|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
2nd Meeting (AM)
Peacebuilding Commission, Placing Guinea on Its Agenda, Names Luxembourg
to Chair New Country-Specific Configuration
Historic Decision Taken as West African Nation
Requests Inclusion without Security Council Referral
The Peacebuilding Commission decided today that it would place Guinea on its agenda, acting for the first time without a referral from the Security Council but responding instead to a request from the West African country itself.
As a consequence, the Commission’s Organizational Committee decided to form a country-specific configuration dedicated to considering peacebuilding priorities for Guinea, consisting initially of the Organization Committee’s members, and with Sylvie Lucas ( Luxembourg) as Chair.
Following the decision, Alpha Ibrahima Sow ( Guinea) expressed the gratitude of the Government and people of his country for the decision. Noting that Guinea had recently seated its first democratically elected President, Alpha Condé, he said the opportunities for peace, security and human rights now depended on the political will of the new Government, and on regional, as well as international, support.
There were many complex challenges to meet, he continued, pointing out that over a long period, crises had weakened the Government in the political, economic and social areas, as had criminal threats. Guinea had taken in more than a million refugees from the civil wars in Liberia and Sierra Leone, in addition to having been shaken by a coup d’état, massacres and social turmoil in the past decade. Those crises, in addition to climate change, debt service and other problems, had greatly hampered economic growth, he said, adding that disastrous management by successive regimes had exacerbated the situation.
He said the country’s existing peacebuilding programme was based on youth employment, the rule of law, good governance, completing the democratic transition, and stepping up the fight against corruption, impunity and drug trafficking. The Guinean authorities had pledged their commitment to continue to build democracy, national reconciliation and economic development, he said, expressing thanks for the international support the country had received for its successful presidential elections. Guinea needed to take ownership of the peacebuilding process, he said, adding that the country was on the right path, working with the European Union, the African Union and many other partners.
Ms. Lucas, saying it was a great honour for her country to chair the new configuration, welcomed the speed with which the decision had been taken, as well as Guinea’s expressed commitment to work for stability and development. Luxembourg had been committed to peace, security and development in West Africa for a long time, she added. She pledged to work closely with other members of the new configuration and all stakeholders involved in Guinea, including women’s groups and the rest of civil society, international institutions, regional organizations, the donor community and the Chairs of the other configurations for West African countries. She said she would visit Conakry in the coming weeks to discuss priorities, including reform of the security sector, youth unemployment and other pressing matters.
Jan Grauls ( Belgium), Chair of the Configuration on the Central African Republic, also pledged support.
Judy Cheng-Hopkins, Assistant Secretary-General for Peacebuilding Support, described Guinea’s situation as exactly the kind of situation for which the peacebuilding architecture had been established. She expressed hope that the configuration could increase the coherence of bilateral and international efforts already under way in Guinea, in addition to mobilizing additional funds.
She said she would be looking to see what kind of assistance the United Nations Office in West Africa (UNOWA) would need to invite cooperation from the Department of Political Affairs and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The Peacebuilding Fund had been financing a range of activities in Guinea since 2009, she said, noting that it had responded within 72 hours to a request for $1 million to bolster security for the elections.
Japan’s representative noted that the situation was unique owing to lack of a peacekeeping or political mission in Guinea, suggesting that UNOWA could serve that purpose. Egypt’s representative noted the willingness of the African Union and other regional organizations to support the work.
Germany’s representative stressed the importance of cooperation with other country offices, a point supported by Tunisia’s representative, who suggested a similar role for the United Nations country team. The representative of the United States said one person from the Commission should be on the ground in Guinea.
Also speaking in support of the decisions taken and pledging their support for the work to come were representatives of Burundi — another country on the Commission’s agenda — Japan, Egypt, Germany, Tunisia, Canada, Indonesia, Spain, United States, United Kingdom, Brazil, France, Ukraine, China and Benin.
The representative of the European Union delegation also made a statement.
In other matters this morning, the Commission announced Japan’s assumption of the Chair of the Working Group on Lessons Learned, previously determined through a silent procedure.
The Organizational Committee of the Peacebuilding Commission will meet again at a time and place to be announced.
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