An unacceptable number of peace agreements disintegrate and countries are lapsing back into conflict. The need to do better is obvious.
Shall we succeed, which we must, we must maintain and if possible further increase the momentum behind our peacebuilding efforts. While our focus at all times must be on concrete results at the country level we are all also conscious of the importance of this endeavour for the UN and the international community as a whole.
The Peacebuilding Commission, together with the Peacebuilding Support Office and the Peacebuilding Fund, has the potential to be a powerful tool to meet the challenges in a more coordinated and comprehensive manner.
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. With this in mind the Commission quickly started is work with Burundi and Sierra Leone last fall. I am humbled and honoured to be a vice chair of the Commission at this initial stage and to lead its work on Burundi. My observation here will, therefore, concentrate on Burundi.
At the outset the Government of Burundi was asked to give the Commission guidance on critical peacebuilding challenges facing the country. The Commission agreed with the Government of Burundi that these were good governance, rule of law and security sector reform and community recovery.
Based on these critical challenges a number of important peacebuilding priorities were identified, inter alia;
- strengthening national dialogue;
- continued efforts to include women in peace consolidation;
- sustained political support from countries in the region;
- strengthening of the Government’s ability to deliver on basic services, inter alia, through budgetary support.
The Peacebuilding Commission’s engagement with Burundi is now entering a new phase. A work plan for the Commission’s efforts in support of Burundi is being presented to its members this week. A key focus of the work plan is to develop an integrated approach to peacebuilding, clearly outlining Burundi’s commitments and the response to be provided by the international community in critical areas.
The elaboration of an integrated approach to peacebuilding will be an important tool in our future work.
Its purpose is threefold;
- it must demonstrate where additional efforts are important in order to achieve effective peacebuilding
- it must indicate who does what in order to fulfil those tasks, both in terms of the Government's commitments and the efforts to be undertaken by other stakeholders, be they the United Nations, the IFIs, institutional donors or regional actors, bilateral donors or civil society
- it must present benchmarks and allow for review of commitments and pledges
The Government of Burundi has ownership over this process and is well set up to do so, not least through the establishment of a joint peacebuilding mechanism bringing together the government, the UN, and also civil society and bilateral actors. We intend to work closely with this body on the work plan and on the integrated approach to peacebuilding.
Our support for peacebuilding in Burundi is a commitment which will cover a number of years. It will by definition involve a special partnership between Burundi and the international community.
Norway for its part will contribute its share. We will work with the Peacebuilding Commission on Burundi as long as this is necessary.
We have already made our contribution to the Peacebuilding Fund and will consider additional allocations in the future.
The Norwegian Minister of International Development, H. E Mr. Erik Solheim, paid a visit to Burundi last year to discuss increased bilateral cooperation in support of peacebuilding and development. For this reason we emphasis the importance of the donors’ roundtable for March this year in Bujumbura where Norway will participate. In order to increase our contact bilaterally Norway will establish representation in Bujumbura in the near future. We are pleased that the Minister of External Affairs and International Cooperation of Burundi, H. E. Mrs Antoinette Batumubwira, will be paying an visit to Norway later this week.
We are very conscious of the challenging task the Peacebuilding Commission has taken on both in Burundi and Sierra Leone. It is important that all stakeholders together with the Governments concerned succeed in this undertaking. By so doing the work of the Peacebuilding Commission will be an example also for other countries and peoples that earlier cycles of conflict and renewed violence can be broken.
In these endeavours the full support of the General Assembly will be much needed. The discussions today and also in the Security Council last week are testimony of the importance member states place on the peacebuilding agenda.
The annual report to be submitted to the 62nd session of the General Assembly will offer another opportunity to take stock of where we are and where additional efforts are necessary. This is a task to which all of us can and must contribute.