New York

22 July 2009

Secretary-General's remarks to the Security Council on peacebuilding

Mr. President, thank you for your invitation.


In May last year, the Security Council requested a report on peacebuilding in the immediate aftermath of conflict.

I am pleased to present my report. It is the product of intensive, wide-ranging consultations. It sets out an approach to peacebuilding that is better resourced, managed and coordinated.

The Peacebuilding Commission discussed it last week. I welcome their commitment to championing this important agenda.

Building peace is about much more than ending war. It is about putting in place the institutions and trust that will carry people forward into a peaceful future.

We often have a limited window of opportunity in which to do this.

The report focuses on that crucial two-year period when conflict has ended but insecurity often persists and peace is fragile.

If peace is to be sustainable, the international community must make the most of this moment and provide the right support at the right time.

Decades of international experience have taught us that, while every case is unique, certain types of support are almost always needed.

Time and again, war-ravaged people have asked us to help them establish security and safety, restore basic services and core government functions, support a political transition and jump-start economic recovery.

These are not easy tasks.

I have seen the difficulties firsthand. I have traveled to many countries emerging from conflict, including Sudan, Haiti, Liberia and Timor-Leste. I have seen the costs of a slow or inadequate response to urgent post-conflict needs.

Yet I have also seen the profound difference a well-planned and managed effort can make.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Let me highlight the five interconnected messages of my report.

First, national ownership. Peace will not take root if it comes from outside. Building peace is primarily a national challenge and responsibility. The United Nations and the international community should play a catalytic and supporting role.

Second, international leadership. Member States expect the United Nations to lead the international community. I have created a senior-level mechanism that will ensure that the right leadership and support teams are in place as early as possible.

Third, coherence. Effective peacebuilding requires input from all parts of the UN system and key partners. Peacebuilding is not separate from mediation, peacekeeping or development aid. It is all of these working together.

Fourth, a common strategy. Immediately after conflict, everything feels urgent, and there are many pressing needs. We need to align behind a shared approach with realistic priorities, against which national and international actors can allocate scarce resources.

Fifth, predictable and credible delivery. Member States need to help ensure that we have sufficient international capacity to respond rapidly and flexibly to the most urgent needs: basic safety, security and services; strengthening the rule of law; supporting political processes; and revitalizing the economy.

To that end, we need a clearer understanding of responsibilities within the United Nations, outlining who will respond in each of these key areas. We also need a deeper and more diverse pool of international civilian expertise.

We need pre-positioned pooled funding, like the Peacebuilding Fund, to jump-start action, followed by faster funding from other sources.

And we need more and better strategic partnerships with the World Bank, regional organizations, civil society and the private sector.

Member States, for their part, have a crucial part to play. I urge them to speak with one voice across different multilateral fora, and to align bilateral support with the common strategy in each country.


Almost a decade ago, in its debate on “No exit without strategy”, the Security Council articulated the many challenges associated with the later stages of peacebuilding, when it is time to wind down an international peace operation.

In Sierra Leone, as was discussed in this chamber very recently, we have seen many of the “No Exit" lessons being applied.

In asking for this report, the Council recognized that it also needs to support peacebuilding more effectively from the outset.

This requires the engagement and coordination of many different actors.

And it requires adequate funding. Some key UN actors face serious challenges in securing timely financing.

I encourage the Council to look carefully at these issues as they pertain to existing and future mandates, and as part of initiatives already under way to review peacekeeping mandates.

I also encourage you, in the context of next year's review of the Peacebuilding Commission, to consider how you can make more effective use of that body.


This report is part of a series of initiatives, including my recent report on mediation and the ongoing work on peacekeeping.

These efforts share a common goal: to enable the United Nations and its international partners to respond more effectively to countries in crisis, in ways that are better tailored to needs on the ground.

I am determined to do my part. I am committed to driving the necessary changes through the UN system. But I need your support and your commitment if we are to achieve real change.

I look forward to working with you to meet these challenges.

Thank you.