Speakers Highlight Efforts in Sahel, Partnerships with Regional Organizations, as General Assembly Considers Annual Reports of Peacebuilding Commission, Fund

The Peacebuilding Commission looks forward to a review of its work in 2020 by the General Assembly and the Security Council as an opportunity to take stock of progress made and to explore ways to strengthen the United Nations efforts in forging sustainable peace in places where conflict once reigned, the General Assembly heard today as it took up the Secretary-General’s annual reports on the Commission and the Peacebuilding Fund.

Also today, the Assembly, acting without a vote, adopted a draft resolution contained in a report of its Special Political and Decolonization Committee (Fourth Committee) entitled Comprehensive review of the whole question of peacekeeping operations in all their aspects (document A/73/525/Add.1).

Speaking in his capacity as Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission, the representative of Colombia said its work continues to be anchored in the principle of national ownership, representing a space where countries can share their peacebuilding experience. Looking ahead, he said he intends to further strengthen the partnership between the Commission and regional and subregional organizations, particularly the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), as well as with the World Bank.

Recalling that the General Assembly and the Security Council will review the Organization’s peacebuilding work in 2020, he noted that progress is the word most frequently used in the Commission’s annual reports since the last review in 2016. Indeed, the Commission has taken important steps to implement the twin resolutions of 2016 [General Assembly resolution 70/262 and Security Council resolution 2282 (2016)], and we look forward to the next review to formally take stock of that progress and explore ways to further strengthen the work of the Organization on peacebuilding, he stated.

Romania’s delegate, speaking as former Chair of the Commission, was among many who took the floor to highlight the Commission’s efforts in the Sahel where it works with the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS) to advance the Organization’s integrated strategy for that region. On the Commission’s bridging role, he noted that it works with the Assembly, Security Council and the Economic and Social Council towards an integrated, strategic and coherent approach to peacebuilding, while respecting the mandates of each of those bodies.

The representative of Liberia, highlighting how the Commission and the Fund benefited his country’s peace and development priorities, said efforts effectively managed the transition from the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) to the United Nations country team ensured the success of elections and supported the national peacebuilding plan. Moving forward, he envisaged a continued focus on how the Commission can work better with intergovernmental bodies and on exploring available means to ensure strengthened partnerships with key stakeholders.

His counterpart from Sierra Leone, another Member State to benefit from the Commission and the Fund, recommended that the Commission consider a regional approach to peacebuilding, including in the Mano River Union countries of West Africa. On financing, he suggested more engagement with the private sector. It could also help Sierra Leone establish a peace and national cohesion commission where ordinary people can develop conflict prevention mechanisms, he said.

India’s representative said the Commission’s efforts can produce sustainable outcomes if national ownership is strictly followed. Agreeing, Kenya’s delegate added that scenarios on the ground should inform discussions at Headquarters � not the other way around. National ownership is key, and peacebuilding initiatives should be nationally owned, regionally anchored and internationally supported.

The representative of Indonesia, among others, applauded the fact that 40 per cent of the Peacebuilding Fund’s approved financing in 2018 went towards women’s empowerment. He proposed, however, that the Fund’s current allocation of 27 per cent for peacekeeping and 20 per cent for special political missions can be increased.

The representative of the European Union underlined the Commission’s need to work closely with key international and regional partners. Commending its performance, he said the Peacebuilding Fund also achieved significant results, demonstrating its catalytic role in mobilizing resources. The European Union is currently considering how its ongoing cooperation could be reinforced by a direct contribution to the Fund, he stated.

Through the draft resolution contained in the report of its Special Political and Decolonization Committee, the Assembly took note of the report of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations. It also decided that the Special Committee shall continue its efforts for a comprehensive review of the whole question of peacekeeping operations, review the implementation of its previous proposals and consider any new proposals as a way to enhance the Organization’s capacity to fulfil its responsibilities in that field.

Prior to adopting the draft resolution, the Assembly decided not to discuss the report, with its President explaining that the positions of delegations regarding the Committee’s recommendation had already been made clear during the Committee’s recent session and that they were duly reflected in the official records.

At the outset of today’s meeting, the Assembly took note of a letter from the Secretary-General (document A/73/722/Add.4) informing its President that Libya has made the payment necessary to reduce its arrears below the amount specified in Article 19 of the United Nations Charter.

