Security Council Presidential Statement Stresses Importance of Launching Peacebuilding Efforts in Immediate Post-Conflict Period
Security Council Presidential Statement Stresses Importance of Launching Peacebuilding Efforts in Immediate Post-Conflict Period
|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
6165th Meeting (AM & PM)
SECURITY COUNCIL PRESIDENTIAL STATEMENT STRESSES IMPORTANCE OF LAUNCHING
PEACEBUILDING EFFORTS IN IMMEDIATE POST-CONFLICT PERIOD
Secretary-General, Members Emphasize National Ownership, International Support
The Security Council today called for more rapid and pointed efforts to build peace in the period immediately after strife-torn countries emerged from armed conflict, following a day-long open debate in which more than 40 speakers delivered statements.
In a statement read out by Sam K. Kutesa, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Uganda, which holds the organ’s rotating presidency for July, Council members underscored the vital role of the United Nations in supporting the development of early strategies, in close consultation with national authorities, for re-establishing the institutions of Government and the rule of law, as well as for revitalizing economic activity.
The presidential statement also supported Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s recommendation to “broaden and deepen” the pool of international civilian experts available to assist in those areas, and to strengthen United Nations leadership of peacebuilding activities on the ground. It further stressed the importance of greater coordination with the World Bank, as well as the Peacebuilding Commission’s critical role in ensuring a coherent approach among all actors.
It urged Member States to help provide rapid, flexible and predictable funding for post-conflict peacebuilding, and reaffirmed the central role of regional organizations. It also reaffirmed the importance of ending impunity in societies recovering from conflict, and recognized the place of justice and reconciliation mechanisms in that regard.
“Building peace is about much more than ending war”, Mr. Ban said as he presented his report to the Council this morning. “It is about putting in place the institutions and trust that will carry people forward into a peaceful future.” There was often only a limited window of opportunity to do that, he stressed.
To accomplish the goals of national ownership, international leadership, coherence, a common strategy and predictable and credible delivery, he continued, it was crucial to develop a clear understanding of responsibilities within the United Nations and to cultivate the pool of international civilian expertise and leadership, ready for rapid deployment, as recommended in the report.
Opening the meeting, Minister Kutesa said post-conflict peacebuilding was premised on the simple fact that sustained peace was impossible without development, and that without development, no peace could be durable. “There is a need to deliver tangible pace dividends, including the provision of basic services and improving the standard of living of the population,” he said.
In a similar vein, Jordan Ryan, Director of the Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), said that short-term peacebuilding activities must be linked with longer-term recovery and development, and United Nations country teams must be integrated with peacekeeping and peacebuilding actors.
Heraldo Muñoz (Chile), speaking in his capacity as Chairperson of the United Nations Peacebuilding Commission, said the organ could support national Governments in managing the difficult process of establishing clear and attainable peacebuilding priorities, working closely with United Nations country staff to ensure coordination and avoid duplication. The 2010 review of the Commission would allow for further reflection on its role and how it could better exercise its advisory functions, he added.
Alistair Mckechnie, Director of the World Bank’s Fragile and Conflict-Affected Countries Group, supported the report’s effort to resolve the inherent tensions between the need for speed in responding to fragile situations and the need for compliance with a coherent, nationally owned strategy. While priority-setting could be challenging, since “everything seems a priority” in post-conflict situations, priorities should be driven by country demands, with a special consideration of short-term results, which would lay the basis for sustainable development, growth and employment.
In the open debate following those presentations, national representatives welcomed the focus on timely and effective peacebuilding efforts, stressing the centrality of national ownership of the process at all stages and the corresponding importance of capacity-building for Government institutions at the earliest stages of peacebuilding.
Also drawing particular notice were the Secretary-General’s recommendations for the development of stronger United Nations leadership teams, along with the creation of a pool of civilian experts with a wide variety of specialties that could be quickly deployed in the early peacebuilding phase. Many speakers, however, urged that the proposal for such a pool of experts be fleshed out in greater detail and discussed further in the Organization’s various organs, before action was taken on it.
Also participating in the debate were Mark Malloch Brown, Minister for Africa, Asia and the United Nations of the United Kingdom; Ebrahim Ismail Ebrahim, Deputy Minister for International Relations and Cooperation of South Africa; Jean-Francis Bozize, Minister Delegate in Charge of National Defence, Veterans Affairs, Victims of War, Disarmament and Restructuring of the Army of the Central African Republic; and Mohamed Abdullahi Omaar, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Somalia.
Other speakers today were the representatives of France, Japan, United States, Mexico, Croatia, Costa Rica, China, Turkey, Libya, Austria, Burkina Faso, Russian Federation, Viet Nam, Egypt (also on behalf of Ireland), Burundi, Canada, Sweden (on behalf of the European Union), New Zealand, Australia, Peru, Morocco, Germany, Guatemala, Brazil, Sierra Leone, Uruguay, Norway, India, Thailand, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Italy, Republic of Korea and Switzerland.
The meeting began at 10:35 a.m., adjourned at 1:25 p.m., resumed at 3:19 p.m. and ended at 5:55 p.m.
The full text of presidential statement S/PRST/2009/23 reads as follows:
“The Security Council recalls the statement of its President (PRST/2008/16), and emphasizes the critical importance of post-conflict peacebuilding as the foundation for building sustainable peace and development in the aftermath of conflict.
“The Security Council welcomes the report of the Secretary-General on peacebuilding in the immediate aftermath of conflict (S/2009/304) as an important contribution towards a more effective and coherent international response to post-conflict peacebuilding. The Council also welcomes the Secretary-General’s strong commitment expressed in the report to improve the United Nations peacebuilding efforts, and urges him to pursue these objectives.
“The Security Council emphasizes the importance of national ownership and the need for national authorities to take responsibility as soon as possible for re-establishing the institutions of Government, restoring the rule of law, revitalizing the economy, reforming the security sector, providing basic services and other key peacebuilding needs. The Council underscores the vital role of the United Nations in supporting national authorities to develop an early strategy, in close consultation with international partners, to address these priorities, and encourages international partners to align their financial, technical and political support behind this strategy.
“The Security Council stresses the need, in countries emerging from conflict, to draw upon and develop existing national capacities at the earliest possible stage, and the importance of rapidly deployable civilian expertise to help achieve this, including, where appropriate, relevant expertise from the region. The Council, in this regard, welcomes the recommendation of the Secretary-General for a review to be undertaken to analyse how the United Nations and international community can help to broaden and deepen the pool of civilian experts, giving particular attention to mobilizing capacities from developing countries and especially women.
“The Security Council recognizes that post-conflict situations require from the outset experienced and skilled leadership on the ground with effective support teams, and requests the United Nations to increase its efforts in this regard. The Council welcomes the Secretary-General’s efforts to enhance the authority and accountability of senior United Nations representatives in carrying out their duties and responsibilities.
“The Security Council emphasizes the need for the United Nations system to strengthen strategic partnerships with the World Bank and other international financial institutions, and to complete by the end of 2009 the clarification of roles and responsibilities for key peacebuilding needs and to keep these under regular review, so that the appropriate expertise is generated to achieve a timely and predictable response.
