I thank you for this opportunity to participate in your consultations on Burundi in my capacity as Chair of the Country Specific Meetings on Burundi in the Peacebuilding Commission.
The Secretary General’s report on the United Nations Integrated Office in Burundi outlines peacebuilding priorities which are also highlighted in the Peacebuilding Commission’ work on Burundi, spanning from the security situation and implementation of the Comprehensive Ceasefire Agreement, political development and governance, transitional justice, security sector reform and rule of law to economic development.
The Peacebuilding Commission has a comprehensive approach to its work and hence is particularly concerned about how the various priorities relate to each other in the overall peacebuilding effort.
Let me focus on three issues of particular relevance to the Security Council.
- Firstly, the Conclusions and Recommendations on Peacebuilding in Burundi forwarded to the President of the Security Council in my letter dated 20 September 2007 addressed some of the key challenges facing the country at the time, including the implementation of the Comprehensive Ceasefire Agreement between the Government of Burundi and PALIPEHUTU-FNL.
The PBC recommended to the Council to continue to closely monitor the situation in Burundi, in particular with respect to the effective implementation of the Comprehensive Ceasefire Agreement and to consider, if necessary, undertaking appropriate action with a view to the effective implementation of the ceasefire agreement by the set deadline.
It was timely that the Facilitator of the Burundi Peace Process, Mr. Charles Nqakula, Minister for Safety and Security of South Africa, addressed the Council last week on the implementation of the Comprehensive Ceasefire Agreement. It was encouraging that the members of the Council gave their full support to the efforts by the Regional Initiative and the Facilitator. I recall that the Peacebuilding Commission in its Conclusions and Recommendation of 20 September voiced similar support.
Given the urgency of this issue also today I wish to reiterate the Peacebuilding Commission’s recommendation to the Security Council to closely monitor the situation and undertake appropriate action.
- Secondly, given the present challenges facing Burundi, political stability is particularly important.
The newly reshuffled cabinet in Burundi and the end of the parliamentary boycott represent important and positive developments. They are examples of resolving political differences within the democratically established institutions. The Government of Burundi and the leaders of the political parties in Parliament should be commended for their efforts.
- Thirdly, before I conclude let me update the Council on the latest developments in the Burundi configuration of the Peacebuilding Commission.
Since the Security Council last discussed BINUB’s mandate in May the Peacebuilding Commission has concluded the development of a Strategic Framework for peacebuilding in Burundi and yesterday adopted a Monitoring and Tracking Mechanism for the Framework. This was a critical step for the Peacebuilding Commission’s engagement with Burundi. It is the foundation for the implementation and review process we are about to enter. It has also been an achievement in its self, because of the way it was developed together with the Government of Burundi and following consultations with key stakeholders on the ground.
As I mentioned in my intervention in the Security Council on the Peacebuilding Commission’s Annual Report in October, while we so far have focused on peacebuilding priorities, we are now shifting our focus to how to follow up these priorities. In other words, we are moving from identification to implementation
In this regard, I take note of the Secretary General’s call for the Peacebuilding Commission to put additional emphasis on sustaining international attention to Burundi and facilitating the marshalling of resources for peacebuilding and reconstruction efforts in the country. This will indeed be an essential role for the Commission and its members in the review of the Strategic Framework. The continued support of the Security Council as well as other major organs of the United Nations remain crucial.
I thank you, Mr. President