Applauding Peacebuilding Commission’s Early Successes, Speakers in Assembly Stress Fine-Tuning Still Needed to Enhance Results on Ground in Post-Conflict Countries

20 November 2009
GA/10893

Applauding Peacebuilding Commission’s Early Successes, Speakers in Assembly Stress Fine-Tuning Still Needed to Enhance Results on Ground in Post-Conflict Countries

20 November 2009
General Assembly
GA/10893
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-fourth General Assembly

Plenary

49th & 50th Meetings (AM & PM)

Applauding Peacebuilding Commission’s Early Successes, Speakers in Assembly Stress

Fine-Tuning Still Needed to Enhance Results on Ground in Post-Conflict Countries

Commission Chair Says 2010 Review of 4-Year-Old Panel Will Provide Chance

To Better Define Its Potential Role; Assembly Wraps Up Debate on Revitalizing Work

While early and concrete successes underlined the importance of the young Peacebuilding Commission and Peacebuilding Fund ‑‑ established at the General Assembly’s 2005 World Summit to help countries emerging from conflict hold on to fragile reconstruction gains ‑‑ broader support and resources were needed, notably from the private sector, to enable those bodies to realize their potential, Assembly delegates said today as they considered progress achieved thus far.

Presenting the Commission’s third annual report, its Chairman, Ambassador Heraldo Muñoz, of Chile, said the 31-member body had solidified its core advisory role and increased support for the countries on its agenda ‑‑ Burundi, Sierra Leone, Guinea Bissau and the Central African Republic ‑‑ all of which had led to broader and deeper partnerships with relevant actors.

That was reflected in various ways, he said, notably in its links with the General Assembly, the Security Council and Economic and Social Council, and its expanded partnerships with national, regional and international organizations.  However, while he could readily identify the Commission’s progress in its advisory role with operational entities inside and outside the United Nations, the body remained “under-utilized”.

The Commission’s unique link to the Organization’s three principal organs, and its unique flexibility to engage non-United Nations and non-governmental actors, could promote a seamless transition from humanitarian to early recovery assistance, a synergy between peacekeeping and peacebuilding mandates and national capacity development in critical peacebuilding priorities.  With that in mind, he said that in 2010, the Commission’s founding resolutions would be reviewed and that exercise would provide an opportunity to define its potential role in expanding and enhancing its support to countries emerging from conflict.

In the debate that followed that presentation, speakers offered ideas on how to prepare for the Commission’s 2010 review to ensure that it was inclusive, transparent, focused on ways to improve the intergovernmental advisory body’s functioning, and be attentive to the particular needs of post-conflict countries.

Canada’s delegate proposed three issues to consider, saying first that the Commission should expand its engagement by getting involved at an earlier stage of post-conflict recovery, as called for in the Secretary-General’s report.  Second, it should adopt a multi-tiered agenda that would permit various levels of engagement, depending on the state of peace consolidation.

Third, the Commission had to improve its treatment of thematic issues and the integration of lessons learned, he said.  It should be the central United Nations forum for discussing the strategic challenges and policy dilemmas that peacebuilding presented.  “The 2010 Review is an opportunity to realize the full ambition of the commission’s original vision,” he said.

Other speakers made suggestions on how to fine-tune the Commission’s work.  In that context, Brazil’s delegate supported the creation of high-level coordination mechanisms, definition of clear mandates among different actors and consideration of innovative funding instruments.  The latter aspect was essential, as it was difficult to ensure adequate funding, given the many uncertainties associated with post-conflict scenarios.

While the Commission could, indeed, achieve more, she urged strengthening its capacity to deliver on its tasks, rather than reduce the scope of its mandate.  Work on the strategic peacebuilding frameworks could be enriched with more regular interaction with financial institutions.  Also, the Assembly should think of ways to automatically enhance the United Nations local capacity once a given country was included on the Commission’s agenda.  That would also help narrow the gap between New York and the country concerned.

Similarly, Ireland’s delegate said her Government had first-hand experience with the complexities of crafting a sustainable peace.  The tasks were inherently complex and had to be undertaken at a time when a society was both exhausted and traumatized.  They required forging strong national institutions and capacities, which were often non-existent or nascent ‑‑ products of fragile peace agreements.

She said national ownership was critical.  Also, the response must be timely, as peacebuilding depended on seizing “make or break” moments, which did not come easily to the United Nations and might require it to make a “conscious mode change” if those moments were to be grasped.  Finally, long-term peace required a series of integrated and sequenced steps ‑‑ action on democratic accountability, good governance, grievance mechanisms and human rights frameworks among them.  The Commission could consider developing standards and guidance in those areas.

Taking a different tack, Namibia’s delegate, and former President of the General Assembly, speaking in his capacity as President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), said that a parliament, which was the melting pot of any society’s diverse components, was the best antidote to conflict.  He urged the Assembly to, while respecting their sovereignty, give its full support to these countries’ parliaments so that they could become representative, transparent, accountable, accessible and effective institutions.  “That is one of the most vital investments the international community can make to building peace and reconstruction.”

Later in the day, delegations also wrapped up their discussion on revitalizing the General Assembly, with some speakers emphasizing that a true revitalization was critical to overall United Nations reform.  Times had changed, Ecuador’s delegate said, and the Assembly should keep up with the new dynamics of international relations.  Guinea-Bissau’s representative added:  “Well, if we want to breathe new life into [the Assembly], we need to change our attitudes.”

In other business, the Assembly, acting on the recommendations of its Second Committee (Economic and Financial), decided to postpone the holding of its fourth High-level Dialogue on Financing for Development, originally scheduled for 23 and 24 November 2009, on the understanding that the exact dates were to be determined no later than 11 December 2009.  It also decided to extend the work of its Second Committee to 4 December.

Further, consideration of agenda item 114 on “Follow-up to the outcome of the Millennium Summit:  specific meeting focused on development”, slated for Wednesday, 25 November; item 14 on “Protracted conflicts in the GUAM area and their implications for international peace, security and development” and item 18 on “The situation in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan”, scheduled for Thursday, 3 December were postponed to a later date to be announced.  Also, the second meeting of the General Committee would take place on Tuesday, 24 November, at 3 p.m.

Also speaking on peacebuilding were the representatives of Sweden (on behalf of the European Union), Jamaica (on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement), Norway (on behalf of the Nordic Countries), Thailand, Egypt, Viet Nam, Indonesia, South Africa, Peru, Algeria, Switzerland, Germany, Mexico, Turkey, Belgium, Republic of Korea, Netherlands, Japan, United Kingdom, Luxembourg, Pakistan, China, France, Australia, El Salvador, Bangladesh, Morocco, Uruguay, Poland, United States, Ethiopia and India.

Also speaking on the topic of the revitalization of the Assembly were Pakistan, Venezuela, Bolivia, Brazil, San Marino and El Salvador.

The representative of the Democratic Republic of the Congo spoke in exercise of the right of reply.

The General Assembly will reconvene at 3 p.m. Monday, 30 November, to take up the Question of Palestine and the situation in the Middle East.

Background

The General Assembly met today for its joint debate on the report of the Peacebuilding Commission and the Secretary-General’s report on the Peacebuilding Fund.  The Assembly was also expected to conclude its consideration of matters related to revitalization of its work. (For more information please see Press Release GA/10889.)

Before delegations was the Secretary-General’s report on the Peacebuilding Commission on its third session (A/64/341-S/2009/444), which covers the period from 23 June 2008 to 30 June 2009.  It observes that the Commission had gained valuable experience through its engagements with countries on its agenda: Burundi, Central African Republic, Guinea-Bissau and Sierra Leone.  That experience will inform future work, notably in interpreting its advisory role and implementing mandates.

In the area of coordination and partnerships, the report underscores that the United Nations, while a key actor, was not the only body involved in post-conflict peacebuilding, and it should strengthen its coordination with multiple regional and international actors.  The Commission, therefore, would encourage closer cooperation with complementary regional processes like the African Peer Review of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) mechanism.

Also, the existence of a single national peacebuilding strategy - developed through a consultative process among country-level partners - significantly helped facilitate coordination, the report says.  That was consistent with the Commission’s commitment to the principles of national ownership, mutual accountability and sustained partnership.  The Commission would also continue its collaboration with international financial institutions to ensure a shared strategic approach in strengthening State functions and promoting economic recovery.

Further, the Commission’s value added would be enhanced through demand-driven engagement with national actors, which would lead to sustained attention to priorities and promotion of an integrated approach of the United Nations’ post-conflict response.  As such, the Commission has discussed how to build or make use of existing in-country assessments, strategy-setting processes and country plans to ensure that peacebuilding priorities receive focused support without generating high transaction costs for national partners.

In terms of resource mobilization, rapid and flexible funding, aligned to an agreed strategy, was critical to peacebuilding, and the Commission was convinced that funding should be viewed as an early investment in sustainable peace and development and, thus, might require greater risk-taking than normal development funding.

The Commission continued to address the challenges of mobilizing predictable and sustained resources, the report says, and was exploring ways to engage non-traditional partners, the diaspora, private foundations and the private sector to supplement the flow of official development assistance. It would continue to broaden the base of countries willing to contribute financial and technical resources.

In terms of communications and outreach, there was limited awareness about the Commission’s role, the evolving concept of peacebuilding and how to best support that endeavour.  Given that, the Commission would explore initiatives like the appointment of goodwill ambassadors, establishment of a group of friends and convening of an annual high-level peacebuilding forum.  A communications strategy would be developed to target national stakeholders, bilateral and institutional donors, regional actors and practitioners.

