The United Nations is strengthening civilian peacekeeping with the creation of a Senior Advisory Group for the Review of International Civilian Capacities chaired by Jean-Marie Guéhenno, the former Under-Secretary General for Peacekeeping Operations.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon chose the group members, whose names were announced today, to include senior figures from a diverse range of backgrounds that combine operational experience in the aftermath of conflict with a deep understanding of the UN and Member States.
The Review of International Civilian Capacities is a key component of the agenda for action outlined in Mr. Ban’s 2009 Report on Peacebuilding in the Immediate Aftermath of Conflict.
The overall goal of the review is to improve the international response in the aftermath of conflict by strengthening the availability, deployment and appropriateness of civilian capacities for peacebuilding. These steps are considered crucial to prevent relapse into conflict and lay the foundations for sustainable development.
The group’s responsibilities include identifying changes that can be made within the UN to ensure its capacities can be deployed effectively and efficiently, and to identify Member States which can support those efforts.
The UN Peacebuilding Support Office said Member States, regional organizations and civil society groups involved in peacebuilding will be engaged in the review process. An international symposium on civilian capacity is also planned for later this year.
There are nine members of the Senior Advisory Group, including Mr. Guéhenno and four UN officials – Ameerah Haq, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Timor-Leste and the head of the UN peacekeeping mission (UNMIT) in that country; Michael von der Schulenburg, the Secretary-General’s Executive Secretary to Sierra Leone; Catherine Pollard, Assistant Secretary-General for Human Resources Management; and Carlos Lopes, Executive Director of the UN Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR).
The other participants are: Rubem César Fernandes, the Executive Director of Viva Rio, a non-governmental organization (NGO) in Brazil that promotes peace and social development; Bruce Jones, the Director of New York University’s Center on International Cooperation; Marjon V. Kamara, Liberia’s Ambassador to the UN; and Mitra Vasisht, India’s Ambassador to Cuba, the Dominican Republic and Haiti.
“The Secretary-General’s appointment of the Senior Advisory Group signals his deep commitment to strengthening the international response to the challenges that post-conflict countries face in the immediate aftermath of conflict,” said the Assistant Secretary-General for Peacebuilding Support, Judy Cheng-Hopkins.
Speaking last month, the Secretary-General said strengthening peacebuilding will better enable the UN to keep countries from relapsing into conflict, and sustain peace beyond the life of a peacekeeping mission.