Post-Conflict Peacebuilding Architecture Showing Signs It Is ‘Making a Difference’ But Much Work Remains to Enhance Effectiveness of Tools, Security Council Told
Post-Conflict Peacebuilding Architecture Showing Signs It Is ‘Making a Difference’ But Much Work Remains to Enhance Effectiveness of Tools, Security Council Told
|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
6805th Meeting (AM & PM)
Post-Conflict Peacebuilding Architecture Showing Signs It Is ‘Making a Difference’
But Much Work Remains to Enhance Effectiveness of Tools, Security Council Told
The peacebuilding architecture designed to help country’s move from conflict to peace and development was beginning to show signs it has “come of age and is making a difference”, but much work remained to be done to enhance the effectiveness of those tools, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the Security Council today, as it held a day-long debate on the issue and heard from several other top officials.
The Secretary-General said the United Nations was committed to maximizing the potential of the architecture — which includes the Peacebuilding Commission, a related Support Office and Fund — with six countries on its agenda: Burundi; Central African Republic; Guinea; Guinea-Bissau; Liberia; and Sierra Leone.
As he highlighted recent success stories in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, he stressed that, moving forward, and just two years after a “mixed review”, the Commission should do more to leverage its unique membership of financial and governmental stakeholders to mobilize resources, sustain the focus on long-term peacebuilding, and even add significant value in some non-mission settings.
He added that to support the Commission’s potential, the Security Council must offer greater clarity on what type of advice it would like from the Commission in its deliberations and in the definition of mandate, and that Member State support was needed.
“We have much work ahead of us,” he told the Council. “But if the United Nations family, Member States and the wider multilateral system work together in support of nationally owned strategies, we can have an impact far greater than any single entity could achieve on its own. That is what we owe the peoples we serve, and we look forward to deepening this work together.”
Also addressing the Council on the annual Report of the Peacebuilding Commission were Eugène-Richard Gasana, former Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission, Abdulkalam Abdul Momen, Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission, and Joachim von Amsberg, Vice-President and Head of Network Operations, Policy and Country Services of the World Bank. The meeting was convened by the Foreign Minister of Colombia, María Ángela Holguín Cuéllar, as Council President.
Mr. Gasana introduced the Commission’s report on its activities in 2011, saying: “Today, we know that peacebuilding is more than a set of activities and tasks to be mandated, undertaken and reviewed.” “Peacebuilding is rather a ‘state of mind’ — a ‘culture’ in policymaking, planning, funding and implementation of activities in post-conflict settings.”
He said the report showed increased efforts to strengthen partnerships, and demonstrated that the Commission had an enormous capacity to promote knowledge and experience-sharing. The report also stated that the Commission had continued to prioritize the need for strengthening the interaction with the principal organs of the United Nations through briefings and informal interactive dialogues.
Still, the Commission had yet to tap into its full potential, he said. One challenge facing the Commission was to ensure that its work was backed by a high degree of political commitment from Member States and the senior United Nations leadership. “This is our shared responsibility and one that we are yet to shoulder with full commitment,” he said.
In the same vein, Mr. Momen said that “the United Nations and other partners should view the [Peacebuilding Commission] as an opportunity and a source of support, not as a competitor or an additional layer of bureaucracy,” he said. “It is essential that the countries on the agenda of the [Commission] do not relapse into conflict. Our goal is also to offer all relevant national actors a fair chance at building resilient societies and institutions. This is a goal that can only be attained if we manage to muster the necessary political will and commitment.”
However, Mr. von Amsberg said better support to peacebuilding required moving from needs-based approaches alone towards actual prioritization. The peacebuilding and state-building goals provided a great starting point for such prioritization, by highlighting the issues that States themselves have identified as critical. Moving forward, the Commission could be a useful forum in which to explore how those priorities could be reflected in the post-2015 United Nations Development Framework.
With more than 41 speakers making statements, Council members proposed a number of improvements, including enhanced coordinated efforts of Member States, the United Nations and international financial institutions, the tightening up the “architecture”, and bolstered financing mechanisms.
During the discussion, the representatives of Burundi, Liberia and Sierra Leone described how the Commission’s work had affected their countries and provided some suggestions for improvements. For example, after describing a number of institutions and mechanisms established or strengthened with the Commission’s assistance, all with a gender perspective, the representative of Burundi called upon the Council to ensure greater interaction between it and the Commission. He further suggested that it would be mutually beneficial if the Chair of the country configuration and of subgroups was invited to the Council.
Many speakers agreed, saying that the Commission could also add genuine value in Council discussions on countries on its agenda by providing such on-the-ground details. For its part, the Council could be more direct in requesting such specific information from Commission chairs, especially in the run-up to consultations or mandate renewals, the representative of the United Kingdom said.
Some Council members suggested strengthening the role of country-specific configurations. The representative of Azerbaijan said doing that could bring qualitative improvements to the effectiveness of both the Commission’s work and to the United Nations peacebuilding architecture.
Successful peacebuilding was also based largely on national ownership, many speakers said. The European Union’s representative stressed that peacebuilding would only succeed if it was “home-grown and nationally led”. Likewise, coordination was important in the path towards sustained peace, with the representative of China saying that area should be enhanced to achieve more tangible results in affected countries.
Many speakers also addressed financial concerns. The representative of France said, in some cases, countries did not have the resources to follow through or fully participate in projects, and signing mutual understandings or plans for peacebuilding was not enough to ensure success, pointing to budgetary constraints that had blocked South Sudan’s peacebuilding initiatives.
Another important path to success was to include youth and women in peacebuilding initiatives, many speakers said. Chile’s representative said women were at the centre of peacebuilding efforts. Taking a step back, some speakers said the work of the Commission was commendable, yet unappreciated. More visibility was also needed to convey the importance of the Commission’s work, Morocco’s representative pointed out.
Also speaking today were the representatives of United States, Togo, Russian Federation, Pakistan, Portugal, South Africa, Guatemala, India, Germany, Brazil, Luxembourg, Canada, Sweden, Switzerland, Japan, Belgium, Croatia, Australia, Tunisia, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Ireland, New Zealand, Malaysia, Armenia, Indonesia, Norway, Egypt, Nigeria, South Sudan, Nepal, Argentina and Sudan.
The meeting began at 10:12 a.m., was suspended at 1:04 p.m., then resumed at 3:06 p.m. and adjourned at 6:14 p.m.
The Security Council had before it a concept paper entitled “Post-conflict peacebuilding: report of the Peacebuilding Commission”, annexed to a note verbale dated 2 July 2012 from the Permanent Mission of Colombia addressed to the Secretary-General (document S/2012/511).
According to the paper, in the over six years since its inception, the Peacebuilding Commission has gained experience from engaging countries on its agenda that focused the Commission’s activities around three main functions, namely: political accompaniment, advocacy and support; resource mobilization; and fostering coherence. The 2010 Review of the Commission recommended that, in undertaking those functions, the Commission improve its impact in the field, its performance at Headquarters and its relations with key actors, including principal organs, United Nations operational entities and international financial institutions.
There is still a need, the paper says, for a better understanding of the nature and scope of the Commission’s role, with full appreciation of its potential added value, as well as its limitations. As far as added value, there is increasing recognition that it represents a potentially viable political platform for inclusive and nationally owned prioritization, alignment of operational actors in support of identified national priorities and mobilization of international support (financial, technical and political), as well as sustained and focused attention on peacebuilding priorities to mitigate risk factors.
It is also clear by now, the paper says, that the limitations of the Commission stem from its nature as a non-operational and advisory body based in New York that works through operational actors in the field who are deriving their respective mandates from different legislative sources. It is also hobbled by the non-existence of quantifiable peacebuilding outcomes and other assessment problems. Its success will critically depend on its ability to leverage the unique composition of its membership, offer an international political framework within which national actors could lead a peacebuilding process and bring coherence and elicit sustained support from operational actors and partners.
To that end, the paper states, the Commission needs to continue to develop its substantive focus, instruments and organizational structures in order to bridge the divide between its potential value-added and its limitations.
The Council, it says, referred to the Commission five of the six countries currently on its agenda, namely Burundi, Central African Republic, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia and Sierra Leone, and is invested in its success. The debate provides an opportunity to take stock of progress and challenges, drawing on the views of partners, including key non-United Nations peacebuilding operational agencies such as the World Bank and the African Development Bank. It was also an opportunity to share concrete proposals for enhancing the impact of the Commission.
