We Can No Longer Be Bound by Traditional Approaches When Mending Societies Torn by Conflict, General Assembly Told in Annual Peacebuilding Debate

26 March 2013
GA/11351

We Can No Longer Be Bound by Traditional Approaches When Mending Societies Torn by Conflict, General Assembly Told in Annual Peacebuilding Debate

26 March 2013
General Assembly
GA/11351
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-seventh General Assembly

Plenary

69th Meeting (AM)

We Can No Longer Be Bound by Traditional Approaches When Mending Societies

 

Torn by Conflict, General Assembly Told in Annual Peacebuilding Debate

 

Secretary-General Pays Tribute to Late President of Bangladesh;

Resolution Adopted on Cooperation with Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries

Peacebuilding was not a linear, progressive process, but a multifaceted one that required stepping into new partnerships and articulating new strategies, as mending societies in the aftermath of armed conflict remained a fragile undertaking, seven years after the foundations for United Nations peacebuilding were laid, delegates in the General Assembly heard today.

Launching the body’s annual consideration of the Secretary-General’s report on the United Nations Peacebuilding Commission, as well as that of the companion Peacebuilding Fund, was the Commission’s outgoing Chair, Abdul Momen of Bangladesh, who said:  “We can no longer afford to remain in the custody of traditional and business-as-usual approaches to the link between security and socio-economic development.”

He pointed to an urgent need to address sources of protracted instability, and stressed that the challenges must be faced with the requisite resolve and determination, and bolder and more courageous steps should be taken to achieve sustainable peace and security.

He invited delegations to “envisage a new paradigm” for South-South and triangular cooperation, which, he said, could reinforce national ownership of peacebuilding.  The Commission was uniquely positioned to become a platform for that paradigm through piloting concrete projects in the countries on its agenda — presently, Burundi, Central African Republic, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia and Sierra Leone — and by helping to match the needs of those countries with the relevant experience of others, especially from the Global South.

The representative of Croatia, incoming Chair, described the Commission’s main goal as achieving cooperation and synergy in order to improve the lot of people on the ground and achieve sustainable peace and economic development in the countries on the Commission’s agenda.  He lauded the Secretary-General’s initiative for civilian capacity in the aftermath of conflict as an important contribution to national institution-building and the ensuing transformation.

Equally important, he said, was the Peacebuilding Fund’s activities to promote gender equality and empower women in the peacebuilding process.  He intended to engage the Commission’s main constituencies and encourage more proactive contribution to its work and, in order to mobilize resources, he would explore new ways to strengthen cohesion among the political, security and development components of the Commission’s mandate.

The Assembly heard from the Chairs of two country-specific configurations.  Brazil’s representative, heading the Guinea-Bissau configuration, emphasized that developing national capacity should be designed first and foremost to enable countries to assume ownership of their own initiatives.  However, the efforts of the configuration were forestalled due to the coup d’état last April.  She hoped that steps would be taken to restore international cooperation with the country.

Luxembourg’s representative, as Chair of the Guinea configuration, said that national reconciliation had been that configuration’s focus, although efforts to achieve certain goals had been challenged due organizational issues and the delay of elections.  However, “dialogue has won the upper hand,” she stated, noting that once electoral modalities had been agreed, elections would be held.

Speakers in the Hall considered core tenets of peacebuilding, as well as ways to enhance the process in the myriad contexts in which the United Nations operates.  The Head of the European Union delegation stressed the need to fully tap the Commission’s potential.  He saw restoration of constitutional order in Guinea-Bissau and the holding of long-overdue legislative elections in Guinea as important test cases.  At the same time, he applauded such progress as security sector reforms in Guinea and the support given by the configuration in Liberia for the launch of a national reconciliation strategy.

The delegate underscored the importance of regional cooperation between the configurations, notably in West Africa and in the context of the Mano River Union as illustrated by the joint mission of the Sierra Leone and Liberia configurations.  He appealed for more attention to the situation in the Central African Republic, in light of recent developments on the ground there.

Important developments in peacebuilding were unfolding, said Egypt’s representative, pointing to implementation of the exit strategy of the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Sierra Leone (UNIPSIL).  However, the military coup in Guinea-Bissau in April of this year illustrated the importance of implementing a regional comprehensive perspective that addressed trafficking of arms, drugs and humans.  That approach would add new momentum to peacebuilding efforts, and towards that end, he proposed the establishment an African Union centre for post-conflict reconstruction and development.