Finally, the report notes that, in the past three years, the Commission consolidated its core advisory role and showed increasing support for countries on its agenda.  The 2010 review of the Commission’s founding resolutions will provide a prime opportunity to build on its experience and in that context, the role of the Organizational Committee should be reassessed, given the need for overall strategic vision.

Also before the Assembly was the report of the Peacebuilding Fund (A/64/217-S/2009/419), which covers the 1 July 2008 to 30 June 2009 period, and states that as at 1 June 2009, the Fund’s portfolio stood at $312.9 million, up from $44 million in June 2008, with total deposits of $309.6 million, up $71 million, received from 45 donors -– the broadest donor base of any multi-donor trust fund administered by the United Nations.

Of the $309.6 million in programmable funds, $141.3 million was allocated to support peacekeeping activities in 12 countries, four of which are on the Commission’s agenda, the report says. Nine country situations also drew on emergency funding, some receiving support under priority plan funding. Funds transferred to recipient organizations totalled $87.7 million at 31 December 2008; by June 2009, that amount had increased to $115 million. However, project implementation rates were lagging behind expectations, reflecting the difficulty of operationalizing protracted country-level project vetting processes.

The report says there were various achievements in the four countries before the Peacebuilding Commission - Burundi, Central African Republic, Guinea-Bissau and Sierra Leone.  Other progress was made in those nations declared eligible for funding by the Secretary-General, namely Comoros, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guinea, Liberia and Nepal.

Among the lessons learned, the report highlight’s the Fund’s start-up phase as among the most critical, labour-intensive periods for the United Nations country team, yet -- there was little spare capacity to meet the new demands that phase entailed.  A greater focus on start-up support was essential. There was room to better calibrate the engagement between the Fund and the Peacebuilding Commission, while more attention had to be given to the national joint steering committees.

Among its conclusions, the report says that the Fund’s early successes and innovations underline its importance. Its “teething problems” were not unusual and much was learned in the initial two years of its full operation. Such experience must now inform concerted efforts by the Peacebuilding Support Office, recipient United Nations organizations and States to address its shortcomings.  Applying the new terms of reference and addressing challenges should enable the Fund to serve as a “fast-disbursing” and agile peacebuilding instrument to be fully used in the immediate aftermath of conflict.

The way ahead includes the creation of full fund management capacity within the Support Office to improve global and country-level support, notably during the start-up phase of Fund activities in each country, the report says.  It also involves the establishment of an accountability framework; improved synergy with the Peacebuilding Commission, especially regarding countries on its agenda and in better capturing lessons learned; use of the Fund to improve system-wide cooperation; and expansion of the Fund’s operations to strategically assist more countries.

Finally the Assembly would consider the Secretary-General’s report on peacebuilding in the immediate aftermath of conflict (A/63/881-S/2009/304), which focuses on the challenges faced by post-conflict countries and the international community in the immediate aftermath of conflict -- defined as the first two years after the main conflict in a country has ended. Reflecting on past peacebuilding experience, section II underscores the imperative of national ownership as a central theme of the report and highlights the unique challenges arising from the specific context of early post-conflict situations.  The threats to peace are often greatest during this early phase, but so too are opportunities to set virtuous cycles in motion from the start.

The report notes that the immediate post-conflict period offers a window of opportunity to provide basic security, deliver peace dividends, shore up and build confidence in the political process, and strengthen core national capacity to lead peacebuilding efforts thereby beginning to lay the foundations for sustainable development.  If countries develop a vision and strategy that succeeds in addressing these objectives early on, it substantially increases the chances for sustainable peace —- and reduces the risk of relapse into conflict.  In too many cases, we have missed this early window.

The report’s section III identifies several recurring priorities that relate directly to these core objectives, and for which international assistance is frequently requested in the early days after conflict.  Seizing the window of opportunity requires that international actors are, at a minimum, capable of responding coherently, rapidly and effectively to support these recurring priorities.  Section IV describes United Nations efforts to enhance the effectiveness of its post-conflict response, and identifies systemic challenges related to differing mandates, governance structures and financing arrangements, which prevent the Organization from making deeper reforms.

Section V sets out an agenda to strengthen the United Nations response in the immediate aftermath of conflict as well as to facilitate an earlier, more coherent response from the global community.  Its core elements include: stronger, more effective and better supported United Nations leadership teams on the ground; early agreement on priorities and alignment of resources behind them; strengthening United Nations support for national ownership and capacity development from the outset;

It also involves rationalizing and enhancing the United Nations capacity to provide knowledge and deployable personnel to meet the most urgent peacebuilding needs, in concert with partners who have an advantage in particular areas; working with Member States, particularly donors, to enhance the speed, alignment, flexibility and risk tolerance of funding mechanisms.

Finally, the report’s section VI considers the critical role of the Peacebuilding Commission in supporting post-conflict countries and proposes several suggestions for consideration by Member States as to how the Commission could strengthen its advisory role in relation to the early post-conflict period.

Action

Before starting its joint debate on the Peacebuilding Commission and the Peacebuilding Fund, the Assembly, acting on the recommendations of its Second Committee (Economic and Financial), decided to postpone the holding of its fourth High-level Dialogue on Financing for Development, originally scheduled for 23 and 24 November 2009, on the understanding that the exact dates were to be determined no later than 11 December 2009.

After that decision, the representative of Sweden, speaking on behalf of the European Union, said his delegation could go along with the move, but not without regrets.  It was highly unfortunate that the Assembly was caught in the situation of cancelling a high-level event at such short notice. That was not good for the United Nations’ credibility.

He understood that a written explanation from the Secretariat on what went wrong would be circulated, and which would help his capital understand the postponement.  He underlined the importance of not winding up in such a situation again.  The European Union was ready to engage in consultations on new dates for the dialogue, a decision that must be carefully prepared to ensure the meeting’s high quality.

Statements on Peacebuilding Commission and Peacebuilding Fund

Launching the joint debate, General Assembly President ALI ABDUSSALAM TREKI underscored that peacebuilding was essential to any comprehensive approach to peace and development.  The 2005 World Summit recognized that helping countries emerging from conflict was an inevitable duty of the global community. Thus, the Peacebuilding Commission and the Peacebuilding Fund were established. Today’s discussion offered an opportunity to evaluate progress and propose new ways to improve performance. Thanks to the Commission, the voices of millions of people in post-conflict countries could be heard.  That was the main foundation for any peacebuilding partnership.  Such a partnership must tackle complex issues entailed in conflict: military, humanitarian and others.  To face those and other challenges, strategies, supported by sufficient resources, were needed.

“This is a serious initiative” he said, the success of which depended on collective political will of States and support to the Commission.  He expressed hope that the upcoming review of the Commission would allow a focus on peace related issues and would provide sufficient resources for the body to carry out its mandate.  For his part, he had held a meeting with the President of the Security Council, and agreed to an open, comprehensive review. To that end, he would have two facilitators appointed.  He hoped that would lend an opportunity to provide political and other support to countries emerging from conflict.

Presenting the third annual report of the Peacebulding Commission’s work, the body’s Chairman, HERALDO MUÑOZ ( Chile), noted that both the Security Council and General Assembly had received an additional report by the Secretary-General on peacebuilding in the immediate aftermath of conflict.  That had illustrated the emphasis the United Nations was placing on securing coherent and integrated global response to such situations.  The Commission’s third report, a collective effort of its Organizational Committee, highlighted both facts and analysis of the Commission’s activities, as well as strategies for future efforts. Also addressed in the report were critical policy questions and lessons learned relevant to its mandate, he said. 

He then referred to the Commission’s consolidation of its core advisory role and its increased support for the countries on its agenda, which had led to broader and deeper partnerships with relevant actors and participants.  That was reflected in a variety of ways, among them, the Commission’s links with the General Assembly, the Security Council and Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC); the Commission and ECOSOC’s recent jointly organized event with the World Food Programme (WFP) on food and economic crisis in post-conflict countries; the Commission’s expanded partnerships with national, regional and international organizations; and its recent visit to the African Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa. 

Further, the Organizational Committee, which represented the core group of the Commission’s members, continued to enhance its capacity to implement core mandates and evolve critical peacebuilding strategies.  The Committee also focused on the Commission’s resource mobilization mandate, the generating of income, and rule of law coordination strategies in post-conflict countries, to name a few.  The Commission had also worked to raise global awareness of the challenges facing countries emerging from conflict through workshops, special events and most recently a digital commemorative version of John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s classic, “Give peace a chance,” which when downloaded from iTunes would support the Commission’s activities.

He observed that the task of providing the nexus between security, rule of law and development activities to establish sustainable peace while coordinating and coherent and integrated response with the range of participants in humanitarian, security and development activities was “daunting.”  However, while he could identify the progress of the Commission in its advisory role with both Organization and non-Organization operational entities, the Commission remained, in his opinion “under-utilized.” 

The Commission’s unique link to the three principal United Nations organs, and its unique membership and flexibility to engage non-United Nations and non-governmental actors could promote seamless transition from humanitarian to early recovery assistance, a synergy between peacekeeping and peacebuilding mandates and national cap city development in critical peacebuilding priorities.  The 2010 review of the Commission’s founding resolutions would provide the Commission, he stated in conclusion, an opportunity to build upon its experiences and further define its potential role in expanding and enhancing its support to countries emerging from conflict. 

ANDERS LIDÉN ( Sweden), speaking on behalf of the European Union, said supporting countries emerging from conflict was a moral obligation and duty of the international community.  “We must not fail to meet this challenge”, he said.  The United Nations, with its broad range of tools, had a vital role in building a sustainable peace.  That was why the European Union had been engaged in the Peacebuilding Commission since 2005.  The 2010 review was a timely opportunity to reinvigorate the vision behind the Commission and chart the way forward.  Its mandate to bring all relevant actors together, marshal resources and provide advice based on integrated strategies made the Commission a forum for policy coordination at the strategic level.  It could play a central role in addressing critical gaps in peacebuilding efforts.

