|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
5761st Meeting (AM)
UNITED NATIONS PEACEBUILDING ARCHITECTURE NOW FULLY IN PLACE,
SECURITY COUNCIL TOLD AS IT TAKES UP COMMISSION’S REPORT
Chair of Organizational Committee Says Initial Challenges Met,
Significant Progress Made in Building Integrated Strategies in Burundi, Sierra Leone
The United Nations peacebuilding architecture was now fully in place, Security Council was told today as it took up the report on the Peacebuilding Commission’s first year of operation.
Introducing the report, Yukio Takasu ( Japan), who chairs the Commission’s Organizational Committee, said that, despite initial challenges, the Peacebuilding Commission had contributed significantly to the promotion of integrated peacebuilding strategies in Burundi and Sierra Leone by deepening the dialogue with all relevant stakeholders. The Commission now consisted of the Organizational Committee, the country-specific meetings on Burundi and Sierra Leone, the working group on lessons learned, the Peacebuilding Fund and its advisory group, and the Peacebuilding Support Office.
It was now appropriate for the Commission to start consideration of adding new countries to the agenda, in close consultation with the referring bodies, he continued. Further, it was essential to strengthen the Commission’s relationship with relevant bodies and actors, including the Security Council, the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council and the Secretariat, as well as with international financial institutions and civil society.
Exploring thematic issues relevant to Peacebuilding was also a matter of great importance, as was discussing broad policy guidance on peacebuilding activities, he said. Also raising awareness of the Commission’s work would greatly enhance the understanding of, and bring the necessary attention to, the work of the Commission and the countries under its consideration.
The Chair of the Commission’s working group on lessons learned, Carmen Maria Gallardo Hernandez of El Salvador, said the group had started to analyse concrete experiences in the transition to peace and development. Each case had its own particularities, but a historic memory must be developed in the United Nations, so that applicable experience could be better used.
She said that, among early factors being analysed was the necessity to bring all parties together in countries emerging from conflict, to help meet the multiple needs. Employment opportunities, reform of the security sector and other challenges were common to most peacebuilding situations. In addition, she pointed out that the reality of the world today showed that no region was spared from conflict, so the Commission, at some point, would be faced with the issue of balance between regions.
The representative of Norway, Chair of the country-specific meeting on Burundi, commended the Government and people of the country for their active cooperation in peace consolidation, based on which the strategic framework had been developed. Now that the priorities had been determined, implementation was the focus. To that end, a crucial monitoring and tracking mechanism was being set up. Resource mobilization would be critical, given the precarious budgetary situation in the country.
Burundi’s representative stated that a year-long period of working with the Commission had yielded successes. Priorities and challenges had been identified and a strategic framework had been developed. A successful round table had taken place with development partners and donors, although few partners had fulfilled their pledges. He asked for Council support for the efforts of the South African facilitation in the search for peace, as well as for the regional initiative put forth by Uganda. Suggesting improvements for the Commission’s work, he said there was a need to consider the principle of national involvement as the cornerstone for all activities of the Commission. “ Burundi’s success in moving towards peace will also be a success for the Council and the Commission,” he said.
The representative of the Netherlands, Chair of the country-specific meeting on Sierra Leone, said the priorities in peacebuilding efforts in the country were justice and security sector reform, good governance and consolidation of democracy; youth empowerment and employment; and capacity-building, added to the cross-cutting issues of gender equality and human rights. The progress of the Commission’s work in Sierra Leone had been determined by the presidential and parliamentary elections, which had taken place over the past two months. They were a landmark in the democratic process. Crucial challenges to sustainable peace remained, however, in all priority areas.
The representative of Sierra Leone, paying tribute to all involved, said his country had had the good fortune of being one of the first interventions of the Commission. In spite of the Commission’s teething problems, most of which were not totally unexpected, the international community should be proud of its achievements. The recent elections spoke eloquently of Sierra Leone’s determination to achieve lasting stability, and the new President had declared his commitment to cooperate with the Commission. A priority responsibility of the Commission should be resource mobilization, possibly including a pledging conference. An additional focus should be capacity-building.
Council members agreed that, on the whole, the result of the first year’s work of the Commission was positive and important work had been done in Burundi and Sierra Leone. Tracking and monitoring mechanisms could be helpful in identifying gaps and allowing for more efficient use of resources. The importance of national ownership of all peacebuilding activities by the specific country was underlined. They stressed that the Commission should strengthen its cooperation with bodies within the United Nations and with international partners, including international financial institutions and regional and subregional organizations, in order to avoid duplication of programmes.
