GENERAL ASSEMBLY TAKES UP SECOND ANNUAL REPORT OF PEACEBUILDING COMMISSION; EXTENDS TERMS IN OFFICE OF 41 JUDGES ON FORMER YUGOSLAVIA TRIBUNAL

9 October 2008
GA/10765

GENERAL ASSEMBLY TAKES UP SECOND ANNUAL REPORT OF PEACEBUILDING COMMISSION; EXTENDS TERMS IN OFFICE OF 41 JUDGES ON FORMER YUGOSLAVIA TRIBUNAL

9 October 2008
General Assembly
GA/10765
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-third General Assembly

Plenary

23rd Meeting (AM)

GENERAL ASSEMBLY TAKES UP SECOND ANNUAL REPORT OF PEACEBUILDING COMMISSION;

EXTENDS TERMS IN OFFICE OF 41 JUDGES ON FORMER YUGOSLAVIA TRIBUNAL

With the United Nations new peacekeeping architecture entering its third year of operation, several General Assembly delegates today sought a more active role for the private sector in rebuilding countries torn by years, if not decades, of conflict.

During the Assembly’s joint debate on the annual reports of the Peacebuilding Commission and the Peacebuilding Fund, the representative of Brazil said the recent dialogue on the private sector should guide the Commission’s efforts towards bringing companies and foundations into a more active role.  She was referring to the Commission’s task force on the private sector, which had been led by Indonesia, and termed the dialogue an “interesting and innovative exercise”.

Peru’s representative agreed that business participation was crucial for peacebuilding success, while Pakistan’s delegate said the Commission-–established by the outcome of the Assembly’s 2005 World Summit to help prevent post-conflict countries from sliding back into war--should integrate the ideas of the task force as it moved ahead with its own work.  The Commission also needed to focus attention on other economic issues, including aid effectiveness, trade, investment, official development assistance, and debt relief, as well as the development of the private sector, Pakistan’s representative added.

He also urged the Commission to focus on national and international mechanisms that could halt the illegal exploitation of natural resources and let countries fully use their own resources for their own people.  He said the Organizational Committee, the nucleus of the Commission, was best positioned to discuss these issues and it was time to use its full potential.

Underscoring the role of entrepreneurs in peacebuilding, the representative of Bangladesh said home-grown ideas such as micro-credit could be “miracles” in the economic recovery process.  It was crucial, she added, to fully integrate the economic recovery dimension into the peacebuilding process.

The President of the General Assembly, Miguel d’Escoto Brockman of Nicaragua, said the Commission and Fund were two reform initiatives that filled a long-standing gap in the Organization’s peacekeeping architecture.  The relevance and credibility of the new entities would ultimately be measured by their ability to mobilize the international community.  That was crucial to delivering tangible peace dividends for the people of Burundi, the Central African Republic, Guinea-Bissau and Sierra Leone, the first four countries on its agenda.  Those dividends, he emphasized, were needed immediately, not in two, three or five years.

He lauded the Fund’s success in meeting its original target of $250 million.  Along with the broad base of contributors, this funding triumph reflected the international community’s commitment to move from violence to sustainable peace and development.

In delivering his report, the Commission Chairman Yukio Takasu of Japan, said the body was an evolving organ and the Assembly’s political and substantial support were critical to its activities.  The Commission was working to strengthen all its partnerships, including those with the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, the African Union and European Union.

Building on those partnerships was essential so that commitments were translated into cooperation on the ground in each country.  Future priorities included producing more tangible results on the ground; deepening strategic and policy discussions; strengthening partnerships; and ensuring coherence of the Commission’s activities.

Looking ahead, the United Kingdom’s representative said the Assembly should consider whether the new peacebuilding architecture was truly filling the gaps it was created to seal.  Those critical gaps included better international leadership, increased national and international civilian capacities for planning and carrying out stabilization and recovery efforts, and faster, more flexible funding.  She was among several delegates who welcomed an upcoming evaluation report by the Office of Internal Oversight Services that would provide recommendations on how the Fund could provide support for early peacebuilding efforts.

In other business, the General Assembly, endorsing the Secretary-General’s recommendation (document A/63/470), this morning extended the terms of office of four Appeals Chamber judges as well as those of 10 permanent and 27 ad litem judges of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, until 31 December 2009 or the completion of cases to which they were assigned, if sooner.

Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations, the Assembly decided to extend the terms of office of the following permanent judges at the Tribunal who are members of the Appeals Chamber until 31 December 2010, or until the completion of the cases before the Appeals Chamber if sooner:

--    Liu Daqun ( China)

--    Theodor Meron ( United States of America)

--    Fausto Pocar ( Italy)

--    Mohamed Shahabuddeen ( Guyana)

The Assembly also decided to extend the terms of office of the following permanent judges at the Tribunal, whom are members of the Trial Chambers, until 31 December 2009 or until the completion of the cases to which they are assigned if sooner:

--    Carmel Agius (Malta)

--    Jean-Claude Antonetti (France)

--    Iain Bonomy (United Kingdom)

--    Christoph Flügge ( Germany)

--    O-Gon Kwon ( South Korea)

--    Bakone Justice Moloto ( South Africa)