He said the Commission was also an important framework for mutual accountability, under which Governments and the global community could be held to account on their agreed commitments.  For it to deliver on its potential, a high level of ownership was central.  Members of the Commission must ensure that commitments translated into policy and action on the ground.  The European Union would welcome a more structured relationship, including more interaction between the Commission and the Security Council.  That would promote the early inclusion of peacebuilding in the Council’s consideration and decisions. The European Union encouraged the Commission to be flexible in its engagement and focus on a limited set of priorities at the country level.

Support for peacebuilding would be determined by the ability to support efforts on ground, he said, calling for implementation of the Secretary-General’s recommendations.  Strengthening of operational capacity in core sectors was required, including by the timely deployment of civilian capacities. Investing in post-conflict situations involved risks.  As for the Peacebuilding Fund, it should play a key role in existing funding mechanisms and he looked forward to it reaching its full potential.  The Peacebuilding Support Office also had key role in providing solid input to the Commission’s deliberations.  The European Union would continue to support efforts to assist countries in building sustainable peace.

RAYMOND WOLFE (Jamaica), speaking on behalf of the Non—Aligned Movement, said the Organizational Committee must play the central role in guiding the Commission’s work, and the increase in the number of meetings was welcome.  They provided tremendous added value in building the partnerships so critical to the Commission’s work and in addressing approaches to implementing mandates.  The increased interaction of the Commission Chair with other United Nations organs was also welcome, but that interaction should be expanded to include the wider Commission membership.

Further, he said ongoing efforts to increase public awareness about the Commission and to increase its visibility were also welcome.  However, efforts should be aimed at members of the average public rather than just those in academia.  The decision to appoint goodwill ambassadors had been a positive step in that direction.

Calling on the Commission to develop its own working methods and rules of procedure so as to increase the efficacy, consistency and transparency of its work, he said the work of the Working Group on Lessons Learned should now be incorporated into the Commission’s overall strategy and policy.  Rather than continuing to discuss “lessons learned,” the findings should now be applied to the Commission’s work.  The development dimension of the Commission’s work should also be strengthened.  Preparations for the 2010 review should begin as early as possible.  And finally, the revised terms of reference of the Peacebuilding Fund should be applied immediately to enable the Fund to be a flexible, responsive and focused resource for peacebuilding support.  The quarterly briefings by the Peacebuilding Support Office should continue.

MONA JUUL (Norway), speaking on behalf of the Nordic Countries, said that supporting post-conflict countries was an international responsibility and, although still in its “infancy,” she was pleased to see the Peacebuilding Commission’s ability to adapt and grow from its experiences in the three years since its establishment.  Turning to the issue of national ownership, she pointed out that the “yardstick of success” was in the Commission’s ability to help prevent countries on its agenda from relapsing into conflict.  This would only be ensured through a focus on national priorities and accepting feedback from national authorities and local and international organizations.  In that regard, she commended the Commission’s Sierra Leone configuration and urged that future national and international development efforts use this as a core strategy.

She also said that, in its strategies, the Commission needed to avoid duplicating the work of other organizations. Further, it should not produce new sets of priorities but support the existing ones.  The Commission also needed to ensure greater coherence between the political mandate given by the Security Council and the many development and humanitarian mandates of the Organization’s agencies.  However, she stressed, for the Commission to be successful in all its efforts, Members States needed to take a “hard look at ourselves.”  The Commission could not promote coordination of its work if States were not willing to maintain a consistent approach in bilateral and multilateral actions.

Referring to the role of women in producing sustainable peace, she observed that the condition of women and girls often reflected how far peacebuilding efforts had come.  The formal inclusion of women in creating peace and security norms supported a realistic perspective of what the population in question required in order to return to a peaceful existence. “Women’s place is not in the margins, but in the centre of decision making fora,” she stated.  In conclusion, she applauded the new head of the Peacebuilding Support Office, Judy Cheng-Hopkins, who after her appointment visited the field level to strengthen communication between Headquarters and the field.  This heralded the strong leadership that would advance the peacebuilding agenda in all future endeavours, she stated.

JAKKRIT SRIVALI ( Thailand) said security and development were closely intertwined and mutually dependent and the Peacebuilding Commission should seek to advance both security and development simultaneously. Disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration, and security sector reform, had to be urgently carried out in any peacebuilding process.  At the same time, issues such as employment, income generation, citizens’ basic needs, livelihoods and education should not receive less attention and were an integral part of post-conflict reintegration and rehabilitation. Women and youth had an important role to play in peacebuilding.

Thailand agreed with the recommendation that the Security Council should more actively use the Commission’s advice in its consideration of post-conflict situations.  He welcomed the Council’s Presidential Statement of 22 July 2009, which had recognized the importance of launching peacebuilding assistance at the earliest possible stage.

Stressing the role of sustained stability in revitalizing the political, economic and social life of a post-conflict society, he fully supported enhancing the Peacebuilding Fund to be more effective and responsive to urgent needs on the ground.  He welcomed its revised terms of reference as endorsed by General Assembly resolution 63/282. He urged Member States that had not done so, to extend their support to the Fund.  He also encouraged synergy among various peacebuilding efforts.  Both within the framework of the United Nations and at the same time, complimentary efforts by other actors, both individual and regional, would be welcome.  He looked forward to constructive consultations that would lead into a review of the Commission’s arrangements in 2010.  As a member of the Organizational Committee, Thailand would work closely with its partners to strengthen the Commission, he said.

MAGED ABDELFATTAH ABDELAZIZ (Egypt) said that the proposal to start peacebuilding operations at the same time as peacekeeping merited careful consideration, with a view to strengthening the connection between those two activities and tying them to the establishment of foundations for sustainable development.  In addition, he suggested that the Peacebuilding Commission intensify its field visits to strengthen its channels of communication and better mobilize resources, and that it continue to clarify and develop its relationships with the major United Nations bodies.  In that context, it should re-evaluate its own rules of procedure, to ensure that cases under consideration were dealt with according to specific and objective criteria, without prejudice to political or financial pressures.

He also proposed that the Commission re-emphasize the principals of national ownership and the authority of a State to terminate peace-building operations within its borders.  He highlighted the need to establish follow-up mechanisms to ensure implementation of all relevant national and international obligations in peace-building, and, at the same time, to ensure that the role of the Commission did not devolve into a mere trusteeship or donor-facilitation role.  For that purpose, the responsibilities of the non-donor members of the Organization Committee should be strengthened and an in-depth assessment of the country-specific configurations should be made.  He called for adequate financial and human-resources support to the Secretariat of the Commission, and for clarification of the relationship between the Commission and the Peacebuilding Fund.

HOANG TCHI TRUNG ( Viet Nam) said that, to establish an integrated approach to peacebuilding, the Assembly’s 2005 World Summit had created the Peacebuilding Commission, the Peacebuilding Fund and the Peacebuilding Support Office.  He commended the Commission’s undertakings over the last three years.  Indeed, it had delivered tangible results, especially in enhancing public awareness and outreach, and capacity building, as well as by improving its procedures and working methods.

From July 2008 to June 2009, given its revised terms of reference, the Fund’s portfolio stood at $312 million, with projects in 12 countries.  Reconciliation and reconstruction progress was underway in Burundi, Guinea-Bissau and Sierra Leone, among other countries.  Now that the peacebuilding architecture was in place, he said the challenge was in consolidating achievements and adding value in the period ahead.

He said that much remained to be done to make the Commission among the key coordination mechanisms.  The Commission should further improve its working methods and rationalize its institutional relationship with other United Nations bodies with a view to creating better division of labour. It also should ensure its work was driven by the best interests of recipient countries.

The Fund had helped to bridge funding gaps, accommodating Governments’ financial and institutional capacities, he continued.  That mechanism should improve its catalytic focus in various areas, notably in its support for peace agreements, and promotion of peaceful conflict resolution, economic recovery, and immediate peace dividends. The Commission could involve itself in various post-conflict contexts and a cost-cutting approach was essential to that.  Improvements on its agenda would help it nurture autonomous capacity and lay the ground for peace and development.  Viet Nam welcomed the Commission’s efforts to assess its work and make recommendations on how it could best play its advisory role with countries emerging from conflict.

DEWI S. WAHAB ( Indonesia) said that in order to foster a comprehensive approach of security and development, her delegation supported the four priority areas identified by the Secretary-General. She hoped the Fund’s disbursement in the area of “early economic recovery and immediate peace dividends,” now the lowest among the four areas, would be increased in line with the priority plans of the Governments.  The report had aptly recognized national ownership as a key guiding principle in the engagement by Commission and the Fund, and Indonesia welcomed the Commission’s acknowledgement that a single national peacebuilding strategy should be developed through a consultative process among all relevant partners at the country level.

Referring to a recommendation in the Secretary-General’s report on peacebuilding in the immediate aftermath of conflict report that the United Nations should have rapidly deployable civilian capacities and backstop the national and regional capacities, she said a detailed policy on the recruitment modalities for such capacity should be charted through an intergovernmental process.  The operational and financial aspects could also be charted through that process and the role of the Commission would be very important and needed to be clarified, she said.

Indonesia continued to raise awareness about that issue throughout the region and to explore how countries from the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) could contribute to global post-conflict peacebuilding.  Indonesia planned to convene a regional workshop on multidimensional peacekeeping and peacebuilding, to be co-hosted with Slovakia, early next year, she said.  Referring to the Assembly’s upcoming mandated review of the Commission’s founding resolutions next year, she said that would be a vital juncture to further streamline and institute ways to enhance the Commission’s effectiveness.

