16 May 2007
General AssemblyPBC/12
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Peacebuilding Commission

Organizational Committee

7th Meeting (AM)




World Bank, International Monetary Fund, European Community,

Organization of Islamic Conference to Participate in all Commission Meetings

Acknowledging their important contribution to peacebuilding efforts in countries emerging from conflict, the Organizational Committee of the United Nations Peacebuilding Commission decided this morning to extend an invitation to the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), European Community and the Organization of the Islamic Conference to participate in all the Commission’s meetings, in accordance with General Assembly resolution 60/180 and Security Council resolution 1645 (2005).

The Committee further decided that, notwithstanding the decision just taken, its Chairman might call meetings of Member States only, if necessary.  Assembly resolution 60/180 stipulates that representatives of the World Bank, IMF and other institutional donors shall be invited to participate in all Commission meetings in a manner suitable to their governing arrangements.

Prior to the Committee’s action on that matter, several speakers stressed the importance of reaching speedy agreement on participation by institutional donors, pointing out that the authority and discretion over governing arrangements and the election of members, for example, should belong to the Commission’s members alone.  Speakers then suggested that the Committee extend a standing invitation to the institutional donors, unless otherwise notified, and that it take a decision on the understanding that “there may be situations where meetings of the Organizational Committee might be limited in scope to issues for decision solely within the purview of its members, as the Committee may determine”.

In that connection, the representative of the United States cautioned against “starting to be selective”, and noted that the founding resolution was very clear in stating that institutional donors should be invited to all meetings.  “All donors of any kind” should be included in any meeting talking about countries where their contribution was important.  A standing invitation should be issued to all four donors, except for meetings of the Organizational Committee, which, by its very name and nature, dealt with organizational issues that were for Member States to discuss.

The United Kingdom’s representative said participation should be left to the discretion of the Chair of the Organizational Committee, who should be trusted to make judgement on invitations.  However, the representative of the Netherlands, stressing the importance of ensuring transparency in the Commission’s work, wondered whether institutional donors should be excluded from any meetings.  India’s representative said invitations should not be extended until a decision could be made on who was to be excluded.

Several delegates called for a mechanism to determine whether the presence of institutional donors was needed.  Egypt’s representative -– who advocated invitations for all four institutional donors, while others wished to approve only the World Bank and IMF -- pointed out, among other things, that members of the General Assembly would protest if donors were invited to a closed meeting that was open only to Commission members, and that other Member States were not allowed to attend.

The representatives of Luxembourg and Germany, the current President of the European Union, insisted on quick action on the matter and expressed support for the European Commission’s request for an invitation to participate in the Peacebuilding Commission.

Analysing the language of resolution 60/180, Luxembourg’s representative added that, while the institutions in question should be invited to all meetings, the Chairman should have a margin of interpretation and procedural issues should be taken up in consultation with members.

Following a briefing by the representative of Angola on progress made by the ad hoc working group on pending issues, the Committee decided to urge that body to finalize its work on the issue of civil society participation in meetings of the Peacebuilding Commission and to present its recommendations to the Organizational Committee for final adoption at a meeting to be held no later than 6 June.

One of the working group’s facilitators said “provisional consensus” had been reached on the guidelines for civil society participation, but there was still no agreement as to where on the list of participants to place the criteria for including civil society organizations and representatives.  The question remained whether to annex those criteria to the text, include them as a footnote or place them in the body of the guidelines.

As the Organizational Committee considered the outline of the Commission’s first ever report to the General Assembly, its Chairman, Ismael Abrãao Gaspar Martins (Angola) said it was envisioned that the document would be divided into five main sections, three of which would contain factual elements regarding the establishment of the Peacebuilding Commission and the activities of the Peacebuilding Support Office.  Two sections were expected to be analytical and forward-looking in nature, addressing the challenges of peacebuilding and the Commission’s conclusions and recommendations.  The report should be formally adopted by the Organizational Committee on 27 June and considered by the General Assembly during the main part of its sixty-second session.

He said the first report should acknowledge the efforts of all Commission members and their partners, inside and outside the United Nations system, to put the Commission on track during the first year of its existence.  It should also be candid and clear about the challenges before the Commission, acknowledging that it was a new intergovernmental body and it was to be expected that part of its first year would have been devoted to further defining its role, functions and working modalities.

Commenting on the outline, speakers emphasized the importance of the Commission’s first report, which would set the standards for future reporting.  Delegates called for a concise, more readable report that focused on value added, while also indicating the operational relationships among all stakeholders and donors.  At the same time, several members of the Committee felt the document should be more analytical than descriptive in nature, with sections on challenges, conclusions and recommendations forming its core.

