|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Sixty-eighth General Assembly
78th & 79th Meetings (AM & PM)
Peacebuilding Commission, Fund Urged to Better Coordinate with Main
Organs as General Assembly Reviews Their Activities
Process of Sharpening Approach, ‘A Work in Progress’, Says Chair
The Peacebuilding Commission must better coordinate its work with key United Nations bodies, intergovernmental entities and donors in order to maximize its impact in post-conflict countries, delegates said today as the General Assembly reviewed the annual reports of the nine-year-old body and its principal financing mechanism, the Peacebuilding Fund.
Opening the debate, Antonio de Aguiar Patriota (Brazil), Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission, said the crises in the Central African Republic and South Sudan were a reminder that peacebuilding required careful examination of strategies and approaches to the security, political and socioeconomic dimensions of conflict. Although the Commission had increasingly added value in certain contexts, the process of sharpening its approach and tools was a work in progress. Making the most of the engagement of its African members and establishing “deep and dynamic” partnerships with the continent’s regional and subregional organizations was a priority for the Commission in 2014, he said.
Throughout the debate, delegates broadly welcomed the Commission’s efforts to improve its working methods, notably in deepening its relationship with the Assembly, the Security Council and the Economic and Social Council.
Canada’s representative said that the Commission’s country-specific configurations had moved towards lighter, more flexible models, while expectations about its ability to mobilize funds had become more realistic.
The Russian Federation’s representative said that international assistance for peacebuilding had been fragmented, and greater efforts were needed to bolster the peacebuilding architecture, both at Headquarters and in the field.
Tunisia’s representative, speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, expressed concern over the lack of coordination among financial donors, while Egypt’s delegate stressed the need for broader cooperation with international and regional financial institutions.
Citing one way forward, China’s representative said countries should honour their commitments to help speed economic recovery. Respect for national ownership was at the heart of peacebuilding efforts, and it was important that countries use their own resources and expertise to enhance results.
Several delegates also raised the issue of addressing post-conflict situations not formally on the Commission’s agenda and, further, of how to handle increased demand for its services once countries had transitioned from the post-conflict stage. India’s representative said that countries should only be included on the Commission’s agenda after referral by the Security Council or after an explicit expression of concern by a neighbouring State.
Japan’s representative, speaking as Chair of the Working Group on Lessons Learned, said it had held three meetings in 2013 with the aim of strengthening the Commission’s core functions. Participants had focused on approaches to supporting donor-partner conferences and advancing gender-responsive national reconciliation. Such efforts should be strengthened ahead of the 2015 review of the peacebuilding architecture, he said.
As for the Peacebuilding Fund, a number of delegates expressed their disappointment that only 7.4 per cent of its resources had been focused on gender equality, falling short of the Secretary-General’s 15 per cent target.
Croatia’s representative delivered a statement in his capacity as the former Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission.
Also participating in the debate were representatives of the United States, Netherlands, Nigeria, Italy, Sweden, Slovakia, Spain, Turkey, Malaysia, Rwanda, Indonesia, Portugal, Pakistan, United Kingdom, Australia, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Norway and the European Union Delegation.
In other business today, the Assembly elected Poland to the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) for a term beginning on the first day of the Commission’s forty-seventh session, in July 2014, and expiring on the last day before the beginning of its forty-ninth session, in 2016. Poland filled the unexpired term of Ukraine, which had begun in June 2010, on the first day of the forty-third session.
The Assembly also appointed two members to its Committee on Contributions. Edward Faris ( United States) was appointed to a term beginning on 26 March 2014 and ending on 31 December 2015, while the appointment of Shigeki Sumi ( Japan) will begin on 1 April 2014 and end on 31 December 2015.
Finally, the Assembly took note of document A/68/716, in which the Secretary-General informed the Assembly President that the Marshall Islands and Papua New Guinea had made the payment necessary to reduce their arrears below the amount specified in Article 19 of the United Nations Charter.
The General Assembly will reconvene at 10 a.m. on 27 March, when it is expected to consider the situation in Ukraine.
The General Assembly met this morning to hold a joint debate on the report of the Secretary-General on the Peacebuilding Fund (documents A/68/729 and S/2014/67 A/68/722). It was also expected to elect members of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) and to fill vacancies on both the Committee on Contributions and the Independent Audit Advisory Committee.