At day’s end, the Assembly, acting again without a vote, elected Paraguay as a member of the Committee for Programme and Coordination for a term of office beginning immediately and expiring on 31 December 2021.

Also speaking today were representatives of Sweden, Brazil, Ireland, Pakistan, China, Germany, Mexico, Republic of Korea, Japan, Australia, Switzerland, Ethiopia, Egypt, El Salvador, Morocco, United Kingdom, Peru, United States, France, Argentina, Russian Federation, Bangladesh and the Gambia.

Statements

ION JINGA (Romania), former Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission, introduced the report of that body on its twelfth session (document A/73/724-S/2019/88) and highlighted some of its most relevant activities. Emphasizing the principle of national ownership, he said the Commission regularly provided advice to its parent bodies � the General Assembly and the Security Council � and maintained sustained engagement in the Sahel region, working with the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS) to advance the Organization’s integrated strategy for that region. Commenting on his visits and his meetings with such entities as the African Development Bank, he said he was deeply impressed by the Chadian people’s resilience and dedication to peace and development. He drew attention to several thematic meetings between the Commission and the Assembly and recommended more interactive dialogues going forward. Turning to the Commission’s bridging role, he said it worked with the Assembly, Security Council and the Economic and Social Council towards an integrated, strategic and coherent approach to peacebuilding, while respecting their respective mandates. He went on to emphasize that effective partnerships must be built around nationally identified priorities.

GUILLERMO ROQUE FERNA�NDEZ DE SOTO VALDERRAMA (Colombia), Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission, said the Commission’s work continues to be anchored in the principle of national ownership, representing a space where countries can share their peacebuilding experience. Such a model allows the Commission to develop and share good practices, he said, underscoring also its advisory and bridging role, including ongoing dialogues with the Assembly, Security Council and the Economic and Social Council. He encouraged Security Council members that also are members of the Commission to keep exploring ways for the latter to share comprehensive and timely peacebuilding advice. He added that the Commission continues to implement its mandate from the Security Council to support the Sahel region, while consultations are under way for a joint event with the Economic and Social Council later this year.

Looking ahead, he said he intends to further strengthen the partnership between the Commission and regional and subregional organizations, particularly the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). Partnership with the World Bank is also a priority, he said, announcing, in that regard, his intention to visit Washington, D.C., in early July. Emphasizing that the work of the Commission and the Peacebuilding Fund go hand in hand, he welcomed a growing interest among Commission members to hear more about the Fund’s activities and to discuss areas in which the two instruments can be mutually reinforcing. He encouraged Member States to continue to give priority to the gender dimension of peacebuilding. Recalling that the General Assembly and the Security Council will review the Organization’s peacebuilding work in 2020, he noted that progress is the word most frequently used in the Commission’s annual reports since the last review in 2016. Indeed, the Commission has taken important steps to implement the twin resolutions of 2016 [General Assembly resolution 70/262 and Security Council resolution 2282 (2016)], and we look forward to the next review to formally take stock of that progress and explore ways to further strengthen the work of the Organization on peacebuilding, he stated. In that regard, the Commission will meet next week to initiate an informal discussion on terms of reference for the 2020 review for submission to the General Assembly and Security Council for their considering. He concluded by saying he is encouraged to see the Commission becoming a more solid instrument at the disposal of Member States, with a growing number of them requesting support and guidance on peacebuilding matters in addition to the Assembly and Council increasingly asking for its advice. Growing partnerships with actors within and outside the United Nations are important signals to further strengthen work on peacebuilding and sustaining peace, he said.

SILVIO GONZATO, Deputy Head of the European Union delegation, said conflict prevention and peacebuilding are at the heart of the bloc’s external action, guided by a strategic vision to support the multilateral system and to join forces with partners who believe in international cooperation to create a better world based on respect for global law. Encouraged by progress achieved in 2018, he said the Commission continues to play a bridging role in integrating cross-pillar action at the United Nations, underlining the importance of harnessing both its convening power and advisory role to the Assembly and the Security Council. Building sustainable peace is inextricably linked to inclusive development, he said, mentioning European Union initiatives that, among other things, promote the role of women and youth. However, the link between peacebuilding and community-level engagement needs further attention, with action adapting to this reality by jointly enhancing an understanding of complex conflict dynamics and adopting an integrated approach dealing with all phases of the conflict cycle.

