Recognizing peacebuilding as an important element of United Nations efforts in countries emerging from conflict, the Security Council today both underlined the primary responsibility of national Governments and other stakeholders towards such successful peacebuilding, and emphasized the importance of inclusivity in advancing relevant processes to ensure that the needs of all segments of society were being taken into account.
In a statement presented by Heraldo Muñoz, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Chile, which holds the body’s January presidency, the Council also reaffirmed that sustainable peace and security required an integrated sustainable approach based on coherence among political, security and development approaches, which were essential for effectively improving the respect for human rights, advancing gender equality, strengthening the rule of law and advancing economic development in countries emerging from conflict.
In that context, the Council recognized recent successes in collective peacebuilding efforts of the United Nations and the wider international community and also acknowledged setbacks and challenges that the Organization’s system had faced in preventing or reducing the risks of relapse into conflict. The Council expressed its determination to continue to take into consideration the underlying causes of relapse into conflict, while also calling on the Peacebuilding Commission to make further efforts in promoting improved coherence and alignment of partners’ policies around national peacebuilding strategies and priorities. Further, the body looked forward to the outcome of the 2015 review of the peacebuilding architecture.
“When we look at the life of a conflict, we need to think of extending that attention to the pre-stage and the post-stage”, said Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson, as he introduced the Secretary-General’s report on peacebuilding in the aftermath of conflict. The review of the Peacebuilding Commission came at a time of complex threats to peace, security and development, including the relapse into conflict in the Central African Republic and South Sudan, as well as the Ebola outbreak.
He said he looked forward to the reviews of the Security Council and the Secretary-General, alongside the global study to assess progress in implementing resolution 1325 (2000) on women’s inclusion in post-conflict processes. Those reviews should be mutually reinforcing he stressed, adding that a solid commitment was needed from all sides for countries emerging from conflict. “This could make the difference between peace or continuing conflict for millions of people around the world,” he stated. “This is an opportunity the United Nations and Member States should not miss.”
Agreeing, Commission Chair Antonio de Aguiar Patriota of Brazil said crises in the Central African Republic, South Sudan and Libya, as well as risks posed by the Ebola outbreak, were stark reminders that responses must be multifaceted and sustained. “We should aim for greater coherence and complementarity between the United Nations political and operational response to post-conflict situations, as well as improving the coherence in the overall international response,” he said.
In that regard, he emphasized that the review should aim at enabling the Commission, the Peacebuilding Fund and the Peacebuilding Support Office to become more effective and relevant. It should also propose practical ways to strengthen and improve the Commission’s working relationship with the Security Council.
While largely acknowledging general progress in peacebuilding efforts, Council members urged further improvements and welcomed the review process. Summing up that common view, Lithuania’s representative said the United Nations could and should do better. Representatives offered suggestions, including identifying and uprooting the causes of conflict while designing medium- and long-term action plans. Recognizing that improvements were needed and lessons learned should be taken into account while moving forward, some speakers underlined that the Commission remained an important actor in helping countries move out of conflict and into sustainable peace.
Also delivering statements were the representatives of Nigeria, France, Russian Federation, Venezuela, Jordan, Chad, Malaysia, Spain, New Zealand, United Kingdom, China, Angola and the United States.
The meeting began at 10:07 a.m. and ended at 12:20 p.m.
Introduction of Report
JAN ELIASSON, Deputy Secretary-General, introduced the Secretary-General’s report on peacebuilding in the aftermath of conflict (document S/2014/694), highlighting the document’s key features. Situations in Guinea and Burundi had shown that peacebuilding was most effective when political, security and development actors supported a common strategy. Strong and well-functioning institutions must also be based on inclusive agreements. Without them, divisions could persist, as shown in South Sudan, where investments in institution-building were lost when weak and unstable agreements between factions.
Peacebuilding also required sustained international political, technical and financial support, he said, adding that regional and neighbouring countries could play a critical role in creating an environment conducive to sustainable peace. Promoting inclusion also meant that women must participate equally in post-conflict political and development processes, as seen in Guinea, Guinea-Bissau and Kyrgyzstan.