Nigeria’s representative complained that insufficient support for disarmament, demobilization and reintegration for two countries on the Commission’s agenda facing serious political difficulties was evident.  Those countries, he said, would risk relapse into conflict without a greater commitment by Commission members to provide financial, technical and institutional support.  At the same time, he said that while peacebuilding was necessary in the aftermath of conflict, it was not an effective long-term strategy.

Also today, the Assembly adopted by consensus a draft resolution titled “Cooperation between the United Nations and the Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries”.  It was introduced by Antonio Gumende of Mozambique, in his capacity as Chair of the Permanent Representatives of the Community of Portuguese-speaking Countries.  He said the text aims at strengthening cooperation between the Community and the United Nations, targeting, among others, the human right to adequate food and the eradication of hunger and poverty through political and diplomatic coordination and cooperation across all fields.

Prior to today’s proceedings, delegations observed a moment of silence in memory of the late Zillur Rahman, who had served Bangladesh as President since 2009.  The Secretary-General, offering his condolences to the people of Bangladesh, stated that:  “Today we mourn his loss, but take comfort that the country he helped to found is growing stronger by the day.”

Also paying tribute to Mr. Rahman were the representatives of Chad (on behalf of the African Group), Qatar (on behalf of the Asia Pacific Group), Republic of Moldova (on behalf of Eastern European States), Saint Lucia (on behalf of Latin American and Caribbean Group), Finland (on behalf of Western European and Other States Group), United States (on behalf of the host country) and Sri Lanka.

Additional statements during the discussion on peacebuilding were made by the representatives of Tunisia (on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement), China,  Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Guatemala, Sierra Leone, Switzerland and Ukraine.

The Assembly will reconvene at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, 27 March, to conclude its discussion of peacebuilding.

Background

The General Assembly met today to take action on a draft resolution titled Cooperation between the United Nations and the Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries (document A/67/L.54), and to discuss the reports of the Peacebuilding Commission and of the Secretary-General on the Peacebuilding Fund (documents A/67/711 and A/67/715).

Draft on Cooperation between United Nations, Portuguese-Speaking Countries

ANTÓNIO GUMENDE ( Mozambique), Chair of the Permanent Representatives of the Community of Portuguese-speaking Countries, introduced the draft resolution entitled Cooperation between the United Nations and the Community of Portuguese-speaking Countries (document A/67/L.54) and its eight member nations.

He said that with a commitment to promoting multifaceted cooperation among its member States, the Community was also strengthening bilateral and multilateral cooperation with other States, as well as with regional and international organizations.  That cooperation targeted vital areas, such as health, education, agriculture, public administration and technology, as well as economic and social development within its member countries.

“Those cooperation initiatives make the United Nations one of the most relevant partners of [the Community] and its member States,” he stated.  As part of its political coordination, the Community was working with the United Nations and other international and regional partners to restore constitutional order and stability, and strengthen democratic institutions and the rule of law in Guinea-Bissau.  In that regard, he welcomed the appointment of José Ramos-Horta as the Secretary-General’s Special Representative to that country.

The draft resolution, he went on to say, aims at strengthening the cooperation between the Community and the United Nations system.  Highlighting the measures adopted at the group’s ninth Conference in 2012, he said it targets, among others, strengthening the human right to adequate food in national and community policies and the eradication of hunger and poverty in its member States through political and diplomatic coordination and cooperation in all fields.

The draft resolution, he continued, also commends the efforts taken in the restoration of constitutional order in Guinea-Bissau vis-à-vis the relevant Security Council resolution and it calls for the harmonization of all partners with a view to a consensual, inclusive and nationally owned transition.  Lastly, it requests the Secretary-General to submit to the General Assembly at its sixty-ninth session a report on the resolution’s implementation.

The General Assembly then adopted the draft resolution by consensus.

Introduction of Peacebuilding Commission Report

ABDUL MOMEN (Bangladesh), introducing the Commission’s report, said that it had been organized around the main functions and work of the Commission, with an emphasis on results, as well as on challenges and opportunities in the field and in its relations at United Nations Headquarters.  The report mainstreams the implementation of recommendations from the 2010 Review of the United Nations Peacebuilding Architecture and incorporates a framework for implementing those into its 2013 agenda.

