Make Most of Make-or-Break Moments, Provide Right Support at Right Time to Sustain Peace, Secretary-General Tells Peacebuilding Commission

13 July 2009
SG/SM/12364-PBC/54

Make Most of Make-or-Break Moments, Provide Right Support at Right Time to Sustain Peace, Secretary-General Tells Peacebuilding Commission

13 July 2009
Secretary-General
SG/SM/12364 PBC/54
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

MAKE MOST OF MAKE-OR-BREAK MOMENTS, PROVIDE RIGHT SUPPORT AT RIGHT TIME

TO SUSTAIN PEACE, SECRETARY-GENERAL TELLS PEACEBUILDING COMMISSION

Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks to the formal meeting of the Organizational Committee of the Peacebuilding Commission, In New York today, 13 July:

One year ago, the Security Council requested a report on Peacebuilding in the immediate aftermath of conflict. 

Since that time, we have engaged in an intense process of consultation.  I want to thank the Peacebuilding Commission for your vital engagement.  Your views have been invaluable in shaping this report.  And as it makes clear, the PBC [Peacebuilding Commission] has a critical role to play in championing and promoting the agenda.

I appreciate this opportunity to share this report with you before I formally present it to the Security Council later this month.

As you know, the report focuses on the crucial two-year window when conflict has ended but insecurity often persists and peace is fragile. 

When guns still, hope stirs.  People and institutions are ready for change and a new way of resolving problems.  They anxiously, and perhaps naturally, expect a peace dividend.

Yet too often, the dividend is dashed.  The window is missed. 

If peace is to be sustainable, the international community must make the most of these make-or-break moments and provide the right support at the right time.

That is the motivation and the essence of this report.  It builds on the lessons of the last few years, including in those countries being considered by the Peacebuilding Commission. 

And it emphasizes that we must build on successful reforms already under way -– such as humanitarian reform, “delivering as one”, and integrated peace operations –- rather than creating new mechanisms.

The challenges facing countries emerging from conflict are enormous.  Let me highlight five interconnected messages of the report designed to help meet those urgent needs:

First, national ownership.  Peacebuilding must be anchored at the country level.  The United Nations and the international community should play a catalytic and supporting role, and should help build national capacity from the earliest days. 

Second, leadership.  Member States expect the United Nations to be poised and ready to lead the international community.  The report calls for the creation of a senior-level mechanism that will ensure that the right leadership and support teams are in place as early as possible.

Third, coherence.  Effective peacebuilding requires input from all parts of the United Nations system.  Peacemaking, peacekeeping, peacebuilding and recovery must happen together, and so coordination is crucial to success.  We must avoid fragmentation.

Fourth, the need to urgently align behind a common strategic vision with realistic priorities, against which national and international actors can allocate scarce resources.   In some cases, this has taken years.  In most cases, it never happens.  We must act in real time.

Fifth, predictable and credible delivery.  I will be asking Member States to help us build our capacity to respond rapidly to the most urgent needs: to protect civilians and strengthen the rule of law; support political processes; help restore basic services and government functions; revitalize the economy.  We also need pre-positioned pooled funding proportionate to the tasks at hand, like the Peacebuilding Fund, to jump-start action, followed by faster funding from other sources.

Each of these challenges reinforces the other.  And none of them falls within the remit of any organization alone. 

Strategic partnerships are essential.  Partnerships with the World Bank and regional organizations.  Partnerships with civil society and the private sector. 

Member States must play their part too:  by speaking with one voice across the different multilateral forums, by aligning bilateral support with the common strategy in each country, by making donor funding faster, more flexible and more risk tolerant. 

And, of course, the role of the PBC is critical.  I encourage you to build upon your efforts to mobilize resources, promote national ownership of peacebuilding by bridging peace and development concerns and increase the focus on countries emerging from conflict.  I ask you to champion this report and to help me see it through.

I encourage the Commission, ahead of its review next year, to reflect on how it could enhance its role in peacebuilding in the areas outlined in its founding resolutions, including promoting partnerships for peacebuilding and ensuring the operational relevance of its advice.

This report is a work in progress.  It is the beginning rather than the end.  And it is part of a series of related initiatives -- including my recent mediation report, the revision of the terms of reference of the Peacebuilding Fund and the ongoing discussions on peacekeeping. 

All share a common goal:  to consolidate and strengthen the United Nations response in the area of peace and security.

These challenges are not new.  But there is a new urgency to ensure that resources are used more efficiently by promoting a more coherent, effective and focused response.  I undertake to drive the necessary changes through the United Nations system.  But I need your support and your commitment too, if we are to achieve real change.

All too often, innocent people pay the price of war.  Let us work to ensure that they reap the dividend of peace.

I look forward to working with you to meet these challenges.

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