|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Steady International Support Vital for Bolstering United Nations Cohesion,
Delivery, Secretary-General Tells Peacebuilding Fund Stakeholders
Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks to the Peacebuilding Fund High-level Stakeholders Meeting, in New York, today, 29 November:
I am pleased to be with you to reflect on another eventful year for peacebuilding and democratic reform. We are honoured to be joined by video link by Tawakkol Karman, the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate from Yemen. Her voice echoes and amplifies the cry of billions of people — each calling for justice, equality and opportunity. This call motivates my days and guides our work for peace, development and rights for all.
I was very recently in Yemen. I was privileged to bear witness to a remarkable negotiated transition. The country has rejected civil war and embraced national dialogue. We must ensure the process is irreversible.
Earlier this year I visited Timor-Leste. Our peacekeeping mission there is drawing to a close. This is the goal of keeping and building peace — to make ourselves redundant; to help countries to stabilize and then to work with them for sustainable peace and prosperity.
We are doing so in countries such as Somalia, where a new Constitution and a new President are lifting the shadows of long-standing conflict to reveal the hope of stability and development, and in countries such as Myanmar, where the leadership has made decisive moves towards a more open society that can now benefit from international partnerships.
Among the countries on the agenda of the Peacebuilding Commission, Sierra Leone has just completed its third peaceful election since the end of its civil war — accompanied every step of the way by the United Nations. From Afghanistan to Timor-Leste, from Haiti to Liberia, we are working with the g7+ movement of conflict-affected and fragile countries as part of the New Deal for Engagement in Fragile States.
They are helping themselves, and us, to focus on what matters most as we try to build peace. Wherever we see progress we see leaders — politicians and courageous activists such as Ms. Karman — willing to take risks to move their countries in new directions. We must be ready to support them by being creative, flexible and committed.
Over the past five years, the Peacebuilding Fund has become an important tool. This year, the Fund once again helped the United Nations system to respond rapidly to needs, for example by facilitating elections in Yemen, supporting the political transition in Somalia and helping the reintegration of refugees from Libya in north-western Chad.
In Guinea, we were able to use the Fund to provide support for security-sector reform, as requested by the President. And in Liberia the Fund stands ready to assist the Government’s national reconciliation road map. In all cases, the Fund supports and requires national ownership.
It also stands for coherence. By working through the senior United Nations official on the ground, the Fund helps to bring together the development, political and human rights pillars of the United Nations. It strengthens United Nations cohesion and delivery as one. As a result, the Fund’s value is broadly recognized by the Security Council, the General Assembly and by donors.
I have painted a positive picture — and I think justifiably so. But we cannot ignore the negative. Guinea-Bissau has moved away from peace and good governance. The crises in Syria and the Sahel challenge the efforts of neighbours and the international community alike.
We have learned much about peacebuilding. But we have much yet to learn. In my 2009 report, I identified why and how the United Nations and its partners could make a step-change in the quality of our peacebuilding support. My 2012 report shows how we have put these ideas into practice, and identifies new priorities for peacebuilding. The United Nations is now responding in a more coherent, timely and effective manner.
Yet many countries experience continued instability years after the end of armed conflict, with high rates of relapse into large-scale violence. We must do better at making peacebuilding sustainable. Inclusive approaches and an early emphasis on institution-building are critical to restoring trust within society, between society and the State and across international boundaries — between a State and its international partners.
This requires sustained support from the international community. Transition compacts are important frameworks for such support, tailored to country contexts and based on the principle of mutual accountability. But we also need progress at the global level.
I urge the incorporation of peacebuilding considerations in the post-2015 development debate — considerations related to inclusive politics, security, justice and the rule of law, equitable economic foundations and access to essential services. I am looking forward to the views of the High-level Panel, of which Ms. Karman is a member, on these issues.
We are doing better, but we know the challenges are great and will be with us for years to come. I believe we can and must build on the successes of the Peacebuilding Fund. We have a growing number of multi-year commitments from Member States. This year, we expect about $75 million in contributions.
But we can do better. I would like to call on you to increase your support, particularly those of you who signed up in the early years, but have yet to renew your commitment. I would also encourage a broadening of the donor base. We benefit greatly from a small number of core donors. Even a small increase or a renewal of commitment from a greater number of Member States will make a significant, and more sustainable, difference.
Peace is the most cost-effective investment any of us can make. Ask Nobel Laureate Tawakkol Karman and the thousands like her involved in the struggle for rights and democracy around the world. They deserve the support of the United Nations. With your help, we can provide it.
* *** *