Underlining the important review of the United Nations peacebuilding architecture launched by the General Assembly last month, he noted that, more than ever before, increased efforts were necessary especially given the tragic relapse into conflict in the Central African Republic and South Sudan, as well as the Ebola outbreak.
Regarding the 10-year review of the Peacebuilding Commission, he said it was intended to be a diverse and flexible forum, and while it had made progress, its structure and working methods needed review, improvement and adaptation to a rapidly changing environment. The Council’s consideration, alongside the Secretary-General’s review of peace operations and the global study to assess progress in implementing resolution 1325 (2000), should together be mutually reinforcing given that they came at a time of complex threats to peace, security and development.
“When we look at the life of a conflict, we need to think of extending that attention to the pre-stage and the post-stage,” he said. “We need a solid commitment from all sides for countries emerging from conflict. This could make the difference between peace or continuing conflict for millions of people around the world. This is an opportunity the United Nations and Member States should not miss.”
ANTONIO DE AGUIAR PATRIOTA (Brazil), Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission, said the release of the Secretary-General’s report was particularly significant as it coincided with the launching of the 10-year peacebuilding architecture review. The Commission welcomed the 15 December decision by the Council and the General Assembly to endorse the terms of reference for the review — to be grounded in specific country studies in Burundi, Central African Republic, Sierra Leone, South Sudan and Timor-Leste — and to formally initiate the process.
The review would identify areas of progress and remaining gaps in international aid to countries emerging from conflict, he said. It should also aim to enable the Commission, the Peacebuilding Fund and the Peacebuilding Support Office to become more effective and relevant, and propose practical ways to strengthen and improve the Commission’s working relationship with the Council, he said.
“We should aim for greater coherence and complementarity between the United Nations’ political and operational response to post-conflict situations, as well as improving the coherence in the overall international response,” he said, noting that the Secretary-General’s report was “particularly useful, informative and substantive”. The crises in the Central African Republic, South Sudan and Libya, as well as the risk posed by the Ebola crisis, were reminders that the response must be multifaceted and sustained. Attention and support to nationally owned and inclusive political, socioeconomic development and institution-building processes should be prioritized.
However, he went on to say, the international community did not give the United Nations peacebuilding architecture the sustained attention and commitment required to meet the complex, long-term challenges to sustainable peace. The catalytic funding provided by the Peacebuilding Fund was insufficient to overcome the longer-term and larger-scale gaps in financing and capacity that put initial investments and peacebuilding and peacekeeping at serious risk.
The Ebola outbreak demonstrated the frailty of peacebuilding gains and the slow pace of institutional strengthening in the aftermath of conflict, he pointed out. The Commission had asked the Secretary-General to assess the long-term implications of the crisis on political and security institutions, as well as on social cohesion and economic recovery in the three affected countries. There was hope that such an assessment would draw the international community’s attention to the nature of the challenges facing countries emerging from conflict, while also shedding light on the scope of financial, technical and political support needed for those countries to ensure continued progress and resilience. A first early warning statement issued by the Commission last August on the epidemic’s peace and security implications illustrated that body’s preventive role.
The drawdown of Council-mandated missions brought to light the challenges of long-term peace consolidation in countries emerging from conflict, he said. The change in nature of the United Nations presence and mandate on the ground in Burundi and Sierra Leone, and soon in Liberia, called for “calibrated, yet sustained” attention to ongoing political and socioeconomic challenges. He strongly recommended the report issued recently by the Commission’s Working Group on Lessons Learned. The Secretary-General’s report noted the serious gaps in providing appropriate support to the Governments of countries emerging from conflict to establish sustainable peace, as called for in mission mandates. Greater financial and technical support for peacebuilding, in collaboration with international, financial, regional and subregional organizations was needed.
But, securing predictable, sustainable financing remained a major challenge for such countries, limiting the provision of basic services, economic opportunities and the rebuilding of State institutions, he underscored. Those countries were also the most affected by illicit financial flows and unbalanced contractual arrangements for the natural resource exploitation. Addressing that challenge was a particular priority for the Commission last year.
The Commission would continue to support regional and national efforts aimed at catalysing greater international commitment towards that end, he continued. The forthcoming report of the High-level Panel chaired by former South African President Thabo Mbeki would be of special interest in that regard. Turning to the role of women to building and sustaining peace, he said they were “strategic agents” for transformation and emancipation in post-conflict societies, greatly contributing to enhancing inclusivity and cohesion.
