|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
6224th Meeting (AM)
Taking Up Annual Report of Peacebuilding Commission, Security Council
Members Call for Enhanced Cooperation between the Two Bodies
Chairman Warns Three-Year-Old Commission Still Underutilized,
Says Council, Other UN Bodies, Should Take Better Advantage of Its Potential
The Peacebuilding Commission was the central intergovernmental body mandated with ensuring that the United Nations led in coordinating international efforts to help alleviate the suffering of populations in post-conflict situations, the Commission’s Chairman, Heraldo Muñoz of Chile told the Security Council today.
Reporting on the work carried out by the Commission during the third year of its existence, Ambassador Muñoz said the 31-member body had consolidated its core advisory role and had demonstrated increasing support for the countries on its agenda: Burundi; Sierra Leone; Central African Republic; and Guinea-Bissau. It had continued to deepen its links with the General Assembly, the Security Council and the Economic and Social Council.
Along with the Peacebuilding Fund and the Peacebuilding Support Office, the Commission, with its unique membership and its flexible approach, continued to promote the nexus between security and development, he said. Peacebuilding was an area that might contribute to further define the image of the Organization in the coming years.
The Commission, however, remained underutilized, he continued, as it could promote a seamless transition from humanitarian to early recovery assistance; synergy between peacekeeping and peacebuilding mandates; and national capacity development in critical peacebuilding priorities. The envisaged 2010 review of the Commission’s founding General Assembly and Security Council resolutions would provide a prime opportunity to further build on the experiences it had gained, define its potential role in support of an expanding United Nations peacebuilding agenda and enhance its support to countries emerging from conflict.
As the Commission’s Vice-Chair, the representative of the Republic of Korea said that, during its third session, the panel had shown notable progress, including in areas of enhancing global awareness of peacebuilding activities, mobilizing resources and developing strategies to coordinate the rule of law in post-conflict countries.
It had also faced challenges from the global financial crisis, food security issues and political turmoil in the countries on its agenda. However, echoing Mr. Muñoz, he said the Commission was underutilized, especially considering the potential it had shown. He pointed out that the Commission had a limited capacity to engage multiple countries simultaneously and to develop new and innovative working methods should be addressed.
Following Mr. Muñoz’ briefing, many speakers stressed the importance of enhanced interaction between the Commission and the main United Nations bodies, especially with the Security Council. Belgium’s representative said in that regard that mutual areas of interest between the Council and the Commission included security, development, good governance and the rule of law, as well as gender issues, children in armed conflict, mediation and even the role of regional organizations in peacebuilding, adding that the Council should more actively examine the Commission’s work in respect to its own commitments.
Speakers also stressed the importance of integrating peacebuilding efforts into peacekeeping initiatives from the very beginning. The Council, when considering peacekeeping missions’ mandates, should, therefore, make use of the advisory role of the Peacebuilding Commission, especially from its Working Group on lessons learned. Delegates also stressed that the United Nations system and the wider international community should put greater focus on ensuring better coherence between conflict prevention, peacekeeping, peacebuilding and development.
Many speakers pointed out that national leadership and ownership were of paramount importance. To that end, Uganda’s representative said that it was important for the Commission to prioritize its engagement with countries on its agenda to build on existing national strategies. He was encouraged by initiatives for flexible funding through the Peacebuilding Fund, and looked forward to operationalization of the revised terms of reference of the Fund to expedite funding. The Commission should strengthen its monitoring of mutual commitments of national and international actors.
In peacebuilding efforts, extensive participation of civil society, private sector and community-level local actors was essential, including of women, said the representative of Finland, who spoke on behalf of the Nordic countries. Women were too often left out of peace negotiations and post-conflict planning processes. Women’s place was not in the margins but in the centre of decision-making forums.
Turning to the 2010 review, the representative of Canada echoed speakers’ comments that that exercise should ensure that the Commission be able to vary the nature of its engagement according to country circumstances and the stage of post-conflict recovery and should pay greater attention to thematic issues and lessons learned, with more focus on policy dilemmas, strategic challenges, and operational difficulties, including managing the transition from peacekeeping and humanitarian action to early recovery and development.
Based on her experiences as Chair of the Commission’s Guinea-Bissau configuration, the representative of Brazil stressed the importance of enhanced coordination among different actors on the ground, of strong leadership teams, and of rapid and flexible funding instruments. Underlining the importance of avoiding duplication and promoting synergies between all peacebuilding actors, including regional organizations, and of maintaining a strong United Nations presence on the ground, she voiced hope that the United Nations Peace-building Support Office in Guinea-Bissau (UNOGBIS) would be enabled to start its operations at full capacity as soon as possible.
Statements were also made by the representatives of the United Kingdom, United States, Mexico, Croatia, Russian Federation, Burkina Faso, Libya, Japan, Viet Nam, France, China, Costa Rica, Turkey, Austria, Sweden (on behalf of the European Union), El Salvador, India, Switzerland and Bangladesh.
The meeting started at 11 a.m. and was adjourned at 2:05 p.m.