Speakers also urged the Commission to continue to work with flexibility and transparency. Some urged caution when considering adding new countries to the Commission’s agenda, saying that the Commission should not overextend itself and build up experience gradually. Others supported adding new countries, in particularly Guinea-Bissau. A number of speakers noted that the Commission was not an additional source for external financing, but a body for coordination. The Peacebuilding Fund, said one speaker, was understood to be a catalyst for attracting much needed official development assistance, at a time when there might be little hope of success towards recovery. The Fund, however, could not, and should not, replace regular official development assistance.
Several speakers expressed their disappointment at the fact that the representatives of the European Union and the Non-Aligned Movement had not participated in today’s debate.
Statements were made by the representatives of the Russian Federation, Peru, Congo, Indonesia, China, Italy, France, United Kingdom, Slovakia, Belgium, Panama, South Africa, Qatar, United States and Ghana.
The meeting convened at 10:15 a.m. and adjourned at 12:45 a.m.
When the Security Council met this morning to discuss post-conflict peacebuilding, it had before it the inaugural report of the Peacebuilding Commission on its first session (document A/62/137-S/2007/458), which addresses its work since inauguration in June 2006, identifies some major challenges of peacebuilding and offers conclusions and recommendations.
The Commission was established at the 2005 World Summit in response to growing recognition that international peacebuilding efforts lacked coherence and an overall strategic approach. In its first year, the Commission focused on Burundi and Sierra Leone, and committed itself to an inclusive and nationally driven process aimed at maximizing the involvement of all relevant actors, including civil society and the broader international community.
According to the report, the Organizational Committee of the Peacebuilding Commission reached an agreement on the participation of institutional donors, fully engaged with the Governments of Burundi and Sierra Leone, and maximized their involvement in the field, including national authorities, United Nations country teams and civil society organizations. On the country level, the Commission adopted work plans for Burundi and Sierra Leone and sent field missions to both countries to collect information and analysis on the ground. In doing so, it was able to identify four critical priority areas for peace consolidation in each of the two countries and launch processes for the development of integrated peacebuilding strategies.
The main challenge now is to maximize the Commission’s impact on the ground and to make the United Nations peacebuilding architecture an effective instrument of international collaboration in support of countries emerging from conflict, states the report. Key lessons learned during its first year of work point to a need to focus on ensuring that peacebuilding processes remain on track and that challenges and gaps are addressed in a timely and coherent manner by all relevant actors and in accordance with the integrated peacebuilding strategies.
The report goes on to say that some outstanding issues need to be addressed as well, such as how to ensure extended attention from the international community, the development of monitoring mechanisms to measure success and how to determine the appropriate time for ending the Commission’s engagement with a country. The Commission will also need to further develop its working methods to ensure flexibility, improve its interaction with the field based on lessons learned and intensify efforts to cooperate and coordinate with the relevant regional and subregional organizations to promote the peacebuilding process in the countries under consideration.
The report contains eight annexes, including a membership list of the Organizational Committee and the country-specific meetings on Burundi and Sierra Leone, as well as a description of the activities of the Peacebuilding Support Office.
The current report was discussed in a plenary meeting of the General Assembly on 10 October 2007 (see Press Release GA/10635). An earlier Security Council debate on post-conflict peacebuilding was held on 31 January 2007 (see Press Release SC/8945).
Introduction of Report
Introducing the report, YUKIO TAKASU ( Japan), Chairman, Organizational Committee of the Peacebuilding Commission, said the 2005 World Summit had emphasized the need for a “coordinated, coherent and integrated approach to post-conflict peacebuilding and reconciliation with a view to achieving sustainable peace”. The Peacebuilding Commission had been established “to bring together all relevant actors to marshal resources and to advise on and propose integrated strategies for post-conflict peacebuilding and recovery”. The first annual report of the Peacebuilding Commission provided a detailed account of its work during the first year of operation. The Commission had contributed significantly to the promotion of integrated peacebuilding strategies in Burundi and Sierra Leone by deepening the dialogue with all relevant stakeholders.