--    Alphons Orie (The Netherlands)

--    Kevin Parker ( Australia)

--    Patrick Robinson ( Jamaica)

--    Christine Van den Wyngaert ( Belgium)

The Assembly also decided to extend the terms of office of the following ad litem judges, currently serving at the Tribunal, until 31 December 2009, or until the completion of the cases to which they are assigned if sooner:

--    Ali Nawaz Chowhan ( Pakistan)

--    Pedro David ( Argentina)

--    Elizabeth Gwaunza ( Zimbabwe)

--    Frederik Harhoff ( Denmark)

--    Tsvetana Kamenova ( Bulgaria)

--    Uldis Kinis ( Latvia)

--    Flavia Lattanzi ( Italy)

--    Antoine Kesia-Mbe Mindua (Democratic Republic of Congo)

--    Janet Nosworthy ( Jamaica)

--    Michèle Picard ( France)

--    Árpád Prandler ( Hungary)

--    Kimberly Prost ( Canada)

--    Ole Bjørn Støle ( Norway)

--    Stefan Trechsel ( Switzerland)

The Assembly also decided to extend the term of office of the following ad litem judges, who are not currently appointed to serve at the Tribunal, until 31 December 2009, or until the completion of any cases to which they may be assigned if sooner:

--    Melville Baird ( Trinidad and Tobago)

--    Frans Bauduin (The Netherlands)

--    Burton Hall (The Bahamas)

--    Frank Höpfel ( Austria)

--    Raimo Lahti ( Finland)

--    Jawdat Naboty ( Syrian Arab Republic)

--    Chioma Egondu Nwosu-Iheme ( Nigeria)

--    Prisca Matimba Nyambe ( Zambia)

--    Brynmor Pollard ( Guyana)

--    Vonimbolana Rasoazanany ( Madagascar)

--    Krister Thelin ( Sweden)

--    Klaus Tolksdorf ( Germany)

--    Tan Sri Dato Lamin Haji Mohd Yunus ( Malaysia)

Also speaking today was the Director of the Department of International Organizations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation.  The representatives of France (on behalf of the European Union), Jamaica (on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement), China, Thailand, Egypt, Ghana, Italy, Indonesia, Iceland, India, Mexico and South Africa also spoke.

The General Assembly will reconvene at 10 a.m. Monday, 13 October to conclude its debate on the reports of the Peacebuilding Commission and Peacebuilding Fund, and take up the annual reports on the work of the United Nations International criminal Tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia.

Background

The General Assembly met today to hold a joint debate on the report of the Peacebuilding Commission and the United Nations Peacebuilding Fund.

Before delegations is the Commission’s second annual report (document A/63/92-S/2008/417).  Established by the outcome of the Assembly’s 2005 World Summit in response to the need for coherent and strategic peacebuilding efforts, the Commission focused in its second full year of operations on strengthening its interdepartmental and internal infrastructure, instituting a joint monitoring and tracking mechanism for Burundi and Sierra Leone-–the first two counties on its agenda--and expanding its operations to Guinea-Bissau.

According to the report, the Chairs of the Commission’s respective country configurations met regularly to continue developing agendas of meetings and work programmes, and encourage within the Commission innovation and flexible practices on procedural matters, as well as integration of advance information technologies, especially in light of the possibility of working with other countries.

The Chairperson of the Commission’s Organization Committee also participated in public events to raise the profile of the Commission, and increase the visibility and awareness of work being done.  The report also states that the Organizational Committee held an interactive dialogue last April with the Chairperson of the African Union Peace and Security Council to strengthen interaction and collaboration between the Commission and the Council.

Concerning the second year work with Burundi, a joint monitoring and tracking mechanism for the Strategic Framework for Peacebuilding in Burundi has been adopted, the report states.  Representatives from civil society organizations, women’s groups and international partners all participated in defining benchmarks and indicators for the periodic assessment of progress in consolidating peace in the country.

Since then, the report notes that great progress has been made in several areas, including with the implementation of an annual work plan; the participation of the Chair of the Burundi configuration in a meeting with Burundi special envoys and the South African Facilitation; and a field mission to obtain first-hand information on the ground, particularly on the renewed confrontations between the Palipehutu-FNL and the National Defence Forces.

On Sierra Leone, the Commission focused on support for the national election and democratic transition, which included formal and informal meetings with the configuration and national and international stakeholders.  The report states that the Chair of the configuration visited Sierra Leone and met with newly elected official to discuss ways in which the Commission could support the Government’s peace efforts.  The recommendation of adding the energy sector to existing peacebuilding priority areas is being considered.

With the adoption of Peacebuilding Cooperation Framework in December 2007, focus has been placed on three primary objectives including generating support for implementing the commitments of the Framework, broadening the donor base, and expanding existing and initiating new activities in peacebuilding priority areas.

Also during this second year, the Security Council referred Guinea-Bissau to the Commission.  According to the report, through meetings, delegations and visits, an agenda of goals was developed, focusing on reforms, consolidation of rule of law, technical training, and small arms and weapons collection, among others.  The report also states that a draft outline of a strategic framework was to be finalized by the Government by July 2008.  A Peacebuilding Fund funding envelope of $6 million has been allocated to Guinea-Bissau.