MARIA CORDEIRO DUNLOP ( Brazil) welcomed the Commission’s improved working methods and interaction with United Nations principle organs, international financial institutions and other United Nations agencies.  She also praised efforts of philanthropists and foundations in peacebuilding efforts and encouraged a more enhanced role for the private sector, especially in light of the need to mobilize resources. The task now was to envision how various recommendations could best strengthen the United Nations’ ability to tackle peacebuilding challenges.

She said Brazil supported the creation of high-level coordination mechanisms, the definition of clear mandates among different actors and consideration of innovative and flexible funding instruments.  The latter aspect was essential, as it was difficult to ensure adequate funding, given the many uncertainties associated with post-conflict scenarios.  The Fund had been instrumental in its catalytic role in critical priority areas.  Its new terms of reference must be applied in a way that allowed for greater coordination with the Commission, while it also had to improve its performance in supporting early-recovery in post-conflict countries.  Ideas on the creation of civilian rosters or early deployment of civilian personnel were worth exploring.

If peacebuilding efforts were to succeed, they must start as early as possible, she said.  Attention should be given to those countries where conflict had long ago ended but where donor fatigue lingered.  In the case of the Guinea-Bissau configuration, chaired by Brazil, the Commission had addressed priorities set out in the strategic framework adopted last year and was currently assessing progress and defining next steps.  The 2010 review would provide a valuable opportunity to gauge the Commission’s performance.

It was fair to say that the Commission had yet to reach its full potential, as outlined in its founding resolutions, but rather than reduce the scope of its mandate, she urged strengthening its capacity to deliver on its tasks. Work on the strategic frameworks could be enriched with a more regular interaction with financial institutions.  A more thorough view on existing strategies was also welcome.  The Commission would benefit from more regular interaction with other United Nations agencies, funds and programmes.  Strengthening the Organization’s capacity on the ground was indispensable for the Commission and the Assembly should think of ways to automatically enhance the local capacity of the United Nations once a given country was included on the Commission’s agenda.  That would also help narrow the gap between New York and the country concerned.

PETER ALEXANDER LE ROUX (South Africa) said the priorities in the post-conflict environment should be centred on the important pillars of post-conflict reconstruction:  security, social and economic development, justice and reconciliation, and good governance and participation.  South Africa welcomed the significant role being played by the international community in assisting post-conflict countries overcome their challenges. South Africa regarded close cooperation between the Commission and regional and sub-regional organizations as critical and welcomed, for example, the meeting between the Peace and Security Council of the African Union and the Commission’s delegation in Addis Ababa in November 2009.

Regarding the detrimental impact of the current financial crisis on countries emerging from conflict, he said the Commission’s role in marshalling resources was critical and he encouraged members to contribute generously to the Fund.  South Africa welcomed the revised terms of reference that transformed the Fund’s three windows of architecture into two facilities, which would improve its performance by providing greater operational responsiveness and increased efficiency, he said.  The upcoming 2010 review process would provide an opportunity for everyone to take stock and measure the impact of the Commission’s mandate.  The process would draw lessons from previous years and pay attention to the critical peacebuilding priorities, gaps and achievements.

GONZALO GUTIERREZ REINEL ( Peru) said the Commission’s true importance stemmed from its objective of adopting integrated strategies for consolidating peace so efforts by national, regional and international partners could be coordinated with nations recovering from conflict.  The constant coordination and interaction that the Commission and Fund had to maintain with other United Nations institutions was also relevant.  That synergy must be extended to international and regional institutions.

The transition from peacebuilding to State-building was extremely important and it was crucial to bridge the gap between weak institutional capability and delays in financing projects.  Peacebuilding also required greater involvement by women throughout the process, he said.  Peru believed three vital areas required attention in any peacebuilding process:  development, security and governability.

Turning to international cooperation, Peru believed that priority should be given to strengthening political systems, the training of civilian staff members, and designing and implementing projects that would produce rapid social impact.  He said it must remain clear that international cooperation was oriented toward strengthening the exercising of sovereignty, with full respect of international law and the principles of the United Nations Charter.

MOURAD BENMEHIDI (Algeria) noted that the Commission was becoming a “dynamic player” and partner in developing and implementing guiding strategies for countries emerging from conflict.  Member States were not supporting another bureaucratic institution but bolstering a multi-dimensional strategy dealing with complex circumstances.  Further, he observed that the international community was “paying attention” and adapting within their tools the work of the Commission.

Turning to the issue of security and development, he noted the many views that topic had garnered and commented that even within the Commission there were differing opinions on the matter.  Discussion and debate on the collaboration between security and socio-economic development was important, and identified measures should be considered for implementation.  In light of the upcoming 2010 overview, he noted several points that would improve the Commission’s work, among them, having the panel develop more global visibility and become more effective as a catalyst.  He also suggested expanded outreach to regional organizations could include meetings held outside of New York, such as the Commission’s recent trip to the African Union in Addis Ababa. 

He went on to call for the Commission’s work to be integrated into the strategies of the Security Council and other institutional actors so that the United Nations could have a greater coherence in its peacekeeping and peacebuilding efforts. To that end, he stressed that the walls between peacekeeping and building be broken down so that more support for post-conflict countries was available.  One possibility, he said, could be transferring and redirection peacekeeping resources during the exit of operations toward peacebuilding and stabilization. That would help support that country’s infrastructure and ability to pay its police, generate employment opportunities and support the United Nations’ efforts toward that country’s citizens.

PETER MAURER (Switzerland) said that five years after the United Nations established a peacebuilding structure, building peace was as important as keeping peace.  “Peacekeeping is stretched to its limits,” he observed, and the strong efforts of peacebuilding to prevent conflicts and support sustainable peace were of great value and needed political, economic and institutional commitment and investment so that it did not become a “cheap alternative to peacekeeping.”

Highlighted in both the Secretary-General’s and the Commission’s reports was the need for a joint approach to situations affected by conflict and for more effective, coherent and coordinated action by the United Nations, the Bretton Woods Institutions and Member States. He called for expanded support to strengthen the Organization’s leadership in that area, specifically regarding Resident Coordinators in post-conflict situations, and urged that the funds, programmes and specialized agencies support the expanded authority of the Resident Coordinator and for the Chief Executive Board (CEB) to formalize this authority.

The potential of the Commission also needed to be more fully utilized, he continued, pointing out that its membership, its power to convene stakeholders and its ability to offer political interface between the Organization and conflict affected countries was valuable to creating effective partnerships for peace. Although there were numerous initiatives underway, he called for a “more structured and inclusive dialogue between all stakeholders.” To that end, he also requested that the Secretary-General present, in April 2010, a forward-looking report of concrete recommendations to the General Assembly which would review, among other items, the 2005 Report of the High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change, as well as the components of mediation and conflict prevention and operational activities for development.  He also requested the report contain recommendations based on a comprehensive review of the work of the Commission, including its country-specific configurations.

MARTIN NEY ( Germany), commending the work of the Commission on Sierra Leone and Burundi, stressed that the panel’s success would be measured by its ability to achieve “tangible and sustainable results for people on the ground.”  Regarding the upcoming 2010 review of the Commissions arrangements, he requested that certain areas in common peacebuilding efforts be improved upon.  Amongst them were the need for the Commission to fulfil its role in strategic policy coordination in post-conflict countries, and for it to play a central role in bringing cohesion between political, security, development and humanitarian participants. 

He also urged a more structured relationship between the Security Council and the Commission so that a “better use of synergies” between peacekeeping and peacebuilding could be established.  Best practices, relevant knowledge and lessons learned needed to be shared and integrated within the wider United Nations system and beyond to that peacebuilding expertise be inputted in the Commission’s deliberations.  Finally, he noted that the coordinating role of the United Nations on the ground still needed to be strengthened.  In that regard, the “One UN” concept would be a step toward better coherence of the Organization’s activities, as well as facilitating coordination between donors.

SOCORRO ROVIROSA ( Mexico) said the dedication of national authorities of countries on the Commission’s agenda had moved progress forward.  Among the great merits of the country configurations were their new work methods, which included field visits and video conferences, making it possible to gather first-hand information.  She supported the meetings of the Working Group on Lessons Learned on issues that were critical to recovery.  Mexico was also pleased at the Commission’s consolidation of its mandate, supervisory role and contribution to drawing up strategies for peace.  Its ability to mobilize resources was among its most remarkable aspects. Contributions of the private sector and civil society were not solely limited to finances -- they extended to human capital as well. 

Mexico appreciated the Commission Chair’s efforts to boost relations with non-traditional donors and create closer relationships with regional and sub-regional institutions, especially given the challenges created by the world economic crisis. She expressed Mexico’s firm commitment to participate in consultations at next year’s review in an inclusive and transparent manner. It was vital that, while drawing up various peace strategies in which the Commission would participate, to take into account the external factors that could create obstacles in any given country, such as, for example, organized crime and drug trafficking.  It was the equal responsibility of all actors – at national, regional and international levels. There should be a collective commitment to stopping illicit weapons and munitions in countries that were in the difficult transition conflict to peace.

As for the Fund, she expressed hope that it would be more flexible and efficient in reaching its key objectives - financing the most immediate needs and channelling such funding in the most sustainable manner.  She appreciated transparency of the Peacebuilding Support Office, which had held informal meetings with donors on the Fund’s performance.  Mexico would make its third contribution to the Fund for the 2009-2010 period, and expressed hope that its cooperation programmes offered to Guinea-Bissau, and others, would be implemented.