“The Security Council recalls its resolution 1645 (2005) and recognizes the important role of the Peacebuilding Commission in promoting and supporting an integrated and coherent approach to peacebuilding, welcomes the progress it has achieved, calls on it to further enhance its advisory role and support for countries on its agenda and looks forward to the recommendations of the 2010 review of the Commission’s founding resolutions on how its role can continue to be enhanced.
“The Security Council recognizes the critical importance of rapid, flexible and predictable funding for post-conflict peacebuilding. The Council urges Member States to help achieve this, building on the recommendations of the report and in particular increasing the impact of the Peacebuilding Fund, improving donor practices to make funding faster and more flexible and making use of in-country multi-donor trust funds, which are designed to accommodate the funding requirements of donors.
“The Security Council reaffirms that ending impunity is essential if a society recovering from conflict is to come to terms with past abuses committed against civilians affected by armed conflict and to prevent future such abuses. The Council notes that justice and reconciliation mechanisms can promote not only individual responsibility for serious crimes, but also peace, truth, reconciliation and the rights of victims.
“The Security Council, in accordance with its resolutions 1325 (2000) and 1820 (2008), underlines the key role women and young persons can play in re-establishing the fabric of society and stresses the need for their involvement in the development and implementation of post-conflict strategies in order to take account of their perspectives and needs.
“The Security Council reaffirms the role of regional and subregional organizations in the prevention, management and resolution of conflicts in accordance with Chapter VIII of the Charter of the United Nations, and the need to strengthen their capacity in post-conflict peacebuilding.
“The Security Council recognizes the importance of launching peacebuilding assistance at the earliest possible stage. The Council affirms the importance of early consideration of peacebuilding in its own deliberations and of ensuring coherence between peacemaking, peacekeeping, peacebuilding and development to achieve an early and effective response to post-conflict situations. The Council will strive to apply this integrated approach and requests the Secretary-General to intensify his efforts in this regard.
“The Security Council invites the Secretary-General to report within 12 months to the Security Council and the General Assembly on progress achieved in fulfilling his agenda for action to improve the United Nations peacebuilding efforts, taking into consideration the views of the Peacebuilding Commission.”
Before the Council was the report of the Secretary-General on peacebuilding in the immediate aftermath of conflict (document S/2009/304), which states that the period within two years of the end of fighting offers a window of opportunity to deliver peace dividends, and calls for greater efforts to help countries emerging from war and seeking to rebuild. This early period also offers a chance to provide basic security, 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,” the report says, while stressing also the importance of building on successful reforms already under way –- such as humanitarian reform, “Delivering as One” within the United Nations system and integrated peace operations –- rather than creating new mechanisms. The report also highlights the need to anchor peacebuilding at the country level and to receive inputs from all parts of the United Nations system in a coordinated manner.
The report underscores the need for a common strategic vision with realistic priorities, against which national and international actors can allocate scarce resources. It calls for the creation of a senior-level mechanism to ensure that the right leadership and support teams are in place as early as possible. “For over a decade we have been grappling with how to bring peacebuilding upstream and mount a more rapid and effective response in the immediate aftermath of conflict,” it adds.
However, the report cautions, at this time of global resource constraints, when the most vulnerable bear the brunt of economic downturn, there is a new urgency to redouble efforts and ensure that resources are used more efficiently by promoting a more coherent, effective and focused response. For such efforts to succeed, a basic level of political will must be displayed by national actors. A regional environment conducive to peace is also essential, as is coherent and sustained international support.
SAM K. KUTESA, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Uganda, opened the debate by saying that the task before the Council was to consider and refine the strategies through which the United Nations and the wider international community could effectively support countries emerging from conflict in moving towards sustainable peace, reconstruction, economic recovery and development. Post-conflict peacebuilding was premised on the simple fact that sustained peace was impossible without development, and without development, no peace could be durable. “There is a need to deliver tangible pace dividends, including the provision of basic services and improving the standard of living of the population,” he said.
The Security Council must address the critical issue of considering peacebuilding activities right from the start of the peacemaking and peacekeeping stages, he said. National leadership and ownership were vital in any peacebuilding endeavour and, as such, national authorities must take primary responsibility for re-establishing the key institutions of governance and economic recovery, with the support of the United Nations and other international partners. That required identifying key priorities, developing and agreeing on a national strategy to address them through a widely consultative process, and mobilizing the requisite political, financial and technical support in a coordinated manner.
“Our experience in Uganda has shown us the importance of identifying national priorities based on our own unique situation and conditions,” he continued, adding that his country had decided that it was important to address post-conflict peacebuilding, beginning in 1986, in a sequential manner, starting with the most urgent and critical elements. Those elements had included guaranteeing security of life and property, embarking on national reconciliation and unity by establishing broad-based Government, establishing a Human Rights Commission and introducing and consolidating the concept of popular democracy.
He went on to stress that peacebuilding was a shared responsibility in which the United Nations, subregional and regional organizations, as well as the wider international community all had a critical role to play. No matter where conflict situations arose -– the Balkans, Asia, Latin America or Africa –- regional arrangements had a key role in solving problems, as they had a more intimate knowledge of situations on the ground. The experience of Africa, and the Great Lakes region in particular, showed that regional efforts could be successful, and the regional peace initiative on Burundi, chaired by Uganda and facilitated by South Africa, was a good example.
Regional organizations in Africa had human resources but lacked financial resources, he stressed. “That is where the United Nations and the international community can help.” The challenge was how the Organization could address issues of international peace and security meaningfully while remaining relevant. Uganda called on the United Nations and international partners to support regional and subregional efforts to strengthen their peacebuilding capacities. It also called on the United Nations to further strengthen its strategic partnership with the World Bank and other financial institutions.
BAN KI-MOON, Secretary-General of the United Nations, said building peace was about much more than ending war. It was about putting in place the institutions and trust that would carry people forward into a peaceful future, and there was often a limited window of opportunity to do that. If peace was to be sustainable, the international community must provide the right support at the right time. Decades of international experience had taught that, while every case was unique, certain types of support were almost always needed, he noted.
He said that, time and again, war-ravaged people had asked for help in establishing security and safety, restoring basic services and core Government functions, supporting a political transition and jump-starting economic recovery. “I have seen the difficulties first hand,” he continued, pointing out that he had travelled to Sudan, Haiti, Liberia and Timor-Leste. “I have seen the costs of a slow or inadequate response to urgent post-conflict needs. Yet I have also seen the profound difference a well-planned and managed effort can make.”
Highlighting the five interconnected messages of his report, he said the first was national ownership, emphasizing that peace would not take root if it came from outside. Building peace was primarily a national challenge and responsibility in which the United Nations and the international community should play a catalytic and supporting role. The second message was international leadership, he said, noting that Member States expected the Organization to lead the international community, and that he had created a senior-level mechanism that would ensure that the right leadership and support teams were in place as early as possible.