According to the report, the Peacebuilding Fund recorded pledges of $267 million, exceeding the original target of $220 million.  This reflects the strong support for the fund, and a diverse donor base of 45 donors, which includes 19 new donors.  To improve transparency of the Fund’s operations, quarterly briefings of the Peacebuilding Support Office to the Commission, as well as regular briefings by the Peacebuilding Support Office to Peacebuilding Fund donors, have been established.

The report goes on to note that the Commission provided sustained support while strengthening the concept of ownership, accountability and partnership with the countries under its consideration.  It continued to mobilize international and domestic resources from traditional to emerging donors.  The continued work of the Commission and its respective configurations has ensured the development of best practices and in-depth discussions on policy, and effective strategies.  The Commission is considering an annual informal retreat to deepen this area of growth.

Also before the Assembly is the Secretary-General’s report on the Peacebuilding Fund (document A/63/218-S/2008/522), which gives an update of the past year’s activities of the Fund, an integral part of the United Nations peacebuilding architecture, along with the Peacebuilding Commission and Peacebuilding Support Office.  This second report covers the first full year of programming operations, from 1 July 2007 to 30 June 2008.  It reviews the Fund’s growing portfolio, the progress on peacebuilding priorities and activities and emerging lessons.

To date, the Fund has exceeded the $250 million funding target by attracting more than $269 million in pledges from 44 donors.  The Fund is supporting peacebuilding initiatives in four countries that are on the agenda of the Peacebuilding Commission and seven more nations that were declared eligible by the Secretary-General or are receiving emergency window-funding for urgent peacebuilding activities.  Thirty-seven peacebuilding projects have been approved and are at different stages of implementation.

Among its conclusions, the report states that more in-country training is needed before setting up the Peacebuilding Fund infrastructure as the concept of peacebuilding is not well understood by all actors.  United Nations agencies should develop more appropriate mechanisms for early recovery interventions as agency procedures have been a key cause of project delays.  There may also be a need to simplify national Peacebuilding Fund coordination structures, which have been described as too cumbersome in Sierra Leone and Burundi.

In view of the rapidly expanding number of Peacebuilding Fund countries, additional staff capacity is required to address crucial programme management and planning, as well as monitoring and evaluation needs, the report states.  Resources were also required to build surge capacity to support new and ongoing programmes, monitor visits, technical advisory services, global training and monitoring and evaluation systems.

Regarding enhanced oversight, the report states that the Peacebuilding Fund Advisory Group played an important oversight role and should be strengthened by the expanding its membership to include the appointment, by the Secretary-General, of additional independent expertise on peacebuilding and early recovery programming.

Statement by the General Assembly President

President of the General Assembly MIGUEL D’ESCOTO BROCKMAN of Nicaragua said the Peacebuilding Commission and the Peacebuilding Fund were two reform initiatives that filled a long-standing gap in the Organization’s peacekeeping architecture.  They had emanated from efforts to find new ways to promote partnerships and solidarity in post-conflict situations that had been neglected in the past.  The Commission, Fund and Peacebuilding Support Office showed the importance of broad partnerships that depended on the dynamic support of the entire United Nations membership, including the main troop contributing countries to United Nations peacekeeping missions, and major donor countries.

He said the Fund’s success in meeting its original target of $250 million and the broad base of its contributors demonstrated confidence in the United Nations and reflected the international community’s commitment to close a critical funding gap in the transition from violence to sustainable peace and development.  The reports before the Assembly provided a candid analysis of the challenges ahead.  The relevance and credibility of the Organization’s new peacebuilding architecture would ultimately be measured by its ability to mobilize the international support necessary to deliver tangible peace dividends for the people of Burundi, Central African Republic, Guinea-Bissau and Sierra Leone.  He stressed that these dividends were needed now.

The peacebuilding architecture was needed to enhance national capacities to sustain peace and rebuild foundations for long-term, socio-economic development.  He called on the international community to continue to strengthen the capacities of the Commission and the Fund, and direct new and predictable financing and human resources to critical priorities.  He viewed today’s debate as an opportunity for Member States to reflect on how the Assembly would best support and reinforce the goals of the United Nations peacebuilding architecture.

Statement by the Chairperson of the Peacebuilding Commission

YUKIO TAKASU ( Japan), speaking in his capacity as Chairman of the Peacebuilding Commission, said that body’s report, which covered its second year of activity, tracked its steady progress and concrete results.  He highlighted work in Burundi, Sierra Leone, Guinea-Bissau and The Central African Republic and said the Commission, with the strong leadership by the chairs of the country-specific configurations, focused attention on supporting national peacebuilding efforts.

The Commission would also provide useful support to address serious concerns in many more countries that were in the post-conflict peacebuilding process and faced many challenges.  He said serious efforts were being made to enhance partnerships at the highest levels, particularly with the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the African Union and European Union.  Priorities for the way forward included producing more tangible results on the ground, deepening strategic and policy discussions, strengthening partnerships, and ensuring coherence of the Commission’s activities.

