Ms Stenhammer was one of the keynote speakers at the launch, together with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and General Assembly President Sheikha Haya Rashed Al Khalifa.
Experience from a number of countries shows that it takes too long to marshal resources for reconstruction once the parties to a conflict have laid down their arms. The opportunity is therefore lost to quickly begin reconstruction and the task of stabilising what are often fragile peace processes.
“The establishment of the UN Peacebuilding Fund will ensure that resources are available immediately, and is extremely important in making it possible to initiate peacebuilding measures as quickly as possible,” said State Secretary Stenhammer.
Norway encourages all countries that are in a position to do so to contribute to the fund. This year Norway will be contributing NOK 200 million and is, together with Sweden, the largest donor so far. The aim is to mobilise a total of USD 250 million as a reserve that can be used until other financing is in place.
“The money will be used, for example, to enable the national authorities to establish necessary rule of law institutions, national reconciliation processes and other measures to prevent conflicts from flaring up again,” said Ms Stenhammer.
The UN Peacebuilding Fund is one of several important reforms being carried out to strengthen the UN’s peacebuilding efforts. The UN Summit in autumn 2005 decided to establish a Peacebuilding Commission, a Peacebuilding Support Office in the UN Secretariat and a Peacebuilding Fund.
Norway has worked actively to promote the reforms before, during and after the Summit. Norway is one of the two deputy chairs of the Peacebuilding Commission, which will hold its first meetings on measures to support the peace processes in Sierra Leone and Burundi this week. Norway is also heading the Commission’s work on Burundi.