He said the Commission had faced challenges during its initial phase of establishing its organizational structures, defining its working methods and finding ways to fulfil its core mandates. However, the United Nations peacebuilding architecture was now fully in place. The Peacebuilding Commission now consisted of the Organizational Committee, the country-specific meetings and the working group on lessons learned, the Peacebuilding Fund and its advisory group, and the Peacebuilding Support Office. It was now appropriate for the Commission to begin addressing the points to be considered for adding new countries to the agenda, in close consultation with the referring bodies.
It was also essential to strengthen the Commission’s relationship with relevant bodies and actors, including the Security Council, the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council and the Secretariat, as well as with the international financial institutions and civil society. Exploring thematic issues relevant to peacebuilding was also a matter of great importance. A discussion on broad policy guidance on peacebuilding activities, in general, was needed. Raising awareness of the Commission’s work would greatly enhance the understanding of, and bring the necessary attention to, the work of the Commission and the countries under its consideration.
VITALY CHURKIN ( Russian Federation) said that, on the whole, the result of the first year’s work of the Commission was positive. Important work had been done in Burundi and Sierra Leone. However, the Commission had not overcome some initial difficulties, such as establishing a harmonious coordination of the work with exiting mechanisms. There was a need for a clear balance in cooperation with international partners without duplication of programmes. Any activity must be based on broad national dialogue. In that regard, he expressed concern at the current crisis in Burundi, where the ceasefire agreement reached should be speedily implemented.
In Sierra Leone, four priority areas for peacebuilding had been defined, he said. Now, the Government, with the support of its partners -– civil society included -- must focus on developing a strategy for cooperation on peacebuilding. The functioning of the monitoring mechanisms of the peacebuilding strategies was also important. Objectives of the Commission must include enhancing coordination in peacebuilding and defining high-priority areas. It was very important to strengthen the link with the Council and ensure a timely exchange of information. As for a decision to take on new countries, he said that the real needs of a country should be taken into account. It should also be understood that the Commission was not an additional source for external financing, but a body for coordination.
JORGE VOTO-BERNALES ( Peru) said that permanent peace was must be based equally on human rights and development concerns, and peacebuilding activities should start even while peacekeeping operations were still active. Further, central coordination was needed at the heart of the system, and the Commission had taken up that task with dynamism. Listing many of the elements of peacebuilding, he said that it was important to determine priorities in each country situation. Formulating the strategic framework for Burundi was a significant achievement. He expressed hope that it would be followed by similar work in Sierra Leone.
It all situations, he said, it was important that the national Governments be at the helm, with the central role of guidance retained for the Commission. There was still much improvement needed in monitoring systems, engagement of civil society and strengthening linkages with other United Nations bodies. The Commission could take an important role in advising the Council on the configuration of new peacekeeping missions. Peru, he said, had great expectations for the Commission, and the accomplishments, thus far, were very encouraging.
PASCAL GAYAMA ( Congo) said that the Commission was indeed starting to bear fruit, and he commended all of those who had been working on its formation. As with a newborn, the first minutes of life were critical; this new body was now successfully through that first stage. In the necessary cooperation with the Commission, the Council was the one that could best assess the developments in the two countries taken up by the Commission in the past year. Attention must be paid to both at the highest level.
Through the country configurations, the Commission had been able to work well in the field, he said, but close coordination with the Governments involved, and with other players in the country, must continue to be strengthened. He also suggested that regional players be engaged in the Commission’s work. He welcomed the flexible working methods that had been developed by the Commission, but said it was also important to hold meetings in the countries involved. In regard to the Peacebuilding Fund, further detail on its practices was needed. In closing, he asked the Council to sharpen its cooperation with the new body, particularly its procedures for recommending new country cases.
MARTY M. NATALEGAWA ( Indonesia) said that, although the Commission had not had an easy road developing its procedures and firming up its mandate, while taking up the challenging inaugural cases of Burundi and Sierra Leone, it was clear that the new body had worked hard trying to fill the gap in the international post-conflict architecture. While the Council’s review would give members a chance to examine the Commission’s work more closely, it was perhaps too early for comprehensive observations, especially since the Commission had not yet completed the strategic framework for Sierra Leone, of the monitoring framework for Burundi.
Still, he wanted to stress that the biggest challenge for the Commission, after one year in operation, was to effectively implement peacebuilding strategies on the ground. He said that fine-tuning procedures in New York should have an impact in the field and should be directly felt by local communities. Maximum effect would be achieved if the Commission focused on being “practical and results-oriented”. At the same time, the Commission’s field work must be fully supported by all the principle organs of the United Nations, as well as the wider organizational system and concerned non-affiliated institutions. Such backing would allow the Commission to give its undivided attention on the profound post-conflict issues before it.