United Nations Secretary-General BAN KI-MOON said the international community had long recognized the challenging and multidimensional character of the transition from conflict to sustainable peace and development. With field missions performing an unprecedented variety of tasks, and increasingly integrated efforts, “we had come to understand that we can succeed only if we work in close partnership with other key international actors, in support of nationally owned priorities”, he said.
The Peacebuilding Commission, Peacebuilding Fund and Peacebuilding Support Office were established in 2005 to reinforce ongoing efforts on the ground in conflict-affected countries. “Yet questions remain as to the focus and effectiveness of these bodies”, he said, noting that two years after the mixed review of the peacebuilding “architecture”, there were signs that it had begun to “come of age” and was making a difference, particularly when the Commission, Fund and Support Office reinforced each other and worked hand in hand with the United Nations presence on the ground.
In Liberia, for example, a collective engagement was helping to establish the first of five regional justice and security “hubs”. In Sierra Leone, the Commission and Fund had supported efforts to deepen democracy, which had evolved from strengthening institutions to empowering non-State actors. In Guinea, a much-needed military census was being supported and a retirement programme for 4,000 military personnel.
However, much remained to be done, he said, highlighting areas in which peacebuilding tools can be enhanced. First, the Commission should do more to leverage its unique membership to mobilize resources, and to sustain the focus on longer-term peacebuilding. It should also be able to add significant value in some non-mission settings, where national authorities and Resident Coordinators would benefit from the intergovernmental support the Commission could bring, he said.
In order for the Peacebuilding Commission to fully meet its potential, the Security Council should offer greater clarity on what type of advice it would like from the Commission in its deliberations and in the definition of mandate, which would help United Nations lead departments and actors in the field coordinate with the Commission and reduce the risk of duplication.
The United Nations was committed to maximizing the Commission’s potential, working to enhance cooperation with the international financial institutions, including the World Bank and the African Development Bank, and to supporting the new model of partnership between fragile and conflict-affected countries and their development partners. But, support from Member States was needed, including for the Peacebuilding Fund, he said.
“We have much work ahead of us,” he said. “But if the United Nations family, Member States and the wider multilateral system work together in support of nationally owned strategies, we can have an impact far greater than any single entity could achieve on its own. That is what we owe the peoples we serve, and we look forward to deepening this work together.”
EUGÈNE-RICHARD GASANA ( Rwanda), former Chairperson of the Peacebuilding Commission, said that “today, we know that peacebuilding is more than a set of activities and tasks to be mandated, undertaken and reviewed. Peacebuilding is rather a ‘state of mind’ — a ‘culture’ in policymaking, planning, funding and implementation of activities in post-conflict settings”. It was, he continued, a continuum which spanned all efforts to lay the foundation for sustainable development and for resilient societies and institutions. The Peacebuilding Commission was a platform for that purpose, but had yet to tap into its full potential.
Introducing the Commission’s report on its activities in 2011 (document S/2012/70), he said that the period under review included the request from Guinea for advice and accompaniment on its political and socio-economic transition, which then became the sixth country to be placed on the Commission’s agenda and the first that was not on the agenda of the Security Council and where no mandated mission was deployed. In the other five countries on the Commission’s agenda — Burundi, Central African Republic, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia and Sierra Leone — the Commission had continued to accompany each country through different stages of challenges facing the peacebuilding process.
Highlighting three elements from the report, he said it showed increased efforts to strengthen partnerships, particularly with the international financial institutions. It also showed that the Commission had an enormous capacity to promote knowledge and experience-sharing. In that regard, he described a November meeting hosted by Kigali that helped build a platform for promoting experience-sharing between the six countries on its agenda and others that had undergone the peacebuilding process. There was a real need to nurture that type of cooperation among the countries of the South, he commented, with the Commission the best venue for it. The Commission, finally, had continued to prioritize the need for strengthening the interaction with, and advisory role vis-à-vis, the principal organs of the United Nations through briefings and informal interactive dialogues.
The 2010 review had particularly highlighted the potential for developing a dynamic linkage with the Council and the continuing development of the Commission’s relationship with the Economic and Social Council. There was a continued need to empower the Commission, however, to become the central United Nations platform for support to countries emerging from conflict. The challenge facing the Commission in demonstrating its full potential was to ensure that its work in support of those countries was backed by a high degree of political commitment from Member States and the senior United Nations leadership. “This is our shared responsibility and one that we are yet to shoulder with full commitment,” he said.
ABDULKALAM ABDUL MOMEN ( Bangladesh), Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission, explained that the intergovernmental body was dedicated to addressing the special needs of countries emerging from conflict, working with a unique membership that included top financial and troop and police contributors to the United Nations, institutional donors and regional actors. While suggestions had been made that the Commission could leverage the collective political, financial and technical capacities of its Member States and partners in support of national peacebuilding objectives, its engagement had too frequently been defined by a few interested members.
“The full potential of such a unique political platform made up of the most influential global actors had, unfortunately, not been met,” he said. “This is a statement which invites serious reflection.”
However, despite those difficulties, the Commission could show examples of its vast potential in political accompaniment and advocacy, including building trust between political actors in Sierra Leone in 2009, managing tensions during the electoral process in Burundi in 2010, supporting national capacity development for police and rule of law in Liberia since 2011, security sector reform in Guinea leading to the 2011 military retirement project late last year, and supporting presidential elections in Guinea-Bissau last March. He pointed to similar potential partnership with international financial institutions.
But, it was difficult to imagine how the international community and the United Nations would be able to tap into the Commission’s potential without the political commitment by individual Governments and the United Nations system, as a whole. “The United Nations and other partners should view the [Peacebuilding Commission] as an opportunity and a source of support, not as a competitor or an additional layer of bureaucracy,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Commission should also make efforts to enhance its stature and added value, he said. It was significant that this debate was taking place in the Council, one of the Commission’s two “parent institutions”, along with the General Assembly. The Peacebuilding Commission could play a useful role in alleviating the Council’s workload by looking after situations that were not on the immediate radar of the Council.
Looking forward to the Council’s innovative suggestions, he shared some preliminary ideas suggested by the Chairs’ Group that could provide a framework for strengthening and taking forward these relations. Among those ideas were that relations between the Council and country-specific configurations should be further intensified and institutionalized, with Council resolutions including specific requests for advice from the Peacebuilding Commission around identified priority areas. The Commission would also benefit from clarity on the division of roles and responsibilities with the senior United Nations leadership in the field.
In addition, he said the Commission’s advice could be most relevant as the Council considered a transition from one form of United Nations engagement to another. Further, there was a need for periodic information sharing with the Council on country-specific opportunities.
“It is essential that the countries on the agenda of the [Peacebuilding Commission] do not relapse into conflict,” he said. “Our goal is also to offer all relevant national actors a fair chance at building resilient societies and institutions. This is a goal that can only be attained if we manage to muster the necessary political will and commitment.”
JOACHIM VON AMSBERG, Vice-President and Head of Network Operations Policy and Country Service of the World Bank, said that the Bank was working to strengthen its focus on fragile and conflict-affected countries in collaboration with the United Nations through putting into effect the results of the 2011 World Development Report on Conflict, Security and Development, reflected in the New Deal for Engagement in Fragile States, endorsed at last year’s Busan conference on aid effectiveness.
Those initiatives, he said, stress that the challenges facing the countries under discussion could not be resolved by short-term or partial solutions in the absence of institutions that provided people with security, justice and jobs. Development assistance, therefore, must support peacebuilding and state-building goals.
Towards that end, he said, the Bank was working with the g7+, the United Nations and other partners and making changes to the way it worked, reviewing its approach to country strategies, financing, operations and human resources in South-Sudan, Timor-Leste and other countries. Financing frameworks must be aligned with the New Deal. The Bank was also developing a package of internal measures to enable more informed risk-taking, more nimble operational responses to changing environments, more hands-on implementation support to country teams and new approaches for measuring results.
The Peacebuilding Commission, he said, continued to play a key role in bringing together the relevant actors, garnering attention and resources to countries emerging from conflict and supporting strategies to build sustainable peace. There had been progress in several areas of coordination, in the Central African Republic, Burundi, Sierra Leone, Guinea-Bissau and Guinea, as well as in expanding thematic collaboration and leveraging knowledge, in such areas as justice-sector capacity-building. It was critical to continue to strengthen partnerships and alignment of activities in countries on the Commission’s agenda, especially work on needs-assessment and poverty reduction strategies.