Vladimir Drobnjak( Croatia), former Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission, said that advocacy, resource mobilization and forging coherence were the organ’s core responsibilities, and it must capitalize on the diverse capacities that its membership could offer in support of peacebuilding objectives. The Commission had placed additional emphasis on engaging regional members in its efforts, he said, noting that events in Guinea-Bissau and the Central African Republic, as well as the African Union’s increased focus on the African Solidarity Initiative had confirmed that it would gain greater credibility if its African members supported its broader peacebuilding objectives. The Commission had an ambitious work programme to deliver on its three core functions, he said.
He went on to emphasize that peacebuilding was not a linear process, but rather, one fraught with different challenges at various stages. Advocacy depended on the commitment demonstrated by national interlocutors, as well as the quality of the international response. As for mobilization, he stressed that the Commission was not a fundraising mechanism, he stressed. As an intergovernmental body, it was best suited to helping countries roll out resource-mobilization strategies and provided an advocacy platform for the timely deployment of targeted resources in crisis situations. The Commission was working to forge coherence by drawing the attention of key regional and subregional stakeholders to bottlenecks in peacebuilding processes. Working groups on lessons learned would focus on areas where its functions could be deployed in support of future transitions in countries on its agenda.
ANTONIO DE AGUIAR PATRIOTA ( Brazil), Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission, said the plight of millions living in countries emerging from conflict continued long after the guns had fallen silent. The path to healing the scars caused by war and rebuilding the institutions that delivered security, justice, basic services and economic opportunities while protecting fundamental rights was long and fraught with enormous challenges. The international community struggled to help countries emerging from conflict, partly because of its inability to sustain attention and focus on their needs and priorities long enough to prevent their relapse into conflict. As in many previous cases, the importance of conflict prevention, long-term engagement and due consideration of the root causes of conflicts could not be overemphasized, he said.
He said the crises in the Central African Republic and South Sudan were reminders that peacebuilding required careful examination of strategies and simultaneous approaches to the security, political and socioeconomic dimensions of conflict. The work of the Peacebuilding Commission and Peacebuilding Fund underscored the synergy and complementary nature of the peacebuilding architecture’s political and programmatic dimensions. Although the Commission had increasingly demonstrated added value in certain contexts and specific areas of its core functions, the process of fine-tuning and sharpening its approach and tools was a work in progress, he said.
Making the most of the engagement of its African members and establishing deep and dynamic partnerships with the continent’s regional and subregional organizations, he said, was one of the Peacebuilding Commission’s key priority areas for 2014. It had launched its thematic and normative work in 2013 by focusing on women’s economic empowerment for peacebuilding and gender-responsive national reconciliation, emphasizing women’s transformative role in post-conflict societies and the need to continue to devote the requisite attention and priority to their participation in building and sustaining peace. The Commission’s first annual session, planned for June 2014, would address the national and international aspects of sustainable resources and capacities for peacebuilding in particular, he said.
MOHAMED KHALED KHIARI (Tunisia), speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said that the Peacebuilding Commission’s unique membership brought security and development actors together and was well placed to help create an environment of sustained attention and resource allocation in post-conflict situations. Moving forward, the Movement would support the Commission’s work with United Nations principal organs while stressing the importance of ensuring better coordination and prioritization of peacebuilding and peacekeeping activities within mission mandates.
There was a need to promote the institutional relationship between the Peacebuilding Commission and the General Assembly, Security Council and the Economic and Social Council, he stressed. It was also critically important to provide adequate and timely resources in order to ensure predictable financing for recovery activities and sustained medium- and long-term financial investment. There was a need to ensure the sustainability of funding for countries working with the Peacebuilding Commission, he said, while expressing concern over the lack of coordination and coherence among financial donors.
Hugh Dugan (United States) said there was work to be done in terms of improving coherence, and his delegation would strive to increase the Commission’s effectiveness, including vis-à-vis the goals outlined by the Secretary-General. There was a need to focus on conflict prevention, long-term engagement and the root causes of conflict in that regard. The Peacebuilding Fund had shown increased added value and flexibility in its efforts to generate the greatest impact, and its success was seen in its rigorous evaluation, he said.
Karel Jan Gustaaf van Oosterom( Netherlands) said his country had contributed €20 million for the 2012-2015 period, but the resources were being used for existing United Nations programmes, rather than addressing peacebuilding needs and filling funding gaps. The Fund had not allocated a certain percentage of its funds to strengthening its focus on gender, as intended, he pointed out. As for the Support Office, it should focus on strategic analysis, programme design and gender issues, while improving communications with stakeholders and starting projects with non-United Nations actors.