He went on to note that, through their relationship with the Bretton Woods institutions and others, the Council’s permanent members might be especially helpful to the Commission in achieving its mandated responsibility to marshal international resources for peacebuilding. Further, the Commission must maintain focus on the nexus between peace and development and ensure that the outcomes of its work clearly highlighted the importance of economic development and the improvement of State capacity. The Commission also needed to keep national ownership at the centre of its practical efforts, and be willing to listen not only to the needs of national Governments, but to “go the extra mile” to listen with an open mind and without preconceptions to what people in the field genuinely needed.
Looking ahead, he said that, in its second year, the Commission’s Organizational Committee should agree on yet unsettled issues and enhance its focus on substantive matters. The Committee should be the focal point of all the Commission’s activities. The Commission itself should work to avoid the misconception that there was a “different” Commission for every country case and configuration. He stressed that the Council should continue to work closely with the Commission in the development of a well-functioning peacebuilding architecture. Despite some members’ views that the Commission was simply an advisory body, the Council should give the Commission more space to look for innovative ways to boost its profile and garner wider international attention. The Council should also encourage the Commission in the area of outreach, particularly exploring engagement with non-traditional partners, like the corporate sector.
Finally, turning to how the Commission might add new countries to its agenda, he said that implied that the Council should begin developing an internal referral mechanism. With that in mind, the Council should develop a flexible mechanism that built on the candidate country’s demonstrated willingness to be on the Commission’s agenda. The Council could invite that country for prior consultations and, while the Council had the discretionary power to make a final decision in such matters, the Chair of the Commission should be continually informed and consulted by the Council throughout the process. The Council might indicate specific challenges posed by the candidate country, discuss those challenges with national authorities and proceed on the basis of national ownership.
LIU ZHENMIN ( China) said that, during last week’s debate in the General Assembly, most speakers had expressed satisfaction with the work of the Commission. The Commission now faced the tasks of coordinating with the United Nations system, handling the balance between partnership and ownership, and using its catalytic functions. It should work out a proper relationship with the bodies of the United Nations and should strengthen interaction with the Security Council, the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council. It should, furthermore, avoid institutional overlapping.
He said that, given the high expectations in the countries where the Commission was active, it must yield results palpable to the people. It should also address the issues that were root causes for conflict, such as poverty. As for the balance between partnership and ownership, he said a partner could only be a participant, where a country had its own fate in its hands. The Commission should also establish close ties with the Peacebuilding Fund. The priority areas established by the Commission should be the focus for receiving funds. Transparency in management must be ensured. Communication with the Council should be strengthened so that the Council could guide the work of the Commission. The Council could also study the issue of new countries for inclusion on the Commission’s agenda.
MARCELLO SPATAFORA ( Italy) commended the Peacebuilding Commission on the successful organization of its work, particularly for bringing all stakeholders together to work towards the same goals, thereby avoiding waste in resources and duplication of efforts. That work had made possible the adoption of a strategic framework for Burundi and the current work towards a strategy for Sierra Leone. A reliable monitoring and tracking mechanism of mutual commitments, and of the peacebuilding process, now needed to be established, without increasing the burden on national Governments.
All relevant actors must be included in country-specific configurations for the Commission to fulfil its responsibilities effectively, he said. To that end, he supported participation by the European Union, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC), as well as civil society organizations. It was now crucial to develop an active policy for concrete results.
Further, he said, policies should be developed to fit each situation. The peace process should be studied as a whole. When establishing a new peacekeeping mission, the Security Council could take advantage of the Commission’s expertise, so that peacebuilding strategies might be envisaged from the start. “The entire process centred on the Peacebuilding Commission should be conceived as a relay race involving all the stakeholders,” he said. “If we do not think in terms of integrated planning processes, we risk failure.” He urged the Commission to take a more proactive role.
He made several suggestions to effect concrete results on the ground, including enhancing dialogue and coordination among all stakeholders, with full respect for national ownership of the process; involving international financial institutions at all levels; developing and implementing integrated peacebuilding strategies to which all stakeholders would refer and designing a credible monitoring mechanism; expanding the Commission’s agenda to include thematic debates that would support action on the ground; increasing Commission participation on the ground by building closer relations with United Nations offices in countries; enhancing involvement of regional and subregional organizations; and envisaging a strategy to marshal resources to implement medium- and long-term strategies without duplications.
