it, he stressed.
LIU ZHENMIN ( China) said the Commission, as an outcome of the 2005 World Summit, provided the United Nations for the first time with a mechanism to address and implement peacebuilding operations. The Organization faced a great many challenges in building sustainable peace and, as the “newborn baby of the United Nations family” the Commission was the responsibility of everyone. Peacebuilding must be comprehensive and systematic. Country-specific meetings must enjoy full ownership and the new organ must help countries under its consideration by communicating with them as much as possible and having a better understanding of their needs, in order to develop better strategies.
The Commission’s coordination of its efforts should be carried out at the level of different “clients” and its plans should be consolidated into an integrated programme of action, he said. The Commission must also consolidate its work with donors by establishing and maintaining channels among them. The relationship between them and other agencies must be cooperative, rather than competitive. Also, there was a need to formulate rebuilding plans promptly, as they were the very lifeblood of peacebuilding. The Commission’s work must be efficient and focused and it should try not to be over-ambitious. The role of the Peacebuilding Support Office must be brought into full play, so as to guarantee the Commission’s success. It should not only act as a secretariat for the Commission, but also make bold proposals on strategies and make use of its extensive contacts to play the role of a good adviser. June would mark the first birthday of the newborn baby and he hoped the report card presented would please everyone.
Council President VITALY CHURKIN ( Russian Federation), speaking in his national capacity, said peacebuilding had never been more relevant. It was only possible on the basis of a comprehensive approach that included continuity and consistency from one phase to the next. An important tangible result of the decision establishing the Commission was the joint responsibility of the General Assembly and the Security Council for the new body, which could become one of the most important bodies for reconstruction. Its work in Burundi and Sierra Leone so far was to be commended, as was that of the Peacebuilding Support Office.
However, particular attention should be paid in future to coordination with recipient countries, he said. It was important that members conduct impartial analysis of the needs of countries on their agenda and agree on recommendations that reflected their views. That would improve the coordination of post-conflict support and reduce the risk of their relapsing into conflict. That was particularly important at a time when some countries were on the agendas of both the Commission and the Council, as was the case with Burundi and Sierra Leone. The Commission must cooperate with United Nations agencies in the field, without encroaching on their operations. The General Assembly was precisely the forum where Member States could address that question.
THOMAS MATUSSEK ( Germany), speaking on behalf of the European Union, said that the establishment of the Peacebuilding Commission was a key achievement of the United Nations reform process. Together with the Peacebuilding Support Office and the Peacebuilding Fund, the Commission formed the core of the Organization’s new peacebuilding architecture.
The European Union was committed to actively supporting the work of the Commission on the basis of its experience, resources and worldwide operability, he continued. The Union had engaged in peacebuilding activities worldwide -- in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Europe, Central Asia and Latin America.
Though the Commission was off to a good start, its recommendations now needed to be implemented in the countries concerned and within the institutional framework of the Organization, he said. The Commission thus needed the support of the Council, General Assembly and ECOSOC. Furthermore, it was imperative that the dialogue be expanded in the countries concerned to include national civil society and the private sector, as well as other relevant parties.
The European Union remained committed to working on integrated peacebuilding strategies with the Commission and with the countries concerned. He recommended that the Commission further focus on the following areas of priority: those which had a direct and traceable link to the causes of conflict; those in which instruments of “classical” development were not available or functional; and those where coordination and integration were especially needed.
Additionally, so that the Commission could work coherently and in a results-oriented way, he recommended that it focus on activities in the field. It needed to enhance cooperation with all relevant actors, including donors and non-State actors. Cooperation needed to be likewise enhanced among the Commission and the Security Council, the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council. Regular meetings between the Commission chairs and the presidents of those bodies would be one way of achieving that. Invitations for the chairs and the chairs of country-specific meetings to brief those bodies would be another, he said.