The Commission was an evolving organ and the political and substantial support of Assembly members was critical for the Commission to advance its activities.  The Commission placed great importance on strengthening interaction with the Assembly, one of its parent organizations.  Referring to a stalemate on the allocation of seats among some regional groups for elections by the Assembly and the Economic and Social Council that impacted the terms of some Commission members, he urged Member States to quickly overcome the impasse.

The foundation had been laid during the Commission’s first session and it had started to produce results during the second session.  This third session would be “the real test” for this developing organ, and he assured the Assembly of the Commission’s desire to consolidate its achievement and help mobilize resources so it could create a real difference on the ground.

Statements

Speaking on behalf of the European Union and associated countries, JEAN-MAURICE RIPERT ( France) called the establishment of the Peacebuilding Commission and Fund key outcomes of the 2005 Millennium Summit.  He noted the importance of linking those achievements with broader goals:  stronger synergies between peace and security, development and human rights, and improving support from the international community in the immediate post-conflict recovery period.

Though the Peacebuilding Commission’s progress had been promising, especially the increased focus on countries on its agenda, He called for more outreach, particularly to regional organizations, in order to raise its profile and ability to drive and influence others.  Moreover, some countries which would clearly benefit from engagement with the Peacebuilding Commission had been reluctant to do so, he added, suggesting that some of the Commission’s regular meetings could take place outside New York.

The Peacebuilding Commission had a crucial role to play in terms of resource mobilization.  It was not meant to be a “new window” for development aid, and should therefore mobilize all energies and resources, in particular to the role of diasporas.  He urged Member States to support the efforts of countries on the Commission’s agenda, particularly in the case of the Central African Republic.

Crucial areas of work for the Commission for the year ahead included encouraging efforts of the Peacebuilding Support Office to increase its support capability and making its working methods more effective and strategic by building upon instruments developed last year.  He also called for fewer, but better-prepared meetings, and urged the United Nations system to be more committed in alignment with strategies defined by the Commission.

Calling the Peacebuilding Fund a “remarkable instrument” in addressing challenges of post-conflict stabilization and recovery, he noted that it had not yet demonstrated its full potential, and in order to improve its management efficiency and to ensure quicker results on the ground, it was necessary to clarify its scope and criteria.  He called on the Assembly for political guidance to that end, and noted that responsibility was crucial “to keep the fund afloat in the future.”

RAYMOND WOLFE (Jamaica), speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, considered the Peacebuilding Commission’s second report an “accurate account” of its activities during the reporting period.  Indeed, the Commission was confidently on its way to creating the solid contribution envisioned by the founding mandate, and he was pleased with its efforts to marshal resources and enhance coordination of activities on the ground.

The Movement welcomed the adoption of the Strategic Frameworks for Burundi, Guinea-Bissau and Sierra Leone, and underscored the principle of national ownership of the peacebuilding process.  The creation of monitoring and tracking mechanisms was a sign of the commitment by Governments, the Commission and other stakeholders to ensure success in the short- to medium-terms.  He welcomed the financing of field missions to countries on the Commission’s agenda.

While the addition of Guinea-Bissau and the Central African Republic to the Commission’s agenda were among the highlights, he said more must be done to ensure that overall gains were not eroded by instability.  One possible threat could come from strict demands that peacebuilding strategies be developed before funds had been allocated, and further, that those funds be linked to political commitments.  His delegation continued to call for urgent focus on countries’ development agendas, and encouraged the Commission to consider using the diverse experiences of countries within its membership to help restructure areas crucial to development:  education and training, rural agriculture development and capacity-building.

Underlining the importance of coherence between the Commission and the Peacebuilding Fund, he looked forward to the Commission’s total involvement in the Assembly’s review of the terms of reference of the Fund, and called for doubling the pledge target of the Fund to $500 million.  The upcoming review of the Commission’s overall work as crucially important--the Commission must ensure that best practices were further developed and that integrated peacebuilding strategies were tailor-made to each case.  The delay in the allocation of seats among regional groups for election of members to the Organizational Committee was a serious concern, and he urged a quick solution to that problem.

GENNADY GATILOV, Director of the Department of International Organizations, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Russian Federation, commended the second year of work of the Peacebuilding Commission and noted the significant progress made in its country-specific configurations.  He urged the Commission to enhance its work with the international community, specifically the financial institutions, regional organizations and donor communities, through stronger coordination and more effective mobilization of donor resources.

He further noted that better cooperation between all peacebuilding agencies within the United Nations system would support the activities of the Peacebuilding Support Office and the Peacebuilding Commission.  In welcoming the appointment of Jane Holl Lute as the new Head of the Peacebuilding Support Office, he offered hope that improved management and accountability of the Peacebuilding Fund would be a high priority.  He concluded by stating the annual contribution of $2 million to the Fund was a statement of commitment and support from his Government and its belief in the Fund’s work.

MARIA LUIZA RIBEIRO VIOTTI ( Brazil) said that since its inception in 2006, the Commission had made substantial progress in helping countries emerge from conflict and had demonstrated its added value.  It was now consolidating its institutional niche within the United Nations system.  After developing three strategic frameworks for peacebuilding in Burundi, Sierra Leone and Guinea-Bissau, she welcomed the consideration of the fourth country on the Commission’s agenda, the Central African Republic, with Belgium chairing that country-specific configuration.  Brazil had always believed the Commission should be ready to grow, take up new countries on its agenda and evolve as an important advisory body for post-conflict situations.