HERALDO MUÑOZ, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Chile, Council President, speaking in his national capacity , said even though progress had been made developing criteria and arrangements to bolster the United Nations system’s efficiency, conflict still arose, sometimes with alarming frequency, intensity and with a diversity of actors. To prevent a return to a spiral of violence in post-conflict situations, sustained financial, technical and political support was needed.
The review of the peacebuilding architecture would provide an opportunity to build on experience gained and to enhance the capacity of the United Nations system to support those processes and progress in conflict prevention, he stated. Experience had shown that it was vital to strengthen institution-building processes. The Secretary-General’s “Human Rights up Front” initiative provided an important tool for evaluating the way in which those processes protected and respected international standards of human rights and humanitarian law.
He also said that the identification of root causes of confrontation was also essential to peacebuilding. Without that analysis, it was difficult to foresee the future course of a conflict or to devise long- and medium-term actions. “Exclusion in all its forms, poverty, marginality and lack of education and opportunities are usually fertile ground for outbreaks of violence,” he said. “If peacebuilding actions acknowledge this reality and are placed in this broader context, the efforts by States and the United Nations system will achieve their goals of peace and development.”
KAYODE LARO (Nigeria) affirmed the Secretary-General’s view that women must be involved in all aspects of peacebuilding. In the last five years, he noted that the Secretary-General had appointed more women as mediators and special envoys than in any other period. Also welcomed was the progress in funding gender-responsive tools in peacebuilding programmes and the use of gender markers to track women’s involvement. Acknowledging the merit in one set of objectives and a single vision on the ground, he called for closer coordination among special representatives of the Secretary-General and special envoys and United Nations country teams. The United Nations must be able to assess the impact of peacebuilding in order to identify gaps to achieving peace. The 2015 review should help identify those gaps. Voicing support for the emphasis on forging regional coherence and the importance of the regional dimension of peacebuilding, he said that dimension deserved attention in the 2015 review. The Commission’s role was crucial and Member States and other stakeholders should strengthen engagement with the Commission and with countries emerging from conflict.
ALEXIS LAMEK (France) said that a decade after the establishment of the peacebuilding architecture, progress had been made, as shown in examples from the Secretary-General’s report. Yet, further progress could be made, especially given cases of some countries relapsing into conflict. He welcomed the reviews of the Commission and peace operations, which would act as a critical examination of the lifespan of conflicts. Offering a number of ideas for consideration, he suggested conducting case studies, noting that, in that respect, the “real work” would be done by the Commission’s country configuration teams. Articulation between missions was also essential, as was the coherence of international actions and the need to ensure long-term commitments in terms of national processes, including reconciliation and economic recovery.
PETR V. ILIICHEV (Russian Federation) said it was important to ensure that countries did not relapse into conflict. It was, however, counterproductive to focus on a gender perspective when it was irrelevant to do so. It was critical to provide outside assistance to national efforts, yet States’ national sovereignty must be respected. To achieve sustained results and avoid relapses into violence, country-specific contexts and the root causes of crises must be considered. While the United Nations had a role in post-conflict recovery, actions of all players were fragmented. The 2015 review would be aimed at the reaffirmation of the Commission as a central player and would provide recommendations on enhancing its functions.
HENRY ALFREDO SUÁREZ MORENO (Venezuela), citing achievements in such situations as Sierra Leone, as well as setbacks and challenges in other situations, such as the Central African Republic, said that constant assessment of United Nations peacebuilding efforts was critical, bearing in mind the importance of addressing root causes of conflict including exclusion, poverty, inequality, foreign interference and illegal exploitation of natural resources. Women’s participation and respect for national sovereignty and self-determination were central. In that context, Venezuela’s aid to Haiti had focused on strengthening State institutions in the areas of development and human rights. He stated he was confident that serious initiatives to address underlying causes of conflict would result from the upcoming assessment report.