He added that he was disappointed that the European Union and the Non-Aligned Movement were not participating in the debate, and wondered how the Union and its 27 member States could be encouraged to remain the main donor.
JEAN-MAURICE RIPERT ( France) said it had not been easy to build the basic structure for the Peacebuilding Commission; now it could be hoped that the new body would no longer be held hostage to divisiveness. It was important for the Council to review how well the Commission was concretely achieving its ultimate goal of permitting countries to progress along the road to peace and sustainable development. The Commission was now engaged with two countries that had been on the Council’s agenda for many years, and it was important to remember that the distinction between peacekeeping, conflict prevention and peace consolidation were not distinct on the ground. In addition, the Commission’s work related to the responsibility to protect. The Council, for that reason, must remain engaged.
In Burundi, he said, the Commission now needed to move to the operational phase. In Sierra Leone, it was now possible to finalize plans with the new Government. He maintained that the procedure for expanding the agenda of the Commission must be further refined, and he suggested that the Commission bring to the Council information on prospective cases. He hoped the interaction between the two bodies would be transparent and rely on relevant criteria. He renewed his country’s commitment to the Commission and its objectives.
JOHN SAWERS ( United Kingdom) commended all those who had worked on establishing the Commission and helping it begin its work on the first country-specific cases. The true value of the Commission would, however, be the value it added to the rest of the United Nations system. Harmonization of efforts should be the outcome. In that effort, the Commission should not be dominated by process and there should be regular interaction between the Council presidency and the Commission Chair. It should be a two-way relationship, with a specific division of labour, the Commission doing its work on the ground and providing the Council with concrete advice from that experience.
Clearly, the Commission’s work should not remain static, he said. In taking on new country situations, the Commission must look carefully and determine where it could be most effective. The Council should provide assistance in that endeavour. In addition, the Peacebuilding Support Office should become the hub of peacebuilding issues in the United Nations Secretariat.
DUŠAN MATULAY ( Slovakia) said one of the strengths of the Commission was that it could bring together all key political, military and development stakeholders, and that its membership could vary depending on the country under consideration. Efforts must be continued to strengthen the modalities and principles of further cooperation, as well as the relationship between the different bodies involved. One of the weaknesses in international response to peacebuilding in the past had been the lack of sustained financial support. Backed by the Peacebuilding Fund, the Commission was well equipped to harness international resources. The Peacebuilding Support Office should be placed within the structure of the Secretariat in a way that would allow for an effective response to the demands placed on it. It also must have all the necessary strategic experience and adequate resources.
He said the Commission was steadily becoming a proactive force. The overarching goal of peacebuilding must be to strengthen the capacity of societies to manage conflict without violence. Long-term priorities must include building national institutions, fostering an all-inclusive political environment, strengthening human rights and supporting steady economic growth. The national ownership of recovery strategies was essential. He strongly supported the role of the Commission within the United Nations in extracting lessons learned and becoming the repository for advice on critical peacebuilding issues. As there was no shortage of countries in need of help, the Commission could begin considering a possible addition of a country or countries to its agenda. He shared the disappointment that the European Union and Non-Aligned Movement were not participating in the debate.
JOHAN VERBEKE ( Belgium), underlining the multidimensional nature of the Commission, said the body was at a crossroads of issues deriving from security and development. It was the offspring both of the Council and the Assembly. Through an integrated approach, the Commission could pave the way for classical development by facilitating measures in such areas as security, disarmament, demobilization and reintegration, justice, rule of law, return of refugees, employment of young people and land disputes. It was also important for the Commission to identify risks to peace. Welcoming work done in the Burundi and Sierra Leone in the country-specific meetings, he stressed the importance of ensuring that integrated peacebuilding strategies were not seen as a competitive framework for development strategies.
The Commission was now in a position to take up other countries, he said, a process in which the Council had a key role to play. The Council did not need to be solely reactive in the choice of countries, and should specify what it expected of the Peacebuilding Commission when it was planning to add a candidate. It should be understood that the Commission was not an operational, but an advisory body. A source of confusion was the fact that there was also a Peacebuilding Fund. The Fund’s role was not to replace conventional donors, but to operate as a catalyst fund. The offices the Council had established in Burundi and Sierra Leone had mandates with a strong peacebuilding aspect, but fell under the aegis of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations. The role of those offices needed to be clarified.
