The work of the Peacebuilding Commission in 2014 had confirmed its potential as a platform for leveraging the political weight of its members in support of peace consolidation, which should be further utilized, the Security Council heard today.
An example of how the Commission could increasingly play to its political strength was the collective and determined position it took in the early stages of the Ebola outbreak, Antonio de Aguiar Patriota (Brazil), former Chair of the body said, presenting its 2014 report. The Commission was uniquely placed to promote greater harmony between the subregional, regional and international dimensions of post-conflict response.
A key priority of the body last year was to actively engage its African members and to establish partnerships with regional and subregional organizations, he said. As the Commission continued to integrate the regional and subregional perspectives into its work, it would further strengthen the relevance and weight of its country-specific engagement.
The Commission convened its first annual session in 2014 with a view to exploring where broader intergovernmental policy development was necessary to help countries reduce the risk of conflict. The challenge posed by illicit financial flows and similar systemic gaps in intergovernmental policy related to financing for peacebuilding highlighted the interdependence of security, institutional and social-economic initiatives in the promotion of peace.
Mr. de Aguiar Patriota said that, while women endured the tragic consequences of violent conflicts, they were also key agents for transformation in post-conflict societies. The Commission would further explore practical ways of mainstreaming gender dimension into its country-specific engagements.
The Council, he said, could draw more practically and systematically on the Commission’s advice, particularly mandates of missions that were being revisited in the context of changing priorities or draw-down and transition. The forward agenda contained in the report reflected the Commission’s determination to follow up on key thematic and country-specific approaches initiated in 2014, thus ensuring continuity in focus and consistency in approach.
Outlining the focus of the Commission in 2015, its Chair, Olof Skoog (Sweden), said the review of the peacebuilding architecture, conducted with the reviews of peace operations and resolution 1325 (2000), offered an opportunity to strengthen the work of the United Nations in peace and security.
“The vision and need for the Commission remain as valid as ever,” he said, stressing the need to better address the challenge of helping countries transition from war to lasting peace.
The three most affected countries by the Ebola outbreak — Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea — were all on the agenda of the Commission, which would continue to advocate for ensuring that peacebuilding priorities were addressed as part of the recovery efforts.
Stressing the importance of continued support for coordination with regional organizations, including the African Union, he said the Commission would identify ways to deepen dialogue to best draw upon comparative advantages. The Commission would consider the recommendations from the just-concluded annual session of 2015 on predictable financing for peacebuilding and continue to move forward with the cross-cutting issues of gender equality and women’s empowerment.
In the debate that followed, Council members stressed the importance of finding ways and means of enhancing the role and effectiveness of the Commission, with the representative of the Russian Federation urging that body to work within its specified mandate and not encroach upon the jurisdiction of others.
Stressing the importance of national ownership and inclusive politics, the representative of Nigeria said security-sector and justice institutions must receive adequate attention in States emerging from conflict.
Chad’s representative urged the Commission to strengthen its cooperation with the African Union, as the roles and functions of the United Nations and regional actors were complementary.
The representative of the United States stressed that the prevention of resurgent conflict was one area that required more cohesive action.
Also making statements today were the representatives of the United Kingdom, Spain, New Zealand, Jordan, France, Venezuela, Chile, China, Lithuania, Angola and Malaysia.
The meeting began at 10:20 a.m. and ended at 12:10 p.m.
MATTHEW RYCROFT (United Kingdom), recounting successes and challenges in preventing resurgent conflict in the Balkans, affirmed the importance of early action to stem violence, as well as a sustainable, properly funded and inclusive political process. In addition, sustained attention and patience of the international community was critical. “Too often our attention drifts,” he said. There were no shortcuts to building durable, effective institutions, he stressed, noting his country’s substantial support for such work. Finally, he emphasized the importance of commitment by a country’s leaders to make compromises and work for the interest of the country, with the support of the Security Council.
ROMÁN OYARZUN MARCHESI (Spain) said that peacebuilding took not only time but also money. The best investment the international community could make was to guarantee stability by the provision of the necessary resources. Financial predictability was critical for that purpose. His country also prioritized conflict prevention through such initiatives as the Alliance of Civilizations that it co-sponsored. It also strongly supported implementation of the responsibility to protect and the engagement of regional organizations for the purpose of integrating countries into regions. Other essential principles included the pursuit of post-conflict justice and integration of peacebuilding into the sustainable development agenda.