Speaking on behalf of the Non-Alignment Movement, RAYMOND WOLFE ( Jamaica), Coordinator of the Non-Aligned Movement Caucus in the Peacebuilding Commission, said that the Movement was concerned that the Security Council should at this stage find it necessary to review the work of the Commission. While it was no secret that the Commission had experienced some difficulties with its internal operations and processes, there was little merit in having the Security Council review or evaluate its activities at this juncture, particularly in light of resolution 60/180, which mandated the Commission to present an annual report to the Assembly for its review and debate. The Non-Aligned Movement placed significant value on the Commission. Notwithstanding the fact that the Commission was still in its formative stages and going through the expected teething process, it had worked as well as possible, under the circumstances, with the national authorities to ensure national ownership of peacebuilding. There was a broad consensus within the Commission that economic reconstruction and rehabilitation, and a comprehensive set of risk reduction strategies, should be at the forefront of all efforts.
The Non-Aligned Movement emphasized that due respect must be shown for the role of the Organizational Committee in the preparation of country-specific meetings, as well as evaluating the progress made and charting the way forward, based on the summaries of the meetings prepared by the Chairman, in addition to the full participation of the countries under consideration in the decision-making process. Also, the Commission was not a donor agency, and its activities should be far broader, more comprehensive and participatory, consistent with its mandate. Decisions regarding financial resources should, therefore, be guided by national priorities and based on the collective decision of members of the Commission. The matter of Government guidance should also be uppermost in planning the way forward and would certainly serve to strengthen the process of national ownership. Such a holistic and inclusive approach to evaluation and recommendations adopted at country-specific meetings could only add to the integrity of the process within the Commission.
He went on to say that the Commission’s involvement in reconstruction efforts was based solely on resolution 60/180, which stipulated the need for a coordinated mechanism to address special needs to countries emerging from conflict towards recovery, reintegration and reconstruction and to assist in laying the foundation for sustainable development. Despite the seemingly clear channels for the Commission to work towards achieving those objectives, the NAM was naturally concerned at certain shortcomings. For instance, the Movement would like to see an increase in the frequency of meetings of the Organizational Committee. It was necessary to strengthen the role and work of the Organizational Committee as the entity governing the work of the Commission, and he called on all members of the international community to avoid any action which could be construed as undermining its authority. The Commission must also identify the means by which funds approved for disbursement reach the recipient countries in the shortest time possible.
HERALDO MUÑOZ ( Chile) said the central question for the Commission’s future was its relevance. It was indispensable that the Commission assumed effective leadership in mobilizing and coordinating resources to support countries emerging from conflict. The Commission must not become an entity for academic debate, but should be in the field collaborating with countries emerging from conflict in the elaboration of integrated post-conflict strategies. To that end, strengthening ties with the donor community and international financial organizations was fundamental. It was also necessary to adopt measures to ensure the broad participation of all actors in the search for solutions to the most pressing problems. In that context, the Organizational Committee should refine its political and conceptual framework to elaborate prerequisites that countries emerging from conflict should meet to receive international assistance. Looking forward, it was necessary to strengthen the Committee’s role as the governing entity of the Commission’s work. Further guidelines for the realization of meetings in the country-specific format should emerge from the Committee.
Continuing, he said it was important to avoid contending views that could weaken the Commission’s work. That required agreed and convergent action between the General Assembly and the Council, and proper coordination with ECOSOC. To strengthen the Committee’s work, he proposed the establishment of an annual calendar of formal meetings for that body, leaving the necessary flexibility to carry out informal meetings, as necessary, in the country-specific format or other. National ownership in determining the “national priorities” was a basic premise in the discussion on the Commission’s work. Defining “national priorities” was a two-way street, however. The Commission could not be excluded as overseer in organizing United Nations assistance to countries emerging from conflict. The “proliferation” of debates on the Commission’s role might distract from the substantive objective of actively collaborating with countries emerging from conflict.
CARMEN MARÍA GALLARDO HERNÁNDEZ ( El Salvador) said countries such as her own that had known periods of violence had begun a new stage since the historic signing of a peace agreement following the end of its civil war, 15 years ago. Countries emerging from conflict would make useful contributions to peacebuilding by providing advice and integrated strategies on the process of peacebuilding, which would help in the development of local strategies in the future. Countries with recent conflict experience could participate in the Commission’s work for the benefit of all.