Better support to peacebuilding, however, required moving from needs-based approaches alone towards actual prioritization, he said. The peacebuilding and state-building goals provided a great starting point for such prioritization, by highlighting the issues that States themselves have identified as critical. Moving forward, the Commission could be a useful forum in which to explore how those priorities could be reflected in the post-2015 United Nations Development Framework.
Council President MARÍA ÁNGELA HOLGUÍN CUÉLLAR, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Colombia, referring to her national experience, said that there was no substitute for the strengthening of national institutions. In addition, the country had learned that the only sustainable results were those supported by national ownership over processes, strategies and policies. Those were indispensible conditions to avoid a relapse into conflict and to lay a solid and durable foundation for a promising future for the population. The main responsibility for successful peacebuilding belonged to Governments and relevant national agents, including civil society.
The United Nations and the Peacebuilding Commission, she said, were playing a more and more important role, in recognizing that peacekeeping must have, as its end goal, a vision where the required contributions were focused on the concept of strengthening national capacity and establishing sustainable conditions for development. In that task, regional and subregional organizations could contribute, as well, by providing their vision and leadership; the World Bank, or regional banks, also had an important role.
The Commission, she said, had the potential to create mechanisms and modalities to identify knowledge, experience and technical assistance, thus promoting South-South cooperation. Likewise, it could help the States on its agenda to strengthen their national capacities, in order to coordinate the activities of donors, encouraging transparency and accountability. It should also channel dialogue between the different national actors and the United Nations system. In that context, Colombia, she announced, would hold an interactive dialogue between the Security Council, the Commission and the countries on its agenda.
Given its experience and the challenges it had overcome, Colombia, she said, believed that efforts must be aimed at bringing hope to people and offering a chance for a decent life and to overcoming the difficulties of the past. That was possible through implementation of public policies that allowed, among other things, reparation for victims and creation of effective mechanisms for promotion of social and economic development, benefiting, in particular, the most vulnerable and affected populations.
SUSAN RICE ( United States) said national commitment and broad international support, a focusing of efforts, strengthening coordination and highlighting best practices were needed to address post-conflict situations. In addition, national ownership was imperative and including women was crucial to post-conflict recovery, she said. Peacebuilding strategies needed to bolster national plans and not be an added burden.
Pointing to its success in Sierra Leone, she urged the Commission to forge stronger partnerships with major actors, including the World Bank and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and other regional actors. Mobilizing resources remained an enormous challenge, she said, commending country-specific efforts. New sources of support, including from the private sector, could be developed. The debate could not be separated from the broader reform, which included mobilizing the expertise of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and development agencies. Common strategies and effective divisions of labour needed to be clearly defined, she said, pointing to the way the Kenyan, Ugandan and Ethiopian experts, through support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Norway, were deployed to South Sudan. Citing an increasingly long list of experiences, with the Commission working with six countries, she said the Council’s mandate to advance peace and security included not just ending conflict, but preventing its reoccurrence.
KODJO MENAN ( Togo) said, since the Commission’s inception, the question of peacebuilding had been at the centre of the action the United Nations had taken in post-conflict countries. Applauding successes in Sierra Leone, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Guinea and Central African Republic, he said the new approach translated the will of the United Nations in ensuring that countries emerging from violence did not fall back into conflict.
Many sectors of the countries concerned had benefited from targeted, priority work, among other efforts, he said. However, to ensure that the settlement of political issues opened a path to good governance and the long-term success of that and other peacebuilding actions, the inclusion of women and youth was important. Awareness-raising, political support and resource mobilization were also critical, as was cooperation with financial institutions. It was clear that more needed to be done, including that the Commission strengthen its actions and initiatives. To ensure lasting peace, national reconciliation was a major challenge, and the Commission should encourage justice that both repaired and restored, he said.
ALEXANDER PANKIN ( Russian Federation) said peacebuilding assistance was one of the key factors in stabilizing conflict situations and was especially relevant in light of the Middle East and some African countries. Significant peacebuilding work was being carried out, and it required the coordinated efforts of Member States, the United Nations system and international financial institutions. There was a need to step up financing mechanisms and tighten up the peacebuilding architecture, as well as to provide information to the Council during discussions on specific countries, he said.
Thus far, a great deal needed to be done to optimize the Commission’s effectiveness, he said. Serious work was being carried out in terms of country-specific configurations, which was a unique window for cooperation with all peacebuilding stakeholders. Information on assistance should be analysed, the result of which would be useful to the Commission and the Council, when it was making decisions on individual States. Information from the ground must cover, among other things, duplication of efforts. Discussions should take place on related topics, including training national civilian experts, which had become an important task for rebuilding after conflict. Turning to the subject of coordination, he said “the right hand is simply unaware of what the left hand is doing,” he said, noting that many related problems could be addressed through fine-tuning. On the Peacebuilding Fund, he said the mechanism for emergency financing had proven its effectiveness, and he noted that his country was contributing $2 million annually.
AGSHIN MEHDIYEV (Azerbaijan), aligning himself with the statement to be delivered on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said that peacebuilding could only take root and succeed if a genuine peace, based on norms and principles of international law, was established on the ground. It must not be directed at sustaining the status quo created as a result of violations of international law. The sovereignty, independence and national development choices of countries must be respected. The United Nations should play the role of coordinator of international efforts and should mobilize international resources to assist countries to formulate and advance national strategies. Peacebuilding could only be effective if it strove to build the national institutional capacities of the post-conflict countries.
In that context, he said that, as a country suffering from conflict and foreign military occupation, Azerbaijan was working hard on the political track to achieve a negotiated settlement based on international law, and had long ago started designing strategies for the social, economic and environmental reconstruction of its territories after their de-occupation, increasing institutional and resource capacities to meet those goals. The engagement of international expertise at relevant phases would be required. The success of the Commission’s work in that regard was inextricably linked to the achievements of its configurations on the ground. Further strengthening the role of country-specific configurations could bring qualitative improvements to the effectiveness of the Commission’s work and to the United Nations peacebuilding architecture.
ABDULLAH HUSSAIN HAROON ( Pakistan) said that the value of the reports of the Commission and its country-specific configurations could be enhanced through analytical explanations of the decision-making process of the Commission. Achievements of the older configurations, such as Burundi and Sierra Leone, as well as the challenges faced by them, offer a useful body of knowledge for application to new configurations. Full national ownership was critical. In addition, while there was a common objective between peacekeeping and peacebuilding, it was important to realize that each was a specialized activity and the related tasks must be articulated clearly and adequately resourced from the onset of a mission, necessitating closer interaction of the Commission with the Council.
The success of peacebuilding hinged on adequate financial resources, he said, with the Peacebuilding Fund an essential component, but not responsible alone to meet the overall, rising demands. Other avenues of resource mobilization should, therefore, be more vigorously explored. For mobilizing the necessary human resources, the Secretary-General’s initiative on civilian capacities was important; he hoped that the ongoing follow-up led to more efficiency in the field, as well as at Headquarters. Intergovernmental input in the process would grant it legitimacy. The work of the Commission, he concluded, would improve as the global narrative on peacebuilding further evolved and as the collective response became more focused.
MARK LYALL GRANT (United Kingdom), recalling the ideas for strengthening the role of the Commission he sent to the Council President on 12 June following the Council’s visit to West Africa, he said it included suggestions for improving the quality of the interaction between the Council and the Commission chairs. Today, he highlighted supporting strong national ownership of peacebuilding, from start to finish, with the international community helping to build national capacity to lead and helping to strengthen and underpin the political will necessary to consolidate peace.
He supported the so-called “New Deal” for aid in that regard, which also meant holding national actors to account for their commitments. “The PBC needs to be a supportive partner, but also a robust one, and that does not shirk from engaging in discussion about the tough issues and political choices that post-conflict countries faced, including those on national reconciliation, rule of law and human rights”, he said. In addition, he stressed that coherence of international assistance was vital, and that the Commission had a critical role to play in that area. The Commission, finally, could add genuine value in Council discussions on the countries on its agenda, by briefing on coherence, inclusivity and degree of national ownership of peacebuilding in a particular country. The Council could be more direct in requesting such specific information from Commission chairs, especially in the run-up to consultations or mandate renewals.