U. JOY OGWU (Nigeria), affirming the value of the United Nations peacebuilding architecture, said that the Security Council had an important role in supporting the Peacebuilding Commission in its efforts. She stressed, in addition, the importance of adequate and predictable financing for the wide range of peacebuilding endeavours. Domestic funding, through responsible national management of resources, must be part of that equation; support for that capacity should also be built. International funding was also essential, through the Peacebuilding Fund and other “pooled” funding mechanisms. National ownership and inclusive politics were also critical. Security-sector and justice institutions must receive adequate attention in States emerging from conflict, as must the advancement of women. As a key contributor to peacekeeping operations, Nigeria welcomed the review of the peacebuilding architecture, and valued an enhanced synergy between that architecture and regional organizations.
PHILLIP TAULA (New Zealand) stressed the value of improved information flows between the Commission and the Council, particularly to improve the management of mission transitions and ensure effective cooperation and coordination on the ground. Commending the report’s recommendation to develop a strategy to strengthen gender perspectives in country-specific engagement, he said that should go beyond “extractive” engagement. The Commission and the Council should consider the lessons from the recent drawdowns and transitions — particularly in Liberia and Côte d’Ivoire — as well as lessons New Zealand had learned in its own region and Afghanistan. Peacebuilding was a process, not an event, which must accompany, not simply follow, peacekeeping. The goals, milestones and priorities of each should be as aligned as possible. Effective transition planning must be linked to peace operation mandates and considered at the earliest stages of planning. Missions tasked with targeted capacity-building could play an important role, but faced challenges in ensuring effective and sustainable outcomes. Transition management needed to proceed in partnership between the United Nations and the host Government in consultation with external partners and development actors within the country.
PETR V. ILIICHEV (Russian Federation), describing peacebuilding support as one of the important tools of the United Nations, said relevant international efforts should focus on enhancing the institutional capacities of States, while respecting their sovereignty and independence. Peacebuilding activities must not be reduced to State and institution building but should focus on broader social and economic development. Gender, human rights and other issues not directly related to the conflict should not be overemphasized. The Commission’s practice of holding regular and substantive sessions provided a platform for discussions which, however, must not exceed its mandate or encroach upon the jurisdiction of other organs of the United Nations. While the Commission had continued to work to support countries on its agenda, its potential had not been realized. The early positive trend in Burundi was threatened by the use of financial support for elections as a lever to pressure the Government. The outbreak of Ebola was a test for the Commission, which adapted itself to the needs of the States and contributed to international efforts.
DINA KAWAR (Jordan) said emerging challenges and their impact around the world required the United Nations to develop effective tools. Peacebuilding at the national level was an essential aspect of peace and security at the international level. Efforts should be designed in a way to ensure sustainability of peace, which required a genuine partnership between the international community and national authorities. Furthermore, peacebuilding operations needed to adapt to the needs of each country to ensure effectiveness based on priorities and capacities. Trust had to be built between the United Nations and national authorities and communities, she said, stressing the need for a multidimensional response to threats that went beyond national borders. A clear strategy for collective action required, among other things, predictable financing, respect for human rights, ensuring accountability, complementarity between the security and development processes, and ending illicit financial flows.
FRANÇOIS DELATTRE (France) welcomed the accomplishment of the peacebuilding architecture, including the funding of efforts for greater inclusion of women in Liberia, support for the establishment of a new parliament in Guinea and engagement in the fight against Ebola that addressed the multidimensional nature of the challenge. More progress was needed, however, particularly in the mobilization of resources for long-term processes and coordination of all donors to support to nationally-defined strategies. In that context, he supported the review of the peacekeeping architecture, stressing that the country configurations were the core of that architecture and that coordination between all actors was critical. The reviews of peacekeeping and the upcoming formulation of the post-2015 development agenda also presented opportunities for progress in peacebuilding.
RAFAEL DARÍO RAMÍREZ CARREÑO (Venezuela), affirming the importance of the Commission and the Peacebuilding Fund, pointed to the example of South Sudan to show that gaps in support for peacebuilding still existed. Coordination with national objectives and long-term, coherent support to processes was needed. Maintaining that funding from international financial institutions often posed problems due to the conditions attached, he called for commitments for increased official development assistance (ODA) with no such conditions. South-South Cooperation complemented such support, but should not be seen as a replacement for aid from industrialized countries. In addition, national interests must be protected in negotiations with international mining companies. Poverty, inequality and the long-term effects of colonialism must also be addressed in the context of peace consolidation.