DINA KAWAR (Jordan) said peacebuilding required integrated efforts, international and regional support, and the cooperation of the Governments and bodies of countries emerging from conflict. Local players were essential to enable missions to understand the specific aspects of a conflict. It was vital to take into account the concerns of the countries involved. The review must take into account the principles of flexibility and adaptation, as well as the framework and speed of implementation of peacebuilding in different countries, particularly in terms of agreements to restore power to local authorities. She voiced support for the strengthening of the Commission, Fund and the Support Office in order to fortify the United Nations role in peacebuilding. It was necessary to review financing for peacebuilding and the political will of countries involved. Post-conflict countries could be negatively impacted by unstable situations in neighbouring countries. She expressed hope that the review would serve as a road map and urged donor countries to continue efforts to support peacebuilding. The role of women was critical and constructive in peacebuilding, she said, adding she supported efforts to strengthen that role and provide women with appropriate training.
MAHAMAT ZENE CHERIF (Chad) said the success of peacebuilding in post-conflict countries required setting priorities, strengthening institutions and providing broad international support. Countries involved must set their own priorities in line with the principle of national ownership. He welcomed the example of Tunisia, where the broad participation of political parties and civil society had led to the adoption of a new Constitution and the holding of free and fair elections. He also recommended increasing investments to strengthen the economic empowerment of women and young people. Capacity-building efforts in South Sudan, Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia and elsewhere had led to better access to public services, he said, adding that trust in public services must be restored in order to expedite up the return of refugees and internally displaced persons. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo the restoration of State authority in areas previously controlled by armed groups was essential for stability. Peacebuilding, to a great extent, depended on multifaceted support. He welcomed the Fund’s role in supporting peace processes and prompt implementation of peace agreements and he called on international financial institutions and multilateral and bilateral partners to continue to support recovery in post-conflict countries.
HUSSEIN HANIFF (Malaysia) praised the report for giving a comprehensive overview of peacebuilding. The continued relapse of conflict across various regions was distressing and unfortunate. There was room for improvement in peacebuilding efforts. The Council had benefitted from its increased interaction with the Commission, which was well placed to advise the Council on the root causes of conflict. He saw merit in more formal interaction between the two bodies. Efforts to support post-conflict countries must be based on the principle of national ownership and must reflect the needs of local stakeholders. Turning to the role of women in conflict prevention, he said that more efforts were needed to implement the Secretary-General’s action plan on gender mainstreaming in peacekeeping. Regional engagement and commitment were imperative for sustainable peace and must be incorporated into broader political strategies. Enhanced fundraising and revenue generation were needed to strengthen the efforts of countries in order to prevent relapse into conflict, he stated, adding that he welcomed adoption of the presidential statement.
RAIMONDA MURMOKAITĖ (Lithuania) highlighted the recent conclusion of a peace operation in Sierra Leone as a success in peacebuilding, but noted that such cases remained an exception rather than a rule. Progress in South Sudan had been stalled by the eruption of violence over a year ago, and the current fragile signals of improvement in the Central African Republic should be carefully watched. The disturbingly fragile situation in Yemen, Somalia and elsewhere demanded improved coherence and synergy of efforts by the various actors on the ground. Even in places where success had been clear, unexpected developments, such as the Ebola outbreak, threatened to undermine peacebuilding gains. The United Nations could and should do better by “delivering as one” across the board, and developing effective transition and exit strategies that ensured solid coherence between peacekeeping, peacebuilding and post-conflict development. Inclusivity, particularly of women and youth, could and must play an active role in both conflict resolution and the peacebuilding efforts that followed. The links between the Peacebuilding Commission and the Security Council should be further strengthened, with periodic stocktaking briefings and interactive exchanges. The Peacebuilding Commission could also have a useful role when the Council was considering mandate renewals and transitions of United Nations missions.
ROMÁN OYARZUN MARCHESI (Spain) said progress had been made, but challenges remained on the ground, including in the Central African Republic and South Sudan. The review exercise should enhance the Commission’s efficiency through examining lessons learned. The fundamental outcome should aim at ensuring the prevention of countries relapsing into conflict. The establishment of inclusive political processes and of legitimate State institutions should be ensured. National ownership was essential, as was the need for instituting reconciliation efforts, both for a country and its neighbours. Predictable medium- and long-term financial support for the Commission’s work was also needed, he added. Turning to Africa, he noted the growing responsibility being shouldered by African countries and entities, particularly with regard to the Ebola crisis.