For today’s consideration, members of the Security Council had before them the report of the Peacebuilding Commission on its third session (document A/64/341-S/2009/444), which covers the period from 23 June 2008 to 30 June 2009. It observes that the Commission had gained valuable experience through its engagements with countries on its agenda: Burundi; Central African Republic; Guinea-Bissau; and Sierra Leone. That experience will inform future work, notably in interpreting its advisory role and implementing mandates.
In the area of coordination and partnerships, the report underscores that the United Nations, while a key actor, was not the only body involved in post-conflict peacebuilding, and the Organization should strengthen its coordination with multiple regional and international actors. The Commission, therefore, would encourage closer cooperation with complementary regional processes, such as the African Peer Review of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) mechanism.
Also, the existence of a single national peacebuilding strategy ‑‑ developed through a consultative process among country-level partners ‑‑ significantly helped facilitate coordination, the report says. That was consistent with the Commission’s commitment to the principles of national ownership, mutual accountability and sustained partnership. The Commission also plans to continue its collaboration with international financial institutions to ensure a shared strategic approach in strengthening State functions and promoting economic recovery.
Further, the Commission’s value added will be enhanced through demand-driven engagement with national actors, which would lead to sustained attention to priorities and promotion of an integrated approach of the United Nations’ post-conflict response. As such, the Commission has discussed how to build or make use of existing in-country assessments, strategy-setting processes and country plans to ensure that peacebuilding priorities receive focused support without generating high transaction costs for national partners.
In terms of resource mobilization, rapid and flexible funding, aligned to an agreed strategy, was critical to peacebuilding, and the Commission was convinced that funding should be viewed as an early investment in sustainable peace and development and, thus, might require greater risk-taking than normal development funding.
The Commission continued to address the challenges of mobilizing predictable and sustained resources, the report says, and was exploring ways to engage non-traditional partners, the diaspora, private foundations and the private sector to supplement the flow of official development assistance. It plans to continue to broaden the base of countries willing to contribute financial and technical resources.
In terms of communications and outreach, there was limited awareness about the Commission’s role, the evolving concept of peacebuilding and how to best support that endeavour. Given that, the Commission will explore initiatives like the appointment of goodwill ambassadors, establishment of a group of friends and convening of an annual high-level peacebuilding forum. A communications strategy will be developed to target national stakeholders, bilateral and institutional donors, regional actors and practitioners.
Finally, the report notes that, in the past three years, the Commission consolidated its core advisory role and showed increasing support for countries on its agenda. The 2010 review of the Commission’s founding resolutions will provide a prime opportunity to build on its experience and in that context, the role of the Organizational Committee should be reassessed, given the need for overall strategic vision.
The Council also had before it the Secretary-General’s report on peacebuilding in the immediate aftermath of conflict (document A/63/881-S/2009/304), which focuses on the challenges faced by post-conflict countries and the international community in the immediate aftermath of conflict ‑‑ defined as the first two years after the main conflict in a country has ended. Reflecting on past peacebuilding experience, section II underscores the imperative of national ownership as a central theme of the report and highlights the unique challenges arising from the specific context of early post-conflict situations. The threats to peace are often greatest during this early phase, but so too are opportunities to set virtuous cycles in motion from the start.
The report notes that the immediate post-conflict period offers a window of opportunity to provide basic security, deliver peace dividends, shore up and build confidence in the political process, and strengthen core national capacity to lead peacebuilding efforts thereby beginning to lay the foundations for sustainable development. If countries develop a vision and strategy that succeeds in addressing these objectives early on, it substantially increases the chances for sustainable peace ‑‑ and reduces the risk of relapse into conflict. In too many cases, the United Nations has missed that early window, the report states.
The report’s section III identifies several recurring priorities that relate directly to these core objectives, and for which international assistance is frequently requested in the early days after conflict. Seizing the window of opportunity requires that international actors are, at a minimum, capable of responding coherently, rapidly and effectively to support these recurring priorities. Section IV describes United Nations efforts to enhance the effectiveness of its post-conflict response, and identifies systemic challenges related to differing mandates, governance structures and financing arrangements, which prevent the Organization from making deeper reforms.
Section V sets out an agenda to strengthen the United Nations response in the immediate aftermath of conflict, as well as to facilitate an earlier, more coherent response from the global community. Its core elements include: stronger, more effective and better supported United Nations leadership teams on the ground; early agreement on priorities and alignment of resources behind them; strengthening United Nations support for national ownership and capacity development from the outset.
It also involves rationalizing and enhancing the United Nations capacity to provide knowledge and deployable personnel to meet the most urgent peacebuilding needs, in concert with partners who have an advantage in particular areas; and working with Member States, particularly donors, to enhance the speed, alignment, flexibility and risk tolerance of funding mechanisms.
Finally, the report’s section VI considers the critical role of the Peacebuilding Commission in supporting post-conflict countries and proposes several suggestions for consideration by Member States as to how the Commission could strengthen its advisory role in relation to the early post-conflict period.
Established after the 2005 World Summit, the creation of the Peacebuilding Commission was a response to the need for coherent and strategic peacebuilding efforts. The report was also discussed in a plenary meeting of the General Assembly on 20 November (see Press Release GA/10893).