Highlighting the report’s salient points, he said it included a focus on institutional consolidation, which was critical to the Commission’s future role and impact, and an “ambitious exercise” to improve and clarify its working methods; a work programme to support the Commission’s engagement with the six countries on its agenda; and a focus on strengthening partnerships with the World Bank and the African Development Bank.

The report, he continued, also addressed the deepening working relationships with key United Nations actors in the field, as well with the principal organs, with a specific focus on the Security Council, ongoing efforts towards collective responsibility and commitment.  Also spotlighted was the high-level event on “Peacebuilding:  the way towards sustainable peace and security”; and a session with the Peacebuilding Fund on harmonizing allocation of resources to priority areas.

At the same time, he stressed the need to “envisage a new paradigm” for South-South and triangular cooperation, which, he said, could reinforce national ownership in peacebuilding.  “This is an area which requires further commitment from Member States and the United Nations system at large,” he stated.  The Commission was uniquely positioned to become a platform for that paradigm through piloting concrete projects in the countries on its agenda and by helping to match the needs identified by those countries with countries that had relevant experience, especially from the Global South.

The evolving peacebuilding agenda, he said in closing, testified to the urgent need to address sources of protracted instability.  “We can no longer afford to remain in the custody of traditional and business-as-usual approaches to the link between security and socio-economic development,” he said.  Challenges must be faced with the requisite resolve and determination, and bolder and more courageous steps should be taken to achieve sustainable peace and security.

Statements

RANKO VILOVIĆ ( Croatia), Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission, expressed full support for the Commission’s comparative advantage in bringing together all relevant stakeholders in the United Nations and beyond.   He fully supported the new format of the Commission’s report and its emphasis on the results achieved in the main areas of that body’s mandate, as well as challenges and opportunities related to its impact on the ground.  He found particularly important the detailed reference to the country-specific experiences and examples.

In terms of priorities for 2013, he said he firmly intended to engage the Commission’s main constituencies and encourage more proactive contribution to the Commission’s work and objectives.  To mobilize resources, he intended to explore new ways to strengthen cohesion among the political, security and development components of the Commission’s mandate, including through stronger cooperation with the private sector and foundations.  He also aimed to bring together all relevant stakeholders, particularly international financial institutions.

The Commission’s main goal was to achieve cooperation and synergy in order to improve the lot of people on the ground and achieve sustainable peace and economic development in the countries on the Commission’s agenda, he said.  It also aimed to reach a common understanding that would enable it to conduct its work predictably, help sustain institutional continuity and enhance its capacity at the country level.  He lauded the Secretary-General’s initiative for civilian capacity in the aftermath of conflict as an important contribution to national institution-building and the ensuing transformation.  He welcomed the Commission’s support for that initiative, including its efforts to draw upon expertise from the global South.

He lauded the Peacebuilding Fund’s activities to promote gender equality and empower women in the peacebuilding process.  He encouraged the Fund to continue efforts to meet the Secretary-General’s target of allocating 15 per cent of its funding to women’s empowerment programmes.  He strongly supported the Fund’s gender promotion initiative, launched in 2011, and looked forward to receiving the Fund’s progress report on the initiative announced for the second half of 2013.  He strongly encouraged the Fund to carry out activities that could be scaled up or complemented by the African Development Bank and the World Bank, and to consider how the Fund’s resources could support the priorities of other relevant processes, such as implementing the New Deal in some countries on the Commission’s agenda.  He welcomed the appointment of a new Peacebuilding Fund Advisory Group and the themes it selected for its two-year mandate.

MOHAMED KHALED KHIARI (Tunisia), speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, lauded the new format of the Commission’s report for its comprehensive analysis of progress in implementing the 2010 review’s recommendations and remaining challenges.  He supported the Commission’s focus on improving relations with the main United Nations organs and on adopting Security Council resolution 2086 (2013), which highlighted the Council’s willingness to make use of the advisory, advocacy and resource mobilization roles of the Commission’s peacebuilding activities to advance peacekeeping mandates.

He said it was important to assess peacekeeping challenges early to better coordinate and prioritize mission mandates.  Additionally, there must be sustained and predictable financing for countries on the Commission’s agenda.  To that end, the Commission should develop a communications strategy to ensure greater visibility to a broader audience.  He was concerned by the lack of coordination and coherence among financial donors, which had led to duplication in certain areas and the neglect of other catalytic projects.  A mechanism should be set up to review within each country configuration ways to ensure unity of donors’ efforts in close collaboration with host countries.

