GA: Peacebuilding towards sustainable peace and security

9/25/2012 // Today Mr. Heikki Holmås, Minister of International Development, gave the following statement at the High-Level Meeting on “Peacebuilding: Way towards sustainable peace and security”.


The Peacebuilding Commission has a crucial role to play in engaging the world community to help states address the many challenges a peacebuilding process entails. The PBC has brought more and sustained attention to the countries on their agenda, which could otherwise easily have fallen off the radar.

Yet it is clear that the PBC is still struggling to define its role. As is the case with all intergovernmental bodies, we need to ask ourselves how we can make sure that it brings real added value, and not just added numbers of documents and processes.  We have a common responsibility in addressing this challenge.

The real test of the UN peace architecture is whether it can make real changes at country level and contribute in the lives of the millions of people who live in war-torn societies. We see that countries in West Africa, where prospects looked promising, are now facing relapse into violence and uncertainty. How do we address these challenges? How can the UN peace-building architecture make a difference?

One of the key recommendations from the 2010 review was to enhance interaction between the Commission and the field. The way we see it, the country specific configurations should primarily provide support for the SRSG and the UN Country Team and should not constitute an additional administrative layer.

The 2010 review also stressed the need for better cooperation between the PBC and other actors, including the Security Council. While there has been some progress, more could be done.

Everybody talks about bringing in, and further strengthen the gender dimension when it comes to peace building and security. We must move beyond the rhetoric and actually operationalize the meaning of women, peace and security. One step is common meetings of the organizational committee of the PBC and the Executive Board of UN Women. Another step is to follow much more closely how the different country configurations address the gender perspective in shaping peace-building strategies.

Norway values all the work that has been done on resource mobilisation, in particular in the country specific configurations. We know that it is harder to mobilize additional resources from traditional donors. It is therefore important that new partners and emerging powers increase their support. Let me stress that we are pleased with the broadening of the donor base in the Peacebuilding Fund (PBF).

The PBF’s focus on countries that are low on the donor radar, its swiftness, willingness to take risk, and its large donor base constitute its main strengths and added value. Furthermore, considerable progress has been made in establishing the PBF as an effective and accountable funding mechanism. We note that the PBF will need to work harder in order to attain the goal of a 15 % allocation for women’s specific needs. We look forward to rapid progress in this regard.

Norway made a new contribution to the PBF last year of USD 5 million and we will provide the same amount in 2012. The improvement in the PBF’s management has been important for us. But even if we want to focus on results and strict measures against corruption, we are also very much aware of the need for PBF to take risks. The risks associated with failing to engage in areas in conflict far outweigh most of the risks engagement would entail.

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