She said the peace processes in Burundi and Sierra Leone resonated among countries that were members of the Peacebuilding Commission and had been involved in their own conflicts. The implementation of human security and the establishment of security policies were important, as were the intangible aspects of social peace, such as education for peace and tolerance, respect for the rule of law and promotion of civil society, the participation of women in peace negotiations, and the creation of employment for young people to prevent them from falling prey to recruitment by armed groups.
COLY SECK ( Senegal) said the decision to establish the Commission had been a decisive moment in United Nations reform. In order to support post-conflict countries and prevent them from relapsing into violence, it was essential to support them by assisting them in enhancing their institutional and administration capacities, reforming their justice and security sectors and restoring their economies. It was also important to establish dialogue, especially among women and young people, who were essential conveyors of information.
Building peace also involved the reintegration of former combatants and children who were easy prey for unscrupulous warlords, but none of that would be possible without the necessary resources, he said. Senegal called upon traditional donors to provide the Peacebuilding Fund and the Peacebuilding Commission with the necessary financial and technical support, so that children “emerging from darkness” would be able to return to school, where they belonged. Senegal also paid tribute to Burundi and Sierra Leone, two countries that had gone through decades of war, but which, through the genius of their respective peoples, were now on the road to peace.
KENZO OSHIMA (Japan) said that the Commission had been established as an “intergovernmental advisory body” to address issues which encompassed the mandates of the principle organs of the United Nations, including the General Assembly, ECOSOC, the Council itself, and numerous other bodies within the Organization. That meant that there must be ways to ensure meaningful interface and interaction between the Commission and the relevant United Nations organs, if the Commission itself was to be useful and effective. As a sitting member of the Commission and a past member of the Council, Japan had emphasized that point, advocating the importance of improving cooperation among United Nations organs, especially between the Peacebuilding Commission and the Security Council, and presenting some practical suggestions to that end.
That said, the Commission’s core task was to bring together, under one roof, a post-conflict country and its international partners, to discuss and elaborate an integrated and appropriate, coherent and workable peacebuilding strategy. Through that process, the Commission was expected to contribute to effective peace consolidation in the country in question by bridging the gap between the post-conflict recovery phase and the development phase, he said. When it came to matters related to the maintenance of international peace and security, the Security Council bore responsibility in supporting peace consolidation through actions which fell under its purview, for example, by deploying United Nations peacekeeping operations and integrated offices.
In that process, it was important to ensure ways in which both substantive and procedural aspects of cooperation between the Commission and the Council could be developed, he went on to say before offering some ideas for consideration in that regard. Among others, he said that, while the Commission had done some good work identifying specific needs in Sierra Leone and Burundi -- the two countries on its inaugural agenda -- the key task of formulating an integrated peacebuilding strategy had not yet been tackled. He said the Commission should, therefore, accelerate its work on developing an integrated strategy, in consultation with the host Governments and involving all relevant stakeholders, such as bilateral donors, the United Nations country team, the World Bank, the IMF and civil society. He added that any integrated strategy developed would be useful only if it was implemented and delivered effectively on the ground.
He went on to note that, while Afghanistan had not been selected as one of the Commission’s target countries, the Joint Coordination and Monitoring Board in that country served as an interesting model. The Board consisted of 28 members drawn from the Afghan Government, as well as military and financial donors. The Board was a political body that provided strategic advice and coordinated international and national efforts for the effective implementation of the Afghanistan Compact.
On cooperation between the Commission and the Security Council, he proposed, among other things, regular meetings between the President of the Council and the Chairs of the Commission; the Chairs of the Commission’s Organizational Committee and/or those of the country-specific meeting should make timely reports on their deliberations to the Council in the form of a letter or briefing; and the Council should consider issuing, after receiving reports from the Commission, its reaction in the form of a presidential statement or other statement, as appropriate, to encourage further interaction in the process of formulating and implementing an integrated strategy.
