23 June 2008
General AssemblyPBC/37
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Peacebuilding Commission

Organizational Committee

7th Meeting (PM)



To Sharpen Commission’s Focus, Chairperson Highlights Nine ‘Self-Check Points’;

Outgoing Peacebuilding Support Chief Says Body ‘Never Was Just Another Talk Shop’

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon this afternoon called on States to reaffirm their commitment to the “critical international experiment” in peacebuilding, as embodied in the Peacebuilding Commission, as that body’s Organizational Committee finished its second year and opened its third session, approving an ad interim bureau and welcoming new members, Canada and Sweden.

“It is gratifying to note the progress in Burundi and Sierra Leone, as captured in the review of your work,” said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, adding that today marked a milestone in the Commission’s existence.  “Your work represents an important step towards the much-needed coherence we are seeking to ensure across the United Nations system, bridging critical gaps in the global response to post-conflict situations.”

He stressed, as well, the importance of the dialogue currently being fostered in Guinea Bissau, and arrangements being completed by the Commission to address the situation in the Central African Republic.

The persistent risk of conflict had proven that no single actor held the key to achieving peace, but that all actors must be brought together at “the crucial time that counts”, he said.  That had been the rationale behind the Commission’s creation.  Convinced that insufficient emphasis on post-conflict peace consolidation was among the reasons that Africa was not on track to its development goals, he maintained that the United Nations needed a “culture of coordination”, where all operational actors, whether political, security, development or human rights, could come together in support of the strategies being developed by the Peacebuilding Commission. 

The Peacebuilding Support Office would serve as a hinge between the Commission and those carrying out peacebuilding activities on the ground, he said, adding that the Peacebuilding Fund was providing “useful catalytic support” towards generating predictable and sustainable funding for recovery and peacebuilding.  He planned to call for a review of the Fund’s Terms of Reference, once the Office of Internal Oversight Services had completed its independent evaluation on the issue.  It was also his intention to initiate a process to identify conceptual and operational gaps in international responses to post-conflict situations, where he would draw on the Commission for advice.

Commission Chairperson Yukio Takasu highlighted nine critical questions, or “self-check points”, to sharpen the Commission’s focus.  Noting that the Commission was applying the same template to many different cases, he stressed that the “no one size fits all” principle should apply in all country-specific situations, and strategic frameworks for transition should be flexible and responsive to local conditions.  Although international aid was often needed, Governments and people in post-conflict countries should demonstrate their ownership of the process by improving accountability and governance.

The linkages between security, development, human rights and the rule of law should be recognized in all peacebuilding activities, he said.  Viable political frameworks should be sought through a politically inclusive peace process that avoided a winner takes all mentality, and the development of checks, balances and transparency.  Stressing that the three pillars of building trust were crucial to averting further conflict, mobilizing support and securing the commitment of actors to a common and coherent approach, he asked if each Commission member was ready to respond to the call of countries that required international attention and support.

Carolyn McAskie, the outgoing Assistant Secretary-General for Peacebuilding Support, in her final statement in that capacity before the Commission, said that the challenges of bringing all the elements together for comprehensive peacebuilding were being met.  Noting that development had historically been viewed as the “soft side” of the effort, she emphasized that development and security were now seen as going together hand-in-hand.

She said that more needed to be done to ensure that peace’s building blocks were determined early on, even in stabilization phases.  She congratulated the Commission on its dedication, which had made it a body that delivered on its mandate.  “You were never just another talk shop,” she said.  “You can look at what you’ve accomplished with satisfaction,” pointing to its work on Sierra Leone, Burundi and Guinea-Bissau.

The Commission’s outgoing Chairperson for the Burundi country-specific configuration, Johan L. Lovald of Norway, said that the international community must deliver on its promises if peacebuilding was to remain on the United Nations core agenda.  He welcomed the emphasis given by the Secretary-General to peacebuilding, because high officials were crucial to integrate the various peacebuilding aspects.

Paying tribute to both Ms. McAskie and Mr. Lovald in the discussion that followed were the representatives of Germany, Brazil, Jamaica, Indonesia, El Salvador, Guinea-Bissau, Russian Federation, Italy, Luxembourg, Czech Republic, Egypt, United Kingdom, Ghana and Angola.

Most speakers also expressed support for the Chairman’s priorities and many stressed the importance of using tracking mechanismsin future reviews of the peacebuilding process.  Stronger relations between the Peacebuilding Commission and international financial institutions could serve as basis for marshalling financial support for countries on the Commission’s agenda, some added. 

Also today, the Commission’s Organizational Committee appointed Yukio Takasu of Japan Chairperson, ad interim, until the Committee was in a position to elect a Chairperson of the third session.  Carmen Gallardo Hernandez of El Salvador and Leslie Kojo Christian of Ghana were elected as Vice Chairs, ad interim. 

Members of the Committee are elected by various United Nations bodies, such as the Security Council, General Assembly and Economic and Social Council and others, but those had not been agreed before the conclusion of the second session.  That had led to the decisions of the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council to extend the current arrangement until 11 July.

For that reason, the Committee today confirmed, on an ad interim basis, the Permanent Representatives of Belgium, Brazil and the Netherlands as Chairs of the Commission’s country-specific configurations on the Central African Republic, Guinea-Bissau and Sierra Leone, respectively.  The Chairperson ad interim was also expected to undertake consultations with respect to the successor of the outgoing Chair of the Commission’s country-specific configuration for Burundi.

The representatives of the new members of the Committee, Sweden and Canada, today expressed their commitment to furthering the accomplishments of the Peacebuilding Commission, which had, in the words of Canada’s speaker, “pioneered a new model of priorities-setting” in post-conflict situations.

The next meeting of the Organizational Committee will occur at a time to be announced.

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