Speakers Urge Closer Cooperation between Peacebuilding Commission, Development Banks, Regional Organizations, as General Assembly Debate on Report Concludes

27 March 2013
GA/11353

Speakers Urge Closer Cooperation between Peacebuilding Commission, Development Banks, Regional Organizations, as General Assembly Debate on Report Concludes

27 March 2013
General Assembly
GA/11353
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-seventh General Assembly

Plenary

70th Meeting (AM)

Speakers Urge Closer Cooperation between Peacebuilding Commission, Development

 

Banks, Regional Organizations, as General Assembly Debate on Report Concludes

As the General Assembly today concluded its consideration of the Peacebuilding Commission’s annual progress report, delegates praised the document’s analytical approach and urged the Commission, as well as the Peacebuilding Fund, to reach out to development banks, regional organizations and other partners to mobilize resources.

The Commission — an intergovernmental advisory body that supports peace efforts in countries emerging from conflict — currently has six countries on its agenda:  Burundi; Central African Republic; Guinea; Guinea-Bissau; Liberia; and Sierra Leone.

Sweden’s representative lauded the Commission’s report for its focus on country-specific challenges and experiences, which could guide its activities in other nations.  Sweden’s own experience as chair of the Commission’s Liberia configuration had provided valuable insights into the roadblocks to and prospects for building peace in that country.  Closer cooperation between the Commission and global financial institutions and regional organizations like the African Development Bank and the Manu River Union was crucial for supporting regional initiatives in youth employment, natural resource management and economic governance.

The United States representative, stressing that the tools and resources of multilateral development banks were essential for post-conflict transitions, encouraged the Commission to strengthen partnerships with those bodies and explore greater collaboration with the private sector, as well as initiatives like the g7+ and the New Deal for Engagement in Fragile States.

Several delegates urged the Commission’s companion body, the Peacebuilding Fund, to also look beyond its traditional donor base.  Norway’s representative touted the multi-year standing trust fund for its role in rapid and flexible assistance to countries in the early stages of peacebuilding and for its willingness to take risks.  He encouraged it to engage emerging economies and explore taxation and other ways to enhance domestic resource mobilization in the countries on the Commission’s agenda.

South Africa’s representative warned that disruption of the Fund’s work risked unravelling peace gains.  He looked forward to the early resumption of the Fund’s activities in Guinea-Bissau, which was plagued by political instability following a military coup in April 2012.

Backing that statement, other delegates heralded the Fund’s vital role in peacebuilding in their respective countries.  For example, Kyrgyzstan’s representative said the Fund’s response to his country’s inter-ethic violence in 2010 had been timely and important.  Initial stabilization measures had helped Kyrgyzstan recover from the violence and create the first parliamentary democracy in the region.  The fund had since allocated $10 million to his nation under the Immediate Response Facility, enabling the Government to engage women and youth in the peacebuilding process, rebuild confidence in public institutions, and launch innovative approaches to community reconciliation, such as sharing of water supplies.

Guinea’s representative credited the Fund with helping his nation to reform its security sector and retire 3,928 troops, and identify the steps needed to restructure its army and police force.  He also lauded the Fund’s consistent support to Guinea to promote national reconciliation and create jobs for women and youth.  Further, the Commission should consider creating a permanent consultation framework among subregional organizations, such as the Mano River Union.

Also speaking today were the representatives of Nepal, Portugal, Russian Federation, Ethiopia, Senegal and Pakistan.

The Assembly will reconvene at a time and date to be announced.

Background

The General Assembly met today to conclude its debate on peacebuilding.  (For background, see Press Release GA/11351.)

Statements

SIGNE BURGSTALLER ( Sweden) welcomed the Peacebuilding Commission report because it focused on challenges and experiences at the country level.  As country performance was the key measure of success in peacebuilding, it was important to look for good examples from country-specific configurations that could be considered in other configurations.  She urged the Commission, in addition to its core business, to also engage in active networking with such actors as international financial institutions and regional organizations, including the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Manu River Union.

Since the launch of the Peacebuilding Fund in 2006, Sweden had been one of the Fund’s core donors, she said.  As the chair of the Fund’s advisory group, Sweden focused on three issues:  results; monitoring and evaluation; and the role of the Fund in the overall peacebuilding architecture.  The Fund filled a critical gap not only within the United Nations, but also in the global peacebuilding architecture by providing catalytic, rapid and flexible assistance.  Whereas other financial instruments might be restricted from providing support to political peace or transition processes, the Fund could engage directly and as soon as windows of political opportunity opened.  A successful case in point was its support to the political transition in Somalia last year.