JOHN McNEE (Canada), speaking also on behalf of Australia and New Zealand (CANZ), said his delegation strongly supported the Commission and believed the new body had an important role to play in coordinating and integrating post-conflict peacebuilding activities. At the same time, he said that CANZ had been disappointed that, despite the Commission’s initial progress, some of its members had overemphasized procedural matters at the expense of substantive peacebuilding issues. CANZ, therefore, urged the Commission to find new ways of working that addressed the challenges before it, including working informally when possible to maximize progress during this formative phase, refocusing on its core mandate of advising United Nations organs on integrated strategies for post-conflict peacebuilding, and giving attention and resources to reconstruction and institution-building.
He went onto say that, while CANZ recognized that building peace was a long-term process, it continued to believe that the Commission should focus on those cases where it could have the greatest and most transformative impact, and which could be viewed as immediate positive contributions to kick-start a longer-term process. He also said that it was important to ensure that the Commission did not duplicate activities already under way on the ground. Also, the Commission was unlikely to achieve its full potential until the United Nations was able to articulate a basic vision of the new body’s objectives and output. That would require that such issues as security sector and justice system reform; disarmament, demobilization and reintegration; gender equality issues; children and armed conflict; refugees and internally displaced persons; among others, be taken up on a thematic basis, both within the Organizational Committee and in the country-specific meetings.
CHIJIOKE W. WIGWE ( Nigeria) said the Commission had performed well, successfully organizing two country-specific meetings and identifying an agreed set of priority areas in the two countries under consideration. The country-specific format had proved rewarding for both the Commission and the relevant actors. The Commission’s establishment had raised the hope that the international community had, at last, found the appropriate device to fill the gap between the end of conflict and peace consolidation in countries emerging from conflict. Six months after its establishment, delegations could look back with a sense of satisfaction that the body had fared well. The countries under consideration had assumed ownership of the set of priority areas identified and, in the end, had become beneficiaries of the Peacebuilding Fund.
Outlining measures to improve on the gains of the past six months, he said country-specific meetings, by composition and nature, offered the best way to bring the Commission closer to beneficiaries of its work. The Commission should, therefore, encourage greater interaction with relevant actors on the ground. The Committee should meet more regularly to ensure that decisions taken were promptly pursued, and the Commission should devote more time to resource mobilization. Commission members, moreover, should undertake visits to countries under consideration, as the political significance of such visits could not be overemphasized. The Commission should be results-oriented, especially as its success would be measured against the differences it brought to the lives of the people in countries emerging from conflict.
Y.J. CHOI ( Republic of Korea) said that, in an interdependent world, Member States had an even higher stake in curbing instability and mitigating the human tragedy brought on by recurrent conflicts. That was why Member States had created the Peacebuilding Commission: to improve the coordination of all relevant actors within and outside the United Nations in helping post-conflict societies successfully navigate the often treacherous path from conflict to sustainable peace. The Commission was thus designed to fill a critical gap, by linking the peacekeeping and peacebuilding activities of the United Nations as seamlessly as possible.
He said available resources should be used as efficiently as possible, but greater resources were clearly needed. As the Commission and the Peacebuilding Fund fulfilled their mandates and proved their worth, it was to be hoped that Member States would recognize their achievements by increasing their contributions to the Fund, which should also play a catalytic role in responding to the initial needs of post-conflict societies, sustaining international attention and initiating inflows of financial resources from the international community to help with rebuilding and development.
While national ownership was another crucial element of post-conflict peacebuilding efforts, there were some situations in which national authorities were unable to participate meaningfully, he said. National ownership should be ensured as much as possible, but peacebuilding efforts should also address situations in which there was a lack of competent national authority. The Republic of Korea had demonstrated its support for peacebuilding by participating in United Nations activities in Timor-Leste and other post-conflict situations. The country had contributed $3 million to the Peacebuilding Fund.
MIRJANA MLADINEO (Croatia), aligning herself with the statement made by Germany on behalf of the European Union, said that her country had considerable experience with peacekeeping and peacebuilding. It was important to remember that the Commission was a new body, or “work in progress”, and was, therefore, supposed to adopt innovative ways to help post-conflict recovery. Furthermore, though the Commission was on the right track with the two countries currently on its agenda, it needed to contribute to the further stabilization of peace in other fragile States.