THOMAS MAYR-HARTING, Head of the European Union Delegation, described peacebuilding as a long-term enterprise that went beyond short-term crisis management and incorporated longer-term efforts to build just and effective States characterized by fair, peaceful and inclusive societies. Experience taught that “one size fits all” did not work and that priority areas spanned across peace and security, development, humanitarian needs and human rights. The European Union was engaged in peacebuilding activities in many countries and had participated in the Commission’s work since its establishment.
Regarding the current assessment of the Commission’s work, he applauded its focus on activating its membership and its links with the principal United Nations organs. It would be useful to explore flexible use of the Commission in addressing conflict and post-conflict situations in countries not formally on its agenda, and it was surprising that no new countries had been added in the last three years. The Commission’s engagement in Guinea-Bissau and the Central African Republic faced some challenges, he said, emphasizing the need to reflect further on the nature, scope and timing of its role in attracting and sustaining the international community’s attention.
ASOKE KUMAR MUKERJI ( India) said the Commission’s agenda should only have countries referred to it by the Security Council, or when the concern of the State concerned was explicit. Demobilized fighters would return to violence unless they found alternative livelihoods, he said, emphasizing the importance of a community-based approach in facilitating the reintegration of ex-combatants. In maintaining public order, the focus should be on ensuring impartiality in recruitment, vetting new recruits and training, rather than seeking to make cultural change a central aspect of police reform, he stressed. Judicial systems were culture-specific, and there could be no generic recipe for promoting the rule of law. Peacebuilding must also integrate indigenous and informal justice mechanisms into judicial reforms, he said.
TOPE ADELEYE ELIAS-FATILE ( Nigeria) agreed that there was a need to enhance collective responsibility for the Commission’s objectives, especially in the field. Periodic and situation-specific stocktaking should continue in order to identify areas of good practice and address others requiring improvement. While the Commission had been a rallying point in marshalling resources and galvanizing political support, events in the Central African Republic and South Sudan demonstrated that peacebuilding was not a linear process, he said, urging greater support for disarmament, demobilization and reintegration efforts.
INIGO LAMBERTINI (Italy), associating himself with the statement by the European Union Delegation, expressed support for the transition process in Sierra Leone and for the efforts of its people and Government to address the challenges of development and transformation by implementing the “Agenda for Prosperity”. However, Italy remained concerned about the worrisome news from the Central African Republic. He said his country was at the forefront of international efforts to develop, strengthen and adapt the concept of peacebuilding, and attached great importance on the empowerment of women. The transformative nature of women’s and girls’ economic, social and political empowerment was essential to promoting security and stability, and to the development of societies emerging from armed conflict, he said.
Mårten Grunditz ( Sweden) said the upcoming 2015 review should be broad and comprehensive, and include a frank discussion with stakeholders from across the entire United Nations system. It should examine all aspects of peacebuilding, including strengths and weaknesses. Many actors beyond the Commission, such as the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), played key roles at the country level and should also be included in the review. Coherence was one of the success factors of United Nations peacebuilding efforts, but also one of the key challenges, he said, adding that the Peacebuilding Fund needed to take further steps to improve the monitoring of resource use.
František Ružička( Slovakia) described peacebuilding as a complex process, requiring time and resources, and containing various mutually interconnected parts. The specialization and thematic focus of Member States had become an added value towards the success of peacebuilding projects. Slovakia had pursued security sector reform as a key element of post-conflict rebuilding and, as co-chair of the Group of Friends of Security Sector Reform, had organized events aimed at making the United Nations approach more effective. It had also become the fifty-fifth donor to the Peacebuilding Fund, with a contribution of €30,500 in December 2013.
ROMÁN OYARZUN MARCHESI ( Spain) said the Commission’s comparative advantages had yet to be exploited. Its field presence was essential to opening dialogue and analysing ground realities, and it must continue contributing to national ownership. It was well positioned to cultivate permanent relationships with other United Nations bodies, with the goal of sharing information and analysis. Emphasizing that peace followed from the rule of law, he urged international support for building civil capacities and institutions in post-conflict countries. It was also crucial to advance development, inclusive economic growth and job creation, he said, adding that women must play a central role in peace consolidation.