Many speakers agreed with the representatives of Luxembourg and Brazil on the necessity to describe clearly the relationship between the Peacebuilding Commission and the Peacebuilding Fund.  Japan’s representative was among a number the speakers who felt the document should also address the Commission’s links with other organs, including the General Assembly, the Security Council and the Economic and Social Council.

Egypt’s representative said that, in addition to being vibrant and analytical, the document should also explain the rationale behind decisions and allow for more interaction with the General Assembly and the Security Council.  Some substantive issues had not been agreed upon, and should be discussed before the report was adopted.  To improve the report’s flow, thematic and cross-cutting issues should be grouped together, while those relating to the rules of procedure and the ad hoc working group should be addressed in a separate chapter.  Peacebuilding challenges should be better reflected in sub-sections, for example, the one on Sierra Leone.  Among other things, it was also important to discuss which other countries were likely to be considered by the Peacebuilding Commission and when.

Emphasizing the importance of moving from conceptual discussions to concrete actions as soon as possible, Brazil’s representative said the report should include details on the specific actors to be entrusted with specific actions.  As for the discussion on benchmarks, it would be unwise to create monitoring schemes that would place a new burden on countries.  It was important to facilitate a predictable and stable inflow of resources and the Commission should also start looking at the quality of assistance to see if it really promoted the objective of peacebuilding.

Chile’s representative said the document should be concise and reader-friendly, with boxes stressing salient points and an executive summary for each section.  It should outline the profile of Peacebuilding Commission vis-à-vis other players, including civil society.  The idea was that the new organ would mobilize and coordinate actions within and outside the United Nations, and the report should, therefore, be targeted at galvanizing other players, including civil society, in countries needing assistance.

Carolyn McAskie, Assistant Secretary-General for Peacebuilding Support, said the first draft of the report would be prepared as soon as possible to allow for discussion so the Organizational Committee could agree on the final version.  Responding to a question from the representative of the Russian Federation as to whom the report’s recommendations would be directed to, she said recommendations normally formed the elements of a General Assembly resolution to help in the future work of the body concerned.

To suggestions regarding the Commission’s links with the Peacebuilding Fund, she said that, while she would be happy to include elements of that relationship in the report, a formal report on all details of the Peacebuilding Fund would also be presented to the General Assembly.  Under those circumstances, it was necessary to consider how much of that information should also be included in the report of the Peacebuilding Commission.

In response to concerns raised by the representative of the Czech Republic concerning Peacebuilding Fund resources for Burundi and Sierra-Leone, she confirmed that several projects had been approved for the two countries and that disbursement was imminent.

With five weeks remaining until the expiration of the one-year term of the Commission’s current Chair and Vice-Chairs, the Organizational Committee also considered the procedure for selecting the future occupants of those positions, which had not been specified in the Commission’s provisional rules of procedure.  The Organizational Committee selected the incumbent Chair and Vice-Chairs on 23 June 2006.

The Committee agreed to hold informal consultations on that matter prior to the deadline of 23 June, when the new Chair and Vice-Chair would be selected.

Germany’s representative recalled that one of the points made during a long debate on that matter last year related to the need for regional rotation.  However, a person should be the decisive factor, rather than their country of origin, as the Chair should have the necessary qualifications and experience, and should be familiar with “the ins and outs of the Organization”.  He also advocated “some form of continuity” in the work of the Chairs, who should be available for the full term of the chairmanship.

Chile’s representative, agreeing with the necessity to select the most qualified individuals, said those elected should be available to hold meetings.  The Group of Latin American and Caribbean States (GRULAC) had expressed its desire to maintain continuity in the Bureau, and the Commission’s Latin American and Caribbean members were prepared to work for the selection of the most qualified candidates.

While also agreeing with Germany’s approach, the representative of France said he was not convinced that a written procedure should be determined at the present stage.  Members should think about a mechanism that would fit with the Peacebuilding Commission’s objectives and working methods, particularly inclusiveness of participation.

Under “other matters”, the Chairman drew the Committee’s attention to an updated calendar of Peacebuilding Commission meetings for May and June, and to a chart of contributions to the Peacebuilding Fund.  Last updated on 15 May 2007, the chart reflected that the Fund had $221 million from Member States, including $137 million in deposits and $180 million in pledges.  The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain had made two additional contributions in the past week, bringing the total to 88 per cent of the Fund’s target.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.