LI BAODONG ( China) welcomed the remarkable achievements of the Commission last year, based on relevant General Assembly and Security Council resolutions. The Commission must continue to fully respect ownership in the countries concerned, as they bore the ultimate responsibility in peacebuilding. The capacities of the countries should, therefore, be built. Resources should be mobilized in line with the priorities of the countries concerned, in both peacebuilding and related social and economic development. Coordination with major United Nations entities, international financial institutions and regional organizations should be enhanced, to achieve more tangible results in the countries emerging from conflict. In that effort, more efficiency should be achieved by the Commission and best practices should be utilized, with more emphasis put on results achieved in the field.
JOSÉ FILIPE MORAES CABRAL ( Portugal), aligning himself with the statement expected from the European Union, said that there was no denying that the Peacebuilding Commission had established itself as a unique actor within the United Nations architecture for peace consolidation. He valued, in particular, the way that the Commission brought together security and development as interrelated elements of peace consolidation. He also welcomed the Commission’s make-up of Member States and international organizations and its approach based on mutual engagement with the authorities of countries on its agenda, creating a strong incentive for national ownership. The issue at stake today was how to make the best use of those singular features.
In that regard, he said, the Commission should, early on, be more systematically involved with other actors, first and foremost with other United Nations agencies, but also with bilateral partners, international financial institutions and regional organizations. More needed to be done, in addition, to clarify the political role of configuration chairs vis-à-vis that of other United Nations actors, including the Secretary-General’s special representatives, in order to avoid duplications, or even worse, contradictions. Similarly, it was critical to avoid duplications in work on security sector reform, where missions already included it in their mandates, or on women’s empowerment, when United Nations entities were already engaged in that area. Transnational issues must also be clarified. Progress in all such areas could be made through an enhanced relationship between the Commission and other principle United Nations organs, as well as improvements in working methods.
DOCTOR MASHABANE ( South Africa) said the Commission was still evolving and had not reached its full potential. Despite successes and laudable efforts, the Commission had been witness to a reversal of the democratic process in Guinea-Bissau. In order to address that and other issues, he said enhancing the utility of the country-specific configurations was needed, and membership to it should come with responsibility. Coordination and strategic partnerships needed to be strengthened, he said, strongly supporting the call for greater coherence, coordination and interaction between various United Nations organs and agencies.
Recognizing the inextricable link betweens security and development, he welcomed the growing relationship between the Commission and the Economic and Social Council. The Commission should also be given the mandate to be the sole coordinator of at least all United Nations peacebuilding interventions in countries on its agenda. He also stressed the need for the Council to consider flexible working methods, to allow the Commission to effectively play its role in advising the Council on post-conflict situations. Resource mobilization and capacities for peacebuilding should also be strengthened, he said.
MOHAMMED LOULICHKI ( Morocco) said national ownership was critical to long-term peace, in order to avoid any relapse, and must include security, promoting reconciliation and boosting the economy. Early, substantial and sustained assistance from neighbours, regional and international partners was important. The Commission was an essential catalyst that had demonstrated its usefulness.
While the Commission provided a credible platform for coordination to help countries emerging from conflict, it could not fulfil its potential without adequate funding. The “mapping” work carried out was an initiative to be encouraged. The Commission was underappreciated, and higher visibility was needed to amplify its good work. Creating regional configurations was a viable pursuit, he suggested, pointing to the Sahel, Sahara or the Great Lakes regions. Strengthening the Commission’s role in the United Nations system was also critical.
GERT ROSENTHAL ( Guatemala) said the Commission could realize its potential to offer added value to the web of institutions dedicated to similar roles, if it would fully comply with its mandate. “Its role is unique”, he said, and a way to highlight that was for the Commission to improve its capacity to create partnerships. To deepen its impact in the field, it must strengthen country configurations. A call should be made to the donor community to replenish the Peacebuilding Fund with fresh resources, as it had been the most successful element of United Nations efforts in peacebuilding.
In addition, Member States must play their role, he said. Up until now, demands to expand the number of country configurations had collided with the finite capacity of the Secretariat to handle a larger volume of activity. The Secretariat must be supported with dedication and attention. The Commission had become one of those cases characterized by the half-full glass syndrome, he said. “The potential exists to fill the other half of the proverbial glass,” he said, “in order to convert the Commission into what was originally anticipated when our Heads of State and Government adopted the 2005 Summit Outcome Document.”
VINAY KUMAR ( India) said, given the Commission’s wide range of tasks, it was not surprising that challenges existed. The willingness of the international community to provide adequate resources was among the necessary conditions for successful peacebuilding, alongside greater coherence among United Nations organs. The organizational context of peacebuilding continued to lack uniformity, with some efforts managed by either the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, the Department of Political Affairs, or the United Nations resident coordinator system.
He also highlighted that peace in post-conflict situations could not be restored unless citizens were free from fear and when institutions of governance performed effectively, the latter being the “key” to sustainable peace. As those institutions needed to be locally rooted and not imposed from above, he said it was important that the Commission align its objectives with national priorities. “Our advocacy must be accompanied by matching commitments in resources,” he said.
GÉRARD ARAUD ( France) said, as the Commission’s role was being defined, he believed its primary role was to identify needs on the ground and stakeholders. In the case of Guinea, on-the-ground assessments were very positive, including the “mapping” done by Luxembourg and Japan, which gave a clear picture of what projects were needed. That initiative should be replicated in other countries, he said. National ownership was also essential and a robust dialogue between national actors and the Commission should be continuous. However, to be effective, such dialogue needed to be reinforced with a presence on the ground, he said, noting there was a lack of visibility in some countries, including Sierra Leone.
Once needs were identified, the Commission should play its political assistance role, including mobilizing resources. Signing mutual understandings or plans for peacebuilding was not enough to ensure its success, he said, pointing to South Sudan’s peacebuilding initiatives that were blocked due to budgetary problems. In some cases, countries did not have the resources to follow through, or fully participate in projects. Coordination was the key to the Commission’s role, as it was designed as a platform for contact, including with the international financial institutions. Partnership development was at the heart of the review. Drawing up contracts, such as the New Deal contract in Busan, should be especially encouraged, he said.
PETER WITTIG (Germany), aligning his statement with the one to be made by the European Union, said it was clear from the report that the Commission and its country configurations had already started to take a range of measures to implement the recommendations of the 2010 review. However, the body had not yet realized its full potential. For that purpose, it was important to clarify the role of the Commission and set realistic expectations. Resource mobilization was a key role, but it must be clear that it was not the only role. Marshalling resources must go hand in hand with a credible, nationally owned political process, with genuine political commitment by the respective national Governments to the peacebuilding process. Effective support in that process, in turn, could only work if there was a close cooperation with other key actors on the ground.
He added that the Commission must also make better use of the political leverage of its individual members and maintain a stronger and more regular rapport with major donors, such as the World Bank and regional financial institutions and bilateral donors. Gaps and overlaps could be communicated to the national political leadership, to international actors and, as appropriate, to the Security Council, to bring about a more coherent approach. In general, there needed to be a more interactive and dynamic relationship between the Commission and the Council, with chairs invited, as appropriate, to closed consultations and informal interactions between the two bodies expanded. Finally, he said that the Commission could help create stronger links with processes initiated outside the United Nations, such as the New Deal for international assistance agreed upon at Busan in 2011.
MARIA LUIZA RIBEIRO VIOTTI ( Brazil) said that enhancing the relationship between the Commission and other United Nations bodies was of particular importance for its future effectiveness. It was in a unique position, in particular, to perform an advisory role to the Security Council, as it was suited to offer a comprehensive perspective on the root causes of conflict and on the multiple challenges in post-conflict scenarios in an integrated approach. In the capacity-building of a given State, the perspectives of the Commission could be valuable in a variety of areas, including security sector reform, demobilization, empowerment of women, youth employment, management of natural resources, restoration of basic services and economic revitalization. More frequent interactive dialogues with the Council and participation of Commission chairs in more discussions should, therefore, be encouraged.
Furthering a stronger relationship with regional organizations and the United Nations missions was also of utmost importance, she continued. The annual report demonstrated the pool of Commission partners had been widened. It was now important to keep up that momentum and further strengthen relationships with the international financial institutions, and others. It was critical to help the countries on the Commission’s agenda to overcome the perception of high risk on the part of donors, investors and international institutions, and garner the necessary resources to develop national capacities and maintain stability. As Chair of the Guinea-Bissau configuration, she reiterated Brazil’s commitment to assisting countries emerging from conflict in attaining peace, stability and socioeconomic development.