HERALDO MUÑOZ (Chile) Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission, said the United Nations was not the only actor in post-conflict situations but the world body played a leadership role in the field, facilitating engagement between national and international actors and among international actors. The Commission was the central intergovernmental body in the United Nations mandated with ensuring that the Organization led the way towards the alleviation of the suffering of populations in post-conflict situations. Along with the Peacebuilding Fund and the Peacebuilding Support Office, the Commission, with its unique membership and it flexible approach, continued to promote the nexus between security and development.
He said the Commission had consolidated its core advisory role and had demonstrated increasing support for the countries on its agenda. It continued to deepen its linkage with the General Assembly, the Security Council and the Economic and Social Council. The Chairs of the four country configurations continued to brief the Council regularly on the developments in the peacebuilding process in Burundi, Central African Republic, Guinea-Bissau and Sierra Leone. The Bureau had recently concluded a visit to the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa. It had also visited the Organization of American States, the headquarters of the International Financial Institutions and of the European Commission.
He underscored the activities of the Organizational Committee, which continued to address possible approaches to enhance implementation of its core mandates and to adapt to prevailing global realities. The Committee had discussed enhancing the Commission’s capacity to fulfil its resource mobilization mandate, implications of the financial crisis, the United Nations rule of law coordination strategy and the prospects for the mandated 2010 review of the United Nations peacebuilding architecture, among other things. He had also undertaken a number of activities on order to raise global awareness of the challenges facing countries emerging from conflict. Activities had also included a version of “Give Peace a Chance” of which proceeds would go to the Peacebuilding Fund.
The country-specific configurations continued to lead the design and monitoring of the implementation of the strategic frameworks for peacebuilding in the four countries on the agenda. While facing a number of country-specific challenges in the areas of resources and capacity, political commitment and coherence, the commission had provided a viable political platform to address those challenges and seek partnerships that were needed to deliver tangible dividends on the ground. The Working Group on lessons learned continued to provide an informal platform for the Commission to draw on.
He said that, three years since its operationalization, the United Nations peacebuilding agenda was expanding in scope and depth. Peacebuilding was an area that might contribute to further define the image of the Organization in the coming years. The unique feature of peacebuilding was providing the nexus between security, rule of law and development activities. The challenge of ensuring a coherent and integrated response, however, was daunting. The principles of national ownership and inclusiveness had been pivotal in the work of the Commission.
The Peacebuilding Commission remained, however underutilized. It could promote: seamless transition from humanitarian to early recovery assistance; synergy between peacekeeping and peacebuilding mandates; and national capacity development in critical peacebuilding priorities. The envisaged 2010 review of the Commission’s founding resolutions would provide a prime opportunity to further build on the experiences it had gained, define its potential role in support of an expanding United Nations peacebuilding agenda and enhance its support to countries emerging from conflict.
PHILIP PARHAM (United Kingdom) said that better peacebuilding was at the heart of the Council’s work and that the year ahead was an opportunity to fill critical gaps in that work, despite the welcome achievements of the Peacebuilding Commission. In particular, the links between mediation, peacekeeping and peacebuilding need to be strengthened. The Commission was crucial to performing that task and in coordinating key activities such as security reform and ensuring the rule of law. It could also regularly monitor delivery and reach out to the development community, including the international and regional financial institutions.
For the Commission to perform most effectively, however, the Security Council was critical in helping it to foster earlier deployment, as well as more flexible approaches focused on developments on the ground. Better ways for the Commission to affect the Council’s work were needed, in turn; and it was important that the Council take its parental function seriously. The overall test of the working of the system would be whether the number of countries falling back into conflict was reduced.
SUSAN RICE (United States) welcomed the report and the work of all those involved with the Commission, as she recalled the reasons for the creation of that institution, which was still young, but which had already committed itself to flexible methods of work, coordination between all stakeholders and commitment to national ownership. The Peacebuilding Commission had the potential to be an important instrument towards forging the best collective efforts in helping post-conflict nations on a range of issues, which were some of the most important on the United Nations agenda.
She pledged commitment to a rigorous review of all Peacebuilding factors, including the performance of the Council, which needed to take note of peacebuilding issues earlier in peacekeeping discussions. All stakeholders must be engaged in the review, which must, most importantly, take into account the perspectives of post-conflict countries. Timely follow-up to the Secretary-General’s report, including clarification of roles and responsibilities was also needed.
Among other strategies, she said that talent and expertise mobilized from developing countries could assure that core functions were performed in the most effective way. Strengthening the links between peacekeeping and peacebuilding was also crucial. She concluded that the challenge today was redoubling efforts to fill all remaining gaps in the effort to ensure that countries did not fall back into conflict.
GUILLERMO PUENTE ORDORICA (Mexico) said the valuable experience attained by the Commission in the four countries on its agenda regarding rule of law and development, among other things, must be viewed as a point of departure for the Commission. Three years after its establishment, the Commission had developed constantly as it faced challenges. Its work must be attuned still further in order to prepare a swifter and more effective response. The dividends of peace should become a reality for the populations concerned. As the Commission had not reached its full potential yet, it was important to support strengthening its working methods and tailor its response to situations in the field and in mobilizing resources.