JIM MCLAY (New Zealand) said a robust assessment of lessons learned from countries on the Commission’s agenda would be important to the review panel, particularly regarding the proven links between development, human rights, and peace and security. Coordination between peacebuilding actors was important, he said, noting the crucial role played by regional actors and neighbouring States. He urged the review panel to focus its attention on the progress made in strengthening the United Nations capacity for rapid identification and deployment of relevant peacebuilding expertise. Careful planning of mission transitions was also essential for establishing early peacebuilding gains. In addition, it was time to address how to tangibly strengthen the interaction between the Council and the Commission. “Successful peacebuilding helps lay the foundation for sustainable peace,” he concluded.
MARK LYALL GRANT (United Kingdom) recalled the Council’s trip in August to Somalia and South Sudan, where members witnessed, respectively, a country getting “back on its feet” and another tearing itself apart. There were too many tragic examples relapsing into violence, he said. Challenges remained, including those faced by special missions that were constructing political processes and institution-building amid conflict situations. The root causes of violence must be examined and clear political strategies were needed. It was also necessary to recognize, where applicable, the limits of national ownership in peacebuilding efforts. Crises, such as the Ebola outbreak, demonstrated the fragility of peacebuilding. He voiced hope that the Council and Secretary-General’s reviews would produce recommendations to ensure the system remained relevant.
LIU JIEYI (China), acknowledging that peacebuilding was an important component of helping countries emerging from conflict, said that the Commission’s work was commendable. At the same time, the United Nations peacebuilding efforts were still at a stage of exploration and were facing many challenges. The next phase of work should focus on respecting the leadership role of countries involved, while assisting in addressing the root causes of conflict and rebuilding efforts. Peacebuilding needed the broad participation of national Governments, which should shape relevant priorities. Strengthening the management of allocating resources would enhance efficiency. The ultimate goal, he emphasized, was to ensure a country’s ability to ensure sustainable peace. In that regard, the Peacebuilding Fund should play a larger role. The review should further improve efforts, he concluded, noting that China would play its constructive role in enhancing the work of peacebuilding.
ISMAEL ABRAÃO GASPAR MARTINS (Angola), noting that Angola was a post-conflict country, said he knew that peacebuilding required trust. In his country, that process had involved extending national authority across the country, building institutions, respecting human rights and the rule of law, and ensuring social inclusion. Efforts by Angolan authorities to reach out to former adversaries and to integrate them into social, political and economic life were determinant factors for peacebuilding. The full participation of all political actors, women and the media had led to a new Constitution and legal mechanisms for peacebuilding. The rebuilding of basic infrastructure was also required. The success of the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of more than 100,000 former combatants was a pivotal element for peace consolidation. The review offered a unique opportunity to arrive at a clear definition of partnership between the Security Council and the African Union Peace and Security Council. The peacebuilding debate had not sufficiently advanced shortcomings in that area. He voiced hope the present review would do so. Synergies between peacekeeping and peacebuilding were needed. The review provided a good opportunity to address the current insufficient allocation of resources.
DAVID PRESSMAN (United States) said that, too often, people adopted a cynical passivity that assumed the futility of efforts to prevent relapse into conflict and that some communities were meant to fight with each other. The peacebuilding architecture challenged that passivity. Peace was built through hard work, as demonstrated in the gains made in Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea and Tunisia. In Sierra Leone, the integrated work of successive missions and the Commission had been critical to break the cycle of violence, and subsequently ensure the holding of three peaceful elections and women’s participation in the political sphere. Citing other examples of progress in women’s and children’s empowerment, he noted that women’s participation in peacebuilding was still too often underfunded and viewed as a complement, rather than a necessary component of the process. He commended the Organization’s critical efforts to mobilize human, financial and technical resources to tackle the Ebola epidemic, and stressed that the United Nations must stand with South Sudan. In the Central African Republic, action that authorized an integrated peacekeeping mission was necessary to stop the bloodshed. Peacebuilding required sustained, not sporadic, coordination of all relevant actors, particularly regional ones, as well as inclusivity and accountability. He said he hoped the review of the Advisory Group of Experts would heed those lessons and focus on achieving results in the core competency areas of peacebuilding.