The respective roles and responsibilities of the Commission and the Organization’s senior leadership must be clarified further, he said.  It was important to follow up the May 2012 coordination meeting between the Commission, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Office of the Secretary-General’s Executive Representative.  Greater efforts were needed to advance national ownership through adoption of a demand-driven approach based on joint assessments with host countries.  The country-specific configurations should develop effective, cooperative mechanisms based on sustainable dialogue with the host countries.  The Commission’s working methods must be improved; its provisional rules procedure must be regularly revisited.  Contributions to the Peacebuilding Fund had increased from $58.1 million in 2011 to $80.5 million in 2012.  Its funding target should be increased to enable it to finance projects.

THOMAS MAYR-HARTING, Head of the European Union delegation to the United Nations, said the reports were comprehensive and the efforts by the country-specific configurations and the Peacebuilding Support Office to give a more analytical assessment of the Commission’s work in 2012 helped to identify progress.

He noted great dynamism in the Liberia configuration, which supported the launch of a national reconciliation strategy and put the issue of responsible management of natural resources on the agenda.  The Burundi configuration had played an important role in supporting that country’s development, including by helping to organize a successful partner conference in Geneva in October 2012.  Progress in security sector reform in Guinea, notably the retirement of almost 4,000 military personnel, with the Fund’s help, was encouraging.  The joint mission by the Sierra Leone and Liberia configurations underscored the importance of regional cooperation between the configurations, notably in West Africa and in the context of the Mano River Union.

But, great challenges remained, he said, stressing the need to fully tap the Commission’s potential.  Restoration and respect for constitutional order in Guinea-Bissau and the holding of long-overdue legislative elections in Guinea were important test cases.  The Central African Republic also required attention, in light of recent developments on the ground.  The reformatting of the United Nations presence in Sierra Leone and Burundi should be closely monitored.  National ownership was vital, and members of the country-specific configurations must ensure both ownership and political will to instil mutual accountability.

In that context, he said he welcomed the fact that the role of Commission members was given special attention in the 2013 agenda for action.  He looked forward to this year’s review by the Advisory Group of the effectiveness of the Fund’s global strategy, notably in connection with the development of the next three-year planning cycle.

OSAMA ABDELKHALEK MAHMOUD ( Egypt) said that important developments in peacebuilding were unfolding, such as the implementation of the exit strategy of the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Sierra Leone (UNIPSIL) and the transferring of responsibilities to a United Nations country team over the next 12 months.  Further, the military coup in Guinea-Bissau in April of this year proved the importance of dealing with developments in the region at large, with a comprehensive perspective that addressed trafficking of arms, drugs and humans.  That approach would add new momentum to peacebuilding efforts.

He went on to highlight recommendations from the report on working methods, the importance of national ownership, and the need to consolidate cooperation frameworks with international and regional financial institutions, among others.  He stressed the relevance of enhancing communication and coordination between the Commission and the major organs, specifically the Security Council and Economic and Social Council.

His delegation, he said, was working with the Peacebuilding Support Office and the Chair of the Commission’s Organizational Committee to enhance communication and coordination between the United Nations peacebuilding architecture and the African Union to further activities in the six African countries on the Commission’s agenda.  In that regard, he proposed the establishment an African Union centre for post-conflict reconstruction and development.

WANG MIN ( China) lauded achievements in peacebuilding in the last year and welcomed Bangladesh’s initiative of last December.  The Commission and other relevant bodies should respect the sovereignty of the countries in which they were operating.  They should strengthen the institutions of the countries concerned, focus on development and enhance human resources.  Attention should be paid to the root causes of conflict, particularly socioeconomic issues, as well as issues of security, development and the rule of law.  He emphasized that security was a prerequisite to development.

The Commission, he said, should enhance coordination with major United Nations organs, as well as the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), the African Union and other regional organizations to promote peacekeeping and peacebuilding.   The Commission should strengthen cooperation with the Secretary-General’s Special Representatives and peacekeeping missions in the countries on its agenda.  Also necessary was the provision of timely aid, and he appealed for donations to the Fund, which he hoped could play a greater role in peacekeeping.