Investing in the Peacebuilding Commission’s country-specific configurations yielded concrete results, she said.  Sweden’s experience from chairing the Liberia configuration had provided valuable insights into the challenges and prospects for building peace.  Having an embassy on location had been helpful in providing continuous support to the United Nations Mission and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General.  Closer cooperation with the World Bank, the African Development Bank and other international financial institutions was crucial in supporting regional initiatives, including youth employment, management of natural resources and good economic governance.  It was also vital for peacebuilding efforts to be integrated within the broader coordination structures of each country.  The Peacebuilding Commission and its companion Fund should reinforce the move towards the United Nations “Delivering as One” and its work in Sierra Leone was a good example of that.

SEWA LAMSAL ADHIKARI ( Nepal) said Nepal had actively supported the United Nations peacebuilding architecture as a member of the Organizational Committee, as well as a top troop-contributing country.  It also had its own experiences with post-conflict management and had been continuously engaged with the Commission.  He welcomed the analytical approach of the Commission’s report, which scrutinized challenges, gaps and the way forward.  The report had noted that the overall use of operations and activities of the Peacebuilding Fund were satisfactory, and it had justified the need for technical, developmental and financial support to countries in conflict.  The report also demonstrated the importance of partnerships among the Commission, international financial institutions, regional and subregional organizations and relevant global actors for effective peacebuilding.  The strategic development framework must be prepared with a wider consultation in order to better reflect national priorities.  The report rightly focused on having a single overall planning document.

Nepal’s experience in peacekeeping abroad and in peacebuilding at home showed that women were not just victims of conflict, but rather peacemakers and the very foundation of social cohesion, he said.  Nepal had adopted Council resolution 1325 (2000) and 1820 (2008) and prepared its national action plan accordingly, in order to mainstream women into the peacebuilding process.  He lauded the fact that more funds were allocated from the Fund for women beneficiaries in 2012.  Available resources must be used strategically.  He called for creation of a working group on lessons learned to enable peacebuilding actors to benefit from each other’s experiences and best practices.  Better follow-up and stronger integration of peacebuilding findings could make operations on the ground more effective.

LUIS GASPAR DA SILVA ( Portugal) highlighted several distinctive aspects of the Commission, in particular, the way it brought together security and development as interrelated elements of peace consolidation.  The Commission’s singularity derived from its membership and its approach, with the latter based on mutual engagement with the authorities of the countries on its agenda and it provided a strong incentive for national ownership of peace consolidation processes.  He cited several examples of successful partnerships, including the launch of the national reconciliation strategy in Liberia, the elections in Sierra Leone and the new poverty reduction strategy in Burundi. At the same time, restoration of the constitutional order in Guinea-Bissau, the reshaping of the United Nations presence in Sierra Leone and Burundi, as well as the current situation in the Central African Republic posed significant challenges.

He said that further improvement was needed to articulate the political role of the Peacebuilding Commission configuration chairs with that of other United Nations actors, namely the Secretary-General’s Special Representatives, to avoid duplication and to enhance synergies and complementarities.  In that context, Portugal was encouraged by the progress in the interaction in 2012 between the Commission and the Security Council.  The advice of the Chairs in the context of mandate renewals, for example, had proven valuable and should be taken on a regular basis.  Concerning priorities, debates on cross-national issues, such as the one on transnational organized crime in West Africa, were very promising and represented an attempt to provide a regional dimension to the Commission’s work.

While there was no “one-size-fits-all” format to peacebuilding, there were nonetheless fundamental principles and lessons learned that should frame that work, he said, underscoring the strengthening of national institutions in particular.  Finally, he spotlighted the instrumental role the Commission could continue to play in a time of financial scarcity, by mobilizing donor resources, and identifying gaps and overlaps, and priorities for international assistance.