The full text of presidential statement S/PRST/2015/2 reads as follows:
“The Security Council recalls its resolutions and the statements of its President on post-conflict peacebuilding, in particular S/PRST/2009/23, S/PRST/2010/20, S/PRST/2011/2, S/PRST/2011/4 and S/PRST/2012/29, and reaffirms the critical importance of peacebuilding as the foundation for sustainable peace and development in the aftermath of conflict.
“The Security Council takes note with appreciation of the Secretary-General’s report on Peacebuilding in the aftermath of conflict (S/2014/694) and the country-specific evidence of impacts and lessons learned it contains.
“The Security Council recognizes that peacebuilding is an important element of the United Nations efforts in countries emerging from conflict; and reaffirms that sustainable peace and security requires an integrated sustained approach based on coherence among political, security and developmental approaches which are essential for effectively improving the respect for human rights, advancing gender equality, strengthening the rule of law and advancing economic development in countries emerging from conflict, recognizing the specific needs and situation of the country concerned.
“The Security Council underlines that the primary responsibility for successful peacebuilding lies with national Governments and relevant local actors, including civil society, in countries emerging from conflict.
“The Security Council emphasizes the importance of inclusivity in advancing national peacebuilding processes and objectives in order to ensure that the needs of all segments of society are taken into account.
“The Security Council reaffirms that national ownership and leadership is key to establishing sustainable peace and reaffirms also the primary responsibility of national authorities in identifying their priorities and strategies for post-conflict peacebuilding.
“The Security Council underscores that peacebuilding, in particular, institution-building, the extension of State authority and the re-establishment of core public administration functions, requires sustained international and national attention, and financial and technical support in order to effectively build and sustain peace in countries emerging from conflict. The Security Council recognizes that the gaps in the provision of rapid and sustained financial support continue to hamper peacebuilding efforts. The Security Council welcomes the role played by the United Nations Peacebuilding Fund in filling these gaps and urges Member States to contribute to the Fund and other relevant multi-donor trust funds that support countries emerging from conflict in order to replenish them.
“The Security Council recognizes recent successes in collective peacebuilding efforts of the United Nations and the wider international community, and also acknowledges the setbacks and the challenges that the United Nations system, including the Council and the wider international community, have faced in preventing or reducing the risks of relapse into conflict. The Security Council expresses its determination to continue to take into consideration the underlying causes of relapse into conflict.
“The Security Council looks forward to the outcome of the 2015 review of the peacebuilding architecture and to the consideration of its recommendations in order to improve the peacebuilding capacity of the United Nations system, inter alia, by strengthening the performance and impact of peacebuilding architecture with the view to realize its full potential in line with the agreed terms of reference.
“The Security Council underlines the need for the review of the peacebuilding architecture to be undertaken in conjunction and synergy with the upcoming Secretary General’s review of peace operations.
“The Security Council recognizes the continuing need to increase women’s participation and the consideration of gender-related issues in all discussions pertinent to the prevention and resolution of armed conflict, the maintenance of peace and security, and post-conflict peacebuilding.
“The Security Council recalls its resolution 1645 (2005) and acknowledges the important role of the Peacebuilding Commission in the peacebuilding architecture and stresses its willingness to strengthen its links with the Peacebuilding Commission by, inter alia, making greater use of its advisory role. The Council calls upon the Commission to make further efforts in promoting improved coherence and alignment of partners’ policies around national peacebuilding strategies and priorities, and ensure regional and international support and effective response through engagement and establishing partnerships with international financial institutions, neighboring countries and regional and subregional organizations. The Security Council underscores the importance of the regional aspect of peacebuilding and the need for engaging and collaborating with regional actors in policy related and country-specific issues in the advice made by the Peacebuilding Commission.
“The Security Council notes that the Peacebuilding Commission’s advisory role to the Council is particularly appreciated in view of its contribution to the implementation of the Council’s mandates on the ground in countries on its agenda.
“The Security Council requests the Secretary-General to brief the Council by December 2015 and to submit a report to the Council no later than December 2016 on further United Nations peacebuilding efforts in the aftermath of conflict, including progress towards increasing the participation of women in peacebuilding, taking into consideration the views of the Peacebuilding Commission.”