FAZLI CORMAN (Turkey) said that since the adoption of the resolution that had established the Peacebuilding Commission, his Government had been pleased that the panel had consolidated its core advisory role and shown increasing support for the post-conflict countries on its agenda by helping to channel resources and strengthen national capacities.  The Peacebuilding Fund had proved indispensable for ensuring the immediate release of resources, despite financial constraints.  In that context, the complexity of the reconstruction process, evolving approaches to priorities and need to adapt to prevailing global realities called for a continuous review of the instruments.

He was pleased that the Commission was discussing how to improve its work, maximize its impact and mobilize international attention, and that the Fund had put in place its new terms of reference. Peacebuilding, though embedded in the principle of national ownership, was mainly a collective effort and comprised many aspects, like conflict prevention, peacemaking, peacekeeping, humanitarian aid and development assistance.  There were many challenging areas in which responses should be as multifaceted as the problems -– from supporting political processes and creating security, to enshrining the rule of law and providing basic services like water, health and education.  For any project to succeed, various actors had to act in unison, with a view to empowering the post-conflict country to rebuild States structures –- and lives.

As for the United Nations, its peacebuilding architecture rested on the ability to “deliver as one,” a common vision based on agreed and well-supported strategy, he said.  At the 2010 review, priority should be given to building national institutions, with a focus on reinforcing existing local capacities and a transfer of -– rather than dependence on –- expertise.  A transition from peacekeeping to peacebuilding deserved increased attention, while a gender perspective should be an inseparable element for the Commission’s work.  Also, harmonizing policies and procedures for “delivering as one” should be reinforced. Finally, the financing mechanism should be made more predictable, sustainable and transparent. Creative ways to provide budget support on the basis of the needs of the country in question should also be explored.  He expressed hope that the revised terms of reference would allow the Fund to improve its efficiency.

MASUD HUSAIN (Canada) said today’s debate was an opportunity to reflect on the incremental successes of the United Nations Peacebuilding architecture and consider what improvements could be made as the 2010 review process was about to begin.  For Canada, the fundamental reason behind the architecture’s creation was clear:  the United Nations needed a body with the mandate to work in partnership with post-conflict countries to help them bridge the security and development aspects of peacebuilding. The goal was ensuring a durable peace.

While the Peacebuilding architecture had been developing, much more work remained and the upcoming review should be inclusive, transparent and focused on the particular needs of post-conflict countries.  Canada proposed three key issues to consider during that process.  First, the Commission should expand its engagement by getting involved at an earlier stage of post-conflict recovery, as called for in the Secretary-General’s report.  Second, it should adopt a multi-tiered agenda that would permit various levels of engagement, depending on the state of peace consolidation.  The Commission’s role may be one of monitoring or helping a country move from peacebuilding to a sound development footing, for example.

Third, the Commission had to improve its treatment of thematic issues and the integration of lessons learned.  It should be the central United Nations forum for discussing the strategic challenges and policy dilemmas that peacebuilding presented, he said.  That meant a stronger Peacebuilding Support Office, capable of serving as a centre of expertise and a clearinghouse of knowledge.  There was an important role for the Commission and the Support Office to play in cultivating meaningful partnerships between external and internal peacebuilding actors. This was essential to long-term sustainability.

The 2010 review was coming up at a time when the United Nations system was reforming its approach to peacebuilding, and the Commission should follow up on the recommendations outlined in the Secretary-General’s report.  Canada looked forward to further clarification of roles and responsibilities, the development of mutual accountability measures for senior United Nations leadership teams and greater integration of United Nations efforts in the field.

“The 2010 Review is an opportunity to realize the full ambition of the commission’s original vision.  It is time for the [Peacebuilding Commission] to take a hard look at its business methods, build on successes, maintain its adaptability, and prove its worth,” he said.

JAN GRAULS ( Belgium) said that in the collective thinking about the Commission’s past and future, his delegation underscored the importance of learning from the vision that had underpinned the panel’s creation four years ago.  The Commission was to be a platform for channelling and mobilizing international efforts to assist countries emerging from conflict.  All stakeholders must therefore intensify their efforts towards such coordination and mobilization.

Continuing, he said the Secretary-General’s report on the immediate aftermath of conflict contained good recommendations, including the rapid deployment of civilian capacity and improving coordination.  The Commission’s work was dynamic -- it had made much progress since its establishment.  The various country configurations had sought to adapt their working methods, both in New York and the field, and had tried to tailor their initiatives.  “Evolution is necessary” he said, and lessons from the past must be learned.  That was what Belgium was trying to do in the Central African Republic, the latest country placed on the Commission’s agenda.

He explained that the links between peacebuilding and peacekeeping must be brought closer together, and the Commission could make real contributions to such goals.  In the Central African Republic configuration, Belgium had worked to improve links with the United Nations Economic Commission of Central Africa (UN-ECA), the European Union and the African Union, among others.  Work towards security-sector reform and the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of former rebels had become real imperatives.  With that in mind, Belgium had worked with United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), among others, to find solutions for former child soldiers.

In addition, formal and informal procedures should be examined, he said, notably in areas where the Commission interacted with the Security Council, General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council.  For example, the Commission gave advice to the Security Council and that function could be deepened.  In its relations with the General Assembly, the Commission could perhaps organize a second annual debate on peacebuilding, in addition to the debate on the report. The Central African Republic configuration worked well and closely with the European Commission, World Bank and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). As for the Peacebuilding Fund, he was pleased at the Secretariat’s work to make the Fund more responsive and efforts to improve the Fund’s cooperation with both bilateral partners and the Commission.  Belgium would be active partner in support of peacebuilding.

THEO-BEN GURRIRAB ( Namibia), former President of the General Assembly, speaking in his capacity as President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), said that “the promotion of peace lies in the heart of the mandate of the Inter-Parliamentary Union.”  A parliament, which was the melting pot of any society’s diverse components, was the best antidote to conflict.  To that end, the IPU supported and assisted parliaments in developing countries and in particular, those in post-conflict countries to face the “daunting challenges” of building peace and social stability and he heralded the growing cooperation between the IPU and the Commission in this regard.

He went on to note the IPU’s long-term efforts with the parliament in Burundi toward creating a framework for on-going dialogue, consensus-building and inclusive decision-making.  The organization was also working with the Sierra Leone parliament in its reconciliation process.  Further, Kenya’s parliament was finalizing an action plan to implement the overall political agreement and the IPU would be accompanying the parliament in all stages of implementation.  With the Commission, the IPU was working with the parliament of Central African Republic to develop strategies for long-term development and consolidation efforts.

He urged the Assembly to, while respecting their sovereignty, give its full support to these countries’ parliaments so that they could become representative, transparent, accountable, accessible and effective institutions.  “That is one of the most vital investments the international community can make to building peace and reconstruction,” he stated.

PARK IN-KOOK ( Republic of Korea) said the Commission’s third annual report was a testament to both its achievements and the challenges it faced, and would be a valuable asset in the 2010 review.  One of the priority topics of that process should be exploring how to strengthen the Commission’s role in the early engagement of international efforts in post-conflict situations.

As an advisory body to the Security Council, the Commission had a substantive role to play in strengthening the peacekeeping and peacebuilding architecture.  Those two functions should be pursued seamlessly with sustainable development.  It was time to begin developing entry and exit strategies for the Commission, a subject that deserved through analysis in the 2010 review process, he said.  Some countries needed to shift to the next stage of sustainable economic growth while other countries wanted to be placed on the Commission’s agenda.  The international community needed to find a way to incorporate more countries onto its agenda.  The “light engagement” model suggested by some delegations would provide an option to let the Commission engage with more countries at the same time.

To prevent post-conflict countries from relapsing into conflict situations, the Commission needed to deliver quick impact results to the people in those countries.  Peacebuilding should be orchestrated among various players he said, emphasizing the importance of links with United Nations partner organizations, regional organizations and international financial institutions.  He was pleased that the donor base of the Fund had been expanded to 45 donors and its portfolio had been significantly increased.  This showed the confidence that Member States had in the Fund, he said.

HERMAN SCHAPER ( Netherlands) observed that the Commission had developed country specific approaches that focused on where gaps existed in peacebuilding areas and addressed these gaps through integrated and well-coordinated cooperation frameworks.  The four countries on the Commission’s agenda required that tailored approach, which took into account their specific and individual needs.  Such flexibility on the part of the Commission was a major asset and a key principle, which in his view, should be preserved.  Further, the Commission had been instrumental in bringing international attention to critical issues as they emerged in those countries, notably the regional security issue of drug trafficking in West Africa and its effect on Guinea-Bissau and Sierra Leone.

However, he noted, the Commission would only be able to contribute to peacebuilding in countries on its agenda if the entire range of its membership, including the United Nations system, was fully committed it.  Similarly, he continued, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) also needed to be fully engaged, as well.  The Peacebuilding Cooperation Frameworks, drawn up for the countries on the Commission’s agenda, stood as critical benchmarks for measuring that commitment and its impact on the ground.  If the Peacebuilding Support Office, the Commission and Member States all drew on the valuable experiences gained and lessons learned, then the Commission would be “well placed to enter a new stage in its development,” and further the international Peacebuilding agenda.

SHIGEKI SUMI ( Japan) said that three years on, the Peacebuilding Commission had deepened its strategic discussions in the organizational committee and the country specific configurations.  Recounting its achievements in Burundi, Sierra Leone and Guinea Bissau, he said such events showed that the Commission had become an organ “committed to making a difference”.  He welcomed the increase of commitments and broadened donor base of the Peacebuilding Fund, which was supporting 12 countries in establishing durable peace, and he hoped it would attract additional resources.