MARIA LUIZA RIBEIRO VIOTTI ( Brazil), Chair of the Guinea-Bissau Configuration, said that the report offered a valuable occasion to reflect on last year’s work and on future challenges.  She heralded the strides made in coordinating within the United Nations system, the strengthening of partnerships and the better mobilization of resources for the countries on the Commission’s agenda.  Along with enhancing coordination, those efforts avoided overlap in the crucial steps taken by partners to improve the situations on the ground.

Developing national capacity, she said, should be designed first and foremost to enable countries to assume ownership of their endeavours and implement national policies by themselves.  However, certain events can forestall or neutralize those efforts, such as the coup d’état last April in Guinea-Bissau.  In that connection, she hoped that steps would be taken to restore international cooperation with the country.

The widening pool of partnerships, she said in closing, meant that the Commission and the Fund could continue to have a greater impact on the ground, and she commended the support of the international community as reflected in the Fund’s 2012 records.  Reiterating the need to continue mainstreaming peacebuilding within the United Nations, she looked forward to closer cooperation, notably with the Security Council.  Dialogue between country-specific configurations and the Council on a regular basis were useful tools to deepening relationships.

JUN YAMAZAKI ( Japan) said that the Peacebuilding Commission was able to analyse the effectiveness of its engagement and flexibility in accordance with needs on the ground.  Continuous improvements must be sought to ensure the Commission’s relevance, he added, spotlighting three points in that respect.  First, the Commission should find tangible areas in which it could exert its added value.  Japan, as the Chair of the Working Group on Lessons Learned, had organized a meeting in November 2012 on the topic of “Transition of United Nations Missions in Peacebuilding Commission Agenda Countries” to identify areas where the Security Council and Commission could cooperate substantively.  Secondly, the Commission must enhance the involvement of field actors, and third, it should realign meetings around country-specific configurations to generate impact on the ground.

The report on the Fund captured the instrument’s progress and improved performance, he said, adding that his delegation highly appreciated the diligent work by the Peacebuilding Support Office.  Key achievements included increasing donor contributions, swift decision-making, and steady and appropriate implementation of projects.  The Joint Steering Committee was crucial for enhancing ownership and national commitment of recipient countries.  Coordination with other developing partners also should be enhanced.  The Fund’s catalytic nature would be enhanced through improved strategic positioning achieved by strengthening dialogue and cooperation with partners on the ground, he said.

SYLVIE LUCAS ( Luxembourg), Chair of the Guinea Configuration, said it was a “good time to take stock” as the report came between the 2010 review and the upcoming 2015 review of the Commission.  Noting the peacebuilding structure established in 2005, she stressed that it was up to Member States to enable that system to work, and she urged delegations to commit fully to the configurations.  Also necessary was to acknowledge the limits of the structure.  The Commission was a policy body; it was not in the field and it did not have its own fund.  However, it received support from its partners and, as an advisory inter-governmental platform, it could lend political weight to the issues on hand.

In her role as Chair of the Guinea Configuration, she said she focused on the consolidation of peace with all stakeholders, including the Government, and national reconciliation.  Efforts to achieve the latter goal had been challenged by several factors, including discussions on organizational issues and the delay of elections, resulting in a feeling of mistrust.  However, “dialogue has won the upper hand,” she stated, noting that once electoral modalities had been agreed, elections would be held.  She said in closing that her country would be contributing $520,000 to the Peacebuilding Fund in 2013.

YUSRA KHAN (Indonesia), associating with the Non-Aligned Movement Caucus of the Peacebuilding Commission, said that the Commission’s gradual but concrete achievements and the sharpening of its focus on key global post-conflict themes over the past six years were a testament to both the drive of its members and the support of the United Nations system and partners.  Such backing — in particular from the Security Council and the General Assembly — was critical, and Indonesia hoped that it would be further strengthened.  He agreed with the observation in the 2012 report that without broader, more vigorous and continued national commitment and leadership, as well as efforts to address the root causes of instability, the Commission’s political accompaniment would be rendered ineffective.

He said his country supported the conclusions of the Working Group on Lessons Learned that the Commission could identify a few influential foundations and private companies in the areas of recurring priorities in the agenda countries and engage with them.  The Commission’s policy task force on engagement with the private sector, which Indonesia had facilitated in 2008, outlined recommendations that could be useful in forging collaboration with such organizations.