A third message concerned coherence, he said, pointing out that peacebuilding was not separate from mediation, peacekeeping or development aid. The fourth message called for a common strategy. Immediately after conflict, everything felt urgent and there were many pressing needs. There was a need to align behind a shared approach with realistic priorities. The final message was predictable and credible delivery. Member States must help ensure sufficient international capacity to respond rapidly and flexibly to the most urgent needs: basic safety, security and services; strengthening the rule of law; supporting political processes; and revitalizing the economy.
To that end there was a need for a clearer understanding of responsibilities within the United Nations system, outlining who would respond in each of those key areas, he said. There was also a need for a deeper and more diverse pool of international civilian expertise, and for prepositioned pooled funding, like the Peacebuilding Fund, to jump-start action, followed by faster funding from other sources, as well as more and better strategic partnerships with the World Bank, regional organizations, civil society and the private sector. Bilateral support from Member States must be aligned with the common strategy in each country.
Recalling the debate “No exit without a strategy”, held almost a decade ago, he said the Council had articulated the many challenges associated with the later stages of peacebuilding, when it was time to wind down and international peace operation. In Sierra Leone, as discussed very recently, many of the “no exit” lessons had been applied. The Council had, in requesting the report, recognized the need to support peacebuilding more effectively from the outset. He encouraged the Council to look carefully at those issues as they pertained to existing and future mandates, and as part of initiatives already under way to review peacekeeping mandates.
HERALDO MUÑOZ ( Chile), speaking in his capacity as Chairperson of the United Nations Peacebuilding Commission, said that body endorsed the Secretary-General’s approach and recommendations. His report usefully brought together the many parts of the United Nations system that dealt with peacebuilding, and highlighted a common understanding on the importance of peacebuilding in the Organization. In discussing the report last week, members of the Commission had focused on several key points, including the issue of national ownership, which they considered the cornerstone of peacebuilding.
However, he cautioned, the commitment to national ownership as a key principle of peacebuilding would remain merely an abstract concept unless it was accompanied from the very beginning by capacity-building, starting with a clear understanding of existing capacities on the ground. National capacity-building must start immediately following the end of conflict, taking advantage of a narrow window of opportunity to lay the foundations of a sustainable peace. “It must be part of the entry, not the exit strategy,” he continued, adding that another crucial piece of the peacebuilding puzzle was identifying an agreed common strategy that was nationally owned and internationally supported.
He said the Commission could support national Governments in managing the difficult process of establishing clear and attainable peacebuilding priorities, working closely with United Nations country staff to ensure coordination and avoid duplication. The Secretary-General’s agenda for action proposed stronger, more effective and better supported United Nations leadership on the ground. Members of the Commission welcomed his proposal to create a senior-level mechanism at Headquarters that would ensure that the right leadership and support teams were in place as early as possible. They had also taken due note of his appeal for the necessary funding to enhance technical support teams. The report also stressed the need for predictable international support, an essential element of which was ensuring greater clarity in the roles and responsibilities within the Organization, as well as enhanced coordination with other key actors, such as the World Bank.
Finally, the report had posed several challenges for the Commission, among them ensuring that Member States recognized that peacekeepers were early peacebuilders, he said. Peacebuilding should therefore come into play early in the Security Council’s consideration of post-conflict situations. It was essential to mainstream peacebuilding into peacekeeping operations and enhance the civilian components of peacekeeping operations. The Security Council should consider the Commission’s advice more proactively, not because the Commission was better qualified for such a task, but because it would emphasize the links between security and development and the longer-term stability factors contributing to sustainable peace. The 2010 review of the Commission would allow for further reflection on that body’s role and how it could better exercise its advisory functions.
JORDAN RYAN, Director, Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), said that effective and quick peacebuilding action was essential if countries emerging from conflict were to succeed in meeting the Millennium Development Goals. For that reason, it was important to effectively link short-term peacebuilding activities with longer-term recovery and development.
He said the Secretary-General’s report laid the correct emphasis on strengthening the integration of United Nations country teams with peacekeeping and peacebuilding actors. In addition, women and youth required special attention and must be fully engaged in planning and decision-making processes. UNDP was currently deploying senior gender advisers in 10 post-conflict countries.
Coordination with the World Bank and others on the ground had improved greatly, he said, noting, however, that there was still room for a further strengthening of those relationships. With the necessary support from Member States, UNDP would do its utmost to match expectations of quick and effective implementation of peacebuilding activities.
ALISTAIR MCKECHNIE, Director, Fragile and Conflict-Affected Countries Group, World Bank, said the Secretary-General’s report recognized that the international community’s efforts in the immediate aftermath of conflict had been less than fully effective. The World Bank had been deeply involved in preparing that document and welcomed its findings. It also supported the report’s effort to resolve the inherent tensions between the need for speed in responding to fragile situations and the need for compliance with a coherent, nationally owned strategy.
He said such tensions often resulted from different perceptions of priorities by the international community and partner countries, which paradoxically might want a greater emphasis on institution building and sustainable development that reduced poverty. The Council should not forget the attendant demands for quality and effectiveness of support, or the need for financial accountability to maintain long-term predictable financial support. The report also recognized the need to seek the views of partner countries on what they considered their priorities to be. “Often, we find that the highest priority is personal security, justice and ending impunity, not the easier public services, which the international community can provide,” he said.
At the same time, he acknowledged that priority-setting could be challenging when in post-conflict situations “everything seems a priority”. That being the case, the World Bank suggested setting certain priorities, including the need for actions to be driven by country demands, rather than what the international community thought was best. The international community should consider providing some short-term results that would lay the basis for sustainable development, growth and employment. Stakeholders should also aim to strengthen the legitimate authority of the concerned State by enabling it to set and enforce rules and laws, manage its budget and effectively deliver services, while embodying national traditions and values.
In the context of peacebuilding, he said, it was necessary, among other things, to avoid taking a linear approach; reduce the administrative burdens that donors imposed on weak States; and assist in the development of policies and institutions, as well as the preparation of investment in parallel with peacebuilding. Stakeholders should recognize and manage not only the risk that money might be misappropriated, but also the risk of peace failing because “we are too bureaucratic and too slow”. There were ways to manage risks in high-corruption environments, including by contracting fiduciary agents and giving a voice to citizens. “But we need to recognize that things will go wrong and deal with problems quickly and decisively.”
MARK MALLOCH-BROWN, Minister for Africa, Asia and the United Nations of the United Kingdom, said it was obvious that the basic functions of a viable State needed to be reconstituted quickly after conflict. For that reason, it was important to clarify the roles and responsibilities of the United Nations and the World Bank, so that there was accountability for what happened on the ground. In addition, there was a need to review civilian capacities in order to identify gaps in and methods of more rapid deployment.
It was also crucial to deploy effective and accountable senior United Nations leadership from the outset so as to corral international actors and drive the delivery of assistance, he said. Improving access to rapid and flexible financing was also essential, as was building on the Peacebuilding Commission’s achievements by focusing on overcoming barriers to peacebuilding, better harmonizing international efforts and mobilizing additional resources.
