Closing remarks by H.E. Mr Peter Thomson, President of the 71st Session of the General Assembly, at 4th Peacebuilding Commission Annual Session
30 June 2017
Ladies and gentlemen,
First, thank you to the Peacebuilding Commission for inviting me to make a few remarks during this Annual Session, and for allowing me to speak during the closing session. Overseas commitments prevented me from being here earlier.
The focus of this year’s PBC Annual Session on ‘Partnerships for financing for peace’ could not be more timely.
The General Assembly and the Security Council’s decision last year to adopt the Sustaining Peace resolutions signalled an important shift in how the United Nations approaches peace and security, by acknowledging that by investing in prevention and peace, we may help to avert the colossal human and financial costs of conflict.
But with the international community looking to implement the sustaining of peace, at a time when it also grappling with how we can mobilise the scale of resources necessary to build a world of sustainable peace and sustainable development, it is increasingly clear that new and innovative models for sustainable financing are needed.
Indeed earlier this year, I convened a High-Level Financing Lab here at UN Headquarters in support of the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. The event brought together key partners from across Government, the World Bank Group, civil society and the private sector, to discuss ways to mobilize the enormous resources needed to support the world’s long-term sustainable development objectives.
The central message to emerge from that day was that the financing needed to fund the SDGs already exists around the world, but that the right incentives and frameworks need to be put in place to shift investments towards SDG implementation.
It is a lesson that is in many ways directly relevant to our discussions on securing sustainable financing for peace.
Sustaining peace is, by its very nature, a shared task and responsibility involving national governments, the United Nations, civil society, international financial institutions, the private sector and grassroots organisations.
It is thus incumbent upon us that we explore all options to tap into these resources of stakeholders; to leverage this cooperation to unlock financial flows and scale-up investments in sustaining peace activities; and to build inclusive and strategic partnerships that ensure an integrated and coherent approach to peacebuilding on the ground.
In order to facilitate these efforts and promote an integrated, strategic and coherent approach to peacebuilding, the Peacebuilding Commission has a vital role to play.
The role encompasses providing a partnerships platform to bring all actors together to facilitate dialogue; to discuss national and regional-level experiences; to bridge understanding on shared interests and goals; to facilitate requests for international support; and to explore opportunities for scaling-up strategic partnerships.
Recent initiatives by the PBC to enhance its convening role are important steps in the right direction.
These include the review of its working methods to enable it to consider the peacebuilding needs of countries not formally on its agenda. They also include the PBC’s collaborative work in-country with other UN entities; its efforts to strengthen cooperation with regional organizations and international financial institutions; and its creation of new focal points on key thematic peacebuilding issues.
Having said that, it is clear that more work can be done to make better use of the PBC in deepening and broadening strategic partnerships for sustaining peace.
This might include by bringing new partners and experts together who can support peacebuilding financing in innovative ways, such as by helping to increase domestic resource mobilization, fight illicit financial flows, and strengthen collaboration with regional financial institutions, the private sector, and others to sustain peace.
Such efforts will no doubt assist efforts to increase integration and coherence of efforts amongst key partners, including within the UN system, as well as to help leverage funding from international financial institutions and Official Development Assistance, by broadening available sources of funding.
Such efforts might also help to mobilise sustainable financing for the important work of the Peacebuilding Fund, for which demand grows each year despite a persistent funding shortfall.
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,
While forging strategic partnerships holds the promise for scaling-up financing and strengthening coherence of peacebuilding efforts, we must not escape the need for adequate and predictable financing for sustaining peace to be provided by all Member States and donors, so that the OPBC can take a longer term approach to its work.
With the General Assembly set to meet during the 72nd Session to consider options presented by the Secretary-General to ensure sustainable financing for UN peacebuilding activities, it is timely that we look at how we can help broaden support for these efforts, by pursuing new and innovative models for sustainable financing.
To this end, I commend the Commission for its initiative and forward-thinking in bringing focused attention to the issue of ‘partnerships for financing for peace’, and urge all partners to redouble their efforts to sustain peace across our world.
I thank you.