MAMADI TOURÉ ( Guinea) endorsed the statement by Tunisia’s representative, on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement.  He welcomed progress last year by the Commission and the Fund to consolidate peace, particularly in terms of security sector reform, implementation of national reconciliation strategies, electoral assistance, coordination of international aid, and mobilization of resources.  But, those outcomes could be enhanced further, particularly through more interaction between the Commission and countries on its agenda.  National ownership was critically important to fulfil peacebuilding objectives.  He urged the Commission to make greater efforts to enhance resource mobilization, particularly by helping countries on its agenda create national mechanisms that could attract sufficient financial and technical support.  He called for better coordination among peacebuilding actors at Headquarters and on the ground.  He pointed to collaboration between the Guinea country configuration headed by Luxembourg and the group of lessons learned chaired by Japan, which  had allowed Guinea to identify relevant stakeholders, pertinent programmes and gaps in resources as a whole.

Through collaboration with the Fund, Guinea had made strides in peacebuilding, notably security sector reform and the retirement of 3,928 troops, he said.  Consistent with the principles of national ownership, the Government, despite scant resources, had contributed one quarter of the funds needed to retire troops and reduce them overall by 15 per cent.  Collaboration with the Fund had allowed Guinea to identify the steps needed to reform and reorganize army and police personnel.  Deployment to Conakry of a high-level adviser and a team of experts on security sector reform had enabled the Government to identify other stakeholders.  He welcomed the Fund’s consistent support to Guinea to promote national reconciliation and create jobs for women and youth.  Guinea and its partners should take advantage of those successes, by extending reforms to other sectors, including to the police and the judiciary.  The Commission should consider creating a permanent consultation framework among members, and subregional organizations, such as the Mano River Union.

PETR V. ILIICHEV ( Russian Federation) stressed that peacebuilding activities were one of the key factors in the effective settlement of conflict, stabilizing post-conflict situations and avoiding the recurrence of a crisis.  Despite efforts made by the United Nations peacekeeping and peacebuilding operations, measures had been taken in a “piecemeal” manner.  There was a clear need for improved coordination and for a systemic process.  The solution would not be found in creating additional functions, but rather in perfecting existing mechanisms.  The Peacebuilding Commission must resolve cross-cutting issues, which required numerous discussions with Member States in the framework of United Nations specialized bodies.  Much remained to be done, particularly in finding resources for the Commission.

As for the peacebuilding efforts in Guinea-Bissau, careful analysis and timeliness were required.  Unfortunately, peacebuilding had not worked there, he said, highlighting the importance of national ownership in the peacebuilding process.  In that regard, he emphasized the need to uphold the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity of post-conflict States.  Peacebuilding activities could be crucial if they were delivered in a timely manner and on a necessary scale and if they focused on addressing the root causes of conflict.  He also stressed the economic dimension of peacebuilding, such as job creation, as well as the importance of seamless coordination across the programmes.

One of the most important components in the peacebuilding architecture was the Peacebuilding Fund.  He recognized the rapid allocation mechanism of the Fund and expressed intent to continue the Russian Federation’s annual contribution of $2 million to the Fund, with the cumulative amount reaching $10 million, placing the country among the Fund’s top donors.  Priorities for the use of funding should be defined by national Governments, he stressed.

HUGH DUGAN ( United States) noted important peacebuilding benchmarks in 2012, such as the peaceful holding of elections in Sierra Leone and the launch of a national reconciliation strategy in Liberia.  He welcomed the Commission’s continued engagement in Sierra Leone as UNIPSIL drew down.  A durable transition in Sierra Leone could serve as an example moving forward.  But the 2012 coup in Guinea and the unfolding violence in Central African Republic were a stark reminder of the fragility of transitions and the need for more effective vigilance and action.  Strategic coherence should remain the chief peacebuilding priority to ensure the global community spoke with a coherent voice.  Promoting partnerships with regional organizations, financial institutions and other key actors should continue to be a priority.  He called for stronger collaboration between the United Nations, World Bank and African Development Bank.  The tools and resources of multilateral development banks were essential for post-conflict transitions.  He encouraged the Commission to strengthen those partnerships and to explore greater collaboration with the private sector.

The natural synergy between the Commission and initiatives like the g7+ and the New Deal for Engagement in Fragile States could be better explored, he said.  He urged the Commission to seek more consistently active engagement with the respective countries on its agenda.  The Commission had a mixed record in that regard.  Countries on its agenda should identify the best forms of collaboration to ensure a dynamic partnership.  He welcomed the Secretary-General’s call for the Commission to better focus efforts on thematic issues, such as job creation, women’s empowerment, national reconciliation, and youth and to engage more with host Governments about their priorities.  He noted the Commission’s engagement with Liberia on national reconciliation and constitutional reforms, and the role of women as agents of change in Liberian society.  He noted the Commission’s efforts in Guinea to develop job opportunities for youth.   The Secretariat must redouble efforts to ensure the Fund’s financing continued to fill gaps other donors could not address.  He supported the continued review of the Joint Steering Committee mechanism to ensure that the Immediate Response Facility and the Peacebuilding and Recovery Facility reflected broad national ownership.

