I have the honour and pleasure to speak on behalf of the Nordic countries Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.
First, allow me to congratulate the three facilitators on the important and crucial job that you have agreed to undertake. I wish you the best in this significant task.
Building peace in fragile countries emerging from conflict is one of the key challenges that we face today and one that calls for a dedicated and persistent engagement from all actors concerned – nationally as well as at the regional and international levels. The United Nations continues to hold a vital and central role in post-conflict interventions as well as in the broader peacebuilding architecture that includes also other international actors and financial institutions. “Delivering as One” extends to development as well as an effective, coordinated and coherent peacebuilding agenda.
The Nordic countries are firmly committed to the rationale behind the PBC and look forward to engage actively and constructively with other members as we launch the review process.
The Peacebuilding Commission is one of the key inter-governmental peacebuilding instruments at our disposal although still relatively young. The Nordic countries recognize the important results of the PBC so far, and believe that the PBC holds further promise and potential including in broadening its geographical reach. The 2010 review is an occasion to renew our common commitment and to reinvigorate the vision behind the PBC, which carries a unique legitimacy within the UN-system.
The review is a welcome opportunity to ask ourselves – and honestly seek the answers – how we can strengthen the attractiveness and usefulness of the PBC as a forum for promoting a coordinated and coherent approach to peacebuilding in countries emerging from conflict.
Concerning the process itself we are pleased by the constructive approach outlined by the facilitators. We believe that an inclusive, transparent and pragmatic process should ensure that both current and potentially relevant stake-holders can contribute, including prospective candidate countries for the PBC’s agenda. We encourage the facilitators to comprehensively engage with IFIs in order to address coordination challenges between the UN and other multilateral organizations.
The process should focus on issues where the review can make a difference and reserve particular weight to input from the field including representatives of governments, civil society, the UN itself as well as IFIs. Capital level involvement in the process is equally crucial thus underlining a whole-of-government approach where governments speak with one voice at all levels. During the review process, the PBC should continue to carry out its tasks and continuously strive to improve its working methods.
From our perspective, the aim of this review should be guided by a common desire to enhance the functioning of the PBC and to improve its ability to deliver added value in particular at the country level. We remain strongly committed to a PBC that delivers relevant and high quality contributions to stabilizing and consolidating peace. In short, the benchmark for success should ultimately be determined by the real impact in each country.
In order to achieve this goal, a number of points should be considered by the review. Allow me here to highlight a few of the key points that the Nordic countries would like to see as part of the review process. As we seek today to concentrate on the impact at country level as suggested by the facilitators, we expect to address further questions of relevance to the PBC review at a later stage:
First, flexibility in approach and choice of policies is essential in order for the PBC to remain a relevant contributor on the ground recognizing and respecting the uniqueness of each post-conflict situation. A close link to in-country developments must be maintained, and the PBC’s agenda informed by these events. Numerous instruments for coordination already exist – the PBC should not duplicate nor replace, but strategically add value where relevant and called for.
In this context, we encourage the facilitators to explore the possibilities of a less work intensive and more flexible approach as a possible way to expand the reach and relevance of the PBC while maintaining a well-defined relationship with the Security Council.
Secondly, national ownership built on a truly inclusive political process is a fundamental necessity for effective peacebuilding interventions, themselves building on – and strengthening – local civil capacity while genuinely enhancing the role of women from day one. In this area the PBC, its Country Specific Configurations as well as targeted contributions from the Working Group on Lessons Learned are all ideally placed to leverage the experience of a diverse and uniquely legitimate membership. This means that the PBC must engage all relevant and legitimate actors in a continued effort to act within a framework of mutual accountability.
Thirdly, on the organizational level, enhancing the role of the Peace Building Support Office should include strengthening its support and input to the PBC agenda. In addition, a more strategic role of the Organizational Committee should be considered.
Finally, as members and founders of the PBC, we must also look at our own responsibilities. As contributors each in our way to the broader peacebuilding architecture, we should ask how we can advance this multi-pronged agenda by re-committing to actively stay engaged, including by promoting and applying a whole-of-government approach, however difficult and challenging that may be.
In conclusion, allow me once again to stress the commitment of the Nordic countries to actively and constructively contribute to this review process of the PBC whose core goal should be to improve the functioning of the PBC for the ultimate benefit of the primarily stake-holders on the ground. Our efforts here should contribute to achieving that critical ambition.