Brazil welcomed the initiative of holding strategic policy discussions at the Organizational Committee, a forum that could help define broad strategic guidelines for the Commission by promoting an inclusive dialogue on key peacebuilding aspects.  She said the debate on bringing the private sector into peacebuilding activities was an interesting exercise that would guide its efforts to bring companies and foundations into a more active role in peacebuilding activities.

The field trips undertaken by Commission members to countries on the body’s agenda were an invaluable tool to obtain first-hand information on the situation on the ground and maintain a dialogue with local authorities, international partners and civil society, she said, urging that adequate resources be provided to support the continuation of such practices.  Reaching out to institutions outside the United Nations system was important to ensure a coordinated response to peacebuilding challenges.  Working with regional organizations was also important.

LIU ZHENMIN ( China) congratulated the Peacebuilding Commission on its second year of operations and noted the many inroads it had made, including increasing the number of participating countries in the Peacebuilding Fund, strengthening relationships between the stakeholders, and sending missions to the participating countries as a statement of commitment to peacebuilding.

However, he observed that the Commission faced both internal and external challenges, with the increase of global crises, from food shortages to an unstable world economy, among others.  In order to continue its work in an effective manner, the Peacebuilding Commission would need to streamline and reinforce its own infrastructure and organization; fortify its collaborative and cooperative relationships with other United Nations agencies, regional organizations and bilateral partners; as well as encourage and engender in the participating countries a sense of primary responsibility for their own peacebuilding.  With a call to expedite financial resources, and show strong accountability for the projects, he expressed his Governments support with the Peacebuilding Commission’s continued work.

JORGE VOTO-BERNALES ( Peru), noting that every conflict had its own “internal and international dynamics”, and that various ethnic, tribal and singular identities made no two peacebuilding cases the same, stressed that the specificities of each case needed to be recognized.  Secondly, international players must be aware that peacebuilding processes would be more sustainable with the social legitimacy of inclusion.  Doing so would make it possible to affirm legitimate authority, consolidate central control of territory, administer natural resources and increase budgets with the goal of becoming self-supporting.  Further, the rule of law must be respected and human rights protected.

Noting that the Commission’s field visits had catalyzed work within the States concerned, he said also that international cooperation should be devoted to strengthening the political system, including through the training of civil executives.  Highlighting those rapid-impact projects played a role in garnering support among local populations, he said, businesses also were crucial for success and highlighted the task force for the role of private sector in that regard.  For countries on the Commission’s agenda, cooperation and assistance were subject to the measurement of progress indicators.

On synergies with regional organizations, he said long-term commitment called for the long-term convergence of actions.  The United Nations leadership guaranteed adequate follow-up for the reconstruction process, and it must have full capacity to coordinate among its major bodies to act and react to sudden changes in the field.  In closing, he highlighted Peru’s candidacy for the Commission’s elections in 2009.

CHIRACHAI PUNKRASIN ( Thailand), reaffirming his country’s commitment to peace and tolerance, said the United Nations had seen some “devastating setbacks”, despite its overarching principle of maintaining international peace and security.  Beyond peacekeeping, there was a critical need to build sustainable peace.  Thailand had fully supported the creation of the Peacebuilding Commission to help fill the United Nations institutional gap in assisting post-conflict countries in their peacebuilding challenges.  Despite its “newcomer” status in the United Nations family, it had proved invaluable, particularly as a bridge between diverse stakeholders and the countries involved.

Commending the Commission and the Fund for keeping States informed of their activities, he said the Commission must continue to improve its cooperation with the Fund, other United Nations agencies and all States.  More importantly, the peacebuilding process must place strong emphasis on the principle of national ownership, as countries carried the primary responsibility for making all relevant work last in the long-run.  As such, the formulation of the peacebuilding framework should be a collaboration between the Commission and countries, with the knowledge that a “one-size-fits-all” method could not be applied.

Attaching great importance to the United Nations peacebuilding efforts, he also believed that sustainable peace must have its foundation in development, and that the post-conflict peacebuilding process could bring about lasting peace in countries where United Nations peacekeeping forces had completed their mandates.  Thailand had consistently participated in peacekeeping operations, and had presented its candidature for membership in the Commission for 2009-2011 in the General Assembly category.  Since the Fund’s establishment, Thailand had contributed $10,000, and would contribute further this year.

MAGED ABDEL FATAH ABDEL AZIZ ( Egypt), aligning his statement with that of the Non-Aligned Movement, said the Commission’s great progress in Burundi, Sierra Leone and Guinea-Bissau imposed an obligation to present ideas for making it more efficient.  The Commission should promote adherence to the principle of national ownership in all stages of its work.  Secondly, it should continue strengthening its relations with related United Nations organs, departments and programmes, as well as with international financial institutions and regional and subregional organizations.

