Formal Meeting (PM)

Peacebuilding Commission Well-positioned to Bring Together Agendas of United Nations Organs, Says Its New Chair, Outlining 2024 Priorities

The Peacebuilding Commission plays a vital role in connecting “the dots” between the United Nations work streams on peace and development, its new Chair said today, as he laid out the 31-member body’s priorities for 2024.

“As a diplomatic platform that brings together key regional and global actors, the Peacebuilding Commission is well-placed to improve our collective efforts towards conflict prevention and response to post-conflict challenges, aiming at long-lasting peace,” said the representative of Brazil, the newly elected Chair of the Commission — an intergovernmental advisory body that supports peace efforts in conflict-affected countries.

Brazil takes on this role for the second time since Commission’s creation in 2005, he said, stressing that it has remained committed to placing peacebuilding at the intersection of the UN security and development policy so much needed now when polarization and division prevail over cooperation and multilateralism.

He then outlined the Commission’s main priorities:  strengthen the Commission by broadening its positive impact; foster dialogue on conflict prevention; reinforce the nexus between strong institutions, sustainable development, human rights, and peace and security; enhance its collaboration with the Security Council; and promote inclusivity as a central pillar of stable and peaceful societies.

In addition, his country will promote the sharing of success stories and good practices, keep counting on multilateral financial institutions as key partners and highlight the contributions made by women to lasting peace, he said, concluding that the Commission is well-positioned to bring together the agendas of the General Assembly, the Security Council, and the Economic and Social Council.

The representative of Croatia, outgoing Commission Chair, said that 2023 was a difficult year for the world.  Divisions, including in the Security Council, were deepening.  Old conflicts continued and new ones emerged, threatening global peace and security.  However, these negative trends did not affect the Commission.  On the contrary, they stimulated members to explore how the Commission can help to close the gap as an important actor in conflict prevention and building sustainable peace.  The Commission engaged in support of 10 separate country- and region-specific settings, broadening its geographic scope.

Highlighting two accomplishments, he said that the Commission engaged with new countries.  Second, it underlined the universality of peace and peacebuilding by engaging with countries that are not conflict-affected, showing that they should also work on conflict prevention and sustaining peace.

In addition, the Commission sought to systematically include the representatives of international financial institutions and multilateral development banks in its meetings, as financial muscle is required to address the root causes of instability and fragility.  The Commission also strengthened its regional cooperation with Africa by visiting the African Union Commission.  They discussed establishing dedicated focal points on both sides to maintain communications throughout the year.

The representative of Bangladesh, outgoing Vice-Chair of the Commission, outlining the body’s achievements in its 2023 session, noted that it broadened its geographic scope.  The quality of its advice to the Security Council has improved, he said, noting its stronger advocacy on the women, peace and security agenda, as well as deeper partnerships with regional and subregional organizations.  Stressing that national ownership is critical, he called on the Commission to support a robust engagement with national stakeholders and partners. Peacebuilding financing continues to be a challenge, he noted, welcoming the proposal to include assessed contributions for the Peacebuilding Fund.  Also highlighting the linkage between peacebuilding and peacekeeping, he said that this is crucial to smoother transitions.  Noting the upcoming review of the peacebuilding architecture, he said the Commission has an opportunity to expand its horizon.

The representative of Germany, outgoing Vice-Chair of the Commission, said that the 2025 review of the peacebuilding architecture is “approaching fast”.  In 2023, Croatia’s delegate started his work as Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission with the ambitious goal of broadening its geographical scope while strengthening its advisory role.  Thanks to his efforts, for the first time, Canada, Honduras, Nepal, Norway and Mozambique presented their prevention peacebuilding approaches and sought the Commission’s advice.  Even though these countries come from different regions and face different challenges, “they exemplify the universality of peacebuilding”, he added.