Going forward, he said various points were essential in the Commission’s 2010 review.  First, the review should focus on strengthening the Commission’s effectiveness in achieving positive results on the ground.  It should not turn into a philosophical debate but, rather, focus on pragmatic fine-tuning.  Also, there should be discussion about strengthening the Commission’s advisory role vis-à-vis the General Assembly and the Security Council, as its parent organs. They should provide the Commission with concrete requests, and interaction should be conducted more regularly. Reflection and review by the Council and Assembly should increase.

Continuing, he said the review should encompass functions of the Commission, the Fund and the Peacebuilding Support Office.  There should also be discussion as to how the Commission could broaden its support to countries emerging from conflict, as the essential objective was to maximize the value of its engagement. Extending its work to various parts of the world would increase its credibility. In some cases, collaboration with peacekeeping operations could better address country needs and in that connection, the review should explore innovative ways for the Commission to deal with countries on its agenda.  Finally, he welcomed the Secretary-General’s report on peacebuilding in the immediate aftermath of conflict, which should be linked to the review.  As a founding member of the Commission, it was Japan’s duty to contribute to discussions during the review.

PHILIP PARHAM ( United Kingdom) said the Commission’s annual report had helped highlight its work and its many achievements.  The Commission had played an important role in maintaining the international spotlight on all the countries on its agenda.  Its bi-annual reviews had served to maintain pressure so that all parties involved lived up to their commitments.  Still, he said, there were many challenges ahead. For example, in fragile Guinea-Bissau, plagued by multiple assassinations over the past year, there was a need to use the current window of opportunity following the inauguration of the new Government to tackle some of key peacebuilding concerns, notably, security sector reform.

He went on to say that while there were examples of the Commission genuinely helping peacebuilding processes, he wondered if that was enough.  Indeed, there were difficult questions that needed to be asked, such as why hadn’t more post-conflict countries come forward to be placed on the Commission’s agenda? How solid a bridge had been built to bring security and development actors together? To what extent did the Commission’s business practices let it respond to emergency needs?

The upcoming review would provide an important opportunity to take stock of such concerns and in doing so, reinvigorate the Commission and clarify its added value.  The review should also better establish the links between peacebuilding and peacekeeping.  It should also determine a way to address the lack of progress in some areas, such as strengthening the rule of law, economic recovery, and restoration of core Government functions.  The review could look at how the Commission could play a greater role in an international approach to peacekeeping.

Finally, he said the Peacebuilding Fund had an important role to play and it should provide rapid and flexible financing.  The Support Office had to implement more guidelines. The review would provide an opportunity to improve the functioning of peacekeeping activities.  The new peacekeeping architecture needed to deliver real benefits to real people in real time, he said.

ANNE ANDERSON ( Ireland), said the Commission was at the nexus of maintaining peace and security, promoting human rights and ensuring sustainable development. Her Government had first-hand experience of the complexities of crafting a sustainable peace –- its experience in Northern Ireland had taught it the range and depth of challenges involved.  Beyond its financial commitment to the Fund, Ireland worked to maintain substantial engagement in policy terms and, in May, co-chaired with Egypt a conference in Cairo on post-conflict peacebuilding.

Such a task was inherently complex and had to be undertaken at a time when a society was both exhausted and traumatised, she said. It required forging strong national institutions and capacities, which were often non-existent or nascent –- products of fragile peace agreements.  Lessons of the experience to date underscored that national ownership was critical. The global community provided a support role to reinforce national efforts. In that context, she said the Sierra Leone configuration worked well.  Also, the response must be timely and flexible, as successful peacebuilding depended on seizing “make or break” moments, which did not necessarily come easily to the United Nations.  A conscious mode change might be required if those moments were to be grasped.  Donors had to be prepared to assume greater risk.

Underscoring the importance of continuum and coherence, she said rapid response had to be combined with longer-term vision.  Instability would inevitably continue beyond the immediate aftermath of conflict and national Governments faced the “daunting” task of moving their countries along the continuum to healthy, functioning societies.  Long-term peace required a series of integrated and sequenced steps, which included action on democratic accountability, good governance, grievance mechanisms and human rights frameworks.

The Commission could consider developing standards and guidance in those areas.  Women’s empowerment was also vital.  She hoped next year’s review would retain a firm focus on what made a difference in the field.  Since the number of country-specific configurations would always be limited, the Commission might wish to consider how it could best contribute in the multiple conflict situations not encompassed by them, she said.

SYLVIE LUCAS ( Luxembourg) said it was clearer than ever that the Commission had its place within the United Nations institutional architecture.  Undertaking post-conflict peacebuilding and reconciliation should be carried out in an integrated manner to establish lasting peace.  It required moving beyond traditional structural and organizational limitations. The Commission sought to enhance links between different United Nations bodies, regional organizations and other institutions.  That coordination should be stepped up to include all humanitarian stakeholders, civil society and others.  She welcomed the Security Council’s consideration of the Commission’s recommendations by transforming the missions in Guinea-Bissau, Sierra Leone and the Central African Republic into integrated peacebuilding missions.

Maintaining a purely sequential approach to peacebuilding and peacekeeping was counter-productive, she said. Strengthening the links with the Economic and Social Council was needed.  That Council could contribute to the Commission’s work. Over the past year, as President of the Council, she had sought closer cooperation with the Commission and efforts had started to bear fruit, notably with the 29 October joint meeting, together with the World Food Programme, on the economic crises in post-conflict countries.

In implementing the second part of its mandate -- mobilizing resources –- the Commission should boost its awareness raising efforts among traditional and non-traditional donors, including diaspora.  The peace dividend should not remain a hollow concept; people should see an improvement in their situations.  The Commission should also encourage donors in post-conflict countries to align their assistance with national development strategies, in close cooperation with the affected countries.

Finally, she said the Fund’s effectiveness could be improved by implementing principles like transparency, efficiency and speed.  Luxembourg planned to maintain its support to the Fund. Success of the Commission would depend on its ability to produce results on the ground.  It should have more means to advise other post-conflict countries.  In that context, she said ongoing international commitment to conflict prevention, recovery and reconstruction was needed.

HUSSAIN B. SIAL ( Pakistan) said the Commission’s main focus during its third session was on peace-building in four situations:  Burundi, Sierra Leone, Guinea-Bissau and the Central African Republic.  He was happy to note the progress made to ensure peace gains that met people’s socio-economic needs in Burundi and Sierra Leone.  The Commission’s work with Guinea-Bissau and the Central African Republic was relatively recent and Strategic Peacebuilding Frameworks for the Commission’s work had been finalized and work had begun.  The progress warranted the Assembly’s appreciation, particularly in Guinea-Bissau, where violent incidents in March and June 2009 created significant challenges to its work.

Pakistan suggested a three-tiered strategy to strengthen the Commission’s structure and functioning.  Firs, he suggested building solid partnerships with United Nations system organizations, international financial institutions and individual donors.  A second suggestion was seeking pragmatic operating frameworks with the countries on the agenda, and a third was enhancing the Commission’s visibility and its work through a robust outreach plan.  The provision of adequate resources was essential for comprehensive peacebuilding efforts.  The Fund was an indispensible component of the overall peacebuilding architecture and it was gratifying to note the steady increase in the Fund’s portfolio over the last three years, he said.  A robust accountability framework was essential to ensure transparency and oversight.

ZHANG YESUI ( China) said the United Nations peacebuilding work could be strengthened in four ways.  The first was to adopt an integrated approach to making, building and keeping peace.  More energy must be expended in preventive diplomacy and the Security Council should take peacebuilding into consideration when deploying peacekeeping operations while also clearly defining the mandates of both to avoid duplication of effort.

Next, he said the Commission should strengthen its partnerships with recipient countries, which should bear the primary responsibility for their own peacebuilding efforts.  They should be seen as partners in dialogue on an equal footing with full entitlement of identifying priority areas of assistance.  In the development and implementation of peacebuilding strategies, the specific conditions of countries should be taken into account and the emphasis should be on strengthening capacity-building and human resource training capabilities within the recipient countries, making full use of domestic resources.

In addition, he said the 2010 comprehensive evaluation of the Commission should be seen as an opportunity to improve its institutional development.  Among other measures, the Commission should extend its focus beyond reform of the security sector, protection of human rights and promotion of the rule of law.  It should put greater emphasis on addressing the triggers of conflicts, including those involved in economic and social development.  Finally, the catalytic role of the Fund should be strengthened so that it not only provided emergent financial assistance but also attracted long-term development assistance for countries.

ISABELLE DUMONT (France) said the objective of the Peacebuilding Commission was to improve the consistency of international work in post-conflict countries. Such work affected international financial institutions, regional organizations and bilateral donors.  The Commission’s role was to create strategies that involved all stakeholders.  While the Commission had achieved results in the four countries on its agenda, the country-specific configurations had to be improved. With the 2010 review, the Commission was arriving at a key stage.  The Commission would have the opportunity to analyse its role.

As for the Peacebuilding Fund, it was a “lever” for action by the Commission, she explained.  As such, the Commission must better monitor the Fund’s projects.  It was also necessary to think about better interaction of the Fund in post-conflict countries.  Its new terms of reference should be implemented.  She commended the Peacebuilding Support Office for mobilizing resources and coordinating international efforts.  France favoured stepping up relations between the Commission and the Security Council.  Her Government supported the Commission fully and asked others to do the same.

ANDREW GOLEDZINOWSKI (Australia) said that in order to deliver tangible country-specific results in the years ahead, the Peacebuilding Commission should continue to evaluate the contributions it had made to the countries already on its agenda, engage in outreach to promote its goals and continue to refine and diversify its working methods to remain responsive to country needs.  Australia had established a deployable civilian capacity to help broaden and deepen the pool of experts and volunteers available for peacebuilding, he noted, and pledged that his country would work closely with the Commission and the wider United Nations to make sure that its contribution in that area fit in well with others, including those mobilized from developing countries.