It was also imperative that there be a stronger connection between peacekeeping and peacebuilding, she said. Cooperation between the Council and the Commission was vital, and the establishment of a United Nations integrated office was an important step in the right direction. Each country was unique and in-depth knowledge of the situation on the ground was a crucial prerequisite for the Commission’s actions. In that regard, the Peacebuilding Support Office had started to fully function and its support was indispensable as it provided Commission members with vital information on the ground.
RONALDO MOTA SARDENBERG ( Brazil) welcomed the opportunity to take stock of the Commission’s work in its first year and prepare for the next steps. He hoped such an exercise could be carried out by the Commission itself and by the Assembly. It was appropriate in reviewing the Commission’s work that the Council sought the views of interested Member States. Brazil had, for over a decade, advocated a mechanism that would provide a solid link between peacemaking, peacekeeping, peacebuilding and sustainable development. While the Commission had been widely regarded as a powerful instrument in the transition between conflict and sustained peace, it had achieved very little. The built-in imbalance in the Organizational Committee’s composition had generated much acrimony and could be faulted for such a shaky beginning. More focused attention must be paid to the principle of equitable regional representation.
Although tightly related to it, the Commission was not a creation of the Council alone, and was accountable to the entire United Nations membership, he said. To operate effectively, the new body had a long way to go in improving its working methods. It was a matter of concern that little attention had been given to the drafting of the rules of procedure, which had led to long and needless debates on issues of little or no relevance. As an important organ of the United Nations, the Commission should be supported by the Council. For countries in conflict, the Commission could be the venue for mustering much-needed international cooperation. It was a matter of concern that the Commission had yet to articulate short-, medium- and long-term perspectives on the peacebuilding process in post-conflict scenarios.
The Council could help the Commission stand on its feet and gain legitimacy as an advisory body, including by helping it achieve a more balanced membership. It could also join efforts with the Assembly in giving the Commission sufficient authority to properly discharge its functions. The Council should not limit itself to seeking the Commission’s advice only after peacekeeping operations have ended. The Commission could play a useful role in countries still in conflict as it procured the necessary international support to put in place recovery strategies that could lay the foundation for sustainable peace and reconstruction. By involving a wider array of actors, the Commission’s discussions should provide the Council with better informed analyses of the possibilities of post-conflict recovery of the countries concerned, thereby improving the quality of its decision-making process.
JORGE SKINNER-KLÉE ( Guatemala) said that half the countries that signed peace agreements to end hostilities lapsed back into conflict within five years. Guatemala could look at its own experience in that regard: even 10 years after signing peace agreements to end the strife there, Guatemala needed to lay firmer foundations to ensure its society could achieve sustainable social and economic development. But, with the new Peacebuilding Commission up and running, the road to peace and long-term stability might not be as difficult for other countries. Indeed, the international community had never had at its disposal such complex mechanisms to ensure that post-conflict countries were put on the path to long-term recovery and development.
And while the Peacebuilding Commission would have a vital role in that regard, he stressed that broader peace consolidation efforts must go beyond that new body’s daily work. It must include dialogue, tolerance, institution-building and understanding, so that the unique situations of specific countries emerging from conflict could be identified and effectively addressed. Citizens of such war-weary countries should not only have faith in new institutions, but participate in them. Long-term peace and stability should also address, as early as possible, disarmament, demobilization and reintegration and then move on to reconciliation, compensation and due justice.
Mr. ROSSELLI ( Uruguay) said that Haiti was clear evidence of the high cost that was paid when international attention was focused on ending violence, rather than on addressing the root causes of a conflict. He said that his country was committed to all United Nations efforts to consolidate peace, and it had gained and implemented its experience around the world as a top troop-contributor, in efforts to, among others, end hostilities, ensure long-term development, and restore peace after conflict.
Here, he expressed his delegation’s concern that there was very little representation from the Latin American and Caribbean region on the Commission. Equitable geographical representation was critical to the Commission’s efforts to draw up appropriate and targeted strategies to address the needs of the specific countries that would come under its purview, he added. He also said that Uruguay expected speedy follow-upon, and implementation of, the work and decision that had capped the Commission’s consideration of the first two countries on its agenda: Burundi and Sierra Leone.
