The Peacebuilding Commission today underscored the importance of predictable sustained funding and the effectiveness of domestic resource mobilization at its second-ever annual session.
Adopting an outcome document by acclamation, the Commission concluded that unpredictable, inadequate and fragmented financing for peacebuilding was hampering the effectiveness and coherence of international support to post-conflict countries, adding unnecessary burdens to host Governments. Furthermore, difficulties in mobilizing domestic resources in post-conflict countries remained a main challenge for sustainable peacebuilding.
The text also noted that flexible funding allowing for risk-taking would enable more effective international support. There was a need to ensure adequate resources for United Nations peacebuilding support to address root causes of conflict, in particular support to political processes, security sector reform and the justice sector. In that regard, multi-year funding commitments to the Peacebuilding Fund would enable the Commission to leverage its comparative advantages, including rapid support, filling gaps, incentivizing integration across the United Nations system and taking risks.
In his opening remarks, Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson said he was the President of the United Nations General Assembly when the Commission was established in 2005 to help countries transition from war to peace. In 31 conflict-affected countries, less than 10 per cent of official development assistance (ODA) was spent on institution-building in the political, security and justice areas during 2002-2003. For the six countries on the Commission’s agenda — Burundi, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia and the Central African Republic — only 7 per cent of ODA was allocated to those areas. Assessed budgets of missions mandated by the Security Council did not include funds to strengthen national political, security, human rights, public administration and rule of law institutions.
“Building institutions that form the backbone of sustainable peace can take a generation,” he said, stressing the need for sustained resources. “We must not be pennywise and pound foolish.”
Also problematic was that financing mechanisms and their decision-making processes among donors were fragmented, contributing to unpredictable donor engagement, inefficiencies and persistent underfunding of critical areas, he said. Fragmentation was also evident on the recipient side and the United Nations was plagued by insufficient coordination, competition for funds and lack of resources for strategic activities.
Moreover, countries emerging from conflict often lacked robust tax and rule of law institutions to effectively mobilize domestic resources, he said. Global pooled funds such as the Peacebuilding Fund had helped break down the silos and promote coherent approaches in places like the Central African Republic. Other good funding practices could and should be replicated.
Delivering a keynote speech via video link was Donald Kaberuka, President of the African Development Bank, who said that the development prospects of the four major African regions — Horn of Africa, Sahel, Mano River Union, and Great Lakes and Central Africa — were currently at risk due to fragility. Peacebuilding was a “work in progress”, requiring an understanding that every crisis was different, with varying histories, trajectories, and geographical contexts. “Money is only part of the solution,” he said, highlighting the importance of an integrated approach to addressing challenges. Peacebuilding was also a protracted process. The process of re-engaging the affected countries with the international system alone could take years, he said, citing the case of Liberia.
The Bank asked the President of Liberia to head a high-level panel on ending conflict and building peace. The panel’s final report pointed out that fragility was not confined to certain countries. It did not respect State boundaries and had regional spillover effects. Aid was a catalyst to get countries on the “ladder”, but it was the responsibility of States to climb it. Peacebuilding must start from an understanding that local stakeholders must eventually assume the responsibility.
On the Bank’s financing mechanism, the Transition Support Facility and the African Legal Support Facility were key examples of ring-fenced instruments in assisting countries in fragile situations in a catalytic and swift manner, including in contract negotiations of natural resources. Another key element was to put the private sector stakeholders at the centre of peacebuilding efforts as they were “risk takers” and “wealth creators”. They would generate jobs and help stabilize society. Therefore, it was important to mitigate risks for them through such measures as providing partial credit guarantees.
At the outset of today’s meeting, Olof Skoog (Sweden), Chair of the Commission, said that the body was meeting at a time when the world was seeing unprecedented violence, with more people fleeing from conflict last year than any other since record began. The refugee crisis was a stark reminder that the vision of the United Nations Charter had not been realized.
One of the Commission’s roles was to prevent a relapse into conflict, he said, stressing the need for more predictable and coherent financing. Today’s meeting, among other things, would explore more innovative ways of financing for peacebuilding.
Delivering statements during the closing segment were General Assembly President Sam Kutesa (Uganda) and Security Council President Ramlan Bin Ibrahim (Malaysia). The Commission advises those two principal bodies on peacebuilding-related questions.
Mr. Kutesa said that preparations for the adoption of an ambitious and transformative post-2015 development agenda were moving ahead. Next month’s financing for development conference would be critical for ensuring adequate means of implementation for that future development agenda. Furthermore, later this year, the international community would seek to agree upon a new, universal climate change agreement. Those major engagements would not only seek to address some of the most pressing challenges facing humanity, such as poverty and hunger, but also contribute to finding solutions for the silos and the fragmentation seen in the field of peacebuilding.
The 10-year review of peacebuilding currently under way presented a unique opportunity for the General Assembly to consider some of the fundamental policy questions in the field of sustaining peace. The body was expecting to receive the report and the recommendations of the Advisory Group of Experts before the end of this month. At the same time, the report of the High-level Independent Panel on Peace Operations as well as the forthcoming global study on resolution 1325 (2000) on women, peace and security should allow Member States and other relevant stakeholders to benefit from the analysis that those reviews could contribute. Together, those three reviews should provide a significant base for looking at the United Nations role in peacebuilding.
Mr. Ibrahim said that the Council was of the view that resource mobilization did not solely lie in fundraising but also in broadening the base and securing the buy-in of traditional and new bilateral and multilateral donors to engage in support of the peacebuilding processes in the countries concerned. Efforts should be made to develop the revenue generation capacity of the countries on the Commission’s agenda. More often than not, the funding allocated to institution-building in the areas of inclusive politics, security and justice was relatively small. Those areas were particularly important in conflict-affected countries.
The Council acknowledged that support for political dialogue needed to be based on a political strategy to create an inclusive political agreement, he said. Funding for security and justice institutions needed to be aligned with those political agreements or political settlements. Financial gaps were most imminent during and immediately following the drawdown and exit of the United Nations-mandated missions. That was where the Commission could be most helpful in catalysing and sustaining international financial engagement. The enormous investment in peacekeeping operations would also best be preserved by continued commitment to fund and sustain critical institutions and political processes beyond the lifecycle of the missions.
The Commission also held two interactive working sessions to address the sub-themes “predictable funding for peacebuilding and fragmented international aid architecture” and “domestic sources of financing for peacebuilding”.
The first panel, moderated by Haleh Bridi, Director for Partnerships of the World Bank, featured lead speakers Erik Solheim, Chair of the Development Assistance Committee, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and Hazem Fahmy, Secretary-General, Egyptian Agency for Development Partnerships, as well as respondent Geir O. Pedersen (Norway), Co-Facilitator of the financing for development intergovernmental process.
The second panel, moderated by Sibry Tapsoba, Director, Transition Support Department, African Development Bank, featured lead speakers Geraldo Martins, Minister for Economy and Finance of Guinea-Bissau, and Abdalla Hamdok, Deputy Executive Secretary, Economic Commission for Africa, as well as respondents Raymond Baker, President, Global Financial Integrity, and David Robinson, Deputy Director, International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Margot Wallström, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Sweden, closed the annual session by reading out an outcome statement.