Y. HALIT ÇEVIK ( Turkey) said that, with peacebuilding initiatives and tasks becoming more diverse and complicated, the United Nations peacebuilding architecture must be constantly updated and improved to meet today’s requirements. The Peacebuilding Fund was vital for efforts to provide timely and focused attention to the needs of countries in post-conflict situations. Turkey remained engaged in preventive diplomacy, peacemaking, peacekeeping and post-conflict peacebuilding efforts, which were all closely interlinked, he said, emphasizing that it was essential to bring all those activities together within a coherent strategic framework.
RAJA REZA BIN RAJA ZAIB SHAH ( Malaysia), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said that despite recent progress, there was room to improve the Commission’s efforts to create awareness and understanding of the concept of peacebuilding. Economic revitalization was a crucial component, he said, stressing also the significance of partnerships with international financial institutions and regional development banks in generating the financial resources needed to sustain peacebuilding efforts. Increasing the revenue-generating capacity of countries in transition was equally important, he said, adding that the Commission should also continue to promote credible strategies to strengthen governance and public administration within countries in transition.
Jun Yamazaki ( Japan) said that, as chair of the Working Group on Lessons Learned, his delegation had convened three meetings in 2013 with the aim of strengthening the Commission’s core functions. Participants had focused on approaches to supporting donor‑partner conferences and advancing gender-responsive national reconciliation. Such efforts should be strengthened ahead of the 2015 review of the peacebuilding architecture, he said. As for the Peacebuilding Fund, Japan had contributed an additional $10 million, bringing its total contribution to $42.5 million, he said, stressing that his delegation expected the Fund to enhance cooperation with relevant stakeholders and to strengthen the gender focus of its programmes.
Anna M. Evstigneeva ( Russian Federation) said international assistance for peacebuilding had been fragmented, stressing that the lack of a coordinated division of labour only led to duplicated efforts and irrational use of funds. Greater efforts were needed to bolster the peacebuilding architecture, both at Headquarters and in the field, she said. Overall, the Government of the Russian Federation had assessed the Commission in a positive light during 2013, she said, underlining, however, that it must improve its coordination with the main United Nations organs and seek greater involvement in handling regional and subregional bodies as well as financial organizations. Noting that the Russian Federation had contributed $2 million to the Fund, she said it was not acceptable to artificially impose projects on countries, as priorities must be determined by the Governments concerned.
JEANNE D’ARC BYAJE ( Rwanda) said the Commission would only make an impact if it leveraged its unique membership structure by bringing political support to its engagement in the field and within intergovernmental forums. Within its unique membership structure was a wealth of expertise and experience, as well as financial resources that each individual member should be prepared to share, and to which each should contribute. Rwanda called upon the Commission to maintain mutually reinforcing relations with senior United Nations leadership in the field. It welcomed the Commission’s consideration of the gender dimension in peacebuilding activities.
Liu Jieyi ( China) emphasized that consolidating peace and stability efforts was a prerequisite to peacebuilding. Internal security often remained fragile, and maintaining national security was therefore a top priority. Speeding up economic recovery and development was the basis for successful peacebuilding, he said, noting that many post-conflict countries faced multiple challenges in terms of development. The international community should focus on mobilizing resources, and countries should honour their commitments to help speed economic recovery. Respect for national ownership was at the heart of peacebuilding activities, and it was important that countries use their own resources and expertise to enhance results.
DESRA PERCAYA ( Indonesia) said inadequate financial and technical resources, as well as lack of political support, had been seen as reasons why the Commission’s work had not been visible. While stressing the need for nationally owned peacebuilding strategies, he said it was also important to base peacebuilding efforts on previous annual reports. Indonesia hoped that the Commission’s interaction with the Security Council would boost the synergy between peacekeeping and peacebuilding. Expressing support for a comprehensive approach to resource mobilization, he said the 23 June annual session would allow for enhancing relations between the Commission and the Fund.
Cristina Maria Cerqueira Pucarinho ( Portugal) said the 2014 annual debate offered a platform for deepening dialogue and increasing coordination among various actors. Discussions should focus on integrating security and development issues, which in turn, should be considered alongside the political and humanitarian dimensions of peacebuilding. Participation should be open to interested Member States, and the 2015 review of the peacebuilding architecture should be more comprehensive than that of 2010, and establish a link with broader processes like efforts to create a post-2015 development framework. As for the Peacebuilding Fund, she acknowledged its use of $5 million in immediate response funds, which showed how it could diversify its action framework to help a country restore order.
