It is my pleasure to speak on behalf of the Nordic countries Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.
Support for countries emerging from violent conflict and the prevention of relapse into conflict is a key international responsibility. Upon establishing the Peacebuilding Commission the international community agreed on the need to strengthen the United Nations’ ability to support sustainable democratic development in the aftermath of conflict. The Nordic countries remain strong supporters of the Peacebuilding commission. Now well into its fourth session, the commission is still very much in its infancy. The Nordic countries are pleased to see how the commission has been able to adapt to and learn from new experiences. The upcoming 2010 review process presents an important opportunity to take stock of progress so far and stake out the necessary steps to strengthen our ability to deliver on the vision behind the PBC’s creation.
Let me take this occasion to focus on four topics: National ownership, the importance of coordination and coherence, the responsibility of member states and the role of women in peacebuilding.
First, our yardstick of success must be the degree to which the commission helps prevent countries on its agenda from relapsing into violent conflict. This means that it will be especially important for the PBC to build engagement on national priorities and be receptive to feedback coming from national authorities and local and international organizations in the field. Supporting civilian capacities in fragile states is equally vital to consolidating peace and promoting genuine national ownership. We would like to commend the PBC’s Sierra Leone configuration for the agile and speedy adoption of the national Agenda for Change of the Government of Sierra Leone as the core strategy to guide all future national and international development efforts. The Nordic countries would like to take this opportunity to highlight the need for ensuring that experiences and lessons from the field are incorporated into the upcoming review of the PBC.
Secondly, and intimately connected to our first point, is that the PBC must take care not to duplicate work already done by other organizations, agencies and actors. The strength of the PBC lies in its ability to bring together relevant actors, to marshal resources, and to support the development of integrated strategies. PBC’s country specific strategic frameworks must not produce new sets of priorities, but should primarily help ensuring that existing frameworks and agreed upon priorities receive adequate international attention and are adhered to by international and national actors. The focus of the PBC should be to act as a focal point for all interested parties engaged in peacebuilding to ensure coordination between all relevant actors. The PBC should seek to further improve a coordinated headquarters approach to peacebuilding in order to ensure greater coherence between the political mandate given by the Security Council and the many development and humanitarian mandates of UN agencies.
Thirdly, as member states we need to take a hard look at ourselves too. For the PBC to be able to contribute to coherence – members states themselves need to have coherent peacebuilding policies. This means that we must maintain a consistent approach in our bilateral and multilateral actions. We cannot expect the PBC to be able to promote coordination if we are not able or willing to be coherent. In essence, we cannot expect the PBC to be an institutional quick fix to what is essentially a problem of inadequate political will and attention. We, the member states, must also ensure that we mobilize and maintain adequate political will needed to agree on and implement a truly coordinated peacebuilding approach.
Lastly, the Nordic countries would like to highlight the importance of adequately reflecting the key role of women in delivering sustainable peace as we renew our efforts together. The condition of women and girls are often a clear indication of how far peacebuilding efforts have come. In the last few years we have seen a growing recognition by the international community of the importance of providing women the opportunity to take part in their countries peacebuilding efforts thereby laying the foundation for a more realistic and representative perspective of what the population in question require to return to a peaceful existence. Through the integration of gender language in the Peacebuilding Commission’s formative resolutions and continuous deliberations, the Commission has reinforced the formal status of the ‘women, peace and security’ norm. Moreover, the recently adopted resolution 1889 requires steps to be taken to ensure sufficient funding of women’s needs in post conflict and to address the participation of women in post conflict planning. These are important steps which re-emphasize the message of 1325: Women’s place is not in the margins, but in the centre of decision making fora.
In conclusion, we would like to take this opportunity to welcome Assistant Secretary General Judy Cheng-Hopkins as the new head of the Peace Building Support Office. She has important and difficult challenges ahead. The recent evaluation of the PBF as well as the revised Terms of Reference for the Fund identified important challenges that required the attention of the Peacebuilding Support Office to ensure full implementation of the Fund’s mandate). Let me assure you that the PBSO will have our full support in addressing these. In this regard, we welcome the recent decision of a large disbursement of the Peacebuilding fund to the D.R. Congo to combat sexual violence as an early example of renewed efforts to play a catalytic role. Ms. Cheng-Hopkins also proved her commitment to addressing PBSO’s important role in promoting and enhancing the communication between the field level and headquarters by visiting the field immediately after being appointed. The Nordic countries commend her for this and assure her of our continued support in her work. We also welcome a strong leadership by the Secretary General to advance the peacebuilding agenda as we enter a process aiming to further strengthen the UN’s delivery in this field. The Nordic countries reaffirm our continued commitment to a strong UN role in delivering on an ambitious peacebuilding vision.