KNUT LANGELAND ( Norway) concurred with the observations in the report. It was obvious that there were positive developments in some countries on the Commission’s agenda, but others were moving backwards.  That mixed record illustrated that peacebuilding was a difficult, lengthy process.  The Commission must support national ownership in peace and reconciliation processes.  At the same time, such processes must be inclusive and involve all segments of society.  Violent conflicts were not solved justly or sustainably if women were not part of the conflict resolution process.  There was a growing awareness of women’s role in peacebuilding.  It was vital to ensure that the seven point action plan for gender responsive peacebuilding was fully implemented.  Failing to move forward on it would be a costly mistake.  National ownership was a key objective of the initiative on civilian capacity in the aftermath of conflict.  He applauded the Organizational Committee for expressing strong support for the initiative, which would enable development of new forms of cooperation and partnerships to support countries emerging from conflict.

He lauded the Commission’s efforts to forge stronger partnerships with all relevant stakeholders.  The Fund’s focus on countries low on the radar, its swiftness, willingness to take risk and its large donor base were its main strengths and added value.  Still, the Fund was not the main funding source of the peacebuilding process in a country.  He urged traditional donors to maintain or preferably increase their financial contributions.  It was also vital to engage non-traditional donors, particularly emerging economies, and to explore ways to enhance domestic resource mobilization in the countries concerned.  More extensive use of taxation would enhance national ownership.

FORTUNA DIBACO CIZARE ( Ethiopia) said that since the conclusion of the 2010 review of the peacebuilding architecture, and through the adoption of road maps for actions in 2011 and 2012, the Peacebuilding Commission had taken steps to implement key recommendations of the review.  She was pleased to see that the Commission had focused on improving its relations with the United Nations principle organs, enhancing coordination, and improving its working methods.  “Such focus would undoubtedly enhance the Commission’s impact in the field,” she said, expressing hope that the Commission would be ready to include additional countries emerging from conflict.  In that regard, she noted the support given by the Peacebuilding Fund to South Sudan.

She went on to highlight three key elements.  First, national ownership remained critical.  It was vital that the engagement frameworks and assistance by both the Commission and the Fund continued to be consistent with the nationally identified needs and priorities by post-conflict countries.  Second, most conflicts had occurred in developing countries and many of them had undertaken successful transitions from conflict to institution-building and development.  In that challenging process, it was essential that civilian practitioners from the Global South were utilized adequately.  Third, her delegation fully supported the focus on resource mobilization efforts and partnerships, and national aid coordination, as well as strengthening the Commission’s partnership with the World Bank and the African Development Bank.  It was also important to engage foundations, philanthropic organizations and the private sector.

MANIEMAGEN GOVENDER ( South Africa) said the reports of the Commission and the Secretary-General on the Fund provided an important opportunity to take stock of gains in peacebuilding.  The documents pointed to good progress by the Commission and its country configurations, at Headquarters and in the field.  Follow-up activities in 2012 had translated into concrete outcomes in the countries on the Commission’s agenda.  The prognosis was encouraging and illustrated that the Commission’s role was vital.  Both reports correctly pointed out that national ownership was integral and that early responses by the international community was crucial for successful peacebuilding.  The Commission gave the global community a strategic political platform that could bring together the world’s most influential actors.  He noted the productive gains in Liberia and Sierra Leone, where successful multiparty elections had been held.  Thanks in part to the Commission’s efforts citizens of those countries had begun to realize peace dividends.  He noted similar progress in Burundi, where the nation-building process had fostered stronger social cohesion and poverty reduction.

Disruption of the Fund’s work was counterproductive, he said.  National ownership was critical to ensure the peacebuilding process remained on track.  He looked forward to the early resumption of the Fund in Guinea-Bissau.  Recent events in the Central African Republic illustrated the challenges facing the Commission and the international community.  That was of serious concern to South Africa, he said, pointing to a major setback in security sector gains.  He supported the Council’s call for the restoration of the rule of law and constitutional order.  He looked forward to a peaceful, early resolution of the conflict.  He firmly supported the Secretary-General’s view that strengthening relations with the Council must be given priority, especially since five of the six countries under the Commission’s purview had been referred by the Council.  He noted significant potential for international civilian capacity, especially from the global South, to assist those States emerging from conflict in line with their specific needs.  As a new member of the Commission, South Africa was committed to supporting its work.