RICARDO ALBERTO ARIAS ( Panama) commended all those who had led the new Commission in its initial stage, and he applauded the work done on the first country-specific cases. Challenges, however, included redefining working methods, monitoring progress and engaging regional organizations. Criteria for taking on new country cases should also be refined. In addition, a communications strategy was needed to make sure the Commissions objectives and accomplishments became known. In conclusion, he said it would have been preferable to have all those involved in the Commission’s work report to the Council, before Member States gave their opinions on the issue.
DUMISANO KUMALO ( South Africa) said that, in its first year under the excellent leadership of Ismael Gaspar Martins of Angola, the Peacebuilding Commission had been able to operate within a flexible framework. It had, among other things, adopted country-specific formats for Burundi and Sierra Leone, and launched processes for developing integrated peacebuilding strategies. In the year ahead, the Commission would need to work towards more practical and concrete outcomes. The success of the Commission would be judged by its ability to make a real difference on the ground, far away from New York. The ultimate success of the Commission’s work would be the transformation of all its plans and policies into concrete action.
He said it must be ensured that the countries emerging from conflict had full ownership of peacebuilding, and the Commission should be prepared to listen to the priorities, needs and views of the country under consideration. The Peacebuilding Fund was understood to be a catalyst for attracting much needed official development assistance at a time when there might be little hope of success towards recovery. Quick-impact projects and sufficient predictable resources were crucial to ensuring stability and development on the ground. The Fund, however, could not, and should not, replace regular official development assistance. Its role was to be a bridge and a catalyst for attracting long-term development aid in countries that had emerged from conflict. The Commission should further strengthen its relationship with the relevant organs, as well as with regional and subregional organizations.
In conclusion, he said that the criteria of inclusion on the Commissions agenda had already been contained in the relevant resolutions. Any further criteria would have the undesirable effect of micromanaging the Commission’s work. He supported the request by the Government of Guinea-Bissau to be included on the agenda.
NASSIR ABDULAZIZ AL-NASSER ( Qatar) said that, during its first year, the Commission had made many commendable achievements, both in terms of procedural and organizational matters. No less important had been the tangible results achieved in Burundi and Sierra Leone, where the Commission had covered new ground in an attempt to bring more coherence –- and make a greater impact –- in the international community’s approach to peacebuilding. The Commission had also proved that its effectiveness went beyond the mere provision of resources, and extended to many other areas. At the same time, the Commission’s first annual report made it clear that, despite concrete results, a number of challenges remained.
With that in mind, he said that, in its second session, the Commission must continue to develop its working methods, strengthen the effectiveness of the integrated peacebuilding strategies and establish tracking and monitoring mechanisms to measure the success of those strategies. It would also be useful to balance the workload of the Organizational Committee and the country-specific configurations, given that they complemented each other. At the same time, cooperation between the Commission, the Peacebuilding Support Office and the Peacebuilding Fund must continue to improve.
He went on to say that the Commission must also continue to ensure that its country-specific projects were nationally owned. Indeed, it was essential that the Commission and the respective Governments of the countries under consideration agree on how to move forward on peacebuilding objectives. He stressed that, as an advisory body of both the Security Council and the General Assembly, the Commission must operate within its given mandate and continue and enhance its cooperation with the Council and Assembly, as well as the Economic and Social Council.
After the preliminary success with the first two countries on its agenda, the Commission must begin to consider how more countries could benefit from its work, he added. To that end, when the Commission looked at new candidate countries, it must consider their specific peacebuilding needs and how those might differ from country to country. Consideration must also be given to how much the candidate country could benefit from being on the Commission’s agenda.
JACKIE WOLCOTT SANDERS ( United States) said her country believed strongly in a successful Peacebuilding Commission, as the prevention of a reversion to violence was in the interest of all members of the international community. Applauding the Commission’s early achievements, she said it was potentially a key part of the United Nations peacebuilding architecture. The activities in Sierra Leone and Burundi had been a useful exercise in dialogue between Governments, civil society and other actors. Tracking and monitoring mechanisms could be helpful in identifying gaps and allowing for more efficient use of resources. The Commission could form a roster of experts who could assist in peacebuilding, drawing on existing initiatives and in coordination with other related offices in the United Nations system.