SYLIVIE LUCAS ( Luxembourg), speaking from her experience as Chairperson of the Guinea configuration of the Commission, said that one of the forces of the Commission lay in its intergovernmental nature and its mobilizing potential. As an example, the Guinea configuration brought together 46 Member States, as well as regional and international participants. Thus, the Commission offered a framework in which to “orchestrate the efforts of different stakeholders”. Not being an operational body, but a political platform, the Commission needed to enable the country in question to attract the necessary international support towards peacebuilding and state-building goals. In that way, she said, the Commission needed to be a “space where deep-seated obstacles to peacebuilding can be addressed and countered”, regardless of their nature or origin.
In the case of Guinea, she said, the Commission was the only international actor that had a political mandate to address that country’s issues. Working with the Guinean authorities, priorities for action were identified and inscribed in the Statement of Mutual Commitment that addressed the areas of national reconciliation, security and defence sector reforms, and youth and women employment. However, it was also true that the Commission must improve its way of doing business. A greater ownership of the Commission by its Member States was needed, as well as an expanded understanding and ownership by other United Nations agencies on the ground and in the country-specific configurations, in order to avoid any form of competition. She said, in conclusion, that the Commission could bring “added value” to the Council’s work when the Council was examining countries’ situations, not only through highlighting peacebuilding activities, but by helping to achieve the transition between peacekeeping and peacebuilding.
GUILLERMO RISHCHYNSKI ( Canada) said that international assistance still suffered from inadequate coordination, insufficient attention and persistent capacity gaps, meaning that all the challenges that motivated the creation of the Peacebuilding Commission remained relevant today. Relaying his country’s experience as Chair of the Sierra Leone configuration, he said that the Government had proven an effective partner, articulating a clear vision for development, and international partners were providing committed and coordinated assistance, with the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Sierra Leone (UNIPSIL) and the United Nations country team developing an innovative joint approach that used peacebuilding as an overarching frame.
While that record showed promise, faster progress in development of the Commission was needed, he said. For that purpose, the Commission needed to have a more prominent status integrated within existing processes at Headquarters and in the field, with deeper partnerships with international financial institutions. More committed engagement with the Commission from capitals, for those purposes, both at Headquarters and in the field, should be considered. The Commission should also work to identify opportunities for concrete involvement from a wider range of actors. In addition, the Commission and the Security Council should work to deepen their partnership, with the Commission better tailoring its advice to the Council’s approach in a given country.
STAFFAN TILLANDER ( Sweden), Chair of the Liberia configuration of the Peacebuilding Commission, said that the international community would be better able to achieve its common aim, which was to see Liberia consolidate peace, if the United Nations system worked in a coordinated manner and there was a smooth transition from United Nations peacekeeping to long-term development efforts. Toward that end, the Peacebuilding Commission’s lack of operational mandate might actually be one of its key assets. It could promote coherence by unlocking impasses, facilitating cooperation and coordination, and playing a catalytic role to maximize the capacity of the entire United Nations family and its common efforts. That was an important connection to the “United Nations Delivering as One” and to a coordinated approach for the international community, as a whole. It was also in line with the recommendations of the 2010 Peacebuilding Commission review, which recommended that the Commission should strengthen linkages between New York and the field, and work closely with the special representatives of the Secretary-General.
Noting that concern had been voiced about the limited visibility of the Peacebuilding Commission, he stated that increased visibility was not the Commission’s main objective, and was probably not a very good measure of success. Increased visibility might actually make the field more crowded. A better measure of success was concrete change on the ground, which would likely be best realized through a team effort.
He highlighted the Commission’s support for national ownership in policing and national reconciliation. Pledging to do his best to mobilize political support and resources required for building sustainable peace, he added that “political will is fundamental”. Part of the political accompaniment for the Peacebuilding Commission would be to support a continued political commitment to inclusive governance, political reform, gender and women as agents of change, and national inclusive reconciliation. The Statement of Mutual Commitments was a useful basis for the dialogue and also a mutual accountability mechanism. That implied a political and budgetary commitment by the Government of Liberia. Budgetary allocations for security and justice, including the police sector, needed to increase.
PAUL SEGER ( Switzerland), fully endorsing the statement made by the President of the Commission and noting that he briefed the Council last week on the situation in Burundi as Chair of that configuration, said that, in reviewing the relationship of the Commission with the Security Council, it must be remembered that the Commission did not have any decision-making powers. It could not adopt resolutions or impose sanctions. It could be compared to a co-pilot guiding a large ship. The country configurations, he added, provided such guidance in the names of the Member States in the configurations. Through the configurations, in that way, the Commission could help to lighten the Council’s heavy workload by providing an appropriate framework for post-conflict States, alerting the Council if the situation in one of them deteriorates. In order to perform that role, however, the Commission needed political support from the Council, in the form of recognition as an institution and more systematic inclusion in Council discussions.
For that purpose, he reiterated that the Council should seriously consider issuing standing invitations to the chairs of the country configurations to take part in briefings and consultations concerning their countries. In addition, closer cooperation between special or executive representatives of the Secretary-General and the chairs of the configurations could be mutually beneficial. Finally, he said that a greater degree of support from the Peacebuilding Support Office and the Department of Political Affairs would help meet the challenges of gathering information about the countries on the agenda. Simply making formal political analyses available through the Secretariat would greatly facilitate the configurations’ work. If the Peacebuilding Commission has been found useful over the past six years, it was time to invest more in it.
JUN YAMAZAKI (Japan), describing his country’s long-standing support to the Peacebuilding Commission, said that, despite the subtle and often low-profile nature of its work, the concrete impact of the body had been felt in the countries on its agenda. As Chair of the Working Group on Lessons Learned since 2011, Japan had helped analyse critical peacebuilding topics, such as security sector reform, resource mobilization and youth unemployment. Differences in the understanding of the Commission’s work had hampered its progress, and for that reason the Working Group generated a number of ideas with which to further clarify the relationship between the Commission and the Council. It had suggested more frequent interactive dialogues and a possible adaptation of the meeting model used for troop-contributing countries, so that the country-specific configurations could substantially contribute to the Council’s work.
He said that, in order to live up to its important mandated role, the Commission, in addition, needed to be a forum in which the resources and attention of the international community were further enhanced in the interest of the countries on its agenda. For that purpose, working methods could be improved to make it easier for Member States to actively take part in the Commission’s work. Greater synergies between the Commission and the Peacebuilding Fund, to which Japan was a major contributor, should also be seriously pursued, and greater coordination between all partners was needed. It had to be remembered that the Commission was an evolving body; his country remained strongly committed to its work and its close cooperation with the Security Council.
EMMANUEL NDABISHURIYE ( Burundi) explained some of the effects the Commission’s work had on his country in its post-conflict period. He said successes included the establishment of justice mechanisms and the creation of good governance institutions. All efforts had included a gender perspective, and as a result almost half of Parliament members were women, he said. Out of a $24 million budget for demobilization and resettling displaced persons, the Commission had contributed $9 million. In addition, a land and assets commission had already settled a number of disputes, he said.
The Commission had, throughout, supported the Government’s efforts in dealing with poverty. He called upon the Council to ensure greater interaction between it and the Commission, suggesting that it would be mutually beneficial if the chair of the configuration and of subgroups could be invited to the Council.
REMONGAR DENNIS ( Liberia) said that military interventions in the form of peacekeepers had a stabilizing effect, but that did not necessarily mean that peace, in all its uniqueness, was achieved when peacekeepers were deployed to placate a violent situation. While such interventions did end violence and did create a stable environment for civility and order, real and tangible peace was realized when basic structures, institutions and capacities were restored. Post-conflict peacebuilding was an exigent task. It was time-consuming, required tremendous human endeavour and exacted massive financial resources. The reason, as all knew, was that conflicts left in their aftermath colossal destruction of basic economic and social structures. They also created a lack of basic safety and security, justice and rule of law, deficient financial resources and limited institutional capacity. Addressing those mammoth problems required a profound understanding of the conflict situation. Post-conflict peacebuilding should, therefore, endeavour to address the underlying causes of a conflict, and the strategies required to secure a stable and enduring peace must be geared towards obtaining political will, an inclusive process of identification and prioritization of peacebuilding imperatives, and ensuring national ownership and leadership of the peacebuilding effort.