BELEN SAPAG MUÑOZ DE LA PEÑA (Chile) said that the Peacebuilding Commission had an important role in supporting the Security Council’s work by assisting countries emerging from conflict in a wide range of areas, including by addressing the underlying causes of destabilization. Chile, in its position on the Council and the Commission, had a good perspective on the interaction between the two bodies. She appealed for coordination between the bodies that allowed follow-up on all issues discussed by both, and she pledged her country’s continued support to the Peacebuilding Commission and the Fund.
LIU JIEYI (China), affirming the importance of the United Nations peacebuilding architecture and welcoming its role in fighting Ebola and in other areas, said that the consolidation of peace still, however, presented many challenges. For that reason, the review of peacebuilding efforts was welcome. National ownership of all activities must be strengthened, through respect for sovereignty and better communication with all stakeholders. Socioeconomic development should be a focus, and coordination between all actors must be improved. A stronger, complementary relationship between the Security Council and the Peacebuilding Commission was also essential.
BANTE MANGARAL (Chad) said the Commission should focus more on enhancing public receipts, controlling illicit flow, and ensuring better management of national resources. Capacity-building in contract negotiations relating to mining companies and tax regimes and encouraging laws discouraging bank secrecy could be further areas of work. The role and functions of the United Nations and regional actors were complementary, he said, stressing the need for the Commission to strengthen its cooperation with the African Union. Regional initiatives to promote political dialogue needed to be supported to ensure sustainability of results. The Commission should look at ways of enhancing its advisory role with the Council and inform political strategies in specific contexts. Given the negative impact of the Ebola outbreak, the Commission should stress the need to mobilize adequate resources.
RAIMONDA MURMOKAITĖ (Lithuania), affirming the importance of the United Nations peacebuilding architecture, welcomed its role in responding to the Ebola outbreak and said that the Commission’s advocacy and resource-mobilization capacity should be further utilized. Sustained and predictable funding, especially for such long-term endeavours as institutional capacity-building, was essential. She encouraged the Commission to build further on its engagement with African countries and regional organizations, noting the importance of national and regional ownership of peacebuilding efforts. The Commission should continue to support political dialogue and other preparatory processes for elections, she stated, welcoming the work of the Burundi configuration in that regard and calling for continued vigilance over developments in that country. She further stressed the importance for peacebuilding of the empowerment of women and youth, the advisory role of the Commission for the Security Council and effective utilization of lessons learned.
JULIO HELDER MOURA LUCAS (Angola) said that the Commission had had some undeniable successes, but much improvement was still needed to ensure sustainable peace in country’s emerging from conflict. The Commission must strengthen its advisory role for the Council and the General Assembly, in addition to bolstering cooperation between all actors, including regional organizations. The donor’s conference for Guinea-Bissau served as an example of how the Commission could bring together actors. It was particularly important to involve women, youth and civil society organizations in peacebuilding activities. The Commission should also follow up on reintegration and security reform processes that were promoted by the Council. Genuine reconciliation should also be pursued. In his country, social inclusion, restoration of institutions, reintegration of ex-combatants and reconstruction were priorities in emerging from its long civil conflict. Much remained to be done in development and inclusion, but the country could be said to be on track.
DAVID PRESSMAN (United States) paid tribute to the Peacebuilding Commission for its efforts to rally support for continued engagement in post-conflict countries. Gaps still existed on the ground, however. In places such as Burundi and the Central African Republic, joint efforts must be increased. There was no one solution to the challenges that must be addressed, but coordination of all actors and strengthening the capacity of countries to meet the needs of their people were key. The Central African Republic required sustained support to develop an environment conducive to elections, for which more support was needed; the Commission must work to ensure that the international community remained engaged. The Commission should also continue its efforts to promote regional efforts in peacebuilding and empower women’s participation. He stressed that prevention of resurgent conflict was one area that required more cohesive action. He hoped the upcoming review would address that area, as well as the need for national ownership, predictable financing and other important factors.
RAMLAN BIN IBRAHIM (Malaysia), Council President, speaking in his national capacity, said that the Peacebuilding Commission had shown its value. His country, active in the Commission as well as the Security Council, saw a need for greater coordination between the two bodies, however. He stressed the importance of the upcoming review, in coordination with the other review processes that were taking place in 2015, to help address the many challenges that still faced peacebuilding, such as predictable financing, coordination of all actors and strengthened national ownership.