It must promote its institutional relationships with the Assembly, the Security Council and the Economic and Social Council, notably to respect the “institutional balance” among those organs.  He asked the Assembly to undertake a more active role in directing the Commission’s work.  Further, he said the Commission needed to achieve the desired benefit from diversity in its membership categories, and Egypt proposed discussing that subject in its coming session.

In addition, he said it was important to benefit from lessons learned regarding its working methods and he referred to the concept of fair geographical distribution.  Egypt affirmed, in its capacity as the Coordinator of the African Group on peacebuilding issues, that any solution should not lead to decreasing the number of seats allocated to Africa.  Should there be an increase in seats allocated to a regional group, Africa should be given an extra seat in addition to the seven it had already been allocated.

It was important to promote the Commission’s role in “equalizing” between donor and non-donor countries in peacebuilding activities and he stressed that the steering committees were not the competent authorities to decide financing.  A strategy-–which included methods for utilizing civil society, non-governmental organizations and the private sector in various fields relating to peacebuilding--was also needed.  Finally, the Assembly should provide the Peacebuilding Support Office with the necessary posts and financial resources.

KAREN PIERCE (United Kingdom), aligning herself with the statement made by France on behalf of the European Union, said last year her delegation had highlighted the need for the Commission to focus on providing more value to the peacebuilding processes in the countries on its agenda.  The primary impact of the Commission’s work was helping address the political barriers to peacebuilding and bringing coherence to the international community’s efforts.

While the United Kingdom’s assessment of how well the Commission had taken up its challenge was broadly positive, she highlighted five of the challenges facing the body.  First, the Commission needed to be better at measuring its impact.  It did not have the means to quantify what additional resources had actually been mobilized.  It also needed to be more specific and get better at identifying the critical gaps in funding, and set tangible benchmarks on how frameworks could be implemented.

A third challenge was increasing efficiency with fewer, more strategic, meetings in New York and most of the daily work taking place in their respective countries.  The Commission also needed to be more flexible and agile so it could adapt to changes on the ground, such as the new threats posed by fuel and food prices.  Finally, the work of the Commission needed to be better aligned and more inclusive.  Governments clearly led the process, but all sectors of society needed to be involved to ensure the success and sustainability of peacebuilding efforts.

Looking ahead, she said the Assembly should consider whether the new peacebuilding architecture was filling the gaps it was created to fill.  Those critical gaps included better international leadership, increased national and international civilian capacities to plan and implement stabilization and recovery efforts, and faster, more flexible funding.  She said the Peacebuilding Fund had the potential to fill the current gap in providing timely, flexible and predictable funding to countries emerging from conflict.  She hoped the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) evaluation report would provide recommendations on how to the Fund could provide support for early peacebuilding efforts.

LESLIE KOJO CHRISTIAN (Ghana), in comparing the present report on the Peacebuilding Commission with the previous one, remarked, “so far so good”, but added that challenges ahead could not be underestimated.  Aligning itself with the statement made earlier on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, he called attention to the Commission’s noticeable successes in Sierra Leone and Burundi, which had provided lessons that improved approaches to handling future cases, and the early adoption of the Integrated Strategic Framework for Peacebuilding in Guinea-Bissau.  Stressing the importance of national ownership and international partnership, he also emphasized an all-inclusive peacebuilding paradigm, requiring active mobilization of the Commission to support regional and subregional organizations and civil society in post-conflict resolution.

He went on to say that as the Commission began to focus more on substance instead of procedure, it also needed to embrace its strategic vision and constantly review its working methods.  Proactive tools such as monitoring and tracking mechanisms were provided with the support of the Peacebuilding Support Office, but new tools, such as the development of an early warning as part of a long-term strategy, were required.

Along that line, he called for other measures, including strengthening of the capacity of the Peacebuilding Commission for preventative diplomacy by developing the capability of anticipating potential conflicts, and engaging the international community to address them before reaching crisis proportions.  He warned against viewing peacebuilding and peacekeeping as “zero sum games”, where deployment of peacebuilding might lead to the termination of peacekeeping mandates.

In terms of strengthening institutional links and working relations between the Peacebuilding Commission and Peacebuilding Fund, he urged an increase in the role of the Commission in decisions made by the Fund in resource allocation to beneficial countries.  At the same time, he welcomed the improvement in communication lines between the two, as well as the effectiveness of the Fund in surpassing original targets for funds during this period.

FARUKH AMIL ( Pakistan) said that as a member of the Commission, Pakistan was fully committed to its success.  The expansion of the Commission’s agenda had increased expectations, especially of Governments and the people of the countries under consideration.  It also demanded better organization of the Commission’s work, including greater coherence and prioritization among its various formats, and the dedication of appropriate time and resources to the different situations on the agenda.

In the ultimate analysis, the Commission’s success would be gauged by the concrete results achieved for people on the ground.  The ultimate objective of peacebuilding should be to let countries emerging from conflicts stand on their own feet and achieve self-sustained peace and development.  That involved the fulfilment of commitments by national and international stakeholders, and the mobilization of resources, both internal and external, he said.