The engagement of the Peacebuilding Commission with the countries on its agenda had produced concrete results, he went on. In the case of his country, the Commission’s engagement had been very constructive. In the targeted areas of rule of law, security sector reform and national reconciliation, significant progress had been made. In the rule of law sector, judicial reform was taking place and a Land Reform Commission had been established. Courts were being rehabilitated, magistrates were being trained and there was a decrease in pretrial detention. Under security sector reform, there had been progress in establishing a credible security presence throughout the country. A National Security Reform and Intelligence Act had been passed, intended to rationalize the security sector. Justice and security hubs were being constructed, with the aim of decentralizing security and ensuring access to justice. The first hub was nearly ready for operation and plans were under way to begin construction of the second one. Reforming the police was continuing.
The United Nations must be applauded for according post-conflict peacebuilding the importance and urgency it deserved, especially in the last decade, he said. That was in realization and recognition of the fact that, while peacekeeping, especially in a violent conflict, prevented further carnage, sustaining peace was critical to maintaining stability in post-conflict and fragile countries and avoiding a relapse into conflict.
OSMAN KEH KAMARA ( Sierra Leone) said that the Peacebuilding Commission should continue interacting with international financial institutions, regional organizations and operational actors of the United Nations system in strengthening partnership and alignment activities with the view to enhancing complementarity and coherence among actors in the countries on its agenda. That was important, as it essentially had the potential to strengthen the Commissions’ political advocacy and resource mobilization efforts and to address transnational organized crime and drug trafficking. The adoption of statements of mutual commitments in Liberia and Guinea as the new instruments of engagement underscored the advantages of having a single overarching planning document containing well-defined peacebuilding elements and was a step towards adapting to the changing needs of the countries on the Commission’s agenda. The Commission should, in that regard, take into account the transitional phases of peacebuilding and seamlessly adopt different forms of engagement at every phase.
Countries emerging from conflict needed an institution like the Commission that would serve as a platform to support them with advice and raise their profile internationally, he went on. That would help in building trust and dialogue among various national stakeholders, and in mobilizing financial resources for immediate and long-term peacebuilding priorities, including support to democratic and governance institutions. The record of the Commissions on resource mobilization had remained mixed, however. It needed to consider what the appropriate goals in that area should be, including whether it could make a contribution in other areas, such as aid management, aid coordination, technical assistance and outreach to the philanthropic and private sectors. The wider membership of the Commission should work with it to identify clearer ways in which they could concretely contribute to peacebuilding in the countries on the agenda.
Sierra Leone, which was placed on the Commission’s agenda on 23 June 2006, had had a fruitful engagement with it since, he went on. The Commission, through the Sierra Leone configuration, had made tremendous progress in peacebuilding efforts, chiefly through aligning with the peacebuilding elements of the Agenda for Change, with the Vision of the United Nations Country Team and with the resource mobilization efforts. As one of the first countries on the Commission’s agenda, his country had “charted a path for others to potentially learn from”. That path had involved adjusting early approaches in order to make more effective use of resources, lowering the bureaucratic burden on the Government and better aligning with national priorities. It had also involved a shift away from heavy field-level engagement with an operational focus to a more political role that concentrated on how the Commission could serve as an international platform for advocacy and action in all aspects of peacebuilding.
OCTAVIO ERRÁZURIZ ( Chile) said it was important to swiftly implement recommendations from the 2010 review of the Commission’s work, particularly regarding its interaction with the main bodies of the United Nations and the Council. There was still space for discussions of issues related to peacebuilding, he said.
Highlighting the work done over the last year, he said global and regional partnerships had been strengthened, including with the African Development Bank and the World Bank. In addition, he noted the importance of the Rwanda meeting last year, where experiences in post-conflict were shared. He said women were at the centre of peacebuilding efforts, and valued the meetings with UN Women, especially regarding efforts to involve women at the beginning of initiatives. Regarding other partnerships, he said a deeper relationship with the private sector could be enhanced. Overall, the visibility of the Commission and its work should also be enhanced.
THOMAS MAYR-HARTING, speaking for the delegation of the European Union, acknowledged the progress made in the past review period of the Peacebuilding Commission, and commended the continued engagement of the country specific configuration and the support of the six countries on the Commission’s agenda. He also noted the placement of Guinea in February on the Commission’s agenda, and the progress made to date which included the security sector reform, a pension scheme for 4,000 military personnel, and the deployment of civilian expertise. However, he urged concerted efforts to “release the [Commission]’s full potential” in overcoming the challenges that lay ahead. The November elections in Sierra Leone and the national reconciliation in Liberia would be test cases. Further, the situation in Guinea-Bissau still remained “precarious” and required key participation by the Commission to bring forth constitutional normalcy and loosen the military grip on civilian power through a “genuine [security sector reform] process”.
Continuing, he said that the Commission was in a second critical phase of its development and required a renewed political commitment. To that end, he commended the recent meeting of the Commission Chairs Group and the envoys and special representatives of the Secretary-General (for countries on the Commission’s agenda), which engendered frank discussions between the two parties. He also commended the United Kingdom for its non-paper aimed at strengthening the Commission’s role and developing a more interactive relationship with the Council. The Commission’s configuration of Liberia, through the appointment of a new “full-time Chair” and a new Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Monrovia also illustrated progress and facilitated a deeper understanding between both roles and a complementarity with the New Deal Initiative (g7+). He concluding by emphasizing that national ownership was the more important aspect of the Commission’s work, stressing that peacebuilding would only succeed if it was “home-grown and nationally led”.
JAN GRAULS ( Belgium) elaborated on the relations between the Council and the Commission, concluding that the situation could be significantly improved and had not achieved its full potential. It could be deepened and enriched, as the Commission deserved more attention by the Council, he said.
The Council could give more attention to the Commission during the preparatory phase of a country on its agenda. The Council could also benefit from information from the Commission on disarmament, demobilization and reintegration, and other areas, he said. Given his experience as Chair of the Commission’s country configuration on the Central African Republic, he said it was beneficial to visit a country prior to a preparatory meeting. There was also room for enhanced cooperation between the Commission and the Council’s subsidiary organs, for instance, its committees on children and armed conflict, and on sexual violence in armed conflict. The relationship could be strengthened and any initiative by the Council would be greatly appreciated by the Commission’s country configuration, he said.
RANKO VILOVIĆ ( Croatia) said that his country attached importance to new inclusive and representative partnerships that brought together traditional donors and new ones, who often shared similar experience as the nations they were ready to support. In that regard, his country was closely following emerging initiatives and related pilot projects aimed at further promoting South-South and triangular cooperation. It was also monitoring the efforts of the initiatives to develop appropriate indicators to help measure progress in priority areas, as well as advance issues related to accountability, transparency and results-oriented approach. Croatia hoped that the mutual influences and possible interaction between those initiatives and the activities of the Peacebuilding Commission and its configurations would provide new enthusiasm and vitality to the ongoing and future peacebuilding efforts.
He said that the Peacebuilding Commission’s performance at Headquarters and its relations with key actors, including the principal organs and United Nations operational entities, called for further deliberations and, hopefully, for considerable improvement. By providing its opinion and advice on established priority areas in the countries on its agenda, the Commission could significantly contribute to the Security Council’s analysis, deliberations and final decisions, especially during preparations for visits by the Council to affected countries. They would also be helpful in the establishment of mandates and in their renewal or alteration, as well as in other decisions on the United Nations’ engagement in the concerned countries. Croatia, therefore, supported the requests for further strengthening of the relationship between the Council and the Commission and for its appropriate institutionalization. A good starting point would be to implement periodic information-sharing meetings between the Council and country-specific configurations to be held quarterly. At the same time, there was a clear need for division of labour and mutual cooperation among the different components of the United Nations presence on the ground in countries on the Commission’s agenda.
GARY QUINLAN (Australia), expressing his country’s long-term commitment to peacebuilding, stressed that enhancing the impact in the field was critical for the Commission through better linkages with actors on the ground and the translation of policy discussions in New York into practical coordination, cooperation and coherence. Dialogue between all elements of the United Nations system and Member States were critical in that area. With its ability to convene diverse stakeholders, the Commission also needed to look at more active engagement of multilateral, bilateral and regional actors, internationally and in the field. In resource mobilization, he encouraged country configurations to map international assistance and to find effective avenues for support from funding partners.