JEAN-PIERRE LACROIX ( France) said peacebuilding was not yet strategic enough, emphasizing the need to identify priorities for that purpose. He welcomed the report’s proposal on strengthening political analysis and its emphasis on seizing the window of opportunity presented in the first two years following conflict. In addition, greater mobilization of capacities was also needed.
The United Nations had many capacities, but was not yet organized in such a way as to provide the most coherent responses, he said, adding that the international community most also be mobilized in a coherent manner. The Peacebuilding Commission was helping to perform that function and to mobilize donors from the private sector and other areas. France called for post-conflict peacebuilding to be seen as a major area of focus for the Council and other stakeholders.
YUKIO TAKASU ( Japan) said there was often a gap in peacebuilding efforts in relation to ensuring the safety and livelihoods of the people in countries emerging from conflict. For that reason, peacekeeping and peacebuilding should be pursued simultaneously. The various United Nations organs and other stakeholders must contribute, from the outset, the diverse expertise needed in a coordinated and coherent fashion. As that goal required strong leadership, Japan welcomed the Secretary-General’s initiative to ensure that leadership and support teams were in place as early as possible.
Stressing that standing capacity for diverse specialties was essential, he pointed out that his country had initiated a training programme for Asian peacebuilding experts. Mobilizing additional resources was also vital. Regarding the Peacebuilding Commission, it must consolidate its achievements rather than overextending its responsibilities beyond its capacity. Japan was open to examining how the Commission could make a difference in the early phase of post-conflict recovery, but it was necessary to recognize that activities in the immediate aftermath of conflict required mechanisms and methods on the ground rather than those to which the Commission was accustomed.
ROSEMARY DICARLO ( United States) said too many populations that endured the hardships of conflict experienced persistent violence while lacking the ability to manage their own transition to recovery. The United Nations had the capacity to ensure that overall international efforts were well-coordinated and effectively implemented. The Organization should therefore work to ensure that its activities and capacities were effective, coherent and efficient.
Welcoming the Secretary-General’s recommendations on ensuring rapid and coordinated response in the immediate aftermath of conflict, she called for an enhanced role for women in post-conflict peacebuilding, emphasizing also that peacebuilding efforts must begin early on and not wait until the departure of an international security presence. To that end, the United States stressed the importance of early consultation with the Peacebuilding Commission.
GUILLERMO PUENTE ORDORICA ( Mexico) said that, in the immediate aftermath of conflict, it was essential to lay the foundations of sustainable peace and long-term development. Once those had been laid, it would then be essential to ensure that all international efforts were coordinated so that institutions could be rebuilt and national reconciliation could begin. National ownership was critical, but reconciliation was equally important so as to ensure that security and development policies were comprehensive and effective in the longer term. Mexico also agreed with the report on the importance of providing properly trained personnel, both on the ground and at Headquarters. Including women was also crucial to ensuing comprehensive post-conflict activities.
Welcoming the Secretary-General’s proposal to create a Headquarters-level mechanism, he urged the Secretariat to consider appointing an imminent person from the global South at its head. Mexico supported the work of the Peacebuilding Commission, which must play a central role, along with other relevant agencies, in ensuring effective implementation of the Secretary-General’s recommendations. The Commission must also work closely with the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council and other relevant bodies, as well as local actors, to ensure the success of post-conflict peacebuilding activities.
RANKO VILOVIĆ ( Croatia), stressing that delayed peacebuilding could lead to a resumption of conflict, said capacities and resources must be ready to be deployed quickly. Croatia emphasized the importance of national ownership since its own experience indicated that external actors were often ill-equipped to rebuild, by themselves, the institutions of a war-torn country. National actors must be included early on.
It was important to build upon early successes in peacebuilding, and crucial to ensure capacity-building while overcoming the efforts of spoilers, he said. The Peacebuilding Commission was the key mechanism to ensure the coherence of international efforts and adequate financing, and it was equally important to strengthen partnerships with organizations such as the World Bank, which should have clearly delineated roles. Stronger United Nations leadership on the ground could ensure a more focused and integrated approach.
JORGE URBINA ( Costa Rica) said peacebuilding was an objective that should be kept in mind as soon as the international community began planning an intervention in a conflict situation. However, peacebuilding was primarily a national responsibility and related activities should therefore be focused on strengthening national authorities. The international community should provide active support for those efforts, with strong leadership that could forge a common strategy.
Rapid response required robust deployment of staff capable of supporting national actors in a great variety of tasks, he said, emphasizing the need to ensure the provision of varied expertise. Balanced economic growth, with an emphasis on employment, must be a focus, and women must be protected and their participation in peacebuilding efforts promoted. Substantially reducing military spending in a post-conflict country could provide resources for development, as it had done in Costa Rica, where it had also cemented stability.
LIU ZHENMIN ( China) said that peacebuilding, especially in the immediate post-conflict phase, was a recognition by the international community that the challenges faced by war-affected countries did not end with the conflict. China supported efforts to strengthen further the leading role of the United Nations in peacebuilding, as well efforts to enhance the role of the Peacebuilding Commission. Post-conflict countries must commit themselves to national reconciliation and economic recovery, while the international community tailored its efforts to the specific needs of the affected countries and take into account the priorities established by national authorities.
“One-size-fits-all” actions would not work, he said, emphasizing that the international community must listen closely to the requests of post-conflict countries and respect their cultural traditions and national priorities. Predictable funding was vital to peacebuilding, and the Secretary-General’s recommendations, including the need to consider innovative and country-specific funding mechanisms, were worthy of serious consideration. Peace processes must be built on a solid political foundation.
Without development, justice and the rule of law, efforts to restore peace would remain “empty castles in the air”, he said. The United Nations must continue to play a leading role in peacebuilding and to coordinate the activities of donors and international actors, such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). As for Africa, the international community should enhance its assistance to post-conflict countries on that continent, especially in ensuring the strengthening of their peacebuilding and post-conflict reconstruction capacities. The United Nations should also continue to support and scale up its efforts in support of the African Union.
FAZLI ÇORMAN ( Turkey) said experience had shown that winning the peace was often more difficult than winning a war. Peace processes, in their early stages, were often fragile, and the possibility of a relapse into conflict was often likely. Thus, the risk of failure was high unless peace processes were supported “from day one”. The first two years following a conflict was perhaps the most critical period in which the international community could help either sow the seeds of lasting peace or set a course towards a dead end, albeit with good intentions. It was also a fact that tangible results could only be achieved during that period if political, social, humanitarian and economic considerations, as well as security needs, were addressed in a holistic manner. To that end, peacebuilding and peacekeeping were inseparable, and international responses could only be successful if partners treated them as such.
While the United Nations had an undoubtedly significant role to play in the immediate aftermath of conflict, it was not the only actor that could make a difference on the ground, he said. Indeed, given the manifold and multifaceted challenges involved, effective peacebuilding required broad international support. Thus, the coherence and coordination of international actions became critical to helping countries succeed in their efforts to construct and implement viable road maps to lasting peace. They should be devised as early as possible, cover all aspects of specific post-conflict situations, and be based upon a common vision identified by both national authorities and international partners. Indeed, building national capacity, and thus ensuring national ownership, must be considered from the outset as a central element of peacebuilding efforts.