FATOU ISIDORA MARA NIANG ( Senegal) said today’s debate was timely, as peacebuilding efforts contributed to the reconstruction of many countries.  The Peacebuilding Commission had supported the countries on its agenda, although efforts in Guinea-Bissau had been suspended due to a military coup.  On the 2012 report on the Peacebuilding Fund, she said progress to date had not lived up to “our expectations”.  Many challenges remained, such as employment for youth and women, restoration of decentralized administration, operation of government and the provision of public services.  Two priority strategic spheres were revitalization of the economy and restoration of administrative services.

She highlighted some important recommendations for the Fund made through a study conducted by the Peacebuilding Support Office.  Reform of the security sector should be more closely integrated into the national dialogue programmes for peacebuilding, justice and reconciliation.  The Peacebuilding Fund should be more flexible in order to support reintegration programmes when funding ended and programmes had not yet been completed.  She also stressed the important advisory role of the Commission should be strengthened with the Security Council, Economic and Social Council and the General Assembly, as well as with the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.  On civil capacity-building in post-conflict situations, she welcomed efforts of the support office for peacebuilding in Côte d’Ivoire.  A group of officers recently visited Senegal to learn about the engagement of women in security sector reform, she said.  That was a good example of South-South cooperation.

MASOOD KHAN ( Pakistan) said that the last session of the Peacebuilding Commission had reinforced the need for coherent, efficient and predictable responses by the United Nations to the needs of countries emerging from conflict.  It had underscored three key areas of peacebuilding:  the strict prioritization of targeted areas, focusing on security sector reform, local capacity-building and economic revitalization; sharpening the emphasis on development-related aspects of peacebuilding; and refining the peacekeeping-peacebuilding nexus for a coherent and seamless United Nations response.  There was a need to harness the role of the Commission in conceiving and implementing related mandates and activities.  In that regard, its Organizational Committee should undertake meaningful discussions on finding a niche for the Commission in related decision-making processes.

He said that Security Council resolution 2086 (2013), adopted in January under Pakistan’s presidency, had underscored the centrality of the Commission as an advisory and resource-mobilization body.  The text had clarified the nexus between peacekeeping and peacebuilding and had helped to build stronger partnerships for a collective response to the challenges.  Ultimately, the success of United Nations peacebuilding endeavours hinged on adequate financial and human resources.  With regard to the latter, the Secretary-General’s initiative on civilian capacities was an important exercise, which should be tailored to the specific needs arising in the context of post-conflict peacebuilding.  The so-called “Civcap process” should stand up to intergovernmental scrutiny, avoid duplication of roles and be compliant with United Nations rules and procedures.

TALAIBEK KYDYROV ( Kyrgyzstan) focused on the Peacebuilding Fund and its cooperation with his country.  The Fund’s response to his country’s inter-ethic violence in 2010 was timely and important.  Its initial stabilization measures had helped the country to continuously recover from the violence and create the first parliamentary democracy in the region.  The Fund had since allocated $10 million to his nation under the Immediate Response Facility.  The projects helped the Government to engage women and youth in the peacebuilding process and to rebuild confidence in public institutions.  The Fund had also piloted innovative approaches to community reconciliation, encouraging communities in conflict to share resources, particularly water resources in the south of the country.  Most importantly, the Fund had helped the United Nations system, its partners and his Government work closer together around a common set of priorities.

He thanked the Secretary-General’s positive response to the 26 September 2012 letter of the Kyrgyz President requesting an extension of Peacebuilding Fund support, in particular in the rule of law, systems to protect human rights, strengthening of inter-ethic relations and promoting national unity.  His delegation expected the Fund, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Central Asia and his Government to promptly identify key areas requiring further assistance from the Fund and establish the Joint Steering Committee to provide strategic guidance to the Fund process at the country level.  The group of experts from the Peacebuilding Support Office had recently visited Kyrgyzstan to identify the areas in need of the Fund’s additional support.  A State agency for local government and inter-ethnic relations had been formed and the concept of strengthening national unity and inter-ethic relations had been approved by the Defence Council of Kyrgyzstan literally just a few days ago.

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