He also underlined a need to work closely with key international and regional partners. The Commission’s annual report and the Secretary-General’s report illustrate these complex challenges and highlight opportunities. He encouraged the pursuit of several proposed streams � strengthening the Commission’s bridging role among principal organs and relevant United Nations entities; enhancing collaboration with international financial institutions, regional organizations and the private sector; diversifying its working methods to enhance efficiency; and continuing to discuss ways to create stronger synergies with the Peacebuilding Fund. Commending the Commission’s performance, he said the Fund has also achieved significant results, demonstrating its catalytic role in mobilizing resources. The quantum leap advocated by the Secretary-General invites further support and contributions to the Fund, he said, noting that the European Union is currently considering how its ongoing cooperation could be reinforced by a direct contribution.

OLOF SKOOG (Sweden) highlighting recent achievements, pointed at fruitful discussions involving the Gambia and Sri Lanka. As Chair of the country configuration for Liberia, he said the Commission remained actively engaged during the transition phase, working towards ensuring inclusive national ownership through dialogue among all actors. The transition phase is so much more than just bringing troops home; doing it right can mean the difference between sustained peace and recurring conflict. Turning to partnerships, he encouraged United Nations efforts involving the African Union and the World Bank. As one of the Fund’s largest donors, he expressed hope for its continued cooperation with the Commission. Looking ahead, the peacebuilding architecture must focus on making an enhanced impact on the ground and must ensure flexible and predictable financing through increased cooperation with financial institutions and enlarging its donor base. In addition, a cross-pillar country-level approach is important, he said, anticipating that the Secretary-General’s reform agenda, United Nations country teams and agencies on the ground will have the capacity to identify priorities and undertake joint conflict analysis.

MAURO VIEIRA (Brazil), recalling that his country is Chair of the Commission’s Guinea-Bissau configuration, encouraged the international community to actively support that country in the coming months as it finds a path towards political stability. He encouraged the Security Council to invite the Commission to give advice on the renewal of all United Nations peacekeeping operations and special political missions. We are still short of achieving the Secretary General’s call for a quantum leap in the financing for peacebuilding, he said, adding, however, that the Peacebuilding Fund’s approval of a record $183 million for 40 countries in 2018 clearly indicates that the international community sees the relevance of giving priority to the funding of peacebuilding activities.

GERALDINE BYRNE NASON (Ireland) said no one can deny how effective the Commission can be, with Liberia and Sierra Leone demonstrating the catalytic role the United Nations system is playing in supporting local and regional actors to build peace. Citing the experience of Ireland, she said peace processes and peacebuilding is hard work � and sustaining peace is harder. The adoption of a regional approach is one area in which the Commission has really excelled, she said, pointing to the Sahel as an example. Regarding women and peacebuilding, inclusion is not an aspiration, but prerequisite for building peace. Emphasizing that you cannot just add women and stir, she said the onus is on all Member States to explore innovative ways to build on the momentum of women and peacebuilding, for instance with an annual discussion on best practices.

MALEEHA LODHI (Pakistan), as a founding member of the Peacebuilding Commission and a major troop-contributing country, said the principle of national ownership must remain at the centre of efforts. Flexibility and adaptability in reflecting national priorities of countries is an indispensable ingredient for success. While focusing on thematic issues is important, their relevance in particular situations should guide the Commission’s work. The last thing needed is to mount gratuitous pressure on Governments already dealing with fragile situations. Continued and stronger engagement with regional organizations is critical, especially in view of their knowledge of local conditions and the fact that countries emerging from conflict continue to face cross-border challenges. Pakistan, along with Japan and Norway, is championing innovative financing to augment existing financing streams for the Peacebuilding Fund, she said, emphasizing that peace is sustained when its foundations are based on inclusiveness, with supported nationally owned processes, as only they can chart a sustainable path forward.

ZHANG DIANBIN (China), citing achievements within the peacebuilding architecture, said that, going forward, national ownership remains critical. The United Nations and other partners must always respect the ownership of the host country, according to its priorities and national realities. All peacebuilding actors must enhance cooperation, including international financial institutions, with the United Nations serving as a coordinating platform. The Commission must effectively play its advisory role to the Assembly and Security Council, he said, welcoming its various efforts and country-specific configurations, which should make concrete efforts to help host countries to address challenges. Underlining the important role of regional partners, he said the United Nations must support organizations such as the African Union. More broadly, all efforts must focus on sustaining peace and fostering development.

