Statement by Ambassador Wittig on the 2010 Report of the Peacebuilding Commission in the General Assembly

Mar 21, 2011

(Check against delivery)

Mr. President,


On behalf of the members of the Peacebuilding Commission, I am pleased to present the report of the Commission on its fourth session.


Strengthening the peacebuilding agenda, enhancing its impact in the field and providing continued support to the peacebuilding efforts in Burundi, the Central African Republic, Guinea-Bissau and Sierra Leone were at the core of the Commission’s work in 2010. In September 2010, the Commission made Liberia the fifth country on the agenda responding to a request from the Security Council on behalf of the Government of Liberia. Most recently, the Commission responded to the request for advice and accompaniment from the Republic of Guinea. This was the first time that such a request was directly submitted to the Commission.


2010 was a year where “peacebuilding” and the future role of the United Nations Peacebuilding Architecture were very prominently discussed within and outside the United Nations. The review, which was ably guided by the Permanent Representatives of Ireland, Mexico and South Africa, offered an opportunity to appreciate the potentials of and the challenges facing the Commission.


The momentum generated by the 2010 review must be maintained especially as the Commission further expands its agenda.


Mr. President,


The report of the Peacebuilding Commission reflects a collective effort by the members of its Organizational Committee. Progress has been made in addressing emerging recommendations from the 2010 review, in particular in connection with the creation of a new PBC Country Specific Configuration on Liberia. The report also reflects the Commission’s plans to take forward the recommendations from the review in a way which would facilitate the annual reporting to the General Assembly and the Security Council. The Commission is proceeding in this direction on the basis of a “Roadmap of actions in 2011”. It focuses on meeting practical objectives and making concrete progress in enhancing the Commission’s impact on national capacity development, resource mobilization and aligning key actors behind common peacebuilding objectives. 


Mr. President,


Allow me to highlight a few elements from the report:


First, the report underscores the thematic focus of the Commission during its fourth session around “Partnership for Peacebuilding”. In view of the complexity of peacebuilding challenges and the multiplicity of actors, the need for coherence and partnerships can not be overemphasized. Building and strengthening “partnerships” with relevant actors has been identified as a key area of potential value added for the Commission. In this regard, the Organizational Committee devoted the majority of its efforts and time to engaging the International Financial Institutions (IFIs), especially the World Bank, and regional organizations, especially the African Union.


Generally, the Chairperson and Vice-Chairpersons focused on joining up with a range of potential partners from civil society and the academia on discussions which aimed at further deepening the awareness and knowledge of the Commission’s role and activities.


Second, the Commission has particularly prioritized the need for strengthening the interaction with - and its advisory role vis-à-vis - the principal organs of the United Nations. It worked towards generating interest in its work and activities across the membership of the General Assembly, the Security Council and the Economic and Social Council.


During the reporting period, the Commission witnessed a growing openness from and encouraging signs of interest on the part of the Security Council and the Economic and Social Council.


The important thematic debates convened by the Security Council between February 2010 and February 2011 offered recurring opportunities for the PBC, the United Nations’ membership and senior leadership to engage with the Council around critical peacebuilding-related policies. The participation of the World Bank in a number of these debates also confirmed the evolving partnership with the Bank at a time when it is further developing its approach in assisting countries emerging from conflict. Briefings by the Chairs of the country configurations contributed to the discussions of the Council at its periodic considerations of the situations of and mandates involving the countries on the Commission’s agenda. Most recently, the Council has engaged the chairs in informal dialogues on certain country situations. The outcomes of the thematic debates and the deepening of the engagement of the chairs of the PBC`s country configurations marked an important step towards more serious consideration by the Council of the Commission’s advisory role.


The reporting period also witnessed the continuing development of the Commission’s relationship with ECOSOC through the established briefing made by the PBC Chairperson to the 2010 substantive session. In addition, the ECOSOC and the PBC jointly organized a special event on the "Millennium Development Goals in Countries Emerging from Conflict". The event testified to the Commission’s growing advocacy role for an integrated approach to peacebuilding, including through well-deserved focus on the socio-economic dimension of peacebuilding.


Going forward, the Commission looks forward to further deepen its linkages with the General Assembly. There is a clear need to bring to bear the Assembly’s perspective on key thematic issues, of both political and socio-economic nature, under consideration in the Commission.


Third, the Commission continues to receive direct and substantive support from the Peacebuilding Support Office. Notwithstanding its stretched capacity, the Office has also been an essential linkage between the Commission and the operational entities within and outside the UN system.


The Office has also continued to provide regular briefings on the activities and operations of the Peacebuilding Fund. These briefings contributed to deepening the understanding of the synergy between the Commission and the Fund in the countries on the Commission’s agenda. The recently introduced interaction with the Fund’s Advisory Group has provided the Commission with an opportunity to address a number of broad policy issues for the Fund.


The Fund’s resources, combined with the efforts of the Commission, helped to ensure that the countries on the Commission’s agenda benefit from the sustained attention and support of the international community, with 64% of total Fund’s contributions being allocated to these countries.


Mr. President,


By linking up the Peacebuilding Commission’s work to that of peacekeeping, development and political actors in the field, the Commission has added considerable value.


The challenge facing the Commission in demonstrating its full potentials, however, is to ensure that its work is backed by a higher level of political commitment from the Member States and the Senior United Nations leadership.


As noted by the Co-Facilitators of the 2010 review report, “the Review should be a wake-up call to strengthen the collective resolve to deal with peacebuilding in a more comprehensive and determined way”.


I hope that today’s debate will take us a step further towards realizing the full potentials of the Commission, as an advisory body which is uniquely positioned to help the United Nations meet the challenges facing our collective capacity to deliver on the promises to respond to the needs to millions of peoples in the countries emerging from conflict.


Thank you, Mr. President.

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