Wednesday, October 7, 2009

EU Statement in the UN Security Council on Post-Conflict Peacebuilding

Statement by Mr. Anders Lidén, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Sweden, on the Report of the Secretary-General on Peacebuilding in the Immediate Aftermath of Conflict.

United Nations, New York, 22 July 2009

Security Council, Open Debate on Post-Conflict Peacebuilding, United Nations
New York, 22 July 2009


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Mr. President,

I have the honour to speak on the behalf of the European Union.

The Candidate Countries Turkey, Croatia and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and Potential Candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova and Armenia align themselves with this statement.

Mr. President,

Let me begin by thanking the Secretary-General for his timely report.

During the past decade, the international community has increasingly been called upon to prevent states from collapsing, fracturing or falling back into conflict. The task we are confronted with is often that of assisting in the building of functioning state structures in areas torn by political strife and the legacy of violence. Over the years, we have learnt important lessons, and the report of the Secretary-General provides an opportunity to further strengthen the UN’s peacebuilding capacity. Many of its important recommendations need to be urgently implemented. We look forward to the Secretary-General’s continued engagement and commitment to this important agenda.

Mr. President,

The report rightly focuses on the immediate aftermath of conflict. We know from experience that this is a particularly vulnerable and critical phase of peacebuilding, characterized by fragile security conditions, severe humanitarian and human rights needs, and significant political uncertainty. For the international community, it is a phase where our ability to deliver assistance is put to a difficult test.

While a basic level of security is vital in order to achieve a peaceful development, all aspects of peacebuilding must be considered from the beginning of the process. Successful disarmament and demobilization of former combatants require a framework in which they can be reintegrated. Alongside the deployment of peacekeepers, efforts must also be made to stimulate economic recovery, support the provision of basic services, and restore the rule of law, good governance and respect for human rights.

The central challenge is to build the structures of functioning state institutions. The process requires the participation of all relevant stakeholders. National ownership is essential, as underlined in the Secretary-General’s report. Special efforts should be made to reach out to women, youth and minority groups at risk of exclusion.

A coherent strategy among international actors in field operations is crucial in order to effectively support national processes. Unfortunately, such coherence is often lacking. The EU supports the Secretary-General’s recommendation on the need for an effective and accountable UN leadership on the ground, empowered to lead the immediate international efforts in support of national authorities. A common set of priorities is necessary to bridge the gap between early stabilization and recovery efforts and longer-term development planning. Mechanisms for more effective monitoring, evaluation and adjustment of strategies also need to be developed.

The EU welcomes the emphasis in the report on joint needs assessment, planning and support. Ways must now be found to put this into practice. In this regard, we look forward to the recommendations on the integrated task forces and the HQ support to Resident Coordinators and the UN Country Teams.

We also share the Secretary-General’s call for greater clarity on the roles and responsibilities of core peacebuilding actors, both within the UN and between the UN and the World Bank, and other international actors. Those designated as lead agencies bear a special responsibility to make the appropriate investments in order to provide timely and predictable support. Thesearrangements should be subject to regular review.

We have been encouraged by the positive assessment of the Standing Police Capacity and would welcome the further development and expansion of rapidly deployable civilian capacities to other areas of rule of law. We look forward to the proposed overall review on how the UN can help broaden and deepen the pool of civilian experts, particularly from the affected regions and from the South. In this context, the EU would also like to stress the important role of women in peacebuilding, as outlined in SC Resolution 1325.

Mr. President,

The Peacebuilding Commission has existed for three years. It is unique in its membership structure, its involvement of civil society and its country specific approach. The strategic potential of the Commission lies in its ability to stimulate coordination, mobilise resources, maintain a spotlight on countries emerging from conflict and provide advice to all relevant bodies of the UN system. As suggested by the Secretary-General, the EU would like to see the Commission’s advice be more proactively considered. The 2010 review offers an important opportunity to learn from the first years of operation and make appropriate improvements. In this context, it is also essential that the Peacebuilding Support Office is utilized to its full potential. To this end, the role of the PBSO should be clearly defined.

Access to timely and flexible funding is often one of the main challenges to maintaining the momentum in a peace process, immediately after the conclusion of a peace agreement. The EU welcomes the Secretary-General’s recognition of the need to strengthen the role of the Peacebuilding Fund in the early stages of peacebuilding. We must strive towards a Peacebuilding Fund that sets an example by providing seed-funding to bridge the gap between conflict and recovery at a time when other funding mechanisms may not yet be available.

Mr. President,

Over the past decade, the European Union has gradually enhanced its capacity to support efforts to secure peace in war-torn areas around the world. Today, the EU is one of the main contributors to peacebuilding activities, working closely with the UN, the African Union and other actors in these efforts. The continued strengthening of these partnerships, particularly with the United Nations, is a key priority for the EU.

The report of the Secretary-General provides many useful recommendations to strengthen the peacebuilding capacity of the UN. It is fully in line with the appreciated efforts of the Secretary-General to enhance the overall coherence, effectiveness and accountability of UN operations in the field. The EU is committed to supporting this agenda for change in all relevant inter-governmental fora as well as at the country level.