Supporting national ownership was also critical, he said, for which purpose it was important to better define commitments between the Commission and agenda countries, to make those more measurable and to align them better with national priorities. He also reiterated the call for a closer and more organic relationship between the Commission and the Security Council. For that purpose, he encouraged more informal dialogue between the two bodies, welcoming tomorrow’s interactive dialogue. The Council could better lay out its expectations of the Commission’s advisory role and make better use of it. Stressing that the Commission needed to be a collective enterprise and noting that Australia was the first donor to the Peacebuilding Fund, he announced a new contribution of $12 million over four years. He also noted that his country had produced reports on its peacebuilding experiences in its region, in order to better share lessons.
OTHMAN JERANDI (Tunisia), speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said that, while welcoming the ambitious 2012 road map that was being implemented, it was necessary to recognize that the Peacebuilding Commission still faced some important challenges. Those challenges were to intensify the nexus between peace and development by further prioritizing economic revitalization and the social dimension of development; to entrench the principles of national ownership and develop national capacities; and to have more tangible impact on the field, guaranteeing well-coordinated and coherent actions on the ground and ensuring faster and predictable financing of recovery activities over the medium to long term. He welcomed the fact that the reporting period had witnessed growing interest in the work of the Peacebuilding Commission by Member States. That growing interest must lead to closer, dynamic and substantive interaction of the Commission with the Security Council, the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council.
Re-energizing the political support and commitment of Member States was fundamental in realizing the full potential of the Commission, especially as it explored the expansion of its agenda, he went on. As underlined by the co-facilitators of the 2010 review report, that review should be a wake up call to strengthen the collective resolve to deal with peacebuilding in a more comprehensive and determined way. The Commission should play a major role in drawing the attention of the Security Council to situations that might constitute a threat to peace and security, especially in agenda countries. The Council should, on its part, ensure the full participation of the Commission in all discussions falling under the Commissions’ competence and the Commission’s prevention role should be among the principal pillars of its activities and needed to be better explored. In addition, the country-specific configurations should be fully jelled with the overall United Nations’ objectives of building sustainable peace in the aftermath of conflict, thereby ensuring compete national ownership of all peacebuilding initiatives.
SHIN DONG IK ( Republic of Korea) said that the most recent report of the Peacebuilding Commission represented an important leap ahead; for the first time, progress made in accelerating implementation of the relevant recommendations of reviews was incorporated. He welcomed, in particular, the Commission’s support for national capacity development for law enforcement in Liberia since 2011 and support for the first round of presidential elections in Guinea-Bissau last March. Strengthening civilian capacity in the aftermath of conflict was also critical for achieving sustained peace, he stressed. For all goals, the partnership among all stakeholders should be strengthened, with the Commission playing the role of facilitator. Close relations with the international financial institutions were particularly important.
Closer coordination between the Commission and the Security Council, he said, was necessary in carrying out peacebuilding mandates and helping countries to meet multifaceted post-conflict demands in the field, with Council visits reinforcing the relationship between the two bodies. The Commission should also develop a systematic way for the Council to better utilize the lessons and assets acquired through its activities in the country-specific configurations. Those configurations were underutilized, overall. Noting the contributions of his country to United Nations peacebuilding, including substantial contributions to the Peacebuilding Trust Fund, he said the Republic of Korea stood ready to further scale up such contributions, and was looking forward to further discussions on how to improve the Commission’s role.
YANERIT MORGAN ( Mexico) said experience showed that promoting social stability was a key part of the peacebuilding process, and should include tackling unemployment, strengthening the rule of law and paying attention to the basic needs of people. She supported the Commission’s plan of resource mobilization and the adoption of collaboration instruments, she said. She also welcomed progress achieved to date, including strengthening capacity and mechanisms to have a greater impact in the field, and building relations between the Commission and United Nations entities.
Promoting national and regional partnerships and the participation of women were also important, she said. However, strategies for peacebuilding should be broadened and go beyond the countries on the Commission’s agenda. For instance, the chairs’ contributions would offer valuable analysis for the Council, she said. Financial resources also needed to be predictable to ensure success, she said.
ANNE ANDERSON (Ireland), associating herself with the statement made on behalf of the European Union and noting that she was a co-facilitator of the 2010 review of the United Nations Peacebuilding Architecture, said the latest report showed good analysis, honest appraisal, the commitment of those involved and a good deal of progress. However, as a response to the “wake up call” of the 2010 review, thorough qualitative change was not taking place. Concerned voices in academia and civil society regularly warned of the Commission’s lack of impact. Chair positions for the configurations often remained vacant for long periods. Council members reportedly were disappointed, during the recent visit to West Africa, not to find a greater Commission imprint on the ground.
The fact was, she said, that Member States often did not play their part in giving true value to the intergovernmental character of the Commission and configuration chairs often felt alone in shouldering responsibilities. The configurations needed the collective weight that solid and demonstrable interest by the membership would bring, and visiting high-level personalities from agenda countries should expect senior-level dialogue when they visited New York. Ministerial engagement of members of configurations might be good in principle, but it would probably work out that only the ministers of the chairing country would be involved. Activist chairs and members were needed. In addition, a more coherent focus on peacebuilding was needed in the Secretariat. She hoped Jan Eliasson, as Deputy-Secretary-General, could push that agenda forward. Finally, the relationship between the Commission and Security Council must be seriously strengthened, through consideration of all proposals put forward to date.
JULIET HAY (New Zealand), noting her country’s active participation in post-conflict peacebuilding efforts in its Asia-Pacific region, said significant strides had been made in the area internationally in the past decade, welcoming the Commission’s development of a new model of engagement with States emerging from conflict by integrating international support for development and security challenges. It had become a pillar of support for small, vulnerable States and had developed flexible, innovative and inclusive working methods, and had focused on national ownership and national capacity in ways the Council often failed to do. As such, it generally avoided politicization and had become well adapted to the complex situations it dealt with, which were not foreseen in the United Nations Charter.
A gap existed, however, in that it was not possible for all countries to benefit from a dedicated country configuration, she said. More varied and multi-tiered forms of the Commission, as recommended in the 2010 review, could help with those situations. The Council also had an important role to play in meeting that challenge, and for that reason it must consider innovative practical responses tailored to specific cases in a concrete way, which might require new working methods that would allow Council members to interact in better partnership with other United Nations bodies to better manage cases where both peacebuilding and peacekeeping were essential, but where the Commission was not able to assume primary responsibility. Finally, she encouraged timely implementation of the recommendations of last year’s report by the Secretary-General on Civilian Capacity in the Aftermath of Conflict.
SAIFUL AZAM MARTINUS ABDULLAH (Malaysia), aligning himself with the statement made on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said that a more meaningful interaction between the Commission and the Council, as well as with other United Nations bodies and regional organizations, would bring benefits in post-conflict efforts. Resource mobilization should involve yet more partners, generating interest in exploring mutually beneficial potentials and opportunities. Mapping models should be developed for credible programmes that included coordination on humanitarian assistance, reconstruction, governance and rebuilding of public institutions. The Road Map of Action for 2012 was valuable for those purposes, but there was a continued need to update it.
Economic development was critical in affected areas, he said, along with building the capacity of local stakeholders, an approach that Malaysia had followed through the Malaysian Technical Cooperation Programme. Malaysia, he pointed out, also hosts the largest United Nations Humanitarian Response Depot and hosted many international organizations operating throughout its region. He encouraged Member States and other stakeholders to fully utilize the Depot. With its extensive experience in international security and peacebuilding initiatives, his country wanted better interaction with the Commission, members of the configurations, their chairs and other interested partners. He said that the country would continue to be an active player and a reliable partner in peacebuilding efforts.
GAREN NAZARIAN ( Armenia) said the Council should further strengthen the rule of law and advance development initiatives through the support of peacebuilding mechanisms, including the Commission. The Council and the Commission should work more closely together and use each other’s expertise and knowledge. For that to be possible, the two bodies should try to be as flexible as possible in addressing the consequences of the conflicts in a timely and efficient manner, since each conflict posed unique problems and required specific solutions.
Although lessons had been learned and approaches defined in dispute resolution, the tendency towards a top-down approach persisted, which at times ignored the specific context, roots and cause of a given conflict. International experience had shown that economic cooperation and interaction could be a valuable confidence-building measure that could lead to political cohesion. “The post-conflict period offers a window of opportunity to provide basic security, deliver peace dividends, build confidence in the political process, and strengthen core national ownership to spearhead peacebuilding efforts,” he said.