IBRAHIM DABBASHI (Libya) said the Secretary-General’s report correctly identified many priorities of post-conflict peacebuilding, but the most important factor was the rapid deployment of an effective United Nations team to shape a strategic response from the outset, and providing a coherent and well-resourced international response in support of national efforts. Each of the Secretary-General’s recommendations in that regard must overcome many challenges.
The first priority of peacebuilding was restoring the legitimacy of the State and helping it provide basic services to its citizens, he said, stressing that capacity-building based on local expertise, provided through regional sources where possible, was therefore of primary importance. The security and financial sectors were the most crucial areas on which to focus in that regard. Hopefully the Peacebuilding Commission would find more innovative ways to provide funding for support activities in those areas.
THOMAS MAYR-HARTING ( Austria) concurred with the need to ensure that a peacebuilding perspective was in place from the very first days after the cessation of a conflict, hand in hand with the possible deployment of integrated peacekeeping missions. In that regard, Austria stressed the importance of national ownership and private-sector engagement, the protection of civilians, and effective disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programmes. The restoration of justice and the rule of law were equally important.
However, successful peacebuilding could only take place if all relevant actors were included, he said, emphasizing the vital role played by women. In addition, enhanced coordination within the United Nations, and with other international partners, was a prerequisite for avoiding duplication and ensuring efficiency. Austria supported the recommendation to strengthen the authority of senior United Nations leadership on the ground for that reason, and to give the Peacebuilding Commission a crucial role from the outset.
MICHEL KAFANDO ( Burkina Faso) emphasized the importance of ownership of the peacebuilding process by all sectors of the society concerned, supported by the international community, which had an absolute duty to provide a speedy and effective response in crucial areas. Bringing in regional actors was also a major factor for the success of peacebuilding efforts, as it had been in many situations in Africa. However, the part played by the United Nations must be strengthened so that it could take a leadership role. The Peacebuilding Commission was the optimum framework for coordinating international efforts and mobilizing funds.
VITALY CHURKIN (Russian Federation) said one of the key tasks of the United Nations was to coordinate the efforts of international actors, noting that the Secretary-General’s report treated with “great frankness” the systemic problems that often prevented the Organization from carrying out its duties more effectively. The Russian Federation also supported the idea that national institutions and authorities should lead activities on the ground. Many of the report’s recommendations, including those concerning the establishment of standing capacities at the national or regional levels, must be put before Member States, especially with regard to the budgetary requirements of such endeavours.
He went on to say that, while the Peacebuilding Commission was the Organization’s key body coordinating work in that area, its mechanisms and working methods needed to be further adapted and developed. It was unfortunate that the report did not devote much time to the Commission’s work, although the time was now right for consideration of its operating procedures. Among other things, it was necessary to strengthen the organic relationship between the Commission and the Security Council, especially on matters on the agenda of both. The Russian Federation supported the General Assembly resolution on reviewing the operating procedures of the Peacebuilding Fund.
HOANG CHI TRUNG (Viet Nam) said that since the inception of the “Agenda for Peace” some 17 years ago, post-conflict peacebuilding had evolved into an integral part of the international community’s collective efforts to tackle the lingering effects of conflict and support smooth transitions to peace and lasting development. Experiences in Namibia, El Salvador, Angola, Sierra Leone and Timor-Leste, among others, were vivid examples of the ways in which effective peacebuilding could break the vicious cycle of instability and underdevelopment, bringing about a “virtuous cycle of security, reconciliation and reconstruction”.
He went on to say that the immediate post-conflict period provided a critical opportunity to address a raft of challenges, including in areas such as disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of ex-fighters, strengthening the rule of law, promoting security sector reform, promoting an inclusive dialogue for reconciliation and supporting the return of refugees and internally displaced persons. In the longer term, it was necessary to invest in and ensure substantive progress towards poverty reduction, employment creation, social parity and institutional capacity-building.
“Should these priorities be addressed early on, the post-conflict journey towards a steady state of peace, stability and prosperity can be much less bumpy,” he said. Standing at the very centre of the international peacebuilding architecture were the Peacebuilding Commission, the Peacebuilding Support Office and the Peacebuilding Fund, all of which were dedicated to sustaining attention to and mobilizing support for resource mobilization and coherence. Those mechanisms also aimed to address critical gaps, needs and priorities in countries emerging from conflict.
At the same time, he continued, given the multifaceted nature of today’s conflicts, regional and subregional organizations had established support frameworks to bring their comparative advantages to bear on broader peacebuilding efforts. Moreover, against the backdrop of the current global economic downturn, international financial institutions had also been working to align funding decisions with immediate and medium-term peacebuilding and recovery efforts. It was imperative that all those efforts and initiatives be coordinated so that all available resources could be effectively utilized, while at the same time reducing overlap, duplication and competition.
EBRAHIM ISMAIL ERAHIM, Deputy Minister for International Relations and Cooperation of South Africa, said the establishment of the Peacebuilding Commission as an intergovernmental body to advise countries emerging from conflict had been a direct response to the challenges facing such nations as they sought to lay the foundations for lasting peace. To that end, South Africa welcomed the fact that the Secretary-General’s report had been compiled in consultation with the Commission. While South Africa supported initiatives and programmes that augmented the Commission’s work, it was important that the body be strengthened to ensure that it remained the focal point of the Organization’s peacebuilding activities, in line with its mandate.
He said the Secretary-General’s report should be seen as an attempt to strengthen existing mechanisms within the United Nations and to streamline those outside the Organization in an effort to ensure a better, broader and more coordinated response in the immediate aftermath of conflict. The Secretary-General acknowledged that while post-conflict situations could be challenging, they also provided an opportunity for the international community to provide basic security, deliver peace dividends and help strengthen core national capacities.
Concurring fully with the Secretary-General’s assessment that national ownership of the peacebuilding process was critical for confidence-building and strengthening fragile Governments, he said that his country’s experience with African peace missions, including in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi and Côte d’Ivoire, had shown that a peace agreement alone was not enough to ensure stability. Effective communication and inclusive dialogue among national actors and the civilian population were critical in building confidence in the process, which in turn allowed for realistic expectations on the ground. To that end, it was important to strengthen the capacity of national actors to meet such expectations, especially since weak national capacities could hinder local actors from taking ownership of the recovery process.
JEAN-FRANCIS BOZIZE, Minister Delegate in charge of National Defence, Veterans Affairs, Victims of War, Disarmament and Restructuring of the Army of the Central African Republic, said his country was facing many of the challenges of a post-conflict country, including economic suffering, widespread displacement, armed groups and fragile Government institutions. A programme for security-sector reform had been initiated to deal with some of those problems, but manifold challenges remained.
Despite the challenges, however, the Government was determined to take advantage of the current calm to build stability and encourage development, he said. With United Nations assistance, thousands of ex-combatants had already been demobilized, and rehabilitation programmes had been launched to free children from armed groups. An analysis of the causes of conflict in the Central African Republic was needed so that priorities could be established in the struggle for stability and development.
