|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
6th Meeting (AM)
Peacebuilding Commission’s Organizational Committee Adopts
Draft Report for Third Session
New Head of Support Office Says Peace ‘Ultimate Public Good,’
Peacebuilding One of Key Areas for Future Relevance of United Nations
“Peace is the ultimate public good,” the newly appointed Assistant Secretary-General for Peacebuilding Support told the Organizational Committee of the Peacebuilding Commission today as it met to adopt its draft report for its third session.
Judy Cheng-Hopkins said peacebuilding was one of the key areas for the future relevance of the United Nations, but it “has not been dealt with as comprehensively as was possible”. As an “old-timer” in the United Nations system and having worked for such agencies as the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the World Food Programme (WFP) and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, she would bring that experience to the Peacebuilding Support Office (PBSO).
She said that, in order to make peace sustainable, especially in low-income countries, peacebuilding efforts required three “building blocks”, cemented by national ownership. The first building block was the essential role of Government in such areas as security, political reconciliation and rule of law and justice. The second building block was the provision of basic services in order to bring a sense of normalcy after a period of conflict, such as investing in health and education and some basic infrastructure. The third one consisted of creating livelihoods for the common people, who needed a sense of hope that they could be productive –- as well as, for the demobilized soldiers. Those were what she called the “What”.
More important, however, was the “How”, the Assistant Secretary-General continued. In order to implement strategies in difficult circumstances, the ability to work with operational agencies was key, as was ensuring coherence. The most important part in that “new architecture” would be played by the Peacebuilding Commission, which offered an opportunity for Governments to talk to Governments, something the United Nations could not always provide. That element also provided an opportunity to “stay with it”, as had been proven by the already fifth visit of the permanent representative of Belgium to the Central African Republic as Chair of that country’s specific configuration.
She announced that the functioning of the Peacebuilding Fund been revised. It now had two “windows” for operation: an immediate response facility to disburse funds in order to prevent flare-up of conflict; and a peacebuilding and recovery facility which depended on an integrated-plan approach. The Support Office could make the Commission’s work a lot easier, but could only be as successful as the Peacebuilding Commission itself.
After the Organizational Committee adopted the Commission’s draft report on its third session (document PBC/3/OC/L.1), the representative of Germany said that, although the Commission had achieved encouraging results in the countries on its agenda, its ultimate success would be measured against the extent to which it could achieve concrete results for the people on the ground. There were several factors that were essential for that success. The first was continued donor support for implementation of strategies. Adequate and sustained funding should not only come from the traditional donors. Efforts to involve new donors and to reach out to other organizations, such as the International Monetary Institutions, should be stepped up. Also, coordination and coherence were essential, and capacity building should be a central element of all the Commission’s activities on the ground.
He welcomed steps for enhanced cooperation with the principal organs of the United Nations: the General Assembly, the Security Council and the Economic and Social Council. Increasing public awareness had also been identified as important, he said, but the best publicity would be the value-added on the ground.
Speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, the representative of Jamaica said that, with the support of the Peacebuilding Support Office (PBSO), the Commission had achieved significant success in the overall effort to consolidate post-conflict recovery, rehabilitation and strengthening the foundation for socio-economic development in the countries concerned. He welcomed the increased frequency in the meetings of the Organizational Committee, which must continue to play a central role in steering the Commission’s overall work.
Interaction with the Principal Organs of the United Nations remained key, he said, and welcomed in that regard the increase in the frequency of interaction between the Chair of the Commission and the Presidents of those bodies, but asked that the wider membership of the Commission be included periodically. He also welcomed improvement in the coordination between all actors involved in peacebuilding efforts, including regional and sub-regional organizations.
He said one of the session’s highlights was the adoption of Assembly resolution 63/282, which approved the revision of the terms of reference of the Peacebuilding Fund, in order to make it as flexible, responsive and focused as possible. He noted that the Commission had yet to develop its own rules of procedure and working methods, which would contribute to the efficacy of its work. The findings of the Working Group on Lessons Learned must be incorporated in the strategy and the policies of the Commission’s work. He said the Non-Aligned Movement “lamented” the lack of focus on the development dimension of peacebuilding in the Commission’s work. Greater emphasis must be placed on such areas as education, rural agricultural and infrastructural development, private sector reform and development emphasizing job creation.
The representative of Benin said the Commission must continue to play the role of a catalyst, which involved serving as a framework for harmonizing interventions and strategies for the countries on its agenda. He stressed in that regard, the importance of the participation of national actors. Speedy disbursement of funds was an important factor that contributed to implementation of the most crucial measures in peacebuilding and prevention of a resurgence of conflict.
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