He expressed continued support for the use of the Peacebuilding Fund as a critical catalytic tool for key peace-building priorities, welcoming the revision of the Fund’s terms of reference to make it more flexible, responsive and otherwise suitable for the purpose.  In regard to the review of the Commission planned for 2010, he said that important exercise should address the need to closely integrate peacekeeping and peace-building, which required continuing improvement of the cooperation between the Commission and the Security Council toward a collaborative partnership centred on improving the situation on the ground in the country under consideration.

ABULKALAM ABDUL MOMEN ( Bangladesh), while commending the extensive efforts and accomplishments of the Commission, said that it needed to have the central role in post-conflict peacebuilding and reconciliation.  Working with the Fund and the Support Office, it should act as the spearhead to ensure a peacebuilding coordinated, coherent and integrated architecture.  He also emphasized the principle that post-conflict societies needed to “take charge of their own destiny.”  Therefore, the Commission’s work needed to be based on national ownership and national priorities.

A rapid and flexible funding mechanisms also needed to be ensured for the Commission’s work and he urged that disbursements of the multi-donor Trust Funds and other funds be immediate to ensure early stabilization of countries emerging from conflicts.  However, in regards to the relevant resolutions, the Commission should have a central role in any discussion regarding the creation of new rapid funding mechanism.  Continuing, he said that a focus on a sustainable national political dialogue aimed at reconciliation among parties in conflict was essential and the role of women was crucial in this process.

He noted that a leading non-governmental organization based in Bangladesh which had wide ranging operations in poverty alleviation, empowerment of the poor, health and education, among others, had just begun to work with residents in several Sierra Leone communities and other countries in Africa.  He also offered to share his country’s post-liberation experience in domestic initiatives such as micro-credit and the development of agricultural cooperative arrangements, to name a few.  His country’s involvement with peacebuilding had “deep emotional basis,” as Bangladeshi peacekeepers, while serving in very difficult operations in those post-conflict countries, had made strong bonds with the local residents.  Thus, his country would not shy away from any efforts aimed at the well being of people in post-conflict societies.

MOUHAMMED LOULICHKI ( Morocco) said the Commission’s annual report allowed the Assembly to take stock of that panel’s work and progress in implementing its mandate.  There could be no doubt that the Commission had helped in reintegrating former combatants into society, and he congratulated Burundi and Guinea Bissau, among others that had taken reforms to improve justice and the rule of law.  He also congratulated the Commission on its improved operations. The Working Group on Conclusions and Experiences was an informal mechanism that allowed the Commission to receive advice from experts outside the United Nations.

Despite its youth, the Commission had shown its value in stabilizing conflict situations, he explained.  Its partnership with the main bodies should be expanded to bring more countries into those partnerships.  Along the same lines, in the country-specific configurations, significant attention should be given to training and the role of the private sector to encourage investments.

As for the Peacebuilding Fund, it should be more transparent and flexible in its working methods. The Peacebuilding Support Office’s role, notably in revising its mandate, should be underscored and supported.  To succeed, the Commission should incorporate neighbouring countries to those on its agenda.  Indeed, it was up to the global community to help the Commission achieve its goals. For its part, Morocco remained available to share its experience with African countries on the Commission’s agenda.

JOSE LUIS CANCELA ( Uruguay) said the report showed several prominent aspects of the Commission’s progress and the tangible results of building peace.  The Commission also had progressively provided increasing awareness among Member States of the crucial importance of peacekeeping tasks in maintaining international peace and security and sustainable development, two primary goals of the Organization.

This young body was one of many players in the Organization in the peacekeeping arena.  But the Commission was the only inter-governmental forum bringing North and South together to discuss peacebuilding and reconstruction.  It also brought together the political aspects of peacebuilding with development. Those aspects gave the Commission a privileged position when dealing with peacebuilding actions on a worldwide level, he said.

The upcoming review process would be very important and he hoped it would provide more space for the Commission to do its work.  The relationship between the Commission and Fund was very important, he said.  Two key aspects of the review process would be to use the opportunity to strengthen the Commission and increase its legitimacy.  With regards to greater effectiveness, it was worthwhile to review the Commission’s involvement with countries where peacebuilding efforts were being made.  Regarding its legitimacy, it was necessary to extend the feeling of ownership to all Member States and expand the base of support for United Nations peacebuilding efforts.

JOSE LUIS CANCELA ( Uruguay) said the report showed several prominent aspects of the Commission’s progress and the tangible results of building peace.  The Commission also had progressively provided increasing awareness among Member States of the crucial importance of peacekeeping tasks in maintaining international peace and security and sustainable development, two primary goals of the Organization.

This young body was one of many players in the Organization in the peacekeeping arena.  But the Commission was the only inter-governmental forum bringing North and South together to discuss peacebuilding and reconstruction. It also brought together the political aspects of peacebuilding with development. Those aspects gave the Commission a privileged position when dealing with peacebuilding actions on a worldwide level, he said.

The upcoming review process would be very important and he hoped it would provide more space for the Commission to do its work.  The relationship between the Commission and Fund was very important, he said.  Two key aspects of the review process would be to use the opportunity to strengthen the Commission and increase its legitimacy.  With regards to greater effectiveness, it was worthwhile to review the Commission’s involvement with countries where peacebuilding efforts were being made.  Regarding its legitimacy, it was necessary to extend the feeling of ownership to all Member States and expand the base of support for United Nations peacebuilding efforts.

ANDRZEJ TOWPIK ( Poland) said that since its creation in 2005, the Commission had made important contributions to post-conflict peacebuilding in countries on its agenda, providing input to the development of new partnerships and more holistic approaches integrating peace processes and development.  Already having proven its value as a platform for policy coordination of the international support for post-conflict countries, the Commission had also become a framework for mutual accountability of host Governments and the international community.

Attaching great importance to the principle of national ownership and involvement in the peacebuilding process not only of the international stakeholders and government, but also of civil society and non-governmental organizations, he said regional and sub-regional organizations could also play a greater role.  Peacebuilding was not limited to peacekeeping and the political peace process, but also included development activities and setting an economic foundation for the country.

Looking forward to the 2010 review, he said that exercise would constitute another, strategic opportunity to further improve the Commission’s work.  One of the areas that could be enhanced was the Commission’s “instrument of engagement” with the country concerned, which should not put additional burden on the government of the country, or on the Commission’s agenda, but could be based on existing national strategies and local civilian capacity.  Since sharing experience and building on earlier activities was important, it would be useful to keep record of Commission-financed projects in order to make continued use of the capacities built at the country level.

GERALD SCOTT ( United States) commended the Commission’s achievements, specifically its flexible working methods, and the mobilization of resources from traditional and non-traditional donors to support national peacebuilding priorities and strategies.  Further, the Commission’s efforts and accomplishments with the countries on its agenda showed that the Commission was capable of bringing together all stakeholders to support countries emerging from conflict and to prevent fragmentation of effort.

“We need to set our sights high,” he said in regards to the Commission’s future.  That would include, among others, ensuring that the Commission could react quickly and with flexibility, add value without adding burden to the countries on its agenda, and to prioritize and to innovate in its approaches.  The first step in the 2010 five-year review would be information gathering, informal discussion and consensus building about the scope and core elements of the review.

He urged that the review keep in mind the views and experiences of post-conflict countries both on and off the Commission’s agenda.  Although the Commission had helped shrink the gaps in international response to conflict, many remained and he stated that the review could aid in closing them if the goal of establishing peace and long-term development were at the core of its efforts.

MESFIN MIDEKSSA ( Ethiopia) observed that his country’s commitment to peacebuilding involvement began in 1948.  He lauded the recognition of the international community, as noted in the Commission’s report, of post-conflict countries’ fragility and their potential risk to global stability, and he urged that this awareness be strengthened.  Further, he emphasized the importance of the Commission working in partnership with other international actors towards creating ownerships of countries.  In order for the Commission’s endeavours to be successful, all concerned parties needed to participate in the process.

Over 60 per cent of the Security Council’s items addressed major conflicts in Africa and the countries on the Commission’s agenda were in Africa as well.  With that in mind, he urged the Commission to work “hand-in-hand with the African Union.”  He also pointed out that there was an increase of countries benefiting from the Fund and that their performance demonstrated the Commission’s achievements.  However, the increasing conflicts in Africa called for more engagement from the international community to prevent fragile countries relapsing into violence.  Without such determination, the situation in his sub-region would deteriorate in the future.

In order to move forward successfully, he said, the Commission would need to address managerial and operational challenges.  The Commission’s readiness to improve its work assured him that peacebuilding activities would continue to develop and increase.  “Peace is more precious than anything, hence the approach we took in building peace through cooperation is a noble foundation,” he stated.  The Commission, he concluded, embodied the common goal of building a peaceful life for those in crisis.

HARDEEP SINGH PURI ( India) said that as a member of the Peacebuilding Commission, his country would continue its active association with both the Commission and the Peacebuilding Fund.  The Commission filled an important institutional gap through its contribution to the recovery, reconstruction and development of countries emerging from conflict.  India, as a large, complex and diverse country, had relevant experiences to peacebuilding and development, which they made available to post-conflict countries transitioning to peace. 

Further, he commended and affirmed the Secretary-General’s report which noted that peacebuilding efforts needed to be anchored at the country level.  India also co-sponsored the resolution on the Peacebuilding Fund in May to ensure that the Fund would be structured in order to serve as a flexible, responsive, and focused recourse in peacebuilding support. 

