UN chief outlines measures to strengthen peacebuilding efforts

13 October 2010

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today outlined measures to strengthen the United Nations role in helping countries emerging from conflict to maintain peace and entrench stability, stressing the need for rapid deployment of trained staff, predictable financing, partnerships and ensuring the participation of women.

“Building peace may sound straightforward, but we know from painful experience that it is not. Success requires patient, long-term commitments and the involvement of a wide range of actors, working together,” said Mr. Ban, updating the Security Council on UN efforts to support post-conflict peacebuilding.

“We are making progress – in Burundi, Haiti, Nepal, Sierra Leone and elsewhere. But let us remember that for people who have suffered through conflict, progress can’t come fast enough. The ultimate test is how well we deliver on the ground – how well we give people signs of hope beyond mere words and promises,” he said.

Echoing his message in his latest report on peacebuilding in the wake of conflict, the Secretary-General spoke of the need provide UN staff deployed in crisis situations with the proper training to enable them to perform the full range of their responsibilities.

He said a review of international civilian capacities currently under way is anchored in the need to ensure that international assistance in the aftermath of conflict is driven by national needs and priorities, to make better use of the capacities of women and for faster and flexible response.

On predictable financing, the Secretary-General noted that in fragile transition situations, the Peacebuilding Fund, set up in 2006, can quickly finance early action, which can, in turn, prompt other sources to provide longer-term funding.

It has streamlined its procedures, enabling it to respond more swiftly to urgent needs and encouraged Member States to contribute to its replenishment, he added.

“But the Fund is only one among many. Many other efforts are under way aimed at making all peacebuilding financing more flexible and tolerant of risk,” Mr. Ban said, urging Member States to support these alternatives.

He emphasized the importance of greater cooperation and joint approaches within the UN, noting that efforts are under way to strengthen cooperation and develop closer institutional links with the World Bank.

Mr. Ban also underlined the key role played by the partnership between the Council and the Peacebuilding Commission, created in 2006 to prevent post-conflict countries from relapsing back into bloodshed, and today it was the focus of a session by the body

“Closer collaboration can help the Council to support peacebuilding more effectively from the very start,” including by enabling peacekeeping operations to have an impact as “early peacebuilders,” and ensuring that integrated peacebuilding offices institutionalize these early achievements.

Women, he stressed, should form the core of peacebuilding.

“While their voices are critical for ensuring that the foundations of peace are just and equitable, women are still not systematically included at all stages of the peace process,” the Secretary-General said.

“Conflicts leave states severely weakened and social structures decimated,” he added. “In such situations, women are vital to ensuring that the basic survival needs of families and communities are met.”

Mr. Ban said that he has stipulated that all peacebuilding funds managed by the UN will allocate 15 per cent of their resources to fund projects addressing women’s needs, advancing gender equality or empowering women.

In his latest report on women participation in peacebuilding, the Secretary-General says that a decade after the adoption of landmark resolution 1325 calling for equal participation by women in post-conflict peacebuilding, much remains to be done to ensure they can play their part in shoring up peace.

“Now is the time for systematic, focused and sustained action, backed by resources and commitments on the part of all stakeholders – national and international, public and private, women and men,” he writes, laying out a seven-point action plan aimed at changing practices among all actors and improving outcomes on the ground.

The plan includes ensuring that women are fully engaged in all peace talks and post-conflict planning, including donor conferences, and requires that adequate financing is provided to address women’s specific needs and advance gender equality.

It also underlines the need for women to participate fully in post-conflict governance as elected representatives or decision makers, including through temporary special measures such as quotas.

At the end of today’s Council meeting, the body reiterated the importance of national ownership of peacebuilding efforts and priorities.

In a presidential statement, the Council emphasized the need for swift action in areas including “reform of the security sector, restoration of the rule of law, respect for human rights, ending impunity, combating illicit arms trade, drug trafficking, and transnational organized crime, voluntary return of refugees and internally displaced persons, supporting peace processes, provision of basic services, restoration of core government functions, management of natural resources, tackling youth unemployment, and revitalization of the economy.”


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News Tracker: Past Stories on This Issue

More needs to be done to ensure gender equality in peacebuilding, Ban warns

Ten years after the adoption of a Security Council resolution calling for equal participation by women in post-conflict peacebuilding, much remains to be done to ensure they can play their part in shoring up peace, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says in a report released today.