The United Nations Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) can help the Security Council manage its increasing workload, especially when it comes to dealing with countries during the critical period once a conflict has ended, a senior official said today.
“By focusing on and sustaining broader international attention to situations which may not be on the Council's immediate ‘radar screen,’ the PBC is supporting the Council to ensure that the energy and resources invested in addressing and stabilizing conflict situations are preserved and protected for the long-term,” the Chair of the Commission, Ambassador Ranko Vilovic of Croatia, said in his briefing to the Council.
“At the same time, we are also convinced that this is a shared responsibility requiring improved two-way interaction between the Council and the PBC, as well as much better clarity on roles and responsibilities in relation to other operational actors involved,” he added.
The Peacebuilding Commission 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.
The cornerstone of the UN’s peacebuilding architecture, the Commission currently has six post-conflict countries on its agenda – Burundi, Central African Republic (CAR), Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Countries can also avail themselves of financial assistance from the Peacebuilding Fund to jump-start rebuilding projects.
Mr. Vilovic noted that missions in three countries on the Commission’s agenda – Burundi, Liberia and Sierra Leone – are in the process of drawing down and transition. “We believe that the Commission can and should play a role in support of the Council’s consideration of draw-down and transition strategies in these countries.”
Also, he added, where the PBC continues to be engaged following the transition and exit of a UN mission in a country on its agenda, the Council could benefit from periodic updates on progress towards peace consolidation and risk factors. This would ensure that the Council remains abreast of country-specific, peacebuilding-related developments that may require attention.
In addition, in situations where the peacebuilding process in countries on the Commission’s agenda face serious challenges, the Council could draw on the PBC’s perspectives as it considers options for its response and formulates its strategy.
“The situations in Guinea-Bissau and the Central African Republic serve as reminders that peacebuilding is a process fraught with many risks and that there is a need for coordinated response and strategy which need to be adapted to evolving national and regional developments,” said Mr. Vilovic.
Also briefing the Council was the former chair of the PBC, Ambassador Abulkalam Abdul Momen of Bangladesh, who presented the annual report of the Commission, including highlights of its country-specific engagement.
These included providing support for the launching of a national reconciliation strategy and for the first regional hub for security and justice in Liberia; support to the successful conduct of elections in Sierra Leone; and resource mobilization for the peacebuilding pillar of a new poverty reduction strategy in Burundi.
At the same time, the disruption of the presidential electoral process through an unconstitutional change of government in Guinea-Bissau in April 2012 undermined the progress in peacebuilding that had begun to take place there, Mr. Momen noted.
This and the violence witnessed in CAR towards the end of 2012, leading to the current security, humanitarian and political challenges in the country, underlined that the Commission’s engagement needed to be “more comprehensive, targeted and well coordinated,” he said.