He said there was still potential for the Council, the Assembly and the Economic and Social Council to avail themselves better of the advice provided by the Commission. The Commission, as a pillar in the peacebuilding architecture, could play a more decisive role in the post-conflict countries. There was a need for consistency and integration between making peace, keeping peace, building peace and development. Efforts should focus on security, support for the political process, basic services and economic recovery. The revision of the founding resolutions in 2010 would provide opportunities to analyse the ways in which the international community could enhance national capacity for post-conflict reconstruction.
RANKO VILOVIĆ (Croatia) said that next to conflict prevention and peacekeeping, peacebuilding was a key element of peace operations. The cornerstone of peacebuilding continued to be found in the Commission, the Peacebuilding Support Office and the Peacebuilding Fund, which represented the mechanisms to guide peacebuilding efforts. In taking stock of the Commission’s work, it should be recognized that the Commission had achieved notable outcomes in its third year. The Council should consider how to further advance the peacebuilding agenda in the United Nations and beyond. Peacebuilding efforts were complex with many actors involved. Every effort must be made to coordinate the activities of those actors to avoid duplication and achieve synergy.
He said a single peacebuilding strategy would significantly help facilitate coordination. The United Nations should continue to play the role of an umbrella organization in those efforts. The establishment of a system of feedback through lessons learned would provide the best way forward. National ownership must be a central tenet of any peacebuilding efforts as external actors were often unable to comprehend the real needs of the population. Interaction between the Council and the Commission could still be improved. He stressed that successful peacebuilding efforts required predictable, sustained and well-coordinated funding and supported in that regard efforts of the Commission to engage non-traditional donors such as the diaspora and private organizations.
VITALY CHURKIN (Russian Federation) said that he shared the conclusions and recommendations of the report on the work of the Commission and welcomed progress made in that body’s efforts, stressing the importance of the interaction between the Security Council and the Commission. The upcoming review was of great importance and should take into account a wide range of factors that effect peacebuilding, including the strict observance of the rules of major United Nations bodies, the link between peacekeeping, peacebuilding and sustainable development and the harmonization of the work of the Peacebuilding Commission with the efforts of national Governments and all its partners, while maintaining the priority of national ownership.
MICHEL KAFANDO (Burkina Faso) commended all those involved in the Peacebuilding Commission on progress made. Working methods had been improved both in the Organizational Committee and the country-specific configurations, which had developed a strategic approach to ensuring national ownership of peacebuilding efforts. The mobilization of resources through traditional and non-traditional methods was also appreciated, as well as progress in coordinating all actors, in the urgent tasks of helping nations emerge from conflict.
He said that the revised mandate of the Peacebuilding Fund should make it more responsive to needs on the ground, and he urged regional organizations be taken into account in all peacebuilding activities and that work continue in coordinating the work of the international financial institutions towards the effort of making peacebuilding processes more reliable. He looked forward to the results of the upcoming review to enhance the role of the Peacebuilding Commission.
ABDURRAHMAN MOHAMED SHALGHAM (Libya) said the Commission should continue its effective interaction with other United Nations bodies and enhance its interaction with regional and subregional organizations. He welcomed in that regard the panel’s visit to the African Union headquarters and called for continuing of that practice. Such visits could contribute to a better understanding of the problems in post-conflict countries, he said. Expanding membership in the Commission could enhance effectiveness of peacebuilding efforts in post-conflict countries.
He said peacebuilding was multidimensional, involving many actors. The challenge was to link the social, economic, developmental and political elements of peacebuilding in a coherent manner. The Commission should enhance its focus on the developmental element of peacebuilding efforts. Coordination, coherence and partnerships should contribute to an enhanced strategy for peacebuilding, based on the principles of national ownership and accountability. Swift and flexible funding aligned with an agreed upon strategy was a decisive matter in making peacebuilding a success. Peacebuilding funding was an early investment in peace and development and required taking more risks. As a member of the country-specific configuration of the Central African Republic, he expressed the hope that peacebuilding efforts in that country would be enhanced.
YUKIO TAKASU (Japan) noted that the Commission continued to make steady progress. It had deepened its partnership, among others, with the World Bank, the African Union and the European Union. It had also achieved good results on the ground and had, therefore, become a success story of the Organization. It had linked security and development in an integrated manner. 2010 would be critical for the Commission as it would go through a review of the founding resolutions. That review should focus on increasing the effectiveness of the Commission, and to maximize its strength to mobilize non-traditional financial support.
He said the Council should increase its interaction with the Commission as to make better use of the Commission’s potential as an advisory body. It could, for instance, request the Commission to research in depth such issues as security sector reform and advise the Council on it. The Council should also consider new countries on the Commission’s agenda. Closer attention should be paid to peacekeeping and peacebuilding needs, as the requirements of both often overlapped. Successful peacebuilding was essential to peacekeeping. There was a need to develop a strategy to bridge the gaps between peacekeeping and early recovery, he added.
