New York

12 July 2012

Secretary-General's remarks to Security Council debate on Report of the Peacebuilding Commission on its Fifth Session

I commend Colombia’s initiative to convene this timely debate, and I appreciate her Excellency the Foreign Minister of Colombia [María Ángela Holguín] for taking time to preside over this meeting. 

The international community has long recognized the challenging, multi-dimensional character of the transition from conflict to sustainable peace and development.

Security Council mandates have grown in scope.  Our field missions now perform an unprecedented variety of tasks.

We have increasingly integrated the various efforts carried out under the UN flag.  And we have come to understand that we can succeed only if we work in close partnership with other key international actors, in support of nationally owned priorities.

The Peacebuilding Commission, Peacebuilding Fund and Peacebuilding Support Office were established in 2005 to reinforce ongoing efforts on the ground in conflict-affected countries.

Yet questions remain as to the focus and effectiveness of these bodies. 

Two years after the mixed review of the peacebuilding “architecture”, we are seeing signs that it has begun to come of age and is making a difference.  This is the case particularly in those instances when the Peacebuilding Commission, Fund and Support Office reinforce each other and work hand-in-hand with the UN presence on the ground. 

In Liberia, for example, the Peacebuilding Commission and Fund have worked closely with UN actors on the ground to strengthen existing field efforts in the area of security sector and justice reform.  This collective engagement is helping to establish the first of five regional justice and security “hubs”, which are critical elements in our transition strategy for UNMIL and Liberia.

In Sierra Leone, the PBC and PBF have been supporting efforts to deepen democracy.  Over the course of five years, this work has evolved from strengthening state institutions, through the establishment of the Anti-Corruption and Human Rights Commissions, to empowering non-state actors.

In Guinea, after more than 50 years of dominance by the military, the country has moved towards democratic rule and we are supporting the crucially important step of conducting a military census and providing a retirement programme for 4,000 military personnel.

But of course, much remains to be done.  Let me highlight three areas in which we can enhance the impact of our peacebuilding tools.

First, the PBC should do more to leverage its unique membership and collective ability to mobilize resources. Through distinct messages that complement those of others, the Commission can reinforce efforts by national actors, member states, and the UN family at Headquarters and on the ground. 

Second, the PBC should sustain the focus on longer-term peacebuilding.  The Commission’s contribution can be particularly valuable in galvanizing international commitment beyond the limited life-spans of UN missions on the ground.

Third, the PBC may be able to add significant value in some non-mission settings, where national authorities and Resident Coordinators would benefit from the inter-governmental support that the Commission can bring to bear. 

In order for the PBC to fully meet its potential, the Security Council should offer greater clarity on what type of advice it would like from the PBC in its deliberations and in the definition of mandates.  This would help UN lead departments and actors in the field coordinate with the Commission, and reduce the risk of duplication.

Madame President,

The United Nations is committed to maximizing the potential of the Peacebuilding Commission and the wider peacebuilding architecture.  Assisted by the Support Office and in synergy with operational lead entities, the Commission’s impact in the field can be further amplified.

The United Nations is also working to enhance our cooperation with the International Financial Institutions, including the World Bank and the African Development Bank. 

We are also committed to supporting the new model of partnership between fragile and conflict-affected countries and their development partners, as envisaged last year by the g7+ countries and their partners in the New Deal on Engagement in Fragile States.

But we need the support of Member States, including for the Peacebuilding Fund. The PBF has proven itself as a timely and flexible financing instrument when peacebuilding needs are most acute and when few other resources are available for early post-conflict interventions.

As I outlined in my Action Agenda for my second term, supporting nations in transition is a top priority and generational opportunity for the United Nations.

We have much work ahead of us.  But if the UN family, Member States and the wider multilateral system work together in support of nationally owned strategies, we can have an impact far greater than any single entity could achieve on its own.  That is what we owe the peoples we serve, and we look forward to deepening this work together. 

Thank you, Madame President. Muchas gracias.