|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
1st Meeting (AM)
New Chair Pledges Stronger Role for Peacebuilding Commission in Resolving
Disputes, Restoring Peace, Hope to Countries Emerging from Conflict
Configuration Chairs Elected; Japan to Head Working Group on Lessons Learned
The incoming Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission today pledged to strengthen that body’s role within the United Nations in order to resolve disputes and restore peace and hope to nations emerging from conflict.
“My vision as Chair is to ensure that the Commission achieves a real impact for populations in a larger number of post-conflict countries, helping women and men to rebuild their societies,” said Eugene-Richard Gasana ( Rwanda) upon his election.
Speaking during the fifth session of the Commission’s Organizational Committee, Mr. Gasana said that in seeking to achieve those aims, he would work throughout 2011 to implement the recommendations of General Assembly resolution 65/7 and Security Council resolution 1947 (2010), presented by the co-facilitators of the 2010 comprehensive review of the United Nations peacebuilding architecture.
To achieve those goals, the focus must be on ensuring national ownership of peacebuilding strategies, from initial design to implementation on the ground, drawing on best practices and success stories, he continued. In the coming weeks, the Commission would discuss the recommendations resulting from the 2010 review of international civilian capacities.
He went on to say the Commission must explore new ways to mobilize resources and new funding sources to finance post-conflict reconstruction, encourage broader engagement by more post-conflict countries, and better coordinate partnerships with regional and international partners on the ground. He pledged to carry out more consultations with those partners, including during the annual meetings between the Security Council and the African Union Peace and Security Council, and other consultative mechanisms. The Commission must also be more globally visible and well-known, he emphasized, adding that it must hold more regular consultations with other United Nations bodies and better utilize best practices in peacebuilding.
Peter Wittig ( Germany), the outgoing Chair, recapped the Commission’s objectives and achievements in 2010, saying its partnership with the World Bank had advanced well in certain countries. With the release of the 2011 World Development Report on Peace, Conflict and Development, the partners could explore ways to strengthen the links between peace and development, and between short-term critical peace dividends and long-term peace, he said.
Recalling that the Commission had held its first dialogue with the African Union Peace and Security Council in 2010, he said he had also participated in the first global meeting of the International Dialogue on Peacebuilding and state-building. Also in 2010, the Commission had placed Liberia on its agenda, illustrating its ability to diversify and adapt its approach to the varying needs and priorities of countries in different stages of peacebuilding.
He said the Commission had established a more structural relationship with the General Assembly, Security Council and the Economic and Social Council to create greater synergy between peacekeeping and peacebuilding. The Security Council was increasingly open to the Commission’s advice, and had recently held its first informal dialogue with the Chair of Commission’s Country-specific Configuration on Liberia.
In addition, the Commission had contributed to the Secretary-General’s report on peacebuilding in the immediate aftermath of conflict, and to the upcoming report on the review of international civilian capacities, he said, adding that it continued to engage in policy discussions on the role of the Peacebuilding Fund.
Judy Cheng-Hopkins, Assistant Secretary-General for Peacebuilding Support, described 2011 as a crucial year for advancing the recommendations of the 2010 review. She said she trusted that the Commission would build on Mr. Wittig’s achievements in strengthening partnerships with international financial institutions and the African Union Peace and Security Council, and on his work in setting up and guiding the Liberia configuration.
Earlier, the Commission adopted the draft report on its fourth session (document PBC/4/OC/L.1).
It also elected, by acclamation, Yuriy Sergeyev ( Ukraine) and Gert Rosenthal ( Guatemala) as Vice Chairs for 2011, in addition to the following five Chairs of its country-specific configurations: Paul Seger ( Switzerland), Burundi; Jan Grauls ( Belgium), Central African Republic; Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti ( Brazil), Guinea-Bissau; Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al-Hussein (Jordan), Liberia; and John McNee ( Canada), Sierra Leone.
The Commission announced that Japan would serve as Chair of its Working Group on Lessons Learned.
Taking the floor were representatives of Egypt (in his capacity as coordinator of African peacebuilding activities), Canada, Brazil, Nepal, Indonesia, Pakistan, United Kingdom, Ukraine, Japan, Sweden, Bangladesh, Spain, United States, Nauru, Guatemala, France, Nigeria, Switzerland, Belgium and Sierra Leone.
A representative of the European Union delegation also addressed the Commission.
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