MAGED ABDELAZIZ (Egypt), aligning himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said the main objective behind the adoption of two parallel resolutions by the Security Council and the General Assembly establishing the pivotal new organ was to ensure the international community’s continued and unremitting involvement in conflict situations. Accordingly, the Council would deal with those situations when they constituted threats to international peace and security until peace and stability were reinstalled; then a larger role for both the Assembly and the Economic and Social Council and their relevant subsidiary bodies would evolve to deal with the requirements of the reconstruction and rehabilitation phase, which was necessary for economic and social development.
The resolution establishing the Commission did not delineate clear-cut definitions of the roles of each principal United Nations organ in that regard, he said. Hence, and in light of the lack of provisions on that issue in the Commission’s rules of procedure, the complementarity of the three principal organs’ roles became essential to achieving the objectives behind the Commission’s establishment, without any of them attempting to encroach on the prerogatives of the others. The last six months had shown that the consensus rule had its advantages and disadvantages, which had proven the dire need for detailed rules of procedure governing the Commission’s activities in the absence of previous precedents. That period had also confirmed that enhancing the Commission’s functioning required institutional improvement through the establishment of a desired balance between the role of the Organizational Committee, the country-specific configurations and the Peacebuilding Support Office. There should be no discrimination between donor and non-donor countries and no special relationship between the donor countries, the State under consideration and the Peacebuilding Support Office in charting and implementing plans.
He said his country rejected the transformation of the Peacebuilding Commission into a Trusteeship Council that controlled the future of States emerging from conflict. Egypt rejected also its transformation into a mere broker that brought together the donor and recipient countries under the Secretary-General’s supervision. The Egyptian approach was based on: transparency and accountability; the common responsibility of the Security Council, the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council, without allowing any of them to prevail over the others; the responsibility of every State joining the Commission to perform its role with all honesty and objectivity and to rally all possible support for countries emerging from conflict; and the need to make the Commission’s role visible on the ground, so as to reaffirm the international community’s continued attention and support.
MARTÍN GARCÍA MORITÁN ( Argentina) said that the Peacebuilding Commission was a fundamental instrument for reconstruction and institutional recovery of post-conflict States. Moreover, the establishment of the Peacebuilding Fund provided a way to obtain financing for initial recuperation activities, while also making it possible to lay out an emergency plan.
His delegation also wanted to underline the importance of countries’ participation, when their situation was being analyzed. Such participation would allow for a more realistic vision of the situation and make it possible to identify priorities with greater precision. In turn, short, medium and long-term plans could be laid out with clear rules, both stipulated by the Commission and in line with the United Nations spirit and that of the international community. Such a “report” would also need to include the necessary methods of supervision to avoid any derailment of provided funds. Likewise vital for the functioning of the organization, he said, would be the establishment of rules of procedure.
To conclude, he extended his congratulations to Panama and South Africa as new member States of the Commission elected by the Council. On Panama, specifically, he was pleased that its incorporation had improved the imbalance in regional representation -– an underlying principle of the United Nations and one which his country, together with other Latin American nations, had insisted upon.
ZAHIR TANIN ( Afghanistan) said that Afghanistan, a country emerging from more than two decades of conflict, was well aware of the challenges associated with post-conflict peacebuilding. In a relatively short time, Afghanistan had made significant gains towards a stable and democratic country. He said that the convening of the emergency Loya Jirga, the adoption of a new Constitution, and the holding of presidential and parliamentary elections were but a few of the accomplishments Afghanistan had made, against a backdrop of numerous peacebuilding challenges.
On the basis of its own experience, Afghanistan had come to realize that effective peacebuilding required a comprehensive and multifaceted strategy encompassing the essential components of social and economic development, good governance, human rights and the rule of law. He added that Afghanistan had also learned that the country of concern should always play a leadership role in the process of consolidating peace. He went on to highlight other specifics from his country’s experience, including, among others: the essential need to address both internal and external factors that contributed to insecurity –- stressing here the need to enhance the capacity of national security institutions to effectively address prevailing security challenges; the need to accelerate social and economic development; and the need for enhanced dialogue among all parties in political processes
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