7 January 2009


7 January 2009
General Assembly
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Peacebuilding Commission

Organizational Committee

2nd Meeting (AM)

Heraldo muñoz of chile elected chairman of peacebuilding

commission organizational committee


Committee Also Confirms Chairs of Country-Specific Configurations

The Organizational Committee of the United Nations Peacebuilding Commission today elected a new Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson, and confirmed the heads of its configurations specifically aimed at the recovery of the four countries currently on its agenda, as it began its third year of work.

Heraldo Muñoz of Chile was elected Chairman by acclamation for a period of one year beginning on 1 January 2009.  Also by acclamation, Park In-kook of the Republic of Korea was elected Vice-Chairperson.

The Committee also confirmed the following Chairs of country-specific configurations:  Anders Lidén of Sweden, Chair of the Burundi Configuration; Jan Grauls of Belgium, Chair of the Central African Republic Configuration; Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti of Brazil, Chair of the Guinea-Bissau Configuration; Frank Majoor of the Netherlands, Chair of the Sierra Leone Configuration; and Carmen María Gallardo Hernández of El Salvador, Chair of the Working Group on Lessons Learned.

Following Mr. Muñoz’s election, the outgoing Chairperson, Yukio Takasu of Japan, said that during the past two years the Commission had made great strides in bringing together all stakeholders to face the unique challenges that were faced by post-conflict countries and in marshalling political, financial and technical resources to achieve those goals.  Above all, the Commission should be proud of the concrete progress it contributed to in each of the four countries on its agenda.

The challenges, however, were “still enormous” in the years to come, he said.  To meet them, it was important to further deepen discussions on strategy and policy, to deliver concrete outcomes on the ground and strengthen coordination with all organs of the United Nations and other international organizations.

Mr. Muñoz, taking over the President’s rostrum, said that it was an honour to chair the Commission, as it embodied a determination to tackle one of the “most acute challenges of our time”.  Chile felt special ties to the Commission, since it had suffered from a dictatorship for 17 years and the recovery of democracy marked the beginning of a difficult process of national reconciliation rooted in democratic values, the quest for justice, respect for human rights and economic development with social equity.  He hoped to contribute that experience to the strengthening and work of the Commission.

In the next year, he said, the Commission must continue to project its profile into all relevant forums, find new partners and develop new arrangements for early recovery of post-conflict countries, possibly including a “civilian corps of volunteers for peace”.  Continued work towards coordination of all efforts on the ground and strengthened ties with the Security Council and General Assembly, as well as a solid relationship with the Economic and Social Council, were also important.  That was fundamental in order to further narrow the gap between peacekeeping and development, emphasizing, for example, the creation of jobs and quick-impact projects.

Finally, he said, it was also important to emphasize the complementarity between peacekeeping and the Commission’s work.  That was of particular importance, because the Commission could be a catalyst for institutional rebuilding.

Jane Holl Lute, Assistant Secretary-General for Peacebuilding, thanked Mr. Takasu for his stewardship and said that the year ahead was an important one for the Commission, as it was the year before the review of its work as one of the successes of recent world summits.  “This is the moment to strengthen the work of the Commission, building on the experience of the last two and one half years,” she said.

The Peacebuilding Support Office was already working towards that goal, she said.  She concurred that new, strengthened and more coherent partnerships were needed, as well as better coordination between all current actors, particularly those in peacekeeping.

The representatives of Brazil, Jamaica, Morocco, Nigeria, Republic of Korea, Thailand, Uruguay, Mexico, South Africa, Poland, Burkina Faso, Benin, Belgium, Algeria and the Observer of the European Community rose in appreciation of outgoing and incoming officers, and to recognize the challenges ahead and pledge their continued support in meeting those challenges.

Also this morning, the Organizational Committee took note of a document entitled “Outcome of the Peacebuilding Commission’s discussions on employment and income generation and private sector development in post-conflict countries”, prepared by Mr. Takasu.

The Commission will meet again at a date to be announced.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.