HOANG CHI TRUNG (Viet Nam) commended the Commission’s work, listing concrete and important results under challenging circumstances in Burundi, the Central African Republic, Guinea-Bissau, Sierra Leone and other post-conflict countries among its achievements. Three years after the establishment of the Commission, the Peacebuilding Fund and Peacebuilding Support Office, peacebuilding was expanding in scope and depth. With its comparative advantages of unique representative membership and convening power for various actors, the Commission had become a viable institution to promote the nexus between security and development, as well as the strategic vision for consolidating peace and avoiding a relapse of violence in post-conflict countries.
A number of persistent challenges remained, however, which ranged from supporting political processes and reconciliation to sustaining safety and security, from strengthening the rule of law to facilitating the provision of basic services and revitalization of economies, he continued. He said the Commission would be more effective if its activities were better tailored to the needs and priorities of recipient countries. The Commission should redouble its efforts to improve its rules of procedure and working methods, intensify interactions with countries on its agenda, and rationalize its institutional relations with the General Assembly, Security Council and Economic and Social Council, in accordance with respective competence of each body.
He added that, in the aftermath of the global economic and financial crisis, the Peacebuilding Fund should build upon its revised terms of reference and truly serve as a catalytic, responsive and focused resource for peacebuilding support. Overall, efficient functioning of United Nations’ peacebuilding rested upon the capacity to deliver a real impact on the ground. In the meantime, bringing the full force of the United Nations system in support of a country emerging from conflict required unity in the areas of peace and security, human rights, rule of law, development and humanitarian affairs, as well as coherence between preventive diplomacy, peacemaking, peacekeeping and peacebuilding. Greater emphasis was needed on education and training, job creation, agriculture, infrastructure, private sector reform and other development agendas. The upcoming 2010 review would provide a good opportunity to take stock of achievements, gaps and impacts in the exercise of the Commission’s mandates. It would also be an opportunity to build on lessons learned.
NICOLAS DE RIVIÈRE (France), aligning himself with the statement to be made later in the meeting on behalf of the European Union, stressed the importance of the upcoming review in making the Peacebuilding Commission as effective as possible and giving it visibility and influence in New York and on the ground. He said that ownership of the peacebuilding process by national Governments was vital and he called on the Governments to fulfil their commitments in demobilization processes, reform of the security sector and organization of elections.
He said that the Commission could improve its work by stepping up relations with the Security Council, which, in turn should take peacebuilding priorities into account as soon as possible. The General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council should also cooperate closely with the Commission. It was vital for the Commission to follow up on projects undertaken by the Peacebuilding Fund and it must also review its methods of work and assess its presence on the ground. Integrated offices were particularly important in that light.
LIU ZHENMIN (China), recalling the factors brought up in last week’s General Assembly discussion of the Peacebuilding Commission, voiced hope that the Commission would positively incorporate the rational proposals made in that debate. He said that the Commission needed to further rationalize and optimize its relationships with other parts of the United System, and that a reliable funding network was particularly important.
The Commission, he continued, also needed to strengthen relationships with recipient countries, which must retain adequate say in peacebuilding strategies. For that purpose, building human resources capacity in recipient countries was particularly important. In addition, it must address deep-rooted problems. Close cooperation by the Commission with the Security Council was important, and flexible methods of consultation with that body should be developed and strengthened.
RUHAKANA RUGUNDA ( Uganda) said the Commission was playing an important role in promoting and supporting an integrated and coherent approach to peacebuilding, an area to which greater resources should be devoted. The United Nations system and the wider international community should put greater focus on ensuring better coherence between conflict prevention, peacekeeping, peacebuilding and development. He welcomed the Commission’s increasing engagement with the countries on its agenda through facilitating alignment of efforts and financial support to agreed priorities.
He said that as national leadership and ownership were of paramount importance, it was important for the Commission to prioritize its engagement with countries on its agenda to build on existing national strategies. He was encouraged by initiatives for flexible funding through the Peacebuilding Fund and looked forward to operationalization of the revised terms of reference of the Fund to expedite funding. The Commission should strengthen its monitoring of mutual commitments of national and international actors. The review in 2010 would provide an opportunity to focus on how to further enhance the Commission’s effectiveness in fulfilling its mandate.
JORGE URBINA ( Costa Rica) said the Commission had learned that prevention of resurgence of violence meant early work on peacebuilding, even prior to any agreement to put an end to conflict. The international community realized that peace could not be achieved just by ending conflict, but that it required support of development and reconstruction. The Commission had learned how to provide strategic and comprehensive support to countries in post-conflict situations. The Council had increasingly espoused the aspects of peacebuilding and the Council had also transformed the United Nations offices in Sierra Leone, the Central African Republic and Guinea-Bissau into integrated peacebuilding support offices so that they could act in a more comprehensive and strategic fashion.
