|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
1st Meeting (AM)
Peacebuilding Commission Must Create More Structured Ties with Security Council,
Tighten Links with Bretton Woods Bodies, Says New Chair of Subsidiary Entity
Plans for 2010 Review Laid Out as Organizational Committee Elects New Bureau
The Peacebuilding Commission must create closer ties with the Bretton Woods institutions in 2010, in addition to a more structured relationship with the Security Council and streamlined working methods to better and more swiftly help post-conflict countries sustain peace and development, Peter Wittig (Germany), the newly elected Chairperson of the Commission’s Organizational Committee, said today.
Since its inception in December 2005, the organ had achieved encouraging results in the countries on its agenda, and its 2010 review was a chance to build on that and live up to their expectations, Mr. Wittig said during the opening of the Commission’s fourth session. “Its success will likely define, in many ways, the United Nations success as a whole,” he added, as he outlined six key areas of focus for the coming year.
Among other things, he continued, the Commission should build cohesion among political, security, development and humanitarian actors through dialogue with international financial institutions, regional and subregional organizations and civil society, and by reinforcing existing peacebuilding efforts. To help in that task, the Organizational Committee intended to establish contacts with the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in the near future, and to visit Washington, D.C., in the coming months.
He went on to say the Commission should work with the Security Council to identify synergies between peacekeeping and peacebuilding so that countries on the Council’s agenda could benefit from the Commission’s engagement at an early stage. It should also monitor the Council’s progress in implementing the mandates of United Nations peacekeeping operations and special political missions. In 2010, the Commission would follow up on the Secretary-General’s report, Peacebuilding in the Immediate Aftermath of Conflict, and Security Council resolution 1889 (2009) on women in peacebuilding, while collaborating with the African Union and the International Dialogue on Peacebuilding.
The Commission’s analysis of a specific country’s situation should identify clear, limited priorities and channel the requisite resources, he said, adding that the Commission should strive to make its working methods more flexible and less cumbersome, while more effectively and efficiently monitoring progress and developing exit strategies. Best practices, relevant knowledge and lessons learned must be cross-fertilized, and the role of the Peacebuilding Support Office enhanced and further clarified, he said. The annual Commission retreat, scheduled for 5 and 6 March, would be a good opportunity to reflect on a future course, he noted.
Heraldo Muñoz (Chile), outgoing Chairperson, said that, during the past year, the Commission had expanded its ties with the Economic and Social Council and worked to raise its public profile, meeting with peace activists such as Yoko Ono, and beginning the process of designating a Goodwill Ambassador for Peacebuilding.
In September, Chile had organized a regional seminar on the Commission while Egypt and Ireland had spearheaded talks in their respective geographical regions, he recalled, noting that he had met with officials of the Organization of American States (OAS), European Community and European Union. In November, he and other Commission officials had also met for the first time with the African Union at its headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Judy Cheng-Hopkins, Assistant Secretary-General for Peacebuilding Support, described 2010 as a pivotal year to take stock of the progress made since the Commission’s inception, and to see how the countries on its agenda could move forward. The Secretary-General had expressed his deep commitment to the Peacebuilding Support Office had given very frank guidance on the Commission, she said, adding that she had met earlier in the day with evaluators from the Peacebuilding Fund, the Commission’s funding arm. They had noted good progress on projects under the Commission’s watch.
Several delegates took the floor to stress that the 2010 review of the Commission’s work would provide a good opportunity to review existing challenges and potential solutions in order to ensure sustainable results for people on the ground.
Echoing the concerns of other delegates, the United Kingdom’s representative said the 2010 review should be open and transparent, and include the views expressed in all political debates, not just those in New York. Countries emerging from conflict that were not on the Commission’s agenda could benefit from its work, and it should look positively at any new referrals, he said, encouraging the new Chairperson of the Organizational Committee to meet monthly with the Security Council.
France’s representative stressed the need to support elections in Burundi and the Central African Republic, as well as national reconciliation in Sierra Leone, and called for the Commission to cooperate with the respective national authorities.
Brazil’s representative pointed out that Guinea-Bissau still faced challenges and needed the Commission’s help to become a success story. The representatives of Nepal and India said their respective Governments had shared their peacebuilding experiences with nations striving to emerge from conflict, and it was important that they sustain peace, socio-economic development, security and the rule of law. The Commission could and should do its part to help them by working with multiple stakeholders.
In other business, the Organizational Committee elected, by acclamation, Martin Palouš (Czech Republic) and Jean-Francis Régis Zinsou (Benin) as Vice-Chairpersons for a one-year term beginning from 1 January 2010. It also confirmed that the following delegates would chair its four country configurations until year’s end: Peter Maurer (Switzerland) for the Burundi configuration; Jan Grauls (Belgium), Central African Republic; Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti (Brazil), Guinea-Bissau; and John McNee (Canada), Sierra Leone.
Also speaking today were the representatives of the Czech Republic, Benin, Canada, Mexico, Australia, Egypt, Japan, Thailand, Morocco, Republic of Korea, Peru, Uruguay, Belgium, Switzerland and the United States.
A representative of the European Union also made a statement.
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