Continuing, he noted that the Commission should strive to ensure effective two-way dialogue between the countries on its agenda and the Commission itself through all stages so that requisite assistance at the appropriate time could be engaged with flexibility for mid-course corrections when necessary.  Further, governance structures in the peacebuilding architecture needed constant improvement, which would seek to ensure that available resources in post-conflict situations were “properly harnessed in the shortest possible time.”  That was the core element of peacebuilding, he stated.

Statements on Revitalization of the General Assembly

AMJAD HUSSAIN B. SIAL ( Pakistan) said a first step to carry forward the revitalization process would be to deal with the issue of implementation of General Assembly resolutions, and discuss why more had not been achieved.  A thorough evaluation of implementation status and underlying causes for the lack thereof should be the main focus of the Ad Hoc Working Group’s deliberations in the current session.  An efficient follow-up mechanism could be useful and consist of a special unit in the Assembly President’s office.

Noting that rationalizing the Assembly’s agenda was essentially a political exercise, he said the agenda must be maintained, and remain open to the insertion of new issues in consultation with States.  Criteria used to guide those decisions would need to equitably apply to all.  In that context, he emphasized that the “sunset” clause should be carefully examined.  Further, States should be mindful of the Assembly’s role in the selection and appointment of the Secretary-General and discussions should aim to achieve consensus, not open-ended deliberations. Further, the Ad Hoc Working Group should focus on strengthening the Office of the Assembly President to enable him to take on a more effective leadership role.

Indeed, his Office could function effectively with adequate human and financial resources, he explained, noting that the Organization’s budget had grown in every area, whereas that of the Assembly President’s Office had remained unchanged since 1998.  Given the complexity and diversity of issues that necessitated stronger Secretariat support, the Office should have dedicated services like conference servicing.  It also should have more flexibility to deploy human and financial resources deemed appropriate for the session.  Going forward, Pakistan expected that through constructive dialogue, the Assembly could build on all previous resolutions on such matters and find ways to enhance the Assembly’s authority.

DIEGO MORAJÓN-PAZMINO ( Ecuador) said a true revitalization of the General Assembly was critical to overall United Nations reform.  It was essential for implementation of resolutions to be part of discussions on such issues to ensure that the Assembly could regain its proper role.  Indeed, the Assembly was the only body that could create regulations.  It was also important to define its role in selecting the Secretary-General.  On the basis of existing resolutions and the United Nations Charter, the Assembly should have a presence in that process.

Times had changed, he said, and the Assembly should keep up with the new dynamics of international relations.  The Assembly must take on a greater role with regard to international peace and security, and Ecuador was pleased that it had been able to act, notably with a resolution condemning the coup d’état in Honduras.  Ecuador believed that revitalization was proceeding on the right track. He thanked the General Assembly President for his recognition of Ecuador and Norway’s work on the issue at hand.  He reiterated Ecuador’s will to participate in such essential processes, such as it did in the Ad Hoc Working Group on Assembly revitalization.

JULIO ESCALONA ( Venezuela) stressed that if the revitalization of the General Assembly -- a cornerstone to a genuine reform process of the United Nations and central to its transformation -- did not take place, the Assembly would not be democratized in the way the people of the world were demanding.  The political configuration of the Organization had resulted from World War II.  Thus, the progressive depletion of the Assembly’s functions and its absorption by the Security Council on issues of international peace and security was a trend that was not democratic and one that needed to be reversed.  The adoption of resolution 63/309 (2008) clearly stated Member States’ pledge to seek new ways to enhance the effective authority of the Assembly.

Further, he considered the monopoly of the Security Council in selecting the Secretary-General as reflective of the lack of democracy, as that selection should be the responsibility of all Member States in the Assembly.  The revitalization of the General Assembly was not only a procedural issue, he said, but one that included questions of substance which required a concerted exploration in an appropriate transparent, universal and inclusive manner.  He stressed that the Assembly needed to remain the forum for discussion of the Organization and to maintain its independence from other organs.  To that end it was necessary to reverse the trend of Security Council involvement in matters outside its jurisdiction.

PABLO SOLON-ROMERO ( Bolivia), aligning with the statement made earlier on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said revitalization was necessary to regain the balance between the main bodies of the United Nations.  The Charter did not give the Council the right to consider certain topics.  It was necessary to regain the balance among the bodies and to ensure that the mandates would be fully respected.  It was essential for the Assembly to strengthen its resolutions.

The presidency of the Assembly needed to be strengthened and the body’s role had to be made more visible in the mass media.  The Assembly should play a greater role in the selection of the Secretary-General.  It had lost its power in this regard, he said.

GUILHERME de AGUIAR PATRIOTA ( Brazil) said the Assembly had multiple roles and it coordinated, oversaw and instructed the multiple bodies of the United Nations system.  It was a political forum for the consideration of all international issues falling within its purview.  Efforts to revitalize the Assembly should support the full breadth of its role and responsibilities.  The relationship among the United Nations principal organs should be mutually reinforcing.

Yet, while the Security Council’s agenda showed a distinct tendency to expand in new directions over time, the Assembly was overburdened by a proliferation of resolutions and agenda items, not all necessarily contributing to raising its performance standards and relevance.  The same could be said of the Economic and Social Council.  He said that certain complaints about the so-called encroachment of the Council’s work could be mitigated if the Council were made more representative, transparent and accountable to a broader membership, including of the permanent kind.

The Assembly’s role as an interface between Member States and the Secretariat should be reinforced.  More frequent and direct dialogue between the Assembly and the Chief Executive Board (CEB) would be an important step in this direction, he said.  The renewed process of selecting and appointing the Secretary-General deserved the Assembly’s full support and attention.  It was also important to consider strengthening the role of the Assembly President.

ALFREDO LOPES CABRAL ( Guinea-Bissau) stressed that revitalization was not just a slogan.  It was the recognition that problems existed and changes needed to take place.  To that end he urged Assembly delegations to “take a good look at ourselves.”  In regards to the many comments that the role attributed by the Charter to the General Assembly was being taken way, he asked who was responsible for that.  “That is the question we have to ask,” he stated, adding that Member States should be able to be self-critical. 

Continuing, he observed that the Assembly had become an automated system which voted “year after year” and asked for “report after report.”  He wondered if delegates took the time to examine the results of all those reports or if they just asked the Secretary-General for another one.  “Well, if we want to breathe new life into [the Assembly], we need to change our attitudes,” he said.  Turning to the perception that the Assembly was “a victim” of the Security Council, he pointed out that nowhere in the Charter did it say the Security Council had exclusive rights, and he asked the Assembly if they were diligent enough to share their responsibilities in issues of international peace.

He also pointed out that the Assembly could have new life if it made the decision to do so through several ways, including decreasing the overproduction of too many documents that were “useless sometimes,” and instead, use the Internet and the United Nations website.  He also urged the delegations to agree that the Assembly’s working methods were not meeting the needs of the twenty-first century. He encouraged Member States not to be afraid of technology.  A dedicated information technology system, once it was checked for security, might be an improvement.  Most of all, everyone should work towards exploring possibilities for the Council and the Assembly to work together.  “Collectively, we can shoulder the responsibilities that are ours,” he stated.

DANIELE BODINI ( San Marino) said that the many thematic debates of the General Assembly would reinforce and re-establish the role of the Assembly’s global governance.  Further, he welcomed any improvement in the selection process of the fundamental role of the Assembly’s President.  He also thanked the Security Council for its expanded openness to Members of the General Assembly.  The equitable reform of the Security Council would enhance the role of the General Assembly.

Moreover, he stated, the General Assembly needed to work more closely with the Secretariat to enhance the efficiency and transparency of the work of the Organization, including special projects such as the Capital Master Plan.  Under the leadership of President Treki, he said in conclusion, much would be accomplished.

CARMEN MARIA GALLARDO HERNANDEZ ( El Salvador) said it was very important to revitalize the Assembly as a way to democratize the Organization itself.  She supported the Assembly’s resolutions on such issues as Honduras and the Middle East.  The revitalization process should consider the role of the Assembly and the selection process of the Secretary-General.  It was necessary to strengthen the Office of the Assembly President and important to increase the body’s visibility. She supported an increase in its resources.  It was necessary to improve the voting system.

Right of Reply

Speaking in exercise of the right of reply to the statement made on 19 November 2009 by the representative of Madagascar, the representative of the Democratic Republic of the Congo spoke in his capacity as the Chair of the Southern African Development Community (SADC).  He said Madagascar had been suspended from SADC and the African Union in March of this year because of the unconstitutional change of Government that had taken place there.

He said that in August 2009, the main parties to the dispute in Madagascar had agreed on a settlement and the creation of a transitional Government representative of all parties.  Yet, the leader of the High Transitional Authority defied that agreement and appointed his own Government.  That was the basis for the action SADC had taken during the general debate.  It was not interference in the domestic affairs of a Member State, as the representative of Madagascar had stated.

Regarding the process in the United Nations, he noted that SADC members had requested an urgent meeting of the Credentials Committee, but the Committee was unable to meet.  He emphasized that the action taken by SADC was not aimed at undermining the person or the Office or Stature of the Assembly President, as claimed by Madagascar’s delegate.

Under the current item, the Assembly was discussing the revitalization of the Assembly.  SACD had identified democratic, stable and constitutional governance as a priority in assuring regional and international peace and security.  It had worked tirelessly over the past years to achieve that in numerous elections.  There had been problems and difficulties, but it was SADC’s aim to address these issues through mediation and dialogue.  It was essential for the Assembly to do the same.  SADC had continued its mediation efforts in Madagascar.  He repeated that it was important for Madagascar to continue implementing the agreements reached in order to ensure a return to constitutional governance in that country.

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