He said that peacebuilding would no longer be the last thing to be considered in preparing for an exit of peacekeeping operations. The Commission would soon possess valuable experience on which the Council could draw in preparing mandate extensions of peacekeeping operations. He welcomed the idea of strengthening United Nations peacebuilding capacities by establishing a team of civilian experts able to deploy rapidly to provide support in such areas as capacity-building and the rule of law. It was necessary in that regard to mobilize greater capacity from developing countries, in particular women. The role of the international community must be one of support for enhancing national capacity. It was vital to bring in civil society, including the private sector, into the peacebuilding efforts and to enhance partnerships with donors, financial institutions and regional and subregional organizations.
ERTUĞRUL APAKAN (Turkey) said that, while the progress achieved by the Commission over the last four years had been promising, the increased complexity of post-conflict reconstruction processes, the evolving priorities of peacebuilding and the need to adapt to changing conditions on the ground called for a continuous review of the United Nations’ peacebuilding architecture on the basis of lessons learned. He proposed five key issues for further consideration as part of the envisaged review in 2010 of the Commission’s founding resolutions.
First, he said, priority should be given to building national capacities with the aim of transferring expertise rather than creating dependence on it. Secondly, more consideration should be given to strategic planning for effective transition from peacekeeping to peacebuilding, as well as to the identification of critical early peacebuilding tasks. Third, he said, gender perspective should be integral to the Commission’s work.
Noting that efficient functioning of the Organization’s peacebuilding rested on its ability to “deliver as one”, he said that harmonization of the policies and procedures of all relevant United Nations entities were vital to success. Lastly, he said that the financing mechanism for peacebuilding should be more predictable, sustainable, transparent, accountable and flexible. To that end, Turkey contributed to the Peacebuilding Fund without any caveats, he said, adding that he hoped the revised terms of reference would improve its efficiency and responsiveness.
Council President THOMAS MAYR-HARTING (Austria), speaking in his national capacity and associating himself with the statement to be made by Sweden on behalf of the European Union, thanked all those involved in the Commission’s work. He said peacebuilding efforts must start early when dealing with conflicts and the Commission’s relationship with peacekeeping mechanisms must be strengthened. Integrated offices on the ground had proved particularly effective in transitional periods. A well-coordinated, international consensus on peacebuilding was also needed, to allow peacebuilding to transition into long-term cooperation for sustainable development. The Commission should advise on all those interfaces.
He said that well-functioning State institutions and the restoration of rule of law were essential in post-conflict countries. For the most effective action in those areas and all others, linkages between all possible peacebuilding actors were critical. The upcoming review must be done in an inclusive way and aim at strengthening the coordination between itself and the Security Council.
MARIA LUIZA RIBEIRO VIOTTI ( Brazil), speaking in her capacity as Chair of the Commission’s Guinea-Bissau configuration, said it was encouraging to see the progress that had been achieved by the Commission and Fund. In the case of Guinea-Bissau, the priorities established in the Strategic Framework, which was now being reviewed, had been addressed despite the assassinations in March and June and the many challenges ahead. In her five visits to the country, she had witnessed the importance attached to the Commission and the commitment of Guinean authorities to the peacebuilding process.
Based on her experience, she stressed the importance of enhanced coordination among different actors on the ground, of strong leadership teams and of rapid and flexible funding instruments. The new terms of reference of the Fund would create a good example of the latter. In the case of Guinea-Bissau, the initial allocation of Fund resources had focused on four priority areas identified by the Government. She voiced hope that a second tranche would be announced soon, while stressing, however, that such resources were not expected to address all peacebuilding issues but to provide seed money, to be complemented by other innovative and equally flexible funding instruments.
In other areas, she stressed the importance of avoiding duplication and promoting synergies between all peacebuilding actors, including regional organizations, and of maintaining a strong United Nations presence on the ground. In that regard, she voiced hope that the United Nations Peace-building Support Office in Guinea-Bissau (UNOGBIS) would be enabled to start its operations at full capacity as soon as possible.
ANDERS LIDÉN (Sweden), speaking on behalf of the European Union and associated States, said that ending violence was merely the first step to building peace. Weak State institutions, broken economic systems and a lack of trust between former adversaries were potent threats to maintaining stability. Ensuring basic security while building peace required a comprehensive and coordinated response from the international community in support of national efforts. The Peacebuilding Commission could play a central role in addressing critical gaps in peacebuilding efforts and contribute to increased coherence between security, development and humanitarian actors, and also serve as a framework to hold host Governments and the international community accountable for agreed-upon commitments. The Commission’s unique membership provided international legitimacy to effectively deliver on those roles.
The Commission’s experience showed that support to post-conflict countries must build on national ownership and be context-specific, he said. Therefore, the panel should be flexible in its engagement, focus on a limited set of priorities and build on existing strategies and capacities at country level. The European Union would welcome a more structured relationship between the Commission and the Security Council that would promote the early inclusion of peacebuilding perspectives in Council considerations and decisions. Better use of synergies between peacebuilding and peacekeeping was necessary.