The Commission also needed to focus attention on broader issues, including aid effectiveness, trade, investment, official development assistance (ODA), debt relief and the development of the private sector.  The work facilitated by Indonesia on the role of the private sector should be taken forward.  More attention needed to be paid to national and international mechanisms to halt the illegal exploitation of natural resources, and let concerned countries fully use their own resources for their own people.  He said the Organizational Committee, the nucleus of the Commission, was best placed to discuss those and other issues.  It was time to use its full potential, he added.

GIULIO TERZI ( Italy), endorsing the statement made earlier on behalf of the European Union, said the Commission was starting to achieve results, notably with four countries on the agenda, three integrated strategies approved and monitoring mechanisms established.  Its work in identifying priority areas in respect to the principle of national ownership was “most welcome”, as that principle was the necessary foreground for implementation strategies and benchmarks.

As international financial institutions were fully involved in the Commission’s deliberations, it was now time to move forward in a creative and flexible way, he said.  Peacekeeping missions should be fully coherent with peacebuilding strategies, and thus, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, Department of Political Affairs and Peacebuilding Support Office should improve their integrated planning.

There were four main challenges for the Commission in the coming months, he said:  to translate integration strategies into concrete action; mould its field work to local needs; give stakeholders the chance to become more involved; and to assess its added value in bridging existing gaps in the stabilization process.

He was pleased that the Peacebuilding Fund had been more dynamic in identifying beneficiary countries, and focused more on improving analytical capacities.  However, it had not yet provided the immediate post-conflict response that Italy had hoped, and it needed to tackle strategy and management issues.  Offering suggestions, he noted a need to improve intervention planning; develop clear guidelines for selecting eligible countries; harmonize timeframes for choosing beneficiary countries for the three different windows; and develop a strategy for the donor community that would allow the Fund to be a catalyst for resources.

MARTY M. NATALEGAWA ( Indonesia) noting that the Peacebuilding Commission had spotlighted the importance of equal attention to issues of security, democracy and development as key factors for a strong pluralistic society and lasting peace, urged an integrated approach of security and development.  Fund disbursements should reflect such orientation, he suggested, since reform in the security and economic sectors alone could not ensure a country does not relapse into conflict.  The Commission should increase its integration into the wider United Nations system to address post-conflict challenges, he added.

He went on to say that national ownership, as a “guiding principle of engagement”, was an important part of the peace process, and the Organizational Committee needed to take a more decisive and strategic role in line with the Commission’s mandate.  He also commended efforts by that Committee to consider the role of the private sector for peacebuilding, noting that Indonesia facilitated a task force established earlier this year, to strengthen the private sector’s engagement.

Regarding Fund disbursement and implementation, he advised:  improvement of relations between the Commission and the Fund, with increased steerage of the process by Commission members; greater involvement by Member States in strategic decision making which would increase effectiveness of the Fund, as well as the feeling of ownership of Member States; and an increase in public awareness of the work of the Commission’s work.

In order to produce maximum output in the field by United Nations peacebuilding efforts, he urged the General Assembly to ensure appropriate incorporation of peacebuilding priorities and challenges in the Organization’s departments and agencies.  He also suggested that the President of the General Assembly hold regular interactions with the Chairs of the Peacebuilding Commission, Security Council and Economic and Social Council, which would lead to a sharing of lessons, development of new synergies, and better coordination among those bodies.

HJÁLMAR W. HANNESSON (Iceland), speaking on behalf of the Nordic countries and supporting the statement made earlier on behalf of the European Union, said he recognized the progress made since the Commission’s creation in 2006.  Iceland could not emphasize enough the importance of seeking partnerships and coherence in relevant activities within and outside the United Nations; with United Nations agencies, funds and programmes; regional and subregional organizations; and international financial institutions.

Within the peacebuilding architecture, Iceland urged a more defining role for the Peacebuilding Support Office in terms of giving assistance and support to the Commission.  The Office should play a key role in the strategic planning of the Organization’s peacebuilding efforts.  He drew attention to the Early Recovery Policy Forum held earlier this month in Copenhagen.  That forum highlighted, among other things, the need to speed up post-disaster damage and needs assessments, as well as rapidly building up the Resident Coordinators’ capacity during a crisis.  He considered those and other conclusions reached during the Forum useful as efforts were made to strengthen the Commission and the Organization’s wider peacebuilding architecture.

He saw room for improvement in the Fund’s management so as to increase its efficiency and he looked forward to OIOS review and the recommendations of the Advisory Group later this month.  He hoped this would improve the efficiency, effectiveness and relevance of the Fund.  The Nordic countries welcomed additional clarity on the scope and allocation procedure for the three funding windows, a more transparent accountability framework, and strengthened capacity of the Fund’s management.

ISMAT JAHAN ( Bangladesh) recalled that the Commission had been established to reduce post-conflict countries’ risks of relapsing into self-perpetuating crisis.  In its second year, the Commission had made significant strides to consolidate peace in the countries on its agenda, particularly given the complexity of its work.  The formulation of country-specific integrated peacebuilding strategies was considered the right approach, and she congratulated the chairs of the country-specific meetings for their outstanding contributions, along with the Peacebuilding Support Office and the Peacebuilding Fund.