JUERGEN SCHULZ (Germany), highlighting several challenges facing the transition phases following troop withdrawal, said the international community’s political and financial support often quickly decreases at a time when the root causes of conflict remain unaddressed, impeding development and sustainable peace. Too often and too easily, the conflict cycle begins again, he said, emphasizing a need for political commitment, long-term planning, national ownership, expertise and strategic advice. The Commission can help with these elements, convene a wide range of stakeholders and experts and do more in bringing in the private sector and international financial institutions while linking peacebuilding and transition processes with regional actors. The Commission also has the potential to provide timely, realistic and concrete advice, he said, adding that it is strongest when it speaks with one voice. To enhance its practical and political value, difficult questions must be addressed in a collaborative way. Regarding the Fund, he said the envisaged quantum leap will require more efforts from all sides, with existing contributors identifying solutions to secure long-term funding that goes beyond annual donations. Broadening the Fund’s donor base is also essential.

JUAN SANDOVAL MENDIOLEA (Mexico) said it is clearly possible to enhance the United Nations system in terms of delivering peace and peacebuilding, as can be seen in recent reform efforts and achievements. However, sustaining peace depends on addressing root causes and ensuring the participation of all relevant actors. Development and inclusion can often underpin such efforts in identifying the drivers of conflict. Citing progress made in 2018, he said diversifying the Commission’s working methods has already produced results. However, the entity’s potential has yet to be unleashed. To do so, it must play a broad advisory role, beyond the Security Council, to include the Assembly and the Economic and Social Council. The Commission is also uniquely situated to provide situation-specific recommendations, he said, adding that Mexico anticipates further progress going forward.

HAM SANG-WOOK (Republic of Korea) said the Commission must build on its recent significant progress, including by focusing on identifying and implementing concrete ways to help countries with peacebuilding priorities. It should also work more strategically with the empowered Resident Coordinators with a goal of achieving sustainable development and peace. With ongoing reforms, it is unclear how the peace and security pillar will be aligned with the development pillar, but with the host Government’s consent, Resident Coordinators must have a clear mandate to work across the development-humanitarian-peacebuilding continuum if the situation so requires. The Commission should also strengthen its advisory role to the Assembly and the Economic and Social Council, especially given that the root causes of many security challenges are development-related, as is the case in the Sahel region. Forging partnerships is important, he said, highlighting relations between the United Nations and the World Bank. Turning to the Fund, he said his delegation supports the Secretary-General’s quantum leap proposal.

KORO BESSHO (Japan), noting recent achievements, said one of the greatest challenges of peace is how to sustain it. Based on past gains, the Commission should continue to grow as a platform offering more qualitative input. Turning to the Peacebuilding Fund, he underlined the importance of maintaining transparency and flexibility while also seeking out untapped resources and new non-traditional funding sources. Encouraged by progress, including the first innovative financing project in Colombia, he said this blended finance scheme represents a model that holds great promise for the future.

GILLIAN BIRD (Australia), emphasizing that the 2020 review should focus on system-wide peacebuilding implementation efforts, welcomed the Commission’s expanded advisory role and its growing engagement with the World Bank, the private sector and regional organizations. She applauded efforts to promote gender sensitive approaches to peacebuilding. On the Peacebuilding Fund, she looked forward to detailed updates on implementation of the Secretary-General’s recommendation that it assume a strategic resource mobilization role on financing. She emphasized that all United Nations agencies, with the Peacebuilding Support Office as a hinge, partner with other international organizations to underscore the link between sustainable development, human rights and peace and security.

JARG LAUBER (Switzerland), acknowledging the Commission’s role as a privileged platform to advance conflict prevention and sustaining peace, said: It is the place where we speak with States, not about States. Noting Switzerland’s role as Chair of the country configuration for Burundi, he said the Fund is crucial in supporting the Secretary-General’s ambition to invest more in sustaining peace and preventing conflict. As one of the top 12 donors, Switzerland will continue to ensure the preservation of the Fund’s flexibility, adaptability and effectiveness. His delegation will also promote a much closer partnership between the United Nations and the World Bank, given the latter’s substantial increase in resources for conflict-related contexts. Strengthening synergies and coherence across the pillars of the United Nations remains as relevant today as ever before, he said, emphasizing that peace and development efforts hinge on respect for human rights. As such, he called for using the full potential of the United Nations human rights instruments and encouraged more regular joint and inclusive context analysis in peacebuilding work. If we do not have the same starting point � identifying the same problems to solve � chances are that we will arrive at different destinations, he said, adding that the outreach towards new partnerships will remain crucial in increasing coherence with and beyond the United Nations system.

