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Peacebuilding and Post-Conflict Recovery

The experience of recent years has also led the United Nations to focus as never before on peacebuilding – efforts to reduce a country's risk of lapsing or relapsing into conflict by strengthening national capacities for conflict management, and to lay the foundations for sustainable peace and development.

Building lasting peace in war-torn societies is among the most daunting of challenges for global peace and security. Peacebuilding requires sustained international support for national efforts across the broadest range of activities – monitoring ceasefires; demobilizing and reintegrating combatants; assisting the return of refugees and displaced persons; helping organize and monitor elections of a new government; supporting justice and security sector reform; enhancing human rights protections and fostering reconciliation after past atrocities.

The United Nations has been at the center of expanding international peacebuilding efforts, from the verification of peace agreements in southern Africa, Central America and Cambodia in the 1990s, to subsequent efforts to consolidate peace and strengthen states in the Balkans, Timor-Leste, and West Africa, to contemporary operations in Afghanistan, Haiti and Sudan.

Recognizing that the United Nations needs to better anticipate and respond to the challenges of peacebuilding, the 2005 World Summit approved the creation of a new Peacebuilding Commission. In the resolutions establishing the Peacebuilding Commission, resolution 60/180 and resolution 1645 (2005), the United Nations General Assembly and the Security Council mandated it to bring together all relevant actors to advise on the proposed integrated strategies for post conflict peacebuilding and recovery; to marshal resources and help ensure predictable financing for these activities; and to develop best practices in collaboration with political, security, humanitarian and development actors.

The resolutions also identify the need for the Commission to extend the period of international attention on post-conflict countries and where necessary, highlight any gaps which threaten to undermine peacebuilding.

The General Assembly and Security Council resolutions establishing the Peacebuilding Commission also provided for the establishment of a Peacebuilding Fund and Peacebuilding Support Office.

ECOSOC and Peacebuilding

The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) has played an “avant-garde” role in developing mechanisms to respond to the problems facing by countries emerging from conflict and thus helping to prevent the deterioration of human security.

In 2002, the Council established the ECOSOC Ad Hoc Advisory Groups to help define long-term programmes of support for countries emerging from conflict and created two groups on Guinea-Bissau (created in October 2002) and on Burundi (created in July 2003). While the mandates of the two Groups have been terminated as the peacebuilding challenges of these countries are now being addressed by the Peacebuilding commission (PBC), the Council retains its role in providing advice to Haiti on a long-term development strategy to promote socio-economic recovery and stability through the Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Haiti. The first Advisory Group on Haiti was created in response to a request by the Security Council, using Article 65 of the United Nations Charter to request advice from ECOSOC.

The Council also recently discussed the role of the United Nations and the international community in supporting capacity of South Sudan. In its resolution 2011/43, the Council invites, in particular, the governing of the United Nations funds and programmes to pay particular attention to the situation in South Sudan and to the coordination of their activities in the country. In this context, ECOSOC requested the Secretary-General to report to the Council, at its substantive session of 2012, on how the United Nations development system is implementing integrated, coherent and coordinated support to South Sudan, consistent with national priorities.

In its decision 2012/250, the Council took note of the report of the Secretary-General on the implementation of integrated, coherent and coordinated support to South Sudan and requested that another report on the subject be submitted for the Council’s consideration at its substantive session of 2013.

The Council invited the Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission to continue to inform it of the economic and social challenges of peacebuilding in the African countries on the Commission’s agenda.

The General Assembly in its resolutions 60/180 and 61/16 affirmed the importance of interaction between the Economic and Social Council and the Peacebuilding Commission and underlined the value of the experience of ECOSOC in the area of post-conflict peacebuilding.

Documentation and links

Resolutions and Decisions