New York

02 November 2020

Secretary-General's video message to the PBC Annual Session: Financing for Peacebuilding

Dear Chair, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Multidimensional, integrated and whole-of society responses are vital to meeting today’s challenges and leaving no one behind. 

This is all the more important in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Peacebuilding Commission has led by example, bringing together stakeholders for joined-up approaches in support of nationally driven peacebuilding priorities, for which the Peacebuilding Fund continues to assist with resources.

My 2020 report on peacebuilding and sustaining peace concluded that the United Nations and Member States have come a long way towards realizing our vision of the peacebuilding architecture and implementing the 2016 twin resolutions.

I also highlighted a persistent challenge that I thank you all for taking up in this annual session: ensuring that peacebuilding resources are adequate, predictable and sustained. 

As we all know, little progress has since been made on increasing, restructuring and better prioritizing funding for peacebuilding. 

We need concrete action.  As one distinguished permanent representative reminded us during a previous briefing: “strategy without resources is hallucination.”

This remains more important than ever in the context of COVID-19, which has devastated communities and economies throughout the world, reversing development and peacebuilding gains and aggravating conflicts or fomenting new ones. 

The Fund was quick to respond to the pandemic by adjusting ongoing initiatives both in mission and non-mission settings. 

For example, in Colombia, Fund projects supported the protection of female health personnel, women leaders, human rights defenders, and female Venezuelan migrants, who are at a higher risk of sexual and domestic violence during lockdown measures.

But let’s be frank. The demand for the Fund is far outpacing our resources, and we have already had to scale back our target for 2020 by $30 million. 

Without additional commitments, we will need to reduce the Fund’s envelope for 2021 to a third of the level we aimed for in 2020.  

That must be avoided at all costs. 

I call on every Member State to make a voluntary contribution to the Peacebuilding Fund, reflecting our mutual recognition that peacebuilding and sustaining peace are core mandates of our Organization, and are inseparable from sustainable development recovery, particularly in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In light of the ongoing drawdown of UNAMID, I recall my proposal to voluntarily commit the equivalent of 15 per cent of the final full-year budget of a closing peacekeeping mission to peacebuilding activities, each year for two years following the end of a mission mandate.

Some Member States have responded to my call for voluntary contributions of unspent committed peacekeeping budgets, and I urge others to also.

Programmatic funding to support mandated peacebuilding activities in peacekeeping settings is essential, especially to ensure their continuation following a mission’s closure.     

And it remains critical that we ensure a dedicated minimum of 15 per cent of all UN-managed funding in support of peacebuilding projects to advance gender equality and women’s empowerment - and that Member States contribute specifically in this area, where resources are scarce but the impact great. 

Sustained support for peacebuilding cannot be delivered by any single actor. It requires a multilayered strategy, with several layers of financing – bilateral, multilateral, and the International Financial Institutions - working in concert.

I therefore urge donors to reverse a worrying trend and commit to spending at least 20 per cent of Official Development Assistance on peacebuilding priorities in conflict-affected settings.

I applaud Member States’ expansion of financing for fragile and conflict-affected states in the 19th replenishment of International Development Association funds, and commend the World Bank Group’s extension of this support as well as our rich partnership with the Bank in these contexts. I also welcome the work of the African Development Bank. 

It is important that these funds help tackle conflict drivers, reach marginalized areas, and support key governance needs, especially those that create the conditions for private sector investment and progressive access to finannial markets. 

More can be done to advance innovative financing solutions for peacebuilding, including through partnerships with the private sector.

As the world seeks to recover from COVID-19, countries will require carefully designed and conflict-sensitive support to get back onto a sustainable macroeconomic footing. I see great value in enriching our partnerships with the International Monetary Fund.

As I have repeatedly stated, funding can make or break our reforms.

Ladies and gentlemen,

More than ever, it is our responsibility to stand alongside the most vulnerable populations. 

We depend on the resolve of Member States to ensure adequate and predictable financing for peacebuilding and build more peaceful and resilient societies.

This is an epic challenge for us all, and we can only meet it by working together to support, innovate and expand financing for peacebuilding. 

Thank you.