MOHAMED ABDULLAHI OMAAR, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Somalia, said piracy off the coast of his country was a result of the lawlessness prevailing in the wider region. Peacebuilding in the entire Horn of Africa was the only guarantee for peace in Somalia. The north and north-east were peaceful and benefiting from local development initiatives, since Somalis had shown national ownership in those areas, as well as in the Djibouti peace process in the south. Those achievements had been made at a high cost in human life. They must be accompanied by institutional capacity-building and other timely international support, led by United Nations agencies. The Transitional Federal Government stood ready to work at making all such efforts succeed.
MAGED ABDELAZIZ (Egypt), speaking also on behalf of Ireland, provided an overview of the meeting they had convened in Cairo, on 18 and 19 May 2009, entitled “Post-conflict Peacebuilding: Contemporary Changes and the Way Forward”. He said the meeting had emphasized the importance of addressing the underlying social and economic causes of crises, enhancing coordination between regional organizations and donor countries, the significance of national ownership and the need to build confidence at the subnational level. Many of those concerns and others had been incorporated into the Secretary-General’s report.
Speaking for his own country, he stressed the importance of national ownership, saying it was important to note that the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council also had important roles to play in post-conflict peacebuilding, alongside the Security Council. The proposal to establish a pool of civilian experts and United Nations leadership teams should be discussed further and fleshed out in detail by the Secretariat. In addition, there was a need for further discussion on strengthening the role of the Peacebuilding Commission and the relation between peacekeeping and peacebuilding.
ZACHARIE GAHUTU ( Burundi) stressed the importance of national ownership of peacebuilding efforts, with the United Nations playing a catalytic role and providing leadership. Given the need to integrate post-conflict development, all actors must also be integrated at the earliest stages.
Turning to his own country’s peacebuilding process, he said it had seen much process, including the establishment of electoral mechanisms, and the launching of strategies for disarmament, demobilization and reintegration, security reform and regional security. Efforts at transitional justice, the creation of new land policies and other work was ongoing as well. However, more resources were required since the “Marshall Plan” which the Commission had called for was still pending, as was the disbursement of pledged funds.
JOHN MCNEE ( Canada) said failure to address the early recovery needs of fragile States risked deepening poverty, increased the risk of a relapse into conflict and posed real threats to regional and international stability. Indeed, reducing the number of States that lapsed back into violence would spare countless numbers of people from hardship and increase the efficiency of international assistance to fragile States, thereby ensuring greater regional stability and cooperation. At the same time, focusing on early recovery must not occur in a vacuum. To that end, it was significant that today’s debate was taking place following the recent release of the conflict mediation report and amid ongoing discussions about the future of United Nations peacekeeping missions.
As the Organization considered a range of responses to conflict, the benefits of investing in peacebuilding were becoming increasingly clear, he said. While the components of any peacebuilding strategy should be tailored to specific situations, the basic pillars remained the same: an effort to restore the capacity of concerned States to provide goods to its citizens; rebuilding the legitimacy of the State by ensuring the democratic accountability of political leaders to their citizens; bringing about social reconciliation through proactive efforts to heal the wounds of conflict; rapid economic revitalization; and visionary political leadership that put the national interest above all else. Establishing durable peace and prosperity was difficult without a functioning State. Canada urged peacebuilding actors to consider how best to use the expertise resident in diaspora communities during post-conflict recovery.
ANDERS LIDÉN (Sweden), speaking on behalf of the European Union, said the Secretary-General’s report rightly focused on the crucial period immediately following the end of conflict, when the international community’s ability to deliver vital assistance was put to a difficult test. While a basic level of security was vital in order to achieve peaceful development, all aspects of peacebuilding must be considered right from the beginning of the process. The successful disarmament and demobilization of ex-combatants required the establishment of a framework through which they could be reintegrated into society. Alongside the deployment of peacekeepers, efforts must also be made to stimulate economic recovery, support the provision of basic services and restore the rule of law, good governance and respect for human rights.
He went on to say that a coherent strategy among international actors in field operations was critical to effectively supporting national processes, noting that it was unfortunate that such coherence was often lacking. The European Union therefore supported the Secretary-General’s recommendations on the need for an effective and accountable United Nations leadership on the ground, empowered to lead immediate international efforts in support of national authorities. A common set of priorities was necessary to bridge the gap between early stabilization and recovery efforts and longer-term recovery. At the same time, mechanisms for more effective monitoring, evaluation and adjustment of strategies must also be developed.
Access to timely and flexible funding was often one of the main challenges to maintaining the momentum of peace processes after the conclusion of a peace agreement, he said. The European Union welcomed the Secretary-General’s recognition of the need to strengthen the role of the Peacebuilding Fund in the early stages of peacebuilding. “We must strive towards a Peacebuilding Fund that sets an example by providing seed-funding to bridge the gap between conflict and recovery at a time when other funding mechanisms may not yet be available,” he said. Over the past decade, the European Union had gradually enhanced its capacity to support efforts to secure peace in war-torn areas around the world. Today, it was one of the main contributors to peacebuilding activities, working closely with the United Nations, the African Union and other actors.
JIM MCLAY ( New Zealand) said the Secretary-General’s report rightly focused on the critical period in the immediate aftermath of conflict, when a process must be set in motion to lay the foundations for lasting peace. “So often, however, we have failed at that, with nearly 30 per cent of all conflicts that have ended in negotiated settlement resuming again within five years,” he said, pointing out that a fragile peace could unravel quickly if its dividends were not readily apparent. The availability of expert teams that could deploy and begin work at very short notice was an essential bridge to a fuller and more coordinated response.
He expressed great concern over the slow deployment of the African Union-United Nations Operation in Darfur (UNAMID), noting that, a year after its establishment, less than 35 per cent of its international civilian posts had been filled. In addition, first-year vacancies in the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT) stood at around 91 per cent. Indeed, those “stark and depressing” figures helped make the case for both civilian standby capacity and United Nations human resources management reform.
The Secretary-General’s report acknowledged that the United Nations must improve its coordination, both internally and with national and international actors, he said. The “Delivering as One” principle must underpin peacebuilding efforts, just as it must other areas. United Nations country coordinators needed greater powers and support from Headquarters in order to achieve their most immediate –- invariably urgent –- objectives. Competent appointees, with well-defined delegations given the freedom to act quickly and decisively, could save lives, time, infrastructure and institutions essential to the peacebuilding process.
GARY QUINLAN ( Australia), underscored the need to recognize the collective role of civilian, police and military contingents in supporting peacebuilding efforts, and encouraged the United Nations and its partners to strive for great coherence between peacekeeping and peacebuilding efforts. Australia and the World Bank had held a seminar that aimed to reinforce the need for an integrated approach between various mission elements.
