The Organization’s intergovernmental advisory body that supports peacebuilding in countries emerging from conflict was improving its impact through more transparent and strategic working methods, improved partnerships with regional and subregional organizations and a focus on peacebuilding needs in the Ebola recovery, the Security Council heard today.
“Over the past year, we took important steps to improve the effectiveness and flexibility of the Peacebuilding Commission, thereby striving to further enhance the relevance of our work, broaden the scope and reach of our efforts and improve the accountability of the Commission,” Olof Skoog (Sweden), former Chair of the body, said, presenting its 2015 report (document S/2016/115).
During its ninth session, the Commission had convened regional and country-specific discussions concerning situations beyond its established agenda, he said. The Organizational Committee had discussed peacebuilding needs and lessons learned in several contexts, including the peace process in Papua New Guinea, elections in Burkina Faso, and financing for peacebuilding in Somalia.
Both the previous and current Commission Chair had travelled to West Africa to address the peacebuilding aspects of helping countries in the region recover from the deadly Ebola virus. Earlier this year, Under-Secretary-General of Political Affairs Jeffery Feltman identified conflict-prevention priorities in a discussion convened on trends and threats to peacebuilding in West Africa. The Commission must further use the momentum to deepen and institutionalize cooperation with regional and subregional organizations, he stressed.
In addition, the Commission had advanced interaction with a more diverse group of actors and begun drafting a gender strategy to help the body put women’s empowerment at the centre of its work. A special session had been organized to advance the youth, peace and security agenda, and to champion youth participation for sustainable peace, he continued, expressing hope that the Commission would build on the momentum of Security Council resolution 2250 (2015).
As the Commission was one of the most important tools to foster greater coherence in international action and break the silos, its convening role must be utilized even further, he emphasized. That, in turn, was a prerequisite to support national leadership and ownership in peacebuilding processes.
He said the two ground-breaking resolutions on sustaining peace adopted in April by both the General Assembly and the Council had given the Commission a clear mandate to diversify its working methods and a strong impetus to strengthen its relationship with the Security Council.
Macharia Kamau (Kenya), current Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission, said those resolutions recognized that sustaining peace required more coherence and coordination among the United Nations system. “We have a unique opportunity to move forward the peacebuilding agenda,” he said, noting the reaffirmed support by the Council and the General Assembly for the Commission.
In that regard, he outlined the Commission’s key initiatives and plans for the remainder of the current session, noting it had convened two important meetings in recent months to discuss trends and challenges to peacebuilding at the regional and subregional level.
He intended to expand that approach to other regions, starting with Central Africa and East Africa, and to pursue deeper conversations with the African Union with a possible visit to Addis Ababa and a retreat with the African Union Peace and Security Council.
Peacebuilding had a key role in post-Ebola recovery, he said, noting that he had just returned from West Africa where he had witnessed the determination of Governments and people to completely eradicate Ebola and to turn their countries around by building economies, integrating societies and nurturing sustainable peace. While countries were on a strong recovery path, sustained international support was needed over the next two years to complete Ebola recovery efforts.
Underscoring the importance of partnerships, he said the Commission’s key value was its ability to engage with such regional and subregional organizations as well as with international financial institutions and civil society organizations, and expressed his intention to further strengthen the relations between the Commission and the African Union. He planned to visit that organization’s headquarters in the second part of the year.
Turning finally to working methods, he said that, 10 years after its creation, Member States were calling for a more effective and efficient Commission. He would dedicate the second half of the session to the issue, he said, stressing: “We need to consider going beyond the rigid mechanisms of country configurations and be ready to respond, in a flexible way, to any request of interested countries” in accordance with the principles of national ownership and leadership in peacebuilding.
The meeting began at 10:05 a.m. and ended at 10:25 a.m.