YUSRA KHAN (Indonesia), aligning himself with the statement made on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said that the Commission had, in a relatively short span of time, progressed well and cemented its international status. He welcomed the Commission’s increased focus on improving the situation on the ground in the countries on its agenda through a comprehensive approach and increased outreach to a wider group of stakeholders. To further support the development of the Commission, he welcomed increasing Security Council support to the body and its greater utilization of its advisory role. An intensified engagement by the Council with the countries on the Commission’s agenda, as well as other post-conflict countries, would also be useful. He supported the Commission’s engagement with other major United Nations bodies, as well.
He stressed, in addition, the importance of national ownership and the coordination of all partners in harmony with nationally identified needs, according to each partner’s comparative advantage. He hoped, in addition, that the Commission contributed its expertise to the ongoing review of global civilian capacity, and he strongly supported the focus on resource mobilization contained in the 2012 Commission Road Map. He reiterated the call, in particular, for the Commission to further carry forward the various recommendations contained in the results of the Commission’s Task Force on the Role of the Private Sector, facilitated by Indonesia in 2008. He also proposed that the Commission hold a dedicated annual session that included key governmental and non-governmental participants, as well as a wide range of United Nations entities. He finally offered to share Indonesia’s experience of transition to democracy and national capacity-building in many areas.
MORTEN WETLAND ( Norway) said that, while the Commission had brought sustained attention to the countries on its agenda, the body was still struggling to define its role. To ensure that the body brought added value — not only added numbers of documents and processes — he proposed that the country configurations could work primarily as a support group for the special representatives of the Secretary-General and the United Nations country teams. That way it could refrain from becoming an additional administrative layer and make greater impact in the field. In addition, cooperation with other actors, including the Security Council, needed to be accelerated, as did work on integrating women into peacebuilding.
Norway, he said, continued to provide more than 1 per cent of its gross national income in development aid and it encouraged new partners and emerging powers to increase their support. He welcomed the broadening of the donor base in the Peacebuilding Fund, which was effective in many ways, but the Fund would need to work harder in order to attain the goal of a 15 per cent allocation focused on women’s specific needs. Announcing that Norway would provide the same $5 million to the Fund in 2012 as it did in 2011, he welcomed improved management of the Fund, as well as its focus on results and strict measures against corruption. He cautioned, however, that risks must be taken. “The risk of failing to engage in areas in conflict far outweighs most of the risks of our collective but modest engagement,” he said.
MOOTAZ AHMADEIN KHALIL (Egypt), aligning himself with the statement delivered on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said that the focus for all efforts in achieving sustainable peace and preventing conflicts from relapsing was building national capacity, based on national ownership. He recalled, in that regard, Egypt’s initiative to establish an African Union Centre for Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Development. In addition, the connection between peace and development could be strengthened through consolidating a culture of peace, with stability representing the cornerstone of sustainable development. The Commission should also act as a liaison between the main United Nations bodies, agencies and the international financial institutions to reach a more effective mechanism for resource mobilization. Reiterating the importance of the lessons learned from past experiences in the countries on the Commission’s agenda, he stressed that Egypt remained ready to provide its civilian expertise for peacebuilding.
EMMANUEL OBI OKAFOR (Nigeria), aligning himself with the statement made on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, noted his country’s efforts to support post-conflict rebuilding in various countries in West Africa and said that the lessons from that experience motivated the country to convene an open debate on Preventive Diplomacy at the Security Council in 2010. Peacebuilding remained a fragile, but promising undertaking, however, even after six years of the Commission’s existence. Recent events had shown that it required a more integrated approach, encompassing political inclusiveness, security, human rights, economic development and the rule of law. It also required supportive and results-oriented commitment from individual countries and the collective international community, beyond rhetoric, including experience-sharing and provision of financial and technical resources.
In that vein, the Commission must now rise to the challenge of resource mobilization by utilizing the many options listed in the report, focusing on the most pertinent. The Security Council, in addition, must contribute to the clarification of the Commission’s role vis-à-vis its own area of competency. The role of the Commission, as well as the Council, was to ensure that their engagement with the countries on the agenda resulted in strengthening the capacity of those countries to take on the tasks of peacebuilding on their own, consistent with the important principle of national ownership. As a member of the Commission’s Organizational Committee, his country remained committed to supporting integrated peacekeeping and enhanced post-conflict peacebuilding, working in concert with other stakeholders.
FRANCIS NAZARIO ( South Sudan) said his country had much to learn from debates like today’s, as the experiences of others could help it to forge ahead with its own development goals. Just after South Sudan’s first anniversary as a nation, 9 July, his country faced the challenge of ongoing negotiations with Sudan on border demarcation and the final status of several disputed areas. It also had experienced inter-tribal conflict. To achieve sustainable peace, negotiations with Sudan must be concluded, the capacities of institutions must be strengthened to deliver services, respect the rights and privileges of its people, provide protection to all civilians and promote national healing.
“The challenge is always to identify priorities, coordinate the required work, and apportion resources accordingly,” he said, welcoming Security Council resolution 2057 (2012), which called for a coordinated approach for national state-building and peacebuilding strategies. He would also welcome a dialogue with the Peacebuilding Commission on those complex coordination challenges. He noted that his country’s decision to shut down oil production, due to illegal seizures and non-payment for deliveries, were in the long-term interests of its people, as the Government examined other mechanisms to diversify the country’s economy. Turning to security sector reform, he said the country was determined to establish sound institutions, the rule of law and a multiparty democratic system of governance. “No conflict can be resolved without an inclusive process,” he said. “We do not deny that a lot still needs to be done. It is only through the inclusion of all parts of society and their joint contribution towards our common goal that peace will be achievable.”
GYAN CHANDRA ACHARYA ( Nepal) said peace could only be made sustainable by building and strengthening national ownership. Peacebuilding work must extend support for political processes, the rule of law and justice, basic delivery of services and economic revitalization. Ensuring political attention and support alongside coordination and coherence among all stakeholders around a nationally developed, owned and implemented peacebuilding strategy would ensure the Commission’s added value.
The role of the Commission’s Organizational Committee could also be made more active and dynamic, with frequent and structured meetings with other United Nations bodies and other stakeholders to mobilize political and financial support. On the role of Member States, he said “it is indeed up to us to make the [Peacebuilding Commission] an effective intergovernmental institutional mechanism to extend sustained support for peacebuilding.” Members States should show a renewed commitment to support the Commission by providing the necessary financial resources. “These investments would pay off greatly in the form of domestic political stability and economic prosperity, which is a very strong foundation for regional and international peace and security,” he said.
MATEO ESTREME ( Argentina) said peacebuilding was one of the main challenges that faced the international community and the United Nations. That vast task included humanitarian assistance, political and security assistance, and protecting human rights. International and local organizations had an important role in taking an agreed approach established by national interests.
The coordinating role in peacebuilding must be played by the United Nations, he said. However, that role was not being played to its fullest potential. Measuring the success of the United Nations’ work would be seen when local authorities could completely manage situations. The United Nations’ main responsibility was to work with countries emerging from conflict and removing the possibility of returning to conflict.
DAFFA-ALLA ELHAG ALI OSMAN ( Sudan) said peacebuilding was the only guarantee to prevent fragile States from relapsing into conflict. Some States had fallen back into conflict, which was caused most often by the absence of good governance. He recalled the Secretary-General’s 2010 report and reiterated that there was still a search for an integrated approach that would address urgent issues, among them disarmament, demobilization and reintegration, and mine action.
The Secretary-General’s most recent report highlighted two new priorities, namely domestic organized crime and rivalry over natural resources, the latter of which regrettably was among the reasons for relapsed conflict. He said he wanted to add financial corruption as another cause of relapsed conflict and instability. It was unacceptable for a country to take decisions that would aggravate the suffering of its people simply because it did not want to abide by international standards of economic relations. He stressed the importance of the Commission’s role, which provided a short-cut to peace on the ground that would respond immediately to post-conflict needs. Reiterating the linkages between peace and development, he emphasized that national ownership and the sovereignty of States were essential to post-conflict progress.
For its part, Sudan would work towards fruitful negotiations with South Sudan. He said his country’s experience in peacebuilding had come a long way from the Doha document. It was incumbent on the United Nations to coordinate with the regional Darfur authority to leverage the greatest amount of support for peacebuilding projects, he said.
* *** *