The Commission’s call for greater integration between peacebuilding and development objectives in the instruments of engagement among the different United Nations and non-United Nations actors was very important, he said.  Leveraging of efforts would improve coherence, resource allocation and results.  The lack of strong political support from the capitals led to a less effective impact by the Commission in the field, and he, therefore, urged more institutionalized and regular annual sessions of the Organizational Committee would bolster partnership with the capitals.  He supported the Fund’s two priority settings, namely in immediate post-conflict or post-conflict crisis environments, and in countries where it could make longer-term grants, and thought the Fund’s potential, especially in supporting the capacities of civilians from the Global South, should be explored.

EMMANUEL OKAFOR ( Nigeria) said recent developments in two countries on the Commission’s agenda were cause for deep concern and underscored the fact that peacebuilding was not a linear, progressive process, but a multifaceted one.  Seven years after the Organization’s peacebuilding architecture had been created, post-conflict peacebuilding remained a fragile undertaking.  While necessary in the aftermath of conflict, peacebuilding was not an effective long-term strategy.  Global foresight was critical.

In that connection, he said that support for disarmament, demobilization and reintegration for two countries on the Commission’s agenda that were facing serious political difficulties had been insufficient.  Without greater commitment by Commission members to provide adequate financial, technical and institutional support for that and associated political processes in those countries, the risk of relapse would remain high.  He urged the Commission to ensure that engagement with those countries led to the strengthening of their institutional capacity, which was vital for fostering national ownership of peacebuilding.

Commission members had an individual and collective responsibility to support countries on its agenda through results-oriented, concrete action.  Financial support and the sharing of experiences were also vital.  The Commission’s overarching aim should be to utilize lessons learned to the benefit of countries on its agenda.  Nigeria, through its Technical Aid Corps — a framework for South-South cooperation — supported the civilian capacity needs of those countries.  The Commission should bolster inter-institutional cooperation and partnership with relevant stakeholders, including the United Nations’ main organs.  He welcomed Council resolution 2086 (2013) and commended Member States and others for contributing to the Fund.  Nigeria had made significant contributions to bring stability and constitutional order to Guinea-Bissau, Mali and other conflict-affected countries in Africa.

HUSSEIN HANIFF ( Malaysia) echoed the views in the two reports, particularly on the importance of developing national capacity and resource mobilization as key principles to successful peacebuilding.  He supported the Commission’s efforts to mobilize global support, including from the World Bank and the African Development Bank.  He was particularly encouraged by the developments in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Burundi.  That progress was a testament to the legitimacy of the Commission’s strategy and its strong cooperation with the Governments of those countries.  Efforts should continue towards achieving sustainable peace, stability and development.

He said his country was committed to developing human capital and governance in countries emerging from conflict through the Malaysian Technical Cooperation Programme.  A total of 163 officials from Sierra Leone, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau and Central African Republic had been trained in capacity-building, public administration, agricultural management, diplomacy, customs and law enforcement.

The Commission’s work must be enhanced further, as should its advisory role with the main organs of the United Nations, particularly the Security Council, he said.  He commended the Commission’s progress in enhancing that relationship and encouraged further discussions between the two to support peacebuilding programmes in countries on the Commission’s agenda.  The Commission’s working methods must also continue to be updated to ensure coherent policy development and transparency and to cultivate institutional memory.  Additionally, resource mobilization was crucial for supporting countries in the transition to peace.  He was encouraged by the increased contributions to the Fund in 2012, and urged more Member States and international donors to contribute.  Finally, there should be greater transparency and accountability in the conduct of the Fund’s disbursements.

JOSÉ ALBERTO BRIZ GUTIÉRREZ ( Guatemala) lauded the report’s greater emphasis on progress, opportunities and challenges, as well as its broad analysis of implementation of recommendations resulting from the 2010 review.  The Fund and country configurations were valuable for mobilizing international cooperation for peacebuilding.  Discussions during the last year were an important source of lessons learned.  He stressed the importance of individual countries’ efforts to ensure that the Commission’s work had the desired impact.  Turning to resource mobilization, political backstopping and increased coherence, he said he was pleased that the Commission would bolster efforts to mobilize financial resources and seek new funding sources.  It was vital to create national systems to encourage concerned countries to have sustainable input in peacebuilding.

He urged the Commission to help Governments assume new responsibilities, as was the case in Liberia and Sierra Leone.  The Commission should support different peacebuilding actors on the ground and promote the creation of transparent mechanisms.  He acknowledged the Fund’s usefulness and lauded the increase in donor contributions in 2012.  He hoped it would continue to receive sustained support.  He acknowledged the value of the relationship between the Security Council and the Commission to address conflicts in countries on the Commission’s agenda as a way to ensure lasting peace and development.

