Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called for continued backing and financial support for the United Nations fund that helps countries emerging from conflict to build lasting peace, stressing the timely and effective assistance delivered to several nations already.
The cornerstone of the UN’s peacebuilding architecture is the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC), which was set up in 2005 to help struggling States avoid slipping back into war and chaos by providing strategic advice and harnessing expertise and financing from around the world to aid with recovery projects.
Countries can also avail themselves of financial assistance from the Peacebuilding Fund to jump-start rebuilding projects.
Addressing the second annual stakeholders’ meeting of the fund, Mr. Ban highlighted the way the Fund has supported efforts to transform armed rebel groups in Burundi, mediate a crisis between feuding political parties in Sierra Leone and promote a return to constitutional order in Guinea following the country’s 2008 coup.
It also helped to support the building of trust in the wake of last year’s inter-ethnic violence in Kyrgyzstan, whose President, Roza Otunbayeva, was among those present at today’s meeting at UN Headquarters.
“I hope you agree that that support was timely and effective,” said Mr. Ban. “In short, the fund delivers value for money. But it needs your support.”
He called on everyone present to contribute and help ensure the long-term sustainability of the fund. “Help us help the many people throughout the world who look to the United Nations for assistance in realizing their aspirations to build lasting peace and put violence behind them once and for all.”
Mr. Ban also noted that as the UN peacebuilding agenda continues to take shape, the world body’s engagements have brought a number of valuable lessons and insights, such as the fact that peacebuilding is just as important after a political transition as it is in a post-war period.
“It is therefore vital for the United Nations to mobilize rapidly, as the cases of Guinea and Kyrgyzstan illustrate,” he said. “In those early, delicate moments after a crisis has ebbed, when a society’s new direction may not be clear, peacebuilding can contribute in many ways, including through supporting inclusive political processes and dialogues.”
Second, peacebuilding is a process that can take a generation – continuing after long-established UN peacekeeping and political missions draw down their presences, and thus helping to preserve the investments made by those engagements, added the Secretary-General.
Third, he continued, all actors, including peacekeepers, political missions and humanitarian and development organizations, need to come together behind a coherent peacebuilding strategy.
He stressed that this has become even more important as violent conflicts have become more diffuse, with a variety of armed groups, often with cross-border linkages, driven by complex political, economic, social and environmental factors.
Peacebuilding also needs to be incorporated more fully into development cooperation, and it is necessary to ensure that proper management of natural resources is a key element in the implementation of peacebuilding strategies, said Mr. Ban.
The Secretary-General also announced that he will appoint a new high-level group to ensure the fund’s effectiveness and relevance. So far this year, the fund has received $67 million in new pledges and contributions – double the level of 2010.
On the programming side, it is on track to meet the $100 million target for this year, with more than $86 million allocated to date.
He noted that new commitments were made in 2011 to support peacebuilding processes in Burundi, Côte d’Ivoire, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Liberia, Nepal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan and Sudan.
“However, more resources are required if we are to meet our targets for 2012 and beyond. And demand continues to rise, as we have seen throughout this extraordinary year,” he stated.