He said his country’s experience in the Pacific reinforced the report’s acknowledgement of the role that local and traditional authorities, as well as civil society, could play in recovery and development. He welcomed the report’s emphasis on the needs of women and girls, and the enhanced cooperation framework agreed recently between the World Bank and the United Nations. Australia looked forward to cooperating in a comprehensive review of efforts to broaden and deepen a pool of civilian experts, as it was currently in the process of strengthening its own capabilities in that regard.
GONZALO GUTIÉRREZ REINDEL ( Peru) said early recovery processes in countries emerging from conflict must be strengthened despite the current world economic crisis, with the priority on improving Government institutional capacity. Strategies must promote effective management suited to the very different peacebuilding situations while promoting the participation of women and girls.
Governance, security and development must be pursued in a balanced way and accompanied by the rapid implementation of projects that could have an immediate social and economic effect on the population, he said. Those projects should tie in with a long-term strategic vision. International cooperation should have a time frame with targets and specific goals that would make it viable in the situation at hand.
MOHAMMED LOULICHKI (Morocco) said the Secretary-General’s report contained suggestions that could guide the Organization’s work as it aimed to put countries on the road to lasting peace and development. Indeed, the international community should move quickly to ensure that peace dividends were evident in the immediate aftermath of conflict. That would help ensure calm while laying the groundwork for sustainable recovery. The international community must also tailor its responses to nationally identified priorities. Predictable financing was also vital to peacebuilding efforts.
To that end, it was to be hoped that the recent review of the Peacebuilding Fund’s terms of reference would help smooth the provision of assistance under that mechanism, he said, stressing also the importance of the contribution that regional and subregional arrangements could make to peacebuilding efforts. It was also vital to integrate economic recovery into overall peacebuilding strategy. While the Peacebuilding Commission was undertaking “pragmatic and extremely useful work” on behalf of the countries on its agenda, its role should nevertheless be strengthened, including by promoting more regular interaction with the Security Council and other United Nations organs.
THOMAS MATUSSEK ( Germany) said that among the key challenges identified in the Secretary-General’s report was national ownership -- the key to all peacebuilding efforts. Experience had shown that in the immediate aftermath of fighting, national capacities might not be sufficient to enable conflict-affected countries to exercise such ownership. Therefore, it was vital to strengthen national capacities so they could re-establish Government institutions, restore the rule of law, provide basic services and handle other key peacebuilding needs. “We must also support national authorities through prioritized and early strategies to address the specific causes of a particular conflict.” There was also a need for effective and accountable United Nations leadership on the ground.
As a prerequisite for gathering international assistance in support of national strategies, national ownership would go a long way in ensuring timely and predictable support, he continued. To achieve a comprehensive and coherent approach, the international community would need a clear division of labour and responsibilities between the different actors, particularly in ensuring close coordination between the United Nations and the World Bank. On the timing of international support, the international community must rapidly and efficiently lay the groundwork for durable peace and sustainable development. To that end, it was essential that peacebuilding efforts start as soon as possible after conflict, and when possible, right alongside peacebuilding efforts.
GERT ROSENTHAL ( Guatemala) said his country had its own experiences in the area of post-conflict peacebuilding since the signing of peace accords in 1996. Such efforts could only be sustainable if the main national actors found at least a minimum basis for compromise and played an integral part in elaborating and implementing them. Equal importance should be given to ensuring coherent and effective United Nations responses. Guatemala considered it important to make full use of the potential of the Peacebuilding Support Office, and joined the calls to better define the role of that mechanism, taking into account the complementarities it could offer other relevant Secretariat bodies.
While welcoming the report’s reference to the work of the Economic and Social Council, he voiced regret that it was limited to the issue of development financing. As such, the report ignored one of the Economic and Social Council’s principle functions, which was coordinating the activities of the specialized agencies and providing them with recommendations, especially within the framework of the humanitarian and operational activities segments it convened during its annual substantive sessions. An issue that was closely related to post-conflict peacebuilding, but not included in the report, was the need to consider initiating peacebuilding efforts in countries where conflict was still ongoing, especially in light of the importance of effective coordination and mobilization of resources between the peacekeeping and peacebuilding phases.
MARIA LUIZA RIBEIRO VIOTTI ( Brazil) stressed the importance of national ownership, strengthening local capacity, regional actors and South-South cooperation in peacebuilding, suggesting that standby civilian capacity mechanisms could benefit from the contributions of regional actors and personnel from developing countries. However, such mechanisms should not replace ongoing efforts to improve regular recruitment processes and human resource management.
While noting the necessity of setting priorities, she stressed that peacebuilding was a multidimensional enterprise requiring simultaneous action on the security and developmental fronts, since peace was not sustainable in the midst of misery and despair. Given that funding was the backbone of peacekeeping, Brazil endorsed the Secretary-General’s appeal for innovative and more flexible financing schemes. In that and other areas, the Peacebuilding Commission had been proven useful, but it was envisioned as a catalytic tool requiring complementary funding from other sources, on a reliable and continuous basis.
RUPERT DAVIES ( Sierra Leone) stressed that any consideration of bolstering peacebuilding should be done under the parameters of the Peacebuilding Commission, pointing out that the countries on its agenda continued to receive the international community’s positive attention. To advance its work to the next level, it was important to ensure predictable financing for those countries.
Consolidating peace in societies emerging from conflict depended entirely on efforts undertaken in the immediate aftermath of conflict, he said, noting that its key factors were the complete disarmament of communities, the reintegration of displaced persons and ex-combatants, and the provision of relief. In that context, Sierra Leone had come a long way, having held elections and created strategic frameworks and good coordination among actors on the ground. The recent “hiccup” in mid-March had been swiftly addressed. Sierra Leone looked forward to successful donor mobilization in order to continue that progress.
GUSTAVO ALVAREZ ( Uruguay) stressed the need for greater coherence between peacekeeping and peacebuilding efforts so as to consolidate both stability and development. The Peacebuilding Commission was a key tool in that context, and it was to be hoped that the review conference in 2010 would further hone its effectiveness.
Agreeing fully with the need to strengthen national capacity from the outset, while also accomplishing the varied needs of security and relief, among other areas, he said dialogue and peace processes should be inclusive and representative. Uruguay welcomed the report’s recommendations to strengthen the contribution of personnel from developing countries as part of the development of a standing capacity of civilian experts who could be quickly deployed to post-conflict situations.
OLA BREVIK ( Norway) said the role of the United Nations should be to coordinate international peacebuilding efforts, and to that end, the Organization’s country teams must be able to quickly draw upon a pool of ready staff and assign them to appropriate positions without having to engage in time-consuming administrative rules and regulations. Norway therefore supported the Secretary-General’s recommendation that Member States approve human resources reforms, and welcomed his initiative to create a senior-level mechanism at Headquarters that would ensure that the right leadership and support teams were in place as early as possible.
He said that, despite the comprehensive nature of the report, he would like to have seen the roles of various sectors and actors more fully described. Undefined responsibilities led to a lack of accountability. Although significant progress had been made in comprehensive strategic planning, serious challenges remained in trying to coordinate security, political, humanitarian and development efforts in post-conflict situations.
