United Nations Peacebuilding Commission emphasized its convening role and the value of partnerships, as well as the need to improve coordination with the Council’s own activities in order to better advise the 15-nation organ.
Ion Jinga (Romania), current Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission, underlined that the Sahel region was a clear priority for the Commission this year. Its annual session this fall would focus exclusively on that region, bringing together Member States, representatives of Sahel countries, senior United Nations officials, including the Secretary-General and Deputy Secretary-General, and representatives of regional organizations, international financial institutions and civil society organizations. Discussions would include ways of mobilizing deeper commitments and partnerships towards building and sustaining peace in the Sahel under the umbrella of the United Nations Integrated Strategy for the Sahel. Mohamed Ibn Chambas, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel would be presenting that initiative in July.
The Commission’s annual session was a good example of how its convening role could improve its advisory role, he continued. Engagement with all relevant stakeholders to discuss broad peacebuilding issues enabled the Commission to advise relevant United Nations bodies and support their deliberations. To do that effectively, the Commission would further enhance its working methods and strengthen cooperation key partners. With regards to its advisory role to the Security Council, he said the Commission needed to better time its calendar of work based on the Council’s activities. Early preparation was key if the Commission was to provide the Council with strategic advice on specific issues. At the same time, the Commission needed to submit advice to the Council that would complement whatever the Council received from other sources.
The Commission was also seeking to strengthen its relations with the African Union, including through an event on 18 July at the margins of a meeting between the Security Council and the African Union Peace and Security Council, he said. At the request of the Government of the Gambia, the Commission was continuing to provide a forum for that country to engage with the international community, including a high-level meeting a few months ago at which the Gambia presented its peacebuilding priorities ahead of an international conference in Brussels. The Commission’s existing country configurations — Burundi, Central African Republic, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia and Sierra Leone — was continuing to do support longer-term peacebuilding and sustaining peace strategies. It was both important and timely, he said, for the Council to discuss the advisory role that the Commission could play when the formulation, review and drawdown of peacekeeping operations and special political missions were being considered.
Cho Tae-Yul (Republic of Korea), former Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission, said the dynamics between the advisory body and the Council seemed to improve last year, with the latter recognizing the importance of the Commission’s convening role on regional and country-specific issues, including the Sahel region, Central African Republic, Liberia and Guinea-Bissau. In the case of Burundi, the Commission presented to the Security Council the socioeconomic dimensions of the country, while on the Sahel, it engaged with the African Union High Representative for Mali and the Sahel, among others, towards advancing implementation the Sahel strategy. It also had started to assist the Gambia, upon its request, during that country’s critical time of transition.
In order to better assist countries, the Commission had strengthened partnerships with international financial institutions, regional organizations, civil society and the private sector, he continued. Nonetheless, its efforts to advise the Council would be more effective if it coordinated its work with the 15-nation organ. Therefore, the Commission should continue to align its work with the Council’s calendar and engage with relevant actors to gather diverse perspectives in the months preceding relevant Council meetings. The Council and the Commission could also consider working more closely during and following transitions, especially from a peacekeeping operation, while the Commission could also examine a country situation that was passing off the Council’s agenda.
“Conflict prevention is not really an option”, but rather an obligation, stressed Amparo Mele Colifa, the delegate of Equatorial Guinea, who was also speaking on behalf of Ethiopia and Côte d’Ivoire. Advocating support for the principle of sovereignty during the transition from peacekeeping operations to peacebuilding efforts, she stressed that peacebuilding had led to a paradigm shift in how the Council should address peace and security issues. She also voiced her support for closer cooperation among United Nations bodies and other stakeholders to build peaceful inclusive societies, the very goals of the Secretary-General’s reforms.
The Council must understand the catalytic value of the Peacebuilding Fund, she added, welcoming the focus on prevention and post-conflict stabilization within the framework of joint United Nations-African Union efforts. She specifically cited the memorandum of understanding between the bloc and the Peacebuilding Support Office. Welcoming the Commission’s work in the Sahel, the Lake Chad Basin and Great Lakes Region, she proposed that similar initiatives be undertaken in central Africa, where terrorist activity was on the rise amid outbreaks of violent extremism. The Commission was also key in identifying gaps in regional peacebuilding strategies and the risks of concentrating resources in only one region, country or initiative.
In considering the work of the Peacebuilding Commission — on the heels of a High-level General Assembly meeting on peacebuilding and sustaining peace on 24‑25 April (see Press Releases GA/12011 and GA/12013) — Council members had before them the Commission’s report on its eleventh session (document S/2018/83).
The meeting began at 10:09 a.m. and ended at 10:34 a.m.