At the same time, much remained to be done, she said, and the Commission’s relations with the General Assembly, Security Council and the Economic and Social Council, among other stakeholders, should be further strengthened.  The Organizational Committee should play a more decisive lead role, and there should be more coordination among peacebuilding activities at the country level.

Welcoming the creation of the monitoring and tracking mechanism as an instrument that would allow maximized impact on the ground, she said the working group on lessons learned should share the experiences of the troop contributing countries in peacekeeping.  She also welcomed the decision to finance field missions.  To attain sustainable development, the issue of economic recovery should be more focused, and efforts should be directed to building “pluralist” political institutions.  National ownership, Bangladesh believed, was key to sustaining advancement, and home-grown ideas, like micro-credit, could be “miracles” in the economic recovery process.

On the Fund, she was heartened that it had exceeded its $250 million target, saying that Commission members should be more frequently updated on the Fund’s operations.  The relationship between the Commission and the Fund must be made clear to stakeholders on the ground to dispel confusion, vis-à-vis eligibility for Fund support.  In closing, she said it was crucial to fully integrate the economic recovery dimension into the peacebuilding process.

NIRUPAM SEN ( India) pointed to signs of progress which included the fact that four countries were on the agenda of the Peacebuilding Commission, at their request, with three in the finalization process of integrated peacebuilding strategies.  However, the Commission becoming an established player in the United Nations context, in itself, was not a sufficient achievement.  Its work needed to be more relevant to the countries it assisted, by taking decisive moves towards a pragmatic and circumstance-specific approach.  The Commission should genuinely listen to post-conflict countries about their wishes, he said.

In order to ensure advice provided by the Commission to such countries was relevant and useful, access to focused, specific and objective information on the ground should be expanded.  He said the Peacebuilding Support Office should play an important role by ensuring a clear, unbiased channel for input from the ground, and two-way dialogue between countries on the Commission’s agenda and the Commission itself in a “light-touch” approach.  That would help States identify and utilize international expertise in addressing sensitive issues instead of the Commission advising them on post-conflict peace consolidation.

Unless focus was placed on the enhancement of the “legitimacy, effectiveness and absorptive capacity” of administrative and governing systems, he warned that tools would not be in place for the Commission to assist in post-conflict peace building efforts.  He also urged that the capacity of the Support Office be expanded.  Other suggestions included energizing the coordination aspect of the Peacebuilding Commission’s mandated role, and in resource-gathering efforts which are key for post-conflict societies to start the process of peace consolidation and development.

In light of consideration of a new mandate for the Peacebuilding, he welcomed the operationalization of the Fund, a renewed resource-mobilization drive, and improved synergy between the Peacebuilding Commission and the Fund.  In closing, he encouraged a dedicated unit on the ground that deals with Peacebuilding Fund projects, along with joint endeavours by the Commission, Fund and Support Office to provide clear instructions, and better absorptive and administrative capabilities to ensure better utilization of Fund allocations by assisted countries.

CLAUDE HELLER ( Mexico) said that through its country configurations, the Commission had strengthened national institutions in Burundi and Sierra Leone, and had incorporated new countries, such as Guinea-Bissau and the Central African Republic, into its agenda.  He noted that Mexico was part of Guinea-Bissau’s configuration and that the country had adopted its strategic framework for Peacebuilding on 1 October.

He hoped the Commission would continue its flexible and inclusive approach, and its transparent and integrating work.  In that sense, Mexico supported more frequent informal plenary sessions, such as the session held in January.  Such sessions allowed interaction and sharing of information among organs, but also created more interest among Member States for the Commission’s work and their eventual support of the countries on its agenda.

The strategic frameworks were the cornerstone and basis for the Commission to undertake its coordination tasks in regards to gaining international support.  It was very important that the Commission continued to develop innovative methods for mobilizing national and international resources.  While noting that the Fund had surpassed its financial expectations, he said the Fund needed to receive predictable financial contributions so it could respond more efficiently to the numerous requests from post-conflict countries.

DUMISANI SHADRACK KUMALO ( South Africa) said his country applauded the Peacebuilding Commission’s accomplishments during its second session, notably its important strides towards implementing its mandate and core functions.  Indeed, a successful Commission was important in preventing post-conflict countries from relapsing into conflict, and among its successes had been its efforts to strengthen its relationship with relevant institutions including the Assembly, the Security Council and the Economic and Social Council.

At the same time, he underscored the importance of strengthened cooperation between the Commission and relevant regional and subregional organizations, highlighting, in that context, the African Union Framework for Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Development, which emphasized addressing the root causes of conflict.  He commended the Organizational Committee’s interactive dialogue with the Chairperson of the African Union Peace and Security Council, and the regular contact between the Commission’s Chairperson and Presidents of the Assembly, Security Council and the Economic and Social Council.

The challenge was in consolidating achievements, he said, and South Africa firmly believed the Commission should continue to be driven by Member States.  The country specific meetings had made a “tremendous” contribution to the Commission, while the establishment of the monitoring and tracking mechanisms was essential for success.  National ownership remained fundamental in assisting post-conflict countries, and, to that end, he commended the countries on the Commission’s agenda.  Welcoming the stated importance of ODA, trade and investment, he hoped the Commission would continue to develop methods for mobilizing domestic and international resources.

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