Peacebuilding and peacekeeping operations should be reviewed in tandem towards implementation of the integrated mission concept for more strategic and coherent support to peacebuilding. The Organization’s in-country leadership should be empowered to corral international support behind early and prioritized strategies. Further, he said that it was urgent to implement Security Council resolution 1325 (2000) on women and peace and security. Countries emerging from conflict could offer opportunities to redress gender inequities of the past and set precedents for the future. “Gender equality brings new degrees of democratic inclusiveness, as well as faster social recovery and more durable economic growth,” he said.
JOHN MCNEE (Canada) said that the Commission’s record since its establishment by the 2005 World Summit Outcome suggested that it and the Peacebuilding Support Office were filling important gaps in the Organization’s response to crisis and conflict. Indeed, they were helping to set priorities and sequence tasks, identify overlooked areas of programming and funding and facilitate a more unified international presence in post-conflict countries. Further, the Commission had provided useful support to the countries on its agenda and developed a pragmatic strategic approach. It was now time to expand the Commission’s agenda so that its impact could be greatest at the earliest and most tenuous stages of post-conflict recovery when the international community’s concentrated attention and resources could play their most critical role in consolidating peace.
Noting his own briefings to the Security Council as Chair of the Sierra Leone configuration, he welcomed the growing cooperation between the Council and the Peacebuilding Commission. As one example of how the Council and the Commission could work together to achieve more coordinated and integrated peacebuilding in the field, he cited the configuration’s advocacy for support to Sierra Leone in deepening democratic dialogue and enhancing police capacity, the need for which had been highlighted by the political instability that had occurred in March. Further, given the Commission’s diverse membership, growing links to other international institutions and unique mandate to work at the nexus of security and development, the Council and the Commission should better define and implement the Commission’s advisory role.
He then proposed for consideration during the 2010 review: ensuring that the Peacebuilding Commission be able to vary the nature of its engagement according to country circumstances and the stage of post-conflict recovery; consideration by the Commission for adopting a multi-tiered agenda to accommodate a variety of approaches appropriate to the level of engagement required by different countries on its agenda; and paying greater attention to thematic issues and lessons learned, with more focus on policy dilemmas, strategic challenges, and operational difficulties, including managing the transition from peacekeeping and humanitarian action to early recovery and development. Further, he said that the Peacebuilding Support Office should become a locus for peacebuilding expertise, particularly by drawing on the knowledge and experience of peacebuilding actors outside the United Nations.
CARMEN MARÍA GALLARDO HERNÁNDEZ (El Salvador) said that to her country, one that had recently emerged from conflict, the report was extremely important as it placed peacebuilding squarely on the shoulders of national Governments with the assistance of the international community. The Commission must strengthen its ties with all stakeholders in peacebuilding, and focus on national capacity-building and on helping to bring about true national reconciliation.
She stressed the importance of the Working Group on lessons learned, in which her country participated, which she said should continue. To make peacebuilding more effective, she proposed a more rational use of peacekeeping cadres, which could remain in countries to assist with the peacebuilding phase. Consistency between all United Nations bodies was essential to link those phases smoothly. She pledged her country’s continued support to the Commission, including its participation in the upcoming 2010 review of the body’s founding resolutions.
JAN GRAULS (Belgium), associating himself with the statement made earlier on behalf of the European Union, reiterated that the Commission should respond to both the General Assembly and the Security Council, and it was also a natural interlocutor for the Economic and Social Council. He said that the Commission must continue to draw on the vision that led to its establishment and remain dynamic and be comprehensive.
He said that the Council’s increased interest in post-conflict situations was a positive development. Mutual areas of interest of the Council and the Commission included security, development, good governance and the rule of law, as well as gender issues, children in armed conflict, mediation and even the role of regional organizations in peacebuilding.
He said that the relationship between the two bodies needed to be strengthened, however, and the Council should more actively examine the work of the Commission in respect to its own commitments. The modalities of cooperation should be further clarified in the upcoming review, and should cover all phases of peacekeeping and peacebuilding, including planning, execution and follow-up.
HARDEEP SINGH PURI (India) said that, as a contributor to the Peacebuilding Fund and a member of the Peacebuilding Commission, his country remained actively engaged in critical peacebuilding tasks. Convinced that the Commission’s creation had filled an institutional gap and that the Commission could and should make an important contribution to countries emerging from conflict, India had co-sponsored a resolution that had revised the terms of reference for the Peacebuilding Fund in May. According to the Secretary-General’s report, that revision allowed the Fund “to serve as a fast-disbursing, agile, responsive and risk-taking peacebuilding instrument”. It was also important that the relationship between the Commission and its donors was managed creatively to use synergies in existing peacebuilding strategies.
Underscoring India’s development of multifaceted capacities relevant to peacebuilding and development, he reiterated the country’s willingness to continue to make its nation-building capabilities to countries in post-conflict situations. He said it was imperative to ensure there was effective two-way dialogue between countries on the Commission’s agenda and the Commission itself, through all stages of work. The governance structures of the peacebuilding architecture must also be constantly improved to ensure swift responses and greater efficiency, and to allow all available resources geared towards peacebuilding to be properly harnessed in the shorter possible time.
