Thank you, Mr. President, and thank you, Ambassador Wittig, for your briefing and your commitment to peacebuilding and the Peacebuilding Commission. Let me also thank Ambassador Gasana for his leadership this year, as well as the chairs of the Peacebuilding Commission’s country-specific configurations, who facilitate the PBC’s work in the field and in New York.
The United States continues to wholeheartedly support the Commission. Promoting sustainable peace is the heart of the UN’s work.
The Peacebuilding Commission continues to gain strength as an institution. It plays a crucial role in several important ways: calling our attention to countries emerging from conflict, offering advice, and proposing strategies to build sustainable peace after the guns have fallen silent. We commend the Commission for its efforts to address many of the shortcomings identified in last year’s annual review, and we appreciate the progress it has made this year, particularly in the countries on its agenda.
Mr. President, we commend the Commission’s efforts to alleviate the administrative burden on those it hopes to help by drawing more from existing strategic planning processes and documents. We saw this in Sierra Leone, where the Commission aligned its engagement with the government’s Agenda for Change—and leveraged the expertise and experience of international actors and regional bodies to tackle poor governance, youth unemployment, and widespread drug trafficking. We saw it again in the Central African Republic, where the Commission tailored its strategic framework to correspond to the country’s Poverty Reduction Strategy. We saw it in Burundi, where the Commission worked with international stakeholders to ensure free and fair elections—and where the Commission’s work to support political dialogue among the ruling party and opposition elements has proven particularly important as Burundi has solidified its peace.
We also applaud the Commission’s quick start in Liberia. Liberia was added to the PBC agenda within six months of that country’s request, and an innovative statement of mutual commitment was endorsed by the Commission and Liberia’s government. Liberia has already, with the PBC’s help, begun construction on the first of five regional security hubs to address the root causes of conflict at the community level and help transfer security management from the UN peacekeeping mission to the Government of Liberia in the coming years.
We also appreciate the efforts of the “Working Group on Lessons Learned,” which shares and disseminates information and success stories on high-priority areas on the Peacebuilding Commission’s agenda. We urge the Working Group to continue to foster meaningful dialogue and to link its discussions and findings more directly to programs in the field. Such ties are essential if the valuable lessons put forth by the Working Group are to be incorporated into the Commission’s ongoing work.
Mr. President, despite considerable progress, the Commission still faces real challenges. In order to better serve as the leading authority on peacebuilding, the Commission must work harder to link ambitions in New York with programs and national leadership in the field. It must also improve coordination with international institutions on needs-assessments and programs in post-conflict countries. The PBC should continue to promote national ownership by focusing early on developing national capacities and measuring the impact that peacebuilding has in the field.
We also believe that the Commission should also work more closely with its key partners, particularly the international financial institutions. This will allow the Commission to build on the experience and knowledge of partner institutions and work toward common goals to create sustainable peace. We must also work to achieve a coherent vision and to coordinate efforts across all players in countries with a UN peacebuilding presence.
A key aspect of achieving this vision is working closely with leadership within countries emerging from conflict. As the Commission continues to grow and add more countries to its agenda, it is even more critical that it possess the peacebuilding capacities to advance international peace and security and improve the prospects for success in post-conflict countries. The time is now, as more countries are turning to the United Nations for resources and assistance in dealing with conflict. The Commission must continue to build on the progress it has made to help the countries on its agenda build peace that will truly endure.
Thank you, Mr. President.
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