Peacebuilding Works, but Needs Continued Attention <?xml:namespace prefix = "o" ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /><o:p></o:p>

4/9/2008 // “It is our view that peacebuilding is more of a priority in Sierra Leone and Burundi now than one year ago,” Ambassador and chair of the Peacebuilding Commission’s work in Burundi, Johan L. Løvald, stated as the General Assembly debated the first annual reports of the Peacebuilding Commission and the Peacebuilding Fund.

Mr. President,

The establishment of the Peacebuilding Commission is a concrete expression of the commitment by the international community to do better and more in peacebuilding. The achievements of the Peacebuilding Commission have already been substantive despite short time of its existence.

Still, the challenges facing countries emerging from conflict are urgent and complex. I would like to highlight a few of the issues which my delegation believes we must pay more attention to in order to assist post-conflict societies better in the future.

Mr. President,

  • Our first peacebuilding requirement must be “Relevance on the ground”.

As your predecessor, Jan Eliasson, said at the inauguration meeting of the Peacebuilding Commission, it is in the country-specific settings that the work of the Peacebuilding Commission ultimately will be judged.

To make a difference on the ground is a guiding principle of the Commission and in this regard we are off to a good start in the country-specific work. Members have focused on how to take a strategic approach to peacebuilding challenges and rally support. The seriousness with which members have addressed the country specific work is impressive and augurs well for the future.

To make a difference on the ground it is essential to rally all those who can make a difference in our work. This includes member states in the UN, institutional donors and non-state actors. Civil society, media, private sector and other stakeholders play an important part in peace consolidation in any given country, both nationally and locally. We need to find ways to further include these actors in our work It is my strong hope that the Commission in its second year will spend more time on outreach activities so that the peacebuilding agenda will have even broader ownership when we take stock of where we are a year from now. Only then can PBC be the common framework for coordinated assistance which we all agree is needed.

Mr. President,

  • Our second peacebuilding requirement is a “Well-functioning peacebuilding architecture”.

Let me through you, use this occasion to commend ASG McAskie and the other members of Peacebuilding Support Office for their work in support of the Commission and the Peacebuilding Fund. PBSO has the potential to be more than just a secretariat for the Commission. PBSOs role as a convenor and coordinator for peacebuilding within the UN system at the strategic level is an important element in the peacebuilding architecture. We encourage PBSO in cooperation with other parts of the UN System to continue to clarify PBSO’s role in this regard. It is also imperative that PBSO is fully funded from the regular budget.

It goes without saying that the new peacebuilding architecture must not duplicate what already is in existence. The new architecture must never be just a new bureaucratic layer. It must further energise what is already being done and make sure that synergies materialise. The rationale of the peacebuilding architecture is not academic, but goes to the heart of improving the conditions of life of people in post-conflict societies. Here UN funds and programs and specialised agencies have well-defined responsibilities. We value their contribution and call for their continued support.

Norway welcomes the Secretary-General’s report on the Peacebuilding Fund. The country envelopes for Sierra Leone and Burundi have filled gaps, and will now also play a catalytic role in Liberia, but the larger challenge is to mobilise resources beyond the Peacebuilding Fund. 

The PBF will in large measure not have lived up to its expectations if it has not a distinct catalytic role in terms of short-term gap-filling and longer-term resource mobilisation. The Peacebuilding Commission and the Secretary- General together with the countries concerned must consider how this aspect can be better addressed.

Mr. President,

  • Our third requirement is “Continued attention to needs in Burundi and Sierra Leone while opening the door for others”.

It is our view that peacebuilding is more of a priority – nationally as well as internationally – in Sierra Leone and Burundi now than one year ago. Our focus on these two counties must remain strong and focused in the year to come. Simultaneously, the PBC must open the door to others. Yet, we will have to realise that not too many countries can be on the agenda of the Peacebuilding Commission at one given time. Involvement from the Peacebuilding Commission can be in parallel to a peacekeeping operation. It is not either-or but something complementary. This is something for the Security Council to take into account.

  • Our fourth requirement is “National ownership”.

In this connection I want to reflect on PBC’s involvement with Burundi.

I am humbled and honoured to have been the vice-chair of the Commission in its first year, and thank the members of the Commission for entrusting me with the chairmanship of the commission’s work on Burundi for yet another year.

It has been a pleasure to work with the Government of Burundi during this time. It was particularly impressive that the Government worked so closely and effectively with the Commission to conclude the Strategic Framework for Peacebuilding in Burundi in June. Tremendous efforts were made in spite of numerous other pressing tasks, including the preparation and holding of the partners’ Round Table in May.

I would like to use this opportunity to thank the Government of Burundi for its cooperation. I also wish to express gratitude to ERSG Youssef Mahmoud and his team in BINUB.

We were equally pleased with the consultative process in Burundi during the development of the Strategic Framework, and the active participation from a variety of stakeholders. In this regard, we note with particular appreciation that women’s groups have been included in this process. With the Strategic Framework we now have a tool to monitor progress in peacebuilding as well as risks.

Out of the cooperation has come a true partnership which will assist all Burundians in their quest for a future free form fear and free from want.

We must never forget that the Burundians have the ownership to their own peace consolidation. The Peacebuilding Commission is an advisory body and its job is to support and advice, but never to take over the national efforts.

Mr. President,

  • My last requirement for success for peacebuilding is “Flexibility in working methods”.

Peacebuilding is multi-faceted. This impacts on how we conduct our work.

The Commission’s evolving relationship with the countries on its agenda has proven to be the strength of the Commission, and quite an achievement in its first year. PBC has set a new standard in international partnership and honest dialogue. This would not have been possible without the close cooperation with Governments and UN missions in the countries on its agenda and the collective determination of all PBC members to contribute to peace consolidation.

But without even more international and sustained support to countries emerging from conflict we will not succeed.   It is not only about doing things better, it is also about doing things differently. Peacebuilding is a challenge to the traditional intergovernmental way of doing business. Our challenges are concrete on the ground. We must - as we have done already - value flexibility and pragmatism in our work.

Mr. President,

The Peacebuilding Commission offers us new opportunities for supporting peace and a better future for people in post conflict countries. A momentum has been created. Shall we maintain it we must all contribute – the national governments and other actors at the country level, the General Assembly, the Security Council and ECOSOC, the Secretary General and all other stakeholders, not the least the Bretton Woods institutions and the donor community.

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