HEIDI SCHRODERUS-FOX (Finland), speaking on behalf of the Nordic countries, said the Commission, which had a special role in promoting a coordinated and coherent approach to peacebuilding, had demonstrated its ability to develop innovative means of engagement. While the beginning had shown promise, the ultimate yardstick of success must be change on the ground. The 2010 review would be a good opportunity to improve the Commission’s impact. The ongoing review of United Nations peacekeeping and the upcoming review of the peacebuilding architecture provided an opportunity to make better use of synergies between peacekeeping and peacebuilding. In order to deliver on the mandated advisory role of the Peacebuilding Commission, an enhanced relationship of the Commission with the Council would be highly beneficial.
She said that ensuring national ownership of peacebuilding efforts was essential from the very beginning. The Commission’s country-specific strategic frameworks should not impose an additional layer of planning, but rather be flexible instruments of engagement that built on existing assessments and strategies. The international community had to create a space for a truly inclusive national process and to undertake all peacebuilding in a way that strengthened the capacity and commitment of local institutions.
Extensive participation of civil society, private sector and community-level local actors was essential, including of women, she said. Women were too often left out of peace negotiations and post-conflict planning processes. Women’s place was not in the margins but in the centre of decision-making forums. She added that a strong Peacebuilding Support Office had a key role to play in bringing the United Nations system together on peacebuilding and welcomed a strong leadership by the Secretary-General to advance peacebuilding.
PETER MAURER (Switzerland) said that the principle of mutual accountability implied not only a mutual understanding on objectives and means to achieve them, but also a commitment to seek solutions through constructive cooperation. That went for the relationship between the international community and countries on its agenda and for national actors themselves. But national ownership, in his understanding, could not be the exclusive prerogative of a Government alone. He also saw a lot of merit in a close relationship with actors on the ground. It was not in New York that international efforts would bear fruit. Peace was built on the ground.
Continuing, he elaborated on elections as a crucial phase of peacebuilding, saying that several elections were planned in the next months, including in Burundi. It was important for all political parties to have access to the political space at hand, which was a key element in ensuring a sincere and sustained dialogue. The Commission had a role to play in getting that message across. With one of the Commission’s tasks being to advise the Council in that regard, he supported the Secretary-General’s recommendations on the need to consider more proactively that panel’s potential contributions and to foster the complementarity between it and Security Council. Like troop-contributing countries, members of the Commission and its country-specific configurations should be involved as early as possible in the Council’s deliberations on countries on the Commission’s agenda.
In connection with the 2010 review of the peacebuilding architecture, he welcomed the initiatives under way and said that his delegation saw merit in conducting a more structured and inclusive dialogue between all stakeholders. The review process also deserved authoritative guidance. Therefore, he called on the Secretary-General to present, by the end of April 2010, a forward-looking report with specific recommendations. Such a report could take stock of challenges to peace, highlight the complementarity of mediation and conflict prevention, peacekeeping and activities for development. It could also reflect on the reform in those fields.
ABULKALAM ABDUL MOMEN (Bangladesh) thanked all those involved in the Commission and said he was encouraged to see that the Commission had continued to deepen its linkages to the principal organs of the United Nations and its partnerships with national, regional and international actors. He stressed, however, that the Commission should have the central role in post-conflict peacebuilding and reconciliation processes, based on national ownership and national priorities. He welcomed the revised terms of reference of the Peacebuilding Fund, saying that a more rapid and flexible funding mechanism was critical.
On the links between peacekeeping and peacebuilding and in the context of identifying partners with “comparative advantage in particular areas, he pointed out that Bangladesh, being one of the major troop-contributing countries, was uniquely positioned to assist the Commission’s work in such areas as disarmament, demobilization and reintegration that needed to continue between peacekeeping and peacebuilding mandates. He also stressed his country’s ability to help in the endeavour of broadening the expertise available to tackle post-conflict challenges, as it was home to the world’s largest non-governmental organization and microcredit enterprises. His country pledged to participate closely in the upcoming review and in any efforts that aimed at the overall well-being of post-conflict societies.
PARK IN-KOOK (Republic of Korea) said that, during its third session, the Commission had shown notable progress, including in areas of enhancing global awareness of peacebuilding activities, mobilizing resources and developing strategies to coordinate the rule of law in post-conflict countries. It had also faced challenges from the global financial crisis, food security issues and political turmoil in the countries on its agenda. The Commission, however, was underutilized considering the potential it had shown. How to harness progress made and how to tackle those challenges would be subjects of the upcoming review. The lessons learned and experiences accumulated in the fields would provide valuable inputs to Council discussions.
As the Commission’s Vice-Chair, he said peacekeeping missions needed to include early peacebuilding elements in their mandates and operations, an area to which the Commission could add value. Synergy could be created if the country-specific meetings were effectively incorporated in the Council’s considerations. Although the country-specific meetings were an instrumental mechanism of the Commission, the Commission’s limited capacity to engage multiple countries simultaneously and to develop new and innovative working methods should be addressed. The Commission should also more actively participate in discussions on and operations of integrated peacebuilding offices. A close linkage between the Council and the Commission was crucial in carrying out peacebuilding mandates and helping countries meet exploding post-conflict demands in the field.
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