The report addressed that fundamental dilemma by stating that senior United Nations leadership teams were responsible for ensuring strategic cooperation and links between relevant frameworks, he said. All parts of the United Nations system must improve dialogue and cooperation, and should be provided with incentives to avoid duplication, inefficiency and delays at the beginning of operations. Member States must take the lead in requesting and supporting such improvements.
MANJEEV SINGH PURI ( India) said there were two levels in supporting a peace process: the national and local levels, and the regional and international levels. Both processes must move in “lockstep”. At the same time, there was a need to ensure that the supporting external interventions focused on delivering peace dividends, expanding national capacities and ensuring the expansion of basic economic capacity so that surplus labour, especially the youth, could be gainfully employed. Such efforts must be based on recognition of the complexity of post-conflict scenarios.
Not all peace processes and agreements addressed the underlying causes of conflict and, similarly, not all local actors were untarnished by the rigours of conflict, he said. “Yet we need to work pragmatically with actors and circumstances as we find them, not as we wish them to be.” The report clearly recognized that if the United Nations was to be a lead actor in peacebuilding processes immediately after the end of conflict, the utmost effort was needed to improve the Organization’s efficiency. While it was important that the report acknowledged such gaps, it must also recognize that, in itself, the convening power of the United Nations was often not enough.
Therefore, he said, while the report dwelled at length on the means by which the United Nations system might be able more effectively to contribute to the peacebuilding process, it was he hoped that, going forward, more deep-rooted organizational reform might be considered. India called on delegations to try, in the future, to frame the peacebuilding debate in a way that sought answers to larger questions, including where early recovery would fit within the larger continuum of peacekeeping and peacebuilding, and where the transition from peacekeeping to peacebuilding, and from peacebuilding to peace consolidation would begin.
SIRIPORN CHAIMONGKOL ( Thailand) voiced support for the strengthening of United Nations leadership and coordination in the area of peacebuilding, among other things. As the world’s largest intergovernmental entity, with specialized agencies spanning a comprehensive set of issues and a close relationship with a diverse array of civil society actors, the Organization was in a unique position to bring all relevant actors on board to ensure more effective coordination and greater coherence in policy as well as on the ground. With a common vision and a coherent coordination mechanism among United Nations agencies, donors and other relevant actors, country-specific needs and priorities would have a better chance of being fulfilled and limited resources would be more optimally used.
She said both security and economic challenges must be addressed simultaneously and given equal weight when determining peacebuilding priorities. Security and development were interconnected and could not be tackled in isolation. It was also important to keep in mind that there was no “one-size-fits-all” formula for rebuilding a society emerging from conflict. Every situation was unique and its specificities should be taken into account when setting priorities and strategies for a country. Thailand supported the recommendation that Member States consider how to make more effective use of the Peacebuilding Commission, especially during the Council’s consideration of post-conflict situations.
ABDULLAH HUSSAIN HAROON ( Pakistan) said challenges in the immediate aftermath of conflict were immense, but so were people’s aspirations at that time. For that reason, it was natural that the nation concerned should own the peacebuilding process, although it needed assistance to lay the foundations for sustainable peace and development.
The general principles of peacebuilding were well recognized and well expressed in the report, he said, adding that all early peacebuilding work should be “people-centric” and focused on early peace dividends and reconciliation. The work should also be coherent and carried out under a common vision, prioritizing early capacity-building. Adequate and predictable funding was often missing and that problem should be remedied, with monies funnelled through Government structures to enhance capacity-building efforts. In all those efforts, it was important to harness the full potential of the Peacebuilding Commission, which should be engaged in the earliest stages of United Nations involvement in any situation, alongside the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council.
ISMAT JAHAN ( Bangladesh) said the Peacebuilding Commission should play the central role in post-conflict peacebuilding and her delegation looked forward to working closely with all concerned in strengthening its mandate during the 2010 review. Bangladesh also supported the report’s emphasis on the need for post-conflict societies to take charge of their own destiny, and called on international partners to align their financial, technical and political support around nationally generated strategies. National capacity-building should also be a priority.
She also encouraged the involvement of civil society in development activities at the local level, noting that a leading Bangladeshi non-governmental organization had recently begun reconstruction work in Uganda, Southern Sudan, Liberia, Sierra Leone and other countries. It could be considered a good model for South-South development initiatives. The report’s recommendation on rapidly deployable civilian capacity required detailed examination. In addition, it was important to establish more rapid and flexible funding mechanisms in support of national and local authorities in the early stages of peacebuilding.
GIULIO TERZI DI SANT’AGATA (Italy), aligning himself with the European Union, said that setting priorities, timing and sequences required balance, a coordinated approach and flexibility. Improving the Peacebuilding Fund and the Peacebuilding Commission for that purpose was therefore welcome, and it should be better integrated into the rest of the United Nations system.
The principle of national ownership was central, as was participation by civil society and regional organizations, he said. On the ground, accountable United Nations leadership and adequate civilian expertise were also critical. Italy’s assistance to Sierra Leone’s energy sector was a good example of assistance to peacebuilding, as was its technical support to rule of law initiatives in support of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), which it planned to strengthen.
PARK IN-KOOK ( Republic of Korea) said the immediate aftermath of conflict was a fragile moment for any country, and actions taken at such a time could set the course for its recovery in the years ahead. The international community should therefore focus on delivering quick-impact projects in all sectors, including basic services and capacity-building. Hopefully such projects, which were being carried out effectively in Sierra Leone, could be included in peacebuilding efforts for other countries. The capacity of volunteers and other civic actors to help repair the fabric of strife-torn societies must also be put to better use. Further, more coherent partnerships with agencies such as UNDP would help ensure a smoother transition from peacekeeping to peacebuilding and towards sustainable development.
He went on to recommend that the Council consider the advice from the Peacebuilding Commission in a more proactive manner. It was becoming increasingly clear that peacekeepers were early peacebuilders. To that end, the Commission, which already shared several agenda items with the Security Council, should be consulted and included in discussions about peacekeeping operations at the earliest stages. The Republic of Korea supported the Secretary-General’s focus on national ownership, which was critical to the overall success of any peacebuilding process.
HEIDI GRAU ( Switzerland), welcoming the process prompted by the preparation of the Secretary-General’s report, said it had involved the various pillars of the United Nations system, in the field and at Headquarters level. It had also illustrated the catalytic role that the Peacebuilding Support Office could play. To be fully effective, that Office must play such a role in conjunction with strong leadership by the Secretary-General. The issue was not a trivial one; at stake was the coherence and effectiveness of the United Nations in carrying out its most crucial mandate.
She urged the Security Council to bolster its support to other United Nations bodies that could enhance its effectiveness on the ground. It should avail itself of the consultative and advisory functions of the Peacebuilding Commission, which had a vital role to play in mobilizing the skills of a wide range of relevant and competent actors. Further to that end, Switzerland supported calls for the Chairs of the Commission’s country-specific meetings to be invited to participate in the work of the Council’s subsidiary bodies, considering the situations in the countries concerned. That proposal also fell within the framework of other initiatives aimed at improving the Council’s working methods.
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