TAYE ATSKESELASSIE AMDE (Ethiopia), stressing his country’s support for the Secretary-General’s Action for Peace initiative, said it was encouraging to see that 40 per cent of disbursements from the Peacebuilding Fund went towards gender equality and women’s empowerment. Noting that Ethiopia was among seven African countries chosen in 2018 to benefit from the Fund’s immediate response facility, he said restructuring of the Peacebuilding Support Office into the Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs will help enhance the Organization’s capacity to understand the causes of conflict and to act quickly to reduce damages. On the Commission, he said Ethiopia wants to see its role as a bridge between the United Nations principal organs and entities to be strengthened. Ongoing strategic partnership between the Commission and the Fund with the African Union deserves the widest welcome and support, he added.

NAGARAJ NAIDU KAKANUR (India) said the Commission’s efforts will result in sustainable outcomes if national ownership is strictly followed. Peacebuilding activities should align with national priorities, with the relevant country’s leadership and institutions involved in their implementation. Welcoming expanding cooperation with regional organizations, he expressed support for the Commission’s advisory and convening role in its interactions with the Assembly, Security Council and the Economic and Social Council. Turning to the Peacebuilding Fund, he said increased contributions in the past two years is a clear sign of confidence in the Organization’s contribution to peacebuilding. He went on to underscore the importance of comprehensive sustainable development in preventing conflict and undertaking effective peacebuilding efforts.

TAREK AHMED MAHFOUZ AHMED MAHFOUZ (Egypt) noted that the Commission is helping an increased number of countries in their efforts to enhance coherence in building peace. Underlining the importance of fostering partnerships, he noted that the Fund exceeded its previous record of disbursements, reflecting the collective will of Member States and donors. That trend also shows the broadening role of the Fund, he said, emphasizing activities involving transboundary peacebuilding initiatives. Recommending a number of steps to take going forward, he highlighted a need to fully draw upon the Commission’s advisory and bridging role. In addition, the Fund’s role should be enhanced as a unique resource. National ownership and leadership are key to delivering tangible results. At the same time, partnerships, particularly with the African Union, are essential. Adopting a peace-centred approach is key to advancing peacebuilding and to ensure the needs of all segments of society are considered.

RUBA�N ARMANDO ESCALANTE (El Salvador) said peacebuilding should be at the core of the United Nations work, with a renewed emphasis on conflict prevention and on addressing the root causes of conflict. Underlining the importance of the Commission’s thematic priorities, he said inclusion is paramount to fostering sustained peace. Innovative financing can achieve its goals when it includes a broader range of actors and receives consent from host Governments. He also underscored the links between the Commission and Fund’s work on the one hand and development efforts on the other. Turning to the Fund, he said it has already played a key role at regional and subregional levels in Latin America. Describing a joint programme for peace and reintegration of migrants returning home, he said such initiatives include national dialogue to reach agreements among a range of stakeholders.

OMAR KADIRI (Morocco) reviewed the work of the Central African Republic configuration of the Commission, chaired by his country since 2014, and welcomed the stronger focus on the Sahel. The next step is to strengthen the African Union’s peacebuilding mechanism. On the Peacebuilding Fund, he expressed satisfaction with its evolving activities, with its budget growing from $157 million in 2017 to $183 million in 2018. He added that integrating the Peacebuilding Support Office into the Department for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs will allow the fund to benefit from additional political expertise.

JONATHAN GUY ALLEN (United Kingdom) said fragility and violence are among the defining challenges of today, with the largest number of people affected by conflict since the end of the cold war. Yet, conflict prevention is far less expensive than responding to violent instability. As such, the Commission has a central role in supporting at-risk countries and regions with its ability to convene a broad range of partners. Success in turning discussions at Headquarters into meaningful results on the ground has been mixed, he said, pointing at gains such as the Commission’s active engagement with host countries and diplomatic advocacy in marshalling increased financial resources. More can be done to build on those good practices, he said, emphasizing that the Commission must continue to align its work closely with the Security Council’s agenda and expanding beyond country-specific configurations. The United Kingdom remains committed to the Peacebuilding Fund, having doubled contributions in 2018 and pledging $40 million by 2020. Citing such successfully funded projects as a youth-centred initiative in Kyrgyzstan, he encouraged efforts to leverage long-term funding from other sources, including the private sector, and innovative financing mechanisms.