Asim Iftikhar Ahmad (Pakistan), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said peacebuilding was not only a long-term task, but also an expensive one requiring both human and financial resources. Failure to provide adequate resources could compromise the entire effort. The need to mobilize internal resources had not gained the required attention, he said, stressing that funding streams must be aligned with national peacebuilding priorities, and that more flexible funding mechanisms must be pursued. Coherence should be coupled with nationally identified priorities, and greater attention must be paid to enhancing the Commission’s advisory role across the United Nations system, he said.
Peter Munford( United Kingdom) said the people of Sierra Leone had worked hard to stabilize their country, and the United Nations should be proud of its role in helping the country emerge from civil war. However, recent relapses in the Central African Republic and South Sudan proved the complex nature of peacebuilding, and the international community must address those new challenges. The Peacebuilding Fund had enjoyed some successes, as its investments had made significant contributions in recent years. The upcoming annual review must take into account all the activities going on across the United Nations system on behalf of peacebuilding, he said.
PETER LLOYD VERSEGI ( Australia) said the Commission’s relationships with the principal United Nations organs, especially the Security Council, would be a key issue for the 2015 review. It should continue to outline its advisory role in country-specific contexts and engage more regularly with United Nations agencies in the country-specific configurations. While disappointed that only 7.4 per cent of the Fund’s resources had been focused on gender equality, falling short of the Secretary-General’s 15 per cent target, Australia welcomed the priority accorded gender and women’s empowerment in the Fund’s guidelines, he said.
Luc Dockendorf (Luxembourg), associating himself with the statement delivered by the European Union Delegation, said that in 2014, the Commission’s Guinea-Bissau configuration would continue to support the national priorities of building capacity for the new National Assembly and strengthening reform of the justice and security sectors, and of the armed services. It might also relaunch efforts to mobilize resources for women and youth. The Commission should be recognized as an advisory body ideally placed to tackle the political dimensions of peacebuilding and State-building. Emphasizing that mutual accountability must exist first and foremost between a Government and its citizens, he said the State must shoulder the duty of protecting human rights.
Osama Abdelkhalek Mahmoud( Egypt) stressed the importance of national ownership of peacebuilding programmes and of consolidating cooperation frameworks with international and regional financial institutions. Wider coordination between the Peacebuilding Fund and international partners, such as the African Development Bank, would increase the effectiveness of resources.
PATRICK TRAVERS ( Canada) said the Commission’s record was mixed, and that questions would be raised during the review about its impact in the field, its comparative advantages and the pace of development. Showing real results must be a collective focus, he emphasized, pointing out that the country-specific configurations had moved towards lighter, more flexible models, while expectations about the Commission’s ability to mobilize funds had become more realistic. It had also focused on building cooperation with other United Nations bodies, efforts that should continue. With Sierra Leone and Burundi moving towards stability, the Commission should consider the level of demand from others to take their place on its agenda, he said, adding that its members should also offer more practical support for efforts in the field.
LUCA NICOLA ( Switzerland) said he appreciated the analytical approach of the report and agreed with all its main points. Depending on the Government, the Commission was bound by the concept of national ownership, and innovative ways must be found to respect that. Recalling that the mandate of the Peacebuilding Support Office in Burundi would end this year, he said the country’s transition from post-conflict situation to the future was a critical moment, and a flexible transfer was crucial to preventing a relapse to conflict. The Commission could only support the efforts of the field mission, and international financial institutions must therefore “take up the baton”. Switzerland would continue to support coordination between the Peacebuilding Fund and similar entities at the World Bank, African Development Bank and UNDP, he said.
KNUT LANGELAND ( Norway) said that while the peacebuilding architecture had shown its added value, “we must acknowledge that there is a long way from New York to the field”. There was a need to make operational the enhanced partnerships within the United Nations, with international financial institutions, the private sector and civil society. He called for full implementation of the Secretary-General’s seven-point action plan on gender mainstreaming in peacebuilding. The 2015 review should explore how to address conflicts and post-conflict situations in countries not on the Commission’s agenda, he said, emphasizing that it could not be limited only to the Commission, the Fund and the Support Office. “We need a wider approach,” he added.
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