Elizabeth Spehar, Assistant Secretary-General for Peacebuilding Support, said that the current global environment — with increasing conflicts and deepening polarization — underlines the need for international solidarity.  Accordingly, a New Agenda for Peace provides a valuable road map for political and financial investment in peacebuilding, prevention, national capacities and peace infrastructures.  It also serves as a reminder that conflict prevention and sustainable development are interdependent and mutually reinforcing. By strengthening linkages between humanitarian, development and peace efforts, peacebuilding can help remove the obstacles hindering progress on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The Peacebuilding Commission — increasingly recognized as a platform that can contribute towards renewed international solidarity — considered five new countries in 2023, she pointed out.  Welcoming the adoption of the General Assembly resolution on assessed contributions for the Secretary-General’s Peacebuilding Fund, she said that such contributions will allow for more predictable and sustained resourcing.  A first step will be to revise the terms of reference for the Fund to be presented to the General Assembly after a structured consultation involving the Commission and all Member States.  In 2023, the Commission convened its first-ever meeting with the Advisory Group of the Peacebuilding Fund, which provided an opportunity for a better mutual understanding of their respective work and mandates.

She further underscored that the Peacebuilding Support Office continues to prioritize stronger partnerships with a range of peacebuilding partners.  In November 2023, it launched the first dialogue between the UN and civil society organizations on peacebuilding, she said, also highlighting its commitment to strengthening engagement with the private sector.  “The main objective of our work is to contribute to concrete and positive peacebuilding impact on the ground,” she stressed, noting in this regard that the newly launched Peacebuilding Impact Hub will make a significant contribution to harnessing data-driven analysis, sharing knowledge and communicating peacebuilding impact.

The representative of Kenya, new Vice-Chair of the Commission, said that his delegation is ready to brief the body on its peacebuilding priorities and experiences once a meeting is scheduled for that purpose.  He welcomed the formalization of regular meetings between the Commission and the African Union Peace and Security Council.  This strategic engagement underscores the importance of aligning peacebuilding efforts with regional frameworks and leveraging the expertise of key stakeholders.  International financial institutions are critical for fostering innovative financing solutions.  The Commission should forge strategic partnerships with them.

The representative of Sweden, Chair of the Liberia configuration, said there should be “strong, forward-leaning and operative proposals” regarding the Peacebuilding Commission in the Pact for the Future.  Commending the Commission’s initiative to engage with new countries from all regions, she noted that it also forged closer ties with regional organizations and achieved better representation by expanding the number of Vice-Chairs.  Turning to her work as Chair of the Liberia configuration, she said that country has made remarkable peace gains over the last year, with peaceful elections and transfer of power.  Liberia has many lessons to share in sustaining peace; women, peace and security; youth, peace and security; and reconciliation.  The configuration will continue to engage closely with civil society and other actors, including the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and African Development Bank, as well as regional actors, including the African Union and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), she said.

The representative of Morocco, Chair of the Central African Republic configuration, cited the Summit of the Future as an opportunity to further strengthen the pioneering role of the Commission within the global peacebuilding architecture.  In this regard, he welcomed the decision taken by the General Assembly to establish — beginning in 2025 — a fund of $50 million based on assessed contributions from Member States.  Spotlighting priorities in the Central African Republic, he said the continuation of the decentralization policy and the restoration of State authority throughout the country are essential.  He applauded the efforts undertaken by the Central African Republic to ensure national ownership of the peace process.  However, he emphasized that sustained support form international and regional stakeholders is necessary for the establishment of an environment conducive to full implementation and restoration of State authority.  Turning to the organization of local elections, he stressed that successful conduct of inclusive and peaceful elections in October 2024 and January 2025 remains a key political challenge for the country. 

In the ensuing discussion, Commission members highlighted the need to tackle the root causes of conflict, including climate change, as well as the need to establish a link between peacekeeping and peacebuilding as early as possible.  With the Summit of the Future and the Peacebuilding Architectural Review on the horizon, they also stressed that 2024 presents a distinct opportunity to leverage lessons learned from the Commission’s meetings and country visits.

In other business, the Commission adopted its report on its seventeenth session.  It also elected Kenya and Croatia as Vice-Chairs and re-elected the chairs of its country configurations — Morocco for the Central African Republic and Sweden for Liberia.  Brazil, as Commission Chair, will preside over meetings on Guinea-Bissau.

For information media. Not an official record.