SUSAN MWANGI (Kenya) emphasized that scenarios on the ground should inform discussions and formulations at Headquarters � not the other way around. That requires strategic partnerships with Governments and other national stakeholders. National ownership is key, she said, adding that peacebuilding initiatives should be nationally owned, regionally anchored and internationally supported. She commended ongoing partnership between the Peacebuilding Commission and the African Union Peace and Security Council, underscoring the potential for effective progress when they partner for conflict prevention and the promotion of peace and stability in Africa. Regional initiatives must be supported, given their capabilities and their proximity to situations on the ground. She went on to call for the indispensable link between peacebuilding and peacekeeping to be strengthened.

GUSTAVO MEZA-CUADRA (Peru), stressing that peace, security, development and human rights are interdependent and mutually reinforcing, welcomed the fact that, in many conflict-affected countries, the Commission is working with a broad range of national actors with the support of regional organizations and financial institutions. He noted, however, that there can be no one-size-fits-all approach to sustaining peace. As a member of both the Security Council and the Peacebuilding Commission, Peru wants to see greater attention given to the Secretary-General’s recommendations on transitioning from conflict to post conflict situations at the end of peacekeeping mandates. It will also seek to enhance the Commission’s advisory role vis-A�-vis the Council.

AUSTIN SMITH (United States) said his country is pleased to see that some peacekeeping missions have started adopting peacebuilding strategies. All missions should follow suit, thus helping to enable sustainable political transitions. With the closure of the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Haiti this fall, the United States is also pleased that the Government of that country recognizes the positive role the Commission can play in promoting lasting security and stability. It stands ready to support those efforts, he added. Going forward, he said the international community should treat a peace deal or ceasefire as only a first step in post-conflict reconciliation, which takes time and should not be rushed. At the same time, local actors and societies must buy into any transition � a dynamic that the Commission understands and is well-placed to support, he added.

ANNE GUEGUEN (France) said the Commission has immense, unleveraged potential and an essential role to play, including by assisting the Security Council in understanding the causes of conflict. Welcoming the recent meeting of the Commission and the Council on the situation in Mali, she said such endeavours must continue, including by synchronizing calendars of their agendas. Expressing support for the Fund, she said the instrument has a catalytic role to play in influencing other donors, adding that France increased its contribution to the Fund to Euros 500,000 in 2019. Moreover, France is fully committed to work on bilateral and multilateral levels in initiatives to foster peace, including by establishing a peace fund that will increase to Euros 200 million in 2020.

DEE-MAXWELL SAAH KEMAYAH, SR. (Liberia), highlighting how the Commission and Fund benefited his country’s peace and development priorities, said efforts effectively managed the transition from the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) to the United Nations country team, ensured the success of elections and supported the country’s peacebuilding plan. Building on these achievements, Liberia adopted a national development plan for 2018 to 2023 centred on citizens’ basic needs for income security, improved access to social services and greater economic opportunities, he said, expressing gratitude to the leadership of Sweden in the Commission’s configuration for Liberia. As for the Peacebuilding Fund, he said it has driven United Nations coherence, led the pathway on conflict prevention and made significant contributions to, among other things, gender equality in the security sector, helping women’s organizations at the local level to help with conflict resolution.

Despite national-level achievements, new creative ways must be explored to invest in preventing conflict and sustaining peace, he said, reiterating that the Fund should neither be a substitute for conflict prevention nor sustaining peace. Member States have a pivotal role to play, he said, adding: We must take responsibility for our own economic advancement. Commending the level of interaction with the Security Council, he said Liberia can attest to the relevance of the Commission’s advisory role. Moving forward, he envisaged a continued focus on how the Commission can work better with intergovernmental bodies and on exploring available means to ensure strengthened partnerships with key stakeholders. Enhancing and consolidating robust multilateralism is the way to go, he continued, adding that sustainable developing and long-term tranquillity will largely depend on building and consolidating peace. The platform the Commission created where countries can exchange experiences is laudable and must be further strengthened.