SHEKOU TOURAY ( Sierra Leone) noted the Commission’s efforts to strengthen its relationship with the Organization’s operational entities.  He encouraged its partnership with the World Bank, African Development Bank and regional organizations.  He urged the Commission to build on the work of the Senior Advisory Group, as well as to monitor and make recommendations on the implementation of the Secretary-General’s Civilian Capacity initiative and to assess its practical implications for national capacity-building in critical peacebuilding priority areas.  The Commission should incorporate the findings of the working group on lessons learned.

He said that Sierra Leone’s engagement with the Commission and Fund had been fruitful, enabling tremendous progress in peacebuilding.  The relationship encompassed resource mobilization, support for democratic and good governance institutions, and aligning the peacebuilding elements of the country’s development framework with the joint vision of the United Nations country team.  The holding of peaceful, technically well-organized elections, with high voter turnout, in November 2012 exemplified those achievements.

Sierra Leone was articulating its priorities for the next five years, with a focus on economic growth, improving social services and building human capital, he said.  The peacebuilding architecture, development partners and donors should support the country’s development aspirations, including a seamless transition to a strong, well-resourced resident coordinator system.  During a visit to Sierra Leone in February, the Sierra Leone Configuration Chair underscored the country’s progress in addressing key peacebuilding priorities, particularly in youth unemployment and empowerment, security sector reform, support for the proposed constitutional review process, natural resource management, and for stemming drug trafficking, among other things.  Sierra Leone looked forward to more regular visits, which created an important platform to hear from all actors, he said.

He said his country had charted a path for others for follow — one which entailed a shift away from heavy field-level engagement with an operational focus to a more political role for the Commission.  Now was the time for the international community to provide the required continued aid to build on gains made thus far.  He welcomed the remarks by the Sierra Leone Configuration Chair on the need for the configuration to turn its attention to the transition, including by advocating for any necessary resources to fill gaps created by UNIPSIL’s drawdown.

THOMAS GÜRBER ( Switzerland) suggested that those involved in peacebuilding could take a more strategic place in the overall Organization.  The Commission should focus on its impact on the ground, as well as on strengthening partnerships with the United Nations system and financial institutions.  In addition, ties with the private sector should be explored further.  Coordination and coherence were the keys to success, and the positive outcome with Burundi illustrated how well-guided partnerships could make a difference.

He said that the process of drawing down missions should be more clearly understood and should be carried out in close work with the Security Council.  The Commission should, in addition, make better use of holding exchanges with United Nations players, and he expressed his support for taking into account peacebuilding in the post-2015 development programme.

The Commission, he continued, should not confine itself only to United Nations processes, but should also explore potential engagement with the “G7+” (self-described as a country-owned and country-led global mechanism to report on the unique challenges faced by fragile States) and its “New Deal”.  Commending the Fund’s contribution to peacebuilding, he called for greater coordination between it and the World Bank and African Development Bank.

YURIY SERGEYEV ( Ukraine), aligning himself with the statement made by the European Union, said he fully supported priorities outlined by the Commission’s new Chairman.  Particularly welcome had been the Commission’s role in the elections in Sierra Leone, national reconciliation strategy in Liberia and resource mobilization in support of a new poverty reduction strategy in Burundi.  Going forward, the priority should focus on boosting the Commission’s relevance, performance and impact on the ground by sharpening its analytical profile and enhancing interaction and closer cooperation with the Security Council.

He urged the Commission to give due consideration to the two agenda countries, which had experienced disruption of constitutional order, thus undermining peacebuilding.  Ukraine had helped to strengthen the Commission’s “thematic edge” in terms of such cross-cutting issues such as women’s participation in peacebuilding, gender mainstreaming, children and youth in peacebuilding, and the peacekeeping-peacebuilding nexus.  In addition, Ukraine was involved in the Commission’s institutional consolidation and promoted more robust interaction with relevant United Nations organs.  Ukrainian peacekeepers had contributed through their active military, police and civilian engagement in more than 20 United Nations missions, and it intended to send a new generation of the formed police unit to the United Nations Mission in Liberia.  He hoped his country would serve in the Commission in 2014-2015, representing the General Assembly category.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.