Let me express our sincere appreciation for the cooperation of outgoing members of the Council - Colombia, Germany, India, Portugal and South Africa. Each of you has made a significant contribution to the work of the Council over the last two years. It has been a pleasure working with you. I’d also like to thank the Secretary-General for his comments today and all his efforts to improve UN support for countries emerging from conflict.
And thanks to Ambassador Momen for his thoughtful briefing and his valuable efforts as chair of the peacebuilding commission. We appreciate the important work of the Peacebuilding Commission, Peacebuilding Fund, and Peacebuilding Support Office and we are grateful for the steady progress they have made in supporting countries in transition.
Mr. President, we have discussed peacebuilding often in this chamber, both in general terms and in addressing countries on this Council’s agenda. We have agreed on core issues: the imperative of national ownership, the priority of building effective and credible institutions, the need for international efforts to be flexible and tailored to context, and the necessity of incorporating women and youth in our peacebuilding strategies. The stakes are high. Without effective strategies to consolidate and sustain peace, fragile settlements are vulnerable to reversal and renewed violence, governing capacities are easily overwhelmed, economies cannot restart, and communities cannot rebuild.
Today, I would like to touch on three issues that warrant greater attention and improvement in our collective efforts: building institutions, gender-responsive peacebuilding, and division of labor based on core competencies.
While every transition is unique, post-conflict authorities all struggle to build or rebuild effective democratic institutions that can meet basic needs - whether securing the streets, providing access to justice, delivering public services, or enabling economic activity. This requires significant attention to public sector capacity at all levels of government and to the institutional foundations of a vibrant civil society and a healthy private sector. The international community has made concrete progress assisting institutional development, but we can do better. The United States appreciates the Secretary-General’s call for a more responsive approach to “balancing long-term support for institution-building with the need to achieve early and tangible outcomes through restoration of core government functions and service delivery.” We believe strongly that countries with their own experience of transition from conflict or crisis have valuable expertise and perspectives that can assist others. We also welcome efforts in the Security Council to explore ways to factor this critical issue into the design and oversight of mandates.
Mr. President, robust participation by women is crucial to peacebuilding. We applaud the Secretary-General’s candor about insufficient progress on the seven-point action plan on gender-responsive peacebuilding, particularly in the areas of governance and economic recovery. Women’s needs and concerns must be given greater attention in government administration, particularly at the sub-national level and especially in the composition of and access to public services. Women’s centrality to economic recovery, notably their potential roles in the agricultural supply chain and in small business, also deserves more focus. From Haiti to Burma, the United Nations has a growing track record of assisting women in post-conflict situations, whether through disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration efforts or training and employment programs. We encourage the United Nations, together with other partners, to scale up these efforts and good practices more systematically.
Mr. President, the issue of international “roles and responsibilities” has been a constant theme since the Secretary-General’s first report on Peacebuilding in the Aftermath of Conflict. We have urged the UN system, together with outside partners, to develop a division of labor in supporting post-conflict countries that reflects comparative advantages and we appreciate the Secretary-General’s charge to peacekeeping missions and UN Country Teams to develop partnerships on this basis. We are pleased by the recent establishment of the Global Focal Point on the Rule of Law that will bring UNDP and DPKO into closer alignment, and we look forward to the forthcoming review of international efforts on public administration. We commend the PBC’s recent successes in strengthening partnerships with the World Bank and the African Development Bank, and encourage the PBC to explore further collaboration with the private sector as well as philanthropic and other non-governmental organizations. We welcome ongoing dialogue with the PBC and other actors to reinforce peacebuilding partnerships and the concept of dividing labor according to comparative advantages.
Finally, the United States also thanks Bangladesh for its leadership in convening the High-Level Event on Peacebuilding on the margins of the UN General Assembly in September. This event raised visibility on our common interest in effective peacebuilding and its resultant declaration reflects our shared priorities going forward.
Mr. President, healing the wounds of war and building peace in the aftermath of conflict is one of the most complex and compelling tasks we face in this Council, and one we cannot neglect. The alternative is only more violence, more suffering, and more instability. Though the challenges are formidable, there is too much at stake for conflict-affected people, their neighbors and the international community to neglect peacebuilding processes. We must make every effort to accelerate progress.
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