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Post-conflict countries need more help to reap peace dividends, Ban says

Post-conflict countries need more help to reap peace dividends, Ban says

The immediate post-conflict period offers a window of opportunity to deliver peace dividends that is too often missed, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today, calling for greater efforts to help countries as they emerge from war and seek to rebuild.

“If peace is to be sustainable, the international community must make the most of these make-or-break moments and provide the right support at the right time,” Mr. Ban told the UN Peacebuilding Commission, as he presented his latest report on peacebuilding in the immediate aftermath of conflict.

The report focuses on the challenges that post-conflict countries and the international community face in the immediate aftermath of conflict – defined as the first two years after the main conflict in a country has ended.

This period, Mr. Ban wrote, offers “a window of opportunity” to provide basic security, deliver peace dividends, shore up and build confidence in the political process, and strengthen core national capacity to lead peacebuilding efforts, thereby beginning to lay the foundations for sustainable development.

“If countries develop a vision and strategy that succeeds in addressing these objectives early on, it substantially increases the chances for sustainable peace – and reduces the risk of relapse into conflict,” he said.

In his remarks to the Commission, he noted that “when guns still, hope stirs. People and institutions are ready for change and a new way of resolving problems. They anxiously, and perhaps naturally, expect a peace dividend.

“Yet too often, the dividend is dashed. The window is missed,” he said.

The Secretary-General stressed the importance of building on successful reforms already underway – such as humanitarian reform, “Delivering as One,” and integrated peace operations – rather than creating new mechanisms.

To meet the urgent needs facing countries emerging from conflict, he highlighted the need for peacebuilding to be anchored at the country level and to receive inputs from all parts of the UN system in a coordinated manner.

Mr. Ban also underscored the need to have a common strategic vision with realistic priorities, against which national and international actors can allocate scarce resources.

His report also called for the creation of a senior-level mechanism that will ensure that the right leadership and support teams are in place as early as possible to support countries.

“For over a decade we have been grappling with how to bring peacebuilding upstream and mount a more rapid and effective response in the immediate aftermath of conflict,” he wrote. “However, at this time of global resource constraints, when the most vulnerable bear the brunt of economic downturn, there is a new urgency to redouble our efforts and ensure that resources are used more efficiently by promoting a more coherent, effective and focused response.”

The Peacebuilding Commission, which helps post-conflict countries determine the priority areas for rebuilding out of the vast array of challenges they face, was established in 2005. Countries can also avail themselves of financial assistance from the Peacebuilding Fund to jump-start projects.