MARTA�N GARCA�A MORITA�N (Argentina) said the Commission’s consideration of thematic issues enhanced its work, and more should be expected with a view to fully harnessing its potential. However, to do so requires sustained funding, he said, welcoming a recent experts’ meeting for financing for peacebuilding activities. In the meantime, the Commission should work ever more closely with the Fund to forge synergies. Every effort to build peace must focus on prevention and avoiding the recurrence of conflict during transition phases, he said, underscoring the importance of addressing the root causes. At this critical juncture of working towards the goals outlined in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, he said the Commission would be more flexible and more innovative. It could also play a more active role with the Security Council in designing and evaluating peacekeeping mandates.

MOHAMMAD K. KOBA (Indonesia), underscoring the Commission’s unique role and cross-pillar mandate, said the Security Council should make full use of its longer term perspective and rich expertise when reviewing the mandates of peacekeeping operations and special political missions. On financing peacebuilding, he said it is vital to harness domestic and international investment, trade and innovative sources, such as crowd-funding and social impact bonds. While Indonesia applauds the fact that 40 per cent of the Peacebuilding Fund’s approved financing in 2018 went towards women’s empowerment, the current allocation of 27 per cent to peacekeeping and 20 per cent to special political missions can be increased, thus enabling more conducive conditions for keeping peace.

GENNADY V. KUZMIN (Russian Federation) said the Commission remains among the United Nations most effective tools for building peace. States are interested in being on its agenda, which reflects the Commission’s effective work. The core guiding principle for the Commission and other bodies remains national ownership. Indeed, peacebuilding assistance is most effective when it is provided in line with national priorities. However, the Commission should only act within its mandate and not assume the functions of other bodies. Regarding the link among human rights, development and peace and security, it is important to identify the such linkages and to define which United Nations body or structure best addresses each of these elements. The Commission’s value stems from its ability to transmit the needs of States to the Security Council. In addition, its involvement is important during the transition phase of peace operations. The Peacebuilding Fund has proven itself to be a viable instrument, as shown in the increasing effectiveness of projects. Moving forward, coordination must be enhanced, he said.

MASUD BIN MOMEN (Bangladesh) observed that the Commission’s country-specific configurations make it possible to share experiences and create platforms for lateral dialogues. It is encouraging to see efforts towards breaking down silos, which must remain a focus of the Commission through its convening and advisory roles. On the Fund, he cautioned against taking too much of an expansionary approach, suggesting that value-added work in institution-building, gender sensitization and youth empowerment be further strengthened. Most important is to ensure increased, predictable and sustainable financing while also mobilizing further political support for the Fund. On the 2020 review, and recalling the twin resolutions of 2016, he called for a greater focus on implementing promises rather than reinventing the wheel.

AMADOU JAITAH (Gambia), recalling the 2018 Brussels donor conference and commitments made to peacebuilding and sustaining peace in his country, said the Commission and Fund lent their generous support. Calling for more contributions to the Fund, he said it helps vulnerable societies overcome the challenges of conflict. The Gambia’s new national development plan is built around a need for consolidating peace, promoting democracy, good governance and respect for the rule of law. The Commission’s timely intervention made a critical difference in the support provided to the new Government. Responding to the Government’s specific needs created a platform for national ownership. Engaging with regional actors, including ECOWAS, was also critical in finding the right partners for solving critical transitional challenges. As the Gambia consolidates its democratic gains, it will continue to count on the support of the United Nations and its peacebuilding architecture. The new national plan will usher in a new era of sustainable development and durable peace, he said, underlining that Member States and partners should increase support for the peacebuilding architecture’s critical work.

FRANCIS KAI-KAI (Sierra Leone) said that, as a country that has benefited from the Commission and Fund, Sierra Leone is pleased with the progress made in supporting countries in conflict or in transition. It remains grateful to the Commission for its steadfast support over the last 14 years. Since the end of its civil war in 2002, with four successive presidential and legislative elections, four local elections and three post-election changes of Government, Sierra Leone’s engagement with the international community � including the Commission and regional partners � has been crucial, and today it contributes to peacekeeping operations.

Going forward, he said Sierra Leone shares the recommendations in the Secretary-General’s report. In addition, he proposed that the Commission consider a regional approach to peacebuilding that could include conflict prevention and development programmes in the Mano River Union countries [CAte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone]. On financing, the Commission should engage more with the private sector to see where it can invest and contribute to economic growth and development. The Commission can also accompany Sierra Leone on its journey to establish a peace and national cohesion commission that would create space for ordinary people to take ownership and develop mechanisms for conflict prevention, management and resolution while also building sustainable peace.

Source: United Nations