She said her country had not yet contributed to the Peacebuilding Fund, as it was assessing the Fund’s performance during its first year of operation. She urged the Secretary-General to consider commissioning an independent evaluation of the Fund. Because the Commission was a unique niche in the United Nations system -- the focal point for garnering long-term political will from the international community and coordinating long-term efforts to ensure sustainable peacebuilding -- she hoped the role of the Commission could be strengthened. In that regard, she looked forward to stronger engagement by the Commission with the Security Council, the Assembly and the Economic and Social Council. As for adding new countries to the agenda, she said that, first, it must be ensured that the Commission did not overextend itself. As experience was gradually built up, assistance could be considered for countries with peacekeeping missions that were winding down.
LESLIE K. CHRISTIAN ( Ghana) praised the Peacebuilding Commission for its ongoing assistance to Burundi and Sierra Leone in developing and implementing peacebuilding strategies based on the principle of national ownership. The ultimate goal was to mobilize international support for those countries in their effort to rebuild national institutions of governance that would consolidate democracy, underpinned by sustainable peace and development. Among the challenges still facing the Commission was the creation of a clear consensus on its conceptual design, operational methods and relationship with entities both within and outside the United Nations system. Further, he supported Guinea-Bissau’s request to be placed on the Commission’s agenda.
When considering such questions as how many countries should be on the Commission’s agenda simultaneously, or whether the Economic and Social Council might propose countries for inclusion, as well as the Security Council, he said recognition must be given to the hybrid nature of the Commission, as a subsidiary of both the General Assembly and the Security Council. Its purpose was to draw international attention to countries in post-conflict situations and to help mobilize national and international resources to sustain peace. The Commission must become more proactive in that work, so that the Peacebuilding Fund might close the gap between pledges and commitments. It must also further engage civil society to enhance peacebuilding initiatives at the local and community level.
The Peacebuilding Commission itself must receive adequate resources, so that it might accept more countries on its agenda, he said. Lessons from its first year of operation could help improve its working methods. Who should qualify to be on its agenda should be determined by need and reality. Countries should be eligible for consideration irrespective of whether they had peacekeeping operations or not, as peacekeeping and peacebuilding should be viewed as mutually reinforcing.
In closing, he said that the role of the Peacebuilding Commission was to assist national and transnational authorities to rebuild institutions of democratic accountability and good governance capable of sustaining peace after outside peacemakers and peacekeepers were gone. National ownership remained its core principle. Peacebuilding efforts must deal with the root causes of conflict by tackling poverty, injustice and inequitable development, and promote respect for the rule of law, human rights and adherence to the highest standards of good governance and good citizenship. The African Union’s Framework for Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Development, which emphasized tackling the root causes of conflict, might be relevant in the Commission’s efforts to mobilize regional support for its mandate, he said.
FRANK MAJOOR (Netherlands), Chair of the country-specific meeting on Sierra Leone, said he had just returned from that country, and noted that the priorities in peacebuilding efforts there were justice and security sector reform, good governance and consolidation of democracy, youth empowerment and employment, and capacity-building, added to the cross-cutting issues of gender equality and human rights. The new President of the country, Ernest Koroma, had endorsed those priorities, and his Government was committed to finalizing the draft framework for cooperation by the end of this year.
The progress of the Commission’s work in Sierra Leone this year was very much determined by the presidential and parliamentary elections, which had taken place over the past two months, he said, and were a landmark in the democratic process. Crucial challenges to sustainable peace remained, however, in all priority areas. The expectations of the people of Sierra Leone were high.
He said the Commission had developed new working methods, including the regular use of video-link technology, which had enabled a close, real-time dialogue between the Commission in New York and all actors in country. Those procedures had led to a process that was fully owned by the Government and benefited from the informed inputs of many actors, notably civil society representatives. The draft cooperation framework would, in addition, provide a strong basis for concrete commitment by all, based on mutual accountability and with a mechanism for regular monitoring and review. By proceeding on the current track, the Commission would ultimately be able to make a significant contribution to peacebuilding in Sierra Leone.
JOHAN LØVALD (Norway), Chair of the county-specific meeting on Burundi, stressed national ownership and commended the Government and people of the country for their active cooperation in peace consolidation, based on which the strategic framework had been developed. Now that the priorities had been determined, implementation was the focus, and a crucial monitoring and tracking mechanism was being set up. Again, the Government carried a special responsibility in that work, along with the other stakeholders. Resource mobilization would be critical, given the precarious budgetary situation in the country.
In regard to security, which he called a necessary prerequisite for development, he noted that among the key concerns was the implementation of the Comprehensive Ceasefire Agreement between the Government and the Palipehutu-FNL. He recalled the Commission’s recommendation to the Security Council to closely monitor the situation in regard to that Agreement and to consider, if necessary, undertaking appropriate action with a view to its effective implementation by the set deadline. Recommendations had already been forwarded to the Council regarding resolution of the differences between the parties and returning the Palipehutu-FNL to the joint verification and monitoring mechanism. The regional initiative and the South African facilitator needed the Council’s support for those purposes. He reiterated his call on the Council to address the critical issue and to take concrete measures, as it saw fit.
JOE ROBERT PEMAGBI ( Sierra Leone) said that, having had the good fortune of being one of the first two country-specific interventions of the Commission, his country had witnessed with unflinching interest the birth and growth of the new body. In spite of its teething problems, most of which were not totally unexpected, the international community should be proud of its achievements. He paid tribute to all those involved and expressed thanks that his country had been chosen. The recent elections spoke eloquently of Sierra Leone’s determination to achieve lasting stability, and the new President had declared his commitment to cooperate with the Commission.
In assessing progress in his country, he said work on the cooperation framework had been slowed by the focus on elections, but should now be expedited, and his country must maintain ownership of the process. A priority responsibility of the Commission should be resource mobilization, possibly including a pledging conference. An additional focus should be capacity-building for national institutions. All efforts should be in harmony with those already on the ground. A regional approach within the Mano River Union should also be considered, and a stronger relationship with the Council should be built. He assured the Council that his country was ready to share with the rest of the world its experience with the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL), United Nations peacekeeping before it and now the Peacebuilding Commission. For now, that was perhaps all the country could give the world for its support, but such information could turn out to be very valuable in the future.
JOSEPH NTAKIRUTIMANA ( Burundi) said that, when the Peacebuilding Commission had been created, Burundi had been in enormous disarray after 40 years of bad governance and 10 years of civil war. The entire country had had to be reborn, had had to grow, stabilize and develop. A year-long period of working with the Commission had yielded successes. Several delegations had come to Burundi to get to know the country and the situation in the field first-hand. Priorities and challenges had then been identified and a strategic framework had been developed. On 24 and 25 May, a successful round table had taken place with development partners and donors.
He said his country now faced three key challenges. One was the implementation of projects identified by the Commission, 12 of which were now operational. The country also wanted to see complete and lasting peace. He hoped the Council would support the efforts of the South African facilitation in the search for peace, as well as the regional initiative put forth by Uganda.
He requested support for more than 1,400 combatants who had deserted the rebel movement and were now gathered in villages. They needed to be fed, in order to prevent a return to violence. As peace without bread was impossible, he hoped for a new successful round table of donors, noting with the deepest regret that few partners had kept their former pledges. He hoped that the Council and the Commission would ensure that promises would become realities.
Suggesting improvements for the Commission’s work, he said there was a need to consider the principle of national involvement as the cornerstone for all activities of the Commission. The Commission must continue to work with flexibility and transparency and must work in close cooperation with the Security Council, the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council, as well as with the international financial institutions and regional organizations. “ Burundi’s success in moving towards peace will also be a success for the Council and the Commission,” he said in conclusion.
CARMEN MARIA GALLARDO HERNANDEZ ( El Salvador), Chair of the working group on lessons learned of the Peacebuilding Commission, said the first year’s achievements of the Commission provided much hope, despite the challenges. It was on the ground, though, that the concrete accomplishments of the Commission must take place, and more visits to the field were necessary for that purpose. From the knowledge it acquired, the Commission could have valuable advice for the Council.
The working group had started to analyse concrete experiences in transition to peace and development. Each case had its own particularities, but a historic memory must be developed in the United Nations, so that applicable experience could be better used. All Member States were encouraged to contribute to that effort. Among the early factors being analysed was the necessity to bring all parties together in countries emerging from conflict, to help meet the multiple needs. Employment opportunities, reform of the security sector and other challenges were common to most peacebuilding situations. In addition, she pointed out that the reality of the world today showed that no region was spared from conflict, so the Commission, at some point, would be faced with the issue of balance between regions.
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