Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has announced that Côte d’Ivoire is eligible to receive help from the United Nations Peacebuilding Fund, set up two years ago to help countries emerging from conflict consolidate their gains and avoid slipping back into war.
Mr. Ban’s decision follows a request for funding from the Secretary-General’s Special Representative to the West African country, Y. J. Choi, that is also backed by the Ivorian Government.
“The country is now in a pivotal post-conflict phase,” with elections scheduled for November, and funding is therefore critical for ensuring that Côte d’Ivoire “continues on the path for peace,” said Carolyn McAskie, Assistant Secretary-General for Peacebuilding Support.
Mr. Choi welcomed the announcement, saying the Fund can fill crucial gaps, “such as for the reintegration of former combatants or the pursuit and facilitation of political dialogue.”
It is not the first time that the Fund has allocated spending to Côte d’Ivoire. It already funded an assistance package of $700,000 to support last year’s successful efforts of neighbouring Burkina Faso to broker a settlement between Ivorian political forces.
UN officials have warned that although the security and political climate has improved since the signing of the Ouagadougou Agreement last year by the Government and the rebel Forces Nouvelles, the country is still fragile. Violent crimes remain persistently high, and there has been a lack of progress in disarming both the Forces Nouvelles and militia groups in the west.
Since its creation in 2006, as part of reforms that led to the establishment of the UN Peacebuilding Commission, the Fund has exceeded its initial funding target of $250 million and has so far allocated $101 million for projects in Burundi, Sierra Leone, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia and the Central